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Talking to Your Doctor About Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
General Tips for Gathering Information
- Bring someone else with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask.
- Write out your questions ahead of time, so you don't forget them.
- Write down the answers you get, and make sure you understand what you are hearing. Ask for clarification, if necessary.
- Don't be afraid to ask your questions or ask where you can find more information about what you are discussing. You have a right to know.
Specific Questions to Ask Your doctor
- Could I possibly have some other illness?
- Can I have a physical exam to be sure?
- Have you helped people with PTSD?
- If not, can you refer me to a doctor or counselor who has experience treating PTSD?
- What treatment options are available to me?
If you are prescribed medicine:
- How long will it take to work?
- What are the benefits
- What are the side effects?
If you decide to try counseling, interview counselors and find one with whom you feel comfortable discussing your problems. Questions to ask the counselor include:
- What is your training and experience in treating PTSD?
- What is your basic approach to treatment?
- How long will treatment last?
- What is the length and frequency of treatment sessions?
- Which health insurance do you accept?
- Do you have fee schedules and sliding scale fees to accommodate various financial circumstances?
What lifestyle changes, if any, can help reduce my symptoms? For example:
- Relaxation and stress management techniques
- Limit use of alcohol and drugs
- What are my chances of recovery from PTSD?
- What is the likelihood of recurrence of PTSD and/or related conditions? What can I do about it?
- Can you recommend a support group for me?
National Institute of Mental Health website. Available at: http://www.nimh.nih.gov.
Anxiety Disorders Association of America website. Available at: http://www.adaa.org.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 11/2013
- Update Date: 11/26/2012