Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

How to Work with a Psychiatrist


#1

Our current psychiatrist has me very frustrated. I have been trying to reach him since Libby was admitted and finally talked to him today. He was so flippant! I found myself gritting my teeth while talking to him. The therapist has warned me while Libby was inpatient and he is new. I had to remind myself to not alienate him and to be grateful for him calling me back.

We’ve stopped her Lexapro and he says to give it five days to see how it does. If her symptoms don’t go away, we’ll have to wean her off the Risperidone to eliminate meds a possible contributing factor to her symptoms and heart murmur. I’m not as concerned about the Risperidone because she’s never had side effects from it and was taking it for the last six months. I’m also getting her evaluated by a child cardiologist. There is a history of heart problems on my family’s side so it’s not outside the realm of possibility. Unfortunately, because she has no prior history of a murmur in her entire life, we have to assume the meds are the culprit for the time being.

So my questions are these: How do I work with someone that I already think is a fool? He tried to diagnose her as bipolar without hardly evaluating her at all and has not paid any attention to my information about her symptoms, which as her mother I believe is critical to her care. Am I crazy for thinking he should be listening to me and seeking information from me as well as her? I want to find a better specialist and want to get it right - how did you find your medical team? I’m currently with the Baylor system locally but Austin isn’t too far away and I understand they have a much stronger medical community there than our area which is about 15 years behind.


#2

No! You’re your daughter’s best observer and advocate. Her doctor should be going out of his way to get your input. The best of my son’s med team have always done this.

It was tough, with few choices. I found my son’s first P-doc by calling everyone in my insurance list and just taking him to the first P-doc who had an opening. He was in a psychotic episode (relatively mild, looking back; I had no idea what was going on at the time) and still some appointments were a month or two out. Absolutely inadequate. There’s not enough P-docs.

Later as I navigated the mental health system I heard of another P-doc who was considered the best in the area. My son was on the waiting list for two years and is now seeing this P-doc. At the same time he had been seeing a therapist. I chose the therapist by reading profiles and interviewing them, generally a 20 to 30 minute phone call.

So basically, after the first shock where I was scrambling for help, a lot of research and advocacy.


#3

Refresh my memory Author, are you working with your local NAMI group? We have gotten our best recommendations from NAMI parents.

Any chance you are in Houston area? I do know an outstanding psychiatrist who handles severe scz and I have seen young children in his waiting room.

@Author_Charity_Marie


#4

I ask if they are comfortable or familiar with scz?
I have been told at times that they are not. Perhaps another Dr would be better?

I ask each time we have to switch Drs now (from moving).
I also had to ask for another therapist. That was strange, as the office said they wondered if “that” Dr was a good choice? I don’t know…you guys assigned him, and now he’s creating problems.

It was actually not difficult to switch Dr’s. BUT, it did teach me to not simply accept whatever Dr is assigned.
What you say about referrals is spot on. That does help.


#5

To clarify: CHILD psychologists.
Some regular P-docs are on the insurance list. BUT they are not comfortable with pre-teen children with scz. They have told me the risk and unknowns are too great and they would prefer that he be with a child specialist.

Glad I learn to ask about this.
My shock was great at first…
but I’ve heard it too many times now.

Same with family Drs. IF I have a chid P-doc on board first, then the family Dr is happy. ROI’s between them both, and no one feels like they are alone.

Hmmmmm…even Dr’s need support!


#6

Found him…
I think you were the one in TX who I said I would find out what Dr we went to. (White Rock area).

His reviews are terrible!

BUT, he is knowledgeable…and we needed that.
Expensive too…
he is respected outside the reviews.

We liked him.
BUT we don’t expect P-docs to lift our spirits either. He was not exactly “warm”. We only found 2 “warm” Dr.s over the last 10 years.
Must not be a requirement. :thinking:


#7

https://www.healthgrades.com/physician/dr-thomas-shoaf-3rk67


#8

It took us a long time to find a doctor who works well with our family member. And is also extremely helpful to me, comforting me and guiding my support role while prioritizing my family member’s needs and preferences.

Here’s the thing: if they can’t work with your family, that doesn’t mean they are a bad doctor. We had a doctor who treated us terribly, but basically saved the life of another person with sz we know.

Unless the p-doc is doing something egregiously wrong, it’s just not a match. When you find a good match, you will know.

One caution: there are not very many psychiatrists or psych practitioners, so it’s our role to be open-minded.


#9

Don’t worry about bad patient reviews. If it works for you, great! I had a neurologist to treat my MS that was not universally liked. Highly educated, up on his research And I liked him! So it’s a matter of personal preference.
I select my doctors and ex’s psychiatrists based on years of experience, both personally and professionally (I worked in medical publishing)… I always try to go with the best specialists, who are educated from a top medical school in his/her field of research. Even if it means having to travel a bit. All things being equal, I also go w the younger docs who seem more up to date in treatment options.


#10

Great feedback from everyone. Good to know there’s some trial and error involved. We will try to be more patient until we find a better fit. I am open to any other ideas and suggestions. Our Nami here seems to be defunct as far as I can tell and their hours are 10-6 M-F which is hard for me with work. No response to emails yet.


#11

Are you close to Houston? The doctor I know about is in the Cypress area.


#12

@hope Sadly, no. Temple, TX


#13

Anyone live near Austin, TX? That’s close to me and I hear the medical resources are better there. It’s about a 1 hr drive.


#14

There is a FB group that is doing another roll call right now.
TX seems to be popping up a lot.

Parents of Kids with Schizophrenia at FB

I don’t post on it about personal things. I do post a bit of encouragment at times. It’s too public for my comfort level, and I just found the group.

Still…to make connections with others…it’s a resource.

We’re in Southern CA right now.


#15

I just got accepted yesterday to that group. Very different dynamic there.


#16

Do you live in the USA. I live in Georgia. Therapist here don’t do phone calls with someone who is not a patient.


#17

I am in Texas. I hadn’t considered that. My daughter is a minor, so that likely helps with him talking to me.


#18

Hey, I just saw this. I know it was posted a long time ago and I hope that you have found the right treatment in the meantime. When my granddaughter was diagnosed I searched high and low for a psychiatrist who was familiar with sz patients and even more importantly a therapist. I ended up at the University of AL at Bham (about 90 minutes away) and she is in great hands there. Have you looked at university training programs for child psychiatry in Austin? When I looked online, I found the Texas Child Study Center (in Austin) which looks like they have a large number of psychiatrists and psychologists just for child and adolescent services. If you are still looking, maybe check it out.
I hope things are better in your life by now.