Is this how all psychiatrists operate?

This is, of course, only my side of the story, and the fact that I’m going to a psychiatrist at all I guess is saying something. But the past two visits to my psychiatrist have been very uncomfortable. At the first (intake) session, he told me that I have OCD and that because of that, I think too much about things and talk too much. He said, “Now, I see I"m going to have to remind you a lot that I’m not your therapist and that you shouldn’t expect the meds to work miracles.” He also said that our follow sessions should take no longer than 5-10 minutes. He didn’t want to hear long stories from me.

The second time I saw him was last week, for a med check (he weaned me off Paxil and onto Lexapro, his “pet drug” from what little a Google search turned up about him. He gives talks about Lexapro at conferences). I told him that, while that day I was feeling okay, I had been feeling paralyzingly depressed at times. I told him I felt the drug was wearing off at the end of the day, and he told me that my OCD was again making me think too much about it.

This guy seems to just want to rush me in and out. I don’t get the impression that he wants to listen to anything I have to say. He cuts me off when I start talking “too much.”

Bottom line: His attitude and personality just make me uncomfortable. But is this just the way psychiatrists are? I don’t want to go looking for someone else if my expectations are unrealistic.


He sounds like an ass to me (I’ve had two psychiatrists, and neither of them were patronizing or rushed me through sessions.) I definitely think you are right to have higher expectations, and deserve someone who will listen to you.

Any therapist/psychiatrist needs to be a good match. I’ve been to a therapist but not a psychiatrist, so I can’t say if all psy act that way. I seriously doubt it, though. If you’re not getting what you need from him, medically or emotionally, switch.

Switch Doctors. You need someone you can trust to listen to what you are telling them, and to help you become yourself again, not become the stereotype they have in their head for you.

If you don’t also have a therapist I hope you’ll consider it - they can be an enormous help in communicating and separating the good from the bad doctors.

I hope you feel better soon. Maybe the Spring weather will give an extra boost?

I’ve had extensive experience (as a patient) with psychiatrists and psychologists, and in my OPINION you need a new one.


I’ve only ever been to one actual psychiatrist, and it was not at all like that. He was patient and listened well. This guy you saw does not sound good to me, what with both the hurrying and the pet-drug-having.

You do need a new one, but what you’ve experienced is not uncommon. Quite a lot of psychiatrists expect you to discuss this sort of stuff with a therapist or psychologist, and they just want them to provide medicine. They expect you to know exactly what you want and need when you come in, and they want to get it over with.

And then, even if they do want to give you more time, they often have so many patients that they can’t. Especially around here, where every psychiatrist is someone who comes in from somewhere else. At their own practice, they can give you a whole hour. But since they are coming in to a clinic, they have to deal with a lot of patients rather quickly.

ETA: The reason you need a new one is the OCD doesn’t respond well to this method. The only reason to go to a psychiatrist like this is if you’ve already gotten better on medicine, and just need someone to keep your prescription.

Unfortunately, I’m having to deal with these types a lot, too, as I can’t go to therapy under Medicaid unless I go to one who has a psychiatrist on staff. And there are no psychiatrists that are actually based around here.

5-10 minutes? That seems much too short.

I have a separate psychiatrist and therapist. While I don’t get into therapy issues with the pscyh, I do spend a solid 1/2 hour going over how my meds are acting, symptoms/issues I may have, etc.

My psych has his “go to” drugs based on experience with their effectiveness in different cases, and he did advise me not to assume they weren’t working until I’d given them a chance (they do take a while to take effect). But he’s always been very willing to work with me when drug choice #1 doesn’t work.

So, yeah, you need to find someone better.

Yup- if it’s a med check, that’s a 5-10 minute appointment. If you want a talk therapist, get one- this guy’s just there to write a script. Unless you don’t want to see him anymore. You have every right to see someone that you’re comfortable with.

Thanks for all the responses, everyone :slight_smile: I wanted to ask this question of a bunch of people whose opinion I trusted. Right now, I’m not thinking too clearly, so I didn’t want to be rash. But, from what most of you have said, my experience seems unusual.

So, how do I change? Just call the receptionist and tell her that I’m going elsewhere, and that my next appointment should be canceled? Should I ask for whatever records he has? What if I go in there to get them, he happens to see me (it’s just him in the office), and starts telling me that I’m expecting too much? I don’t want a huge confrontation, if I can avoid it.

IMO, it’s true that a psychiatrist must serve a different function than a therapist, in the sense that you don’t want to be talking about the fact that your dog died or you’re mad at Aunt Betty or whatever. That said, the psychiatrist should be damn interested in what you have to say about your symptoms. Things you might expect to discuss with a psychiatrist:

-mood patterns
-specific symptoms (i.e. sweaty palms, racing thoughts, nightmares)
-sleep patterns
-sudden weight loss or gain
-physical side effects to medications

If you’re discussing medication, and you say that the medication is not working, that should be addressed by the psychiatrist, even if it’s to say that certain symptoms are inevitable.

