ZocdocAnswersWill a psychiatrist automatically put me on medication?

Question

Will a psychiatrist automatically put me on medication?

I'm thinking about seeing a psychologist or psychiatrist for stress/tension. Will they make me take medicine for it? I don't want to take things that mess with my head, but want to feel better, too.

Answer

Generally when you see a mental health professional, you undergo a pretty comprehensive evaluation. Usually at your first appointment, a very detailed medical history is taken. This includes your previous medical history, your previous psychiatric history, a family history, and a social history. In addition, your symptoms are discussed. Based on your age, symptoms and other relevant medical and psychiatric history, your mental health physician will come up with a plan to better diagnose your problem and help guide treatment. If you believe you suffer from stress, your doctor will evaluate causes for this and detail what makes your symptoms worse. This includes medical problems that may present with vague symptoms, for example, thyroid or vitamin deficiencies. This evaluation may include obtaining laboratory studies and bloodwork. Once other causes are excluded, the doctor may determine that behavioral changes, talk therapy may be all that is required. Sometimes, depending on your clinical situation, the doctor may recommend medication. Your doctor can also go into detail about the effects, the side effects of the medication prescribed. I would definitely recommend seeing a mental health professional to diagnose and help guide treatment for your problems. Stress can be a cause of significant morbidity, and professional medical diagnosis can only prove useful.

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