I did have that happen with a psychiatrist once, when I was taking medication to try to treat PTSD and still having nightmares/flashbacks. He looked at me with genuine compassion and said, ‘‘Unfortunately, there really isn’t a medication for those symptoms.’’ Then he prescribed me Klonipin as needed for restless nights, because that was the best he could do.

So no, there is often no ‘‘magic pill’’ that cures psych disorders but any psychiatrist worth his/her salt should be able to respectfully, compassionately communicate the limitations of these medications, or the rationale for staying on one that doesn’t appear to be 100% effective, without alienating or insulting the client.

My psych typically rushes me through, which was pretty annoying at first. But I’ve gotten used to the system and now I know what he’s after. He basically wants to know if anything bad has been happening with my condition (anxiety, insomnia), and if the meds are giving me any side effects that aren’t tolerable.

Most times the visit is just a check-up and the meds are fine although I have bad days which I discuss with him and tell him if I feel I need some adjustment. If things are tolerable, its all perfunctory & see you in three months. If things aren’t going well, he’ll have me try the meds a different way (“take another pill B at mid-day, let’s see if that helps”) and he’ll schedule me for a four week return so I can tell him how it went, and I can call his office if things are really not going well and I need something more.

If I ask for more time during an appointment, he’ll often give it to me, but it depends on the day and he might have me come back in a few days when he’s less busy. If things are really really not going well for me, I can page him and he responds promptly, though I’ve only done it a couple of times when (for example) I haven’t slept in days and the meds aren’t helping and I’m at wits end and I’d just seen him and what he prescribed was seriously not helping.

The 5-10 minute thing didn’t really shock me that much, seeing as his job is medication management. I do have a therapist that I see weekly, so I don’t expect therapy out of him.

But the feeling I have when I’m visiting with him is that as soon as I walk in, I’m racing against his internal clock. I feel almost as if I were being asked to stand in front of the class and recite all 50 state capitals in 30 seconds. I feel as if I have to measure every word, because I’m only allowed so many before–BEEP–time’s up, your OCD is causing you to think too much. Come back in 3 weeks and we’ll see how you’re doing then…

If I may… now THAT’S your anxiety talking. He barely has time for you during scheduled appointments, it’s unlikely he will take time out of his schedule to try to guilt you into staying.

Besides, medical records can be easily faxed nowadays. First call and make the new appointment, ask if they’ll need records, then have the records faxed by the receptionist.

Yes, call the receptionist, cancel your appointment, and don’t schedule another one. No explanation necessary. You could also ask your doc’s office for a referral to another psych if you want to try their recommendation, and again no need for explanation. Whether you get a referral from them or go find another psych, your records will be forwarded to the next doc if they request that (and would hope they would, but the new doc could just ask you what was tried and why you thought it wasn’t working).

To be fair to him, I haven’t asked for more time or really stood up for myself and demanded that I be able to finish my train of thought. Frankly, I’m (irrationally) scared of him. He’s not imposing, just a small, middle aged man. But, I’ll tell you right now, I wouldn’t dare call him outside of my appointment time.

Yeah, I know the anxiety reared its head there:). I don’t really think, in my rational mind, there would be a confrontation, or that he would even really care. Hey, to him, its one less bothersome patient.

I disagree with just quitting. Don’t quit until you’ve found another. I did that, and ran into a lot of problems. I was lucky I got my PCP to cover medication, but even then it was a struggle.

When you’ve found another person, then call and say you’ve found another psychiatrist that you are more compatible with. They are not ethically allowed to discourage you from this.

I wondered about this when I took my niece to her first visit two weeks ago. The fellow asked her a few questions and prescribed something which is supposed to help her sleep and help with depression at the same time. I don’t think we were in there 20 minutes.

Then the pharmacist told me that the med wasn’t recommended for those under 18 (she’s 16).

Then her therapist told me that she thought the meds were making the child manic.

NOW what am I supposed to do ?!

Agree – get a referral or just find another doc on your own before abandoning the one you have now. A cushion is that the meds you’re using don’t suddenly expire when you leave the current doc, so you can keep using them if they help at all. It all depends on how difficult it is to find another psych in your area and how soon you can have an initial appointment. In some areas it could be weeks, in others it could be much faster. You need to start calling around and get a feel for how much you may need to wait before another psych can see you before severing your relationship with the current doc. If you really think you don’t want to see your current doc again, just keep rescheduling your next appointment until you have a firm appointment with a new doctor, then cancel the appt with the current psych.

Best of luck with your situation. It can be awfully frustrating to find a psych doc you can work with. Please persevere – your life really can be much better once you get a psych who can balance meds well, plus a therapist who can help with the rest.