Mental illness affects millions around the world every day. Depending on your diagnosis, you may need more medication, a medication change, or a new diagnosis entirely. However, doctors and the other staff on your treatment team won’t be able to help without all the right information. Keep reading to learn how to talk to your counselors about your mental illness.
Discuss your symptoms for clarity
For every mental illness, there are symptoms that will affect different people in different ways. Discuss your symptoms with your treatment team because people in your support system need to be aware of how your health has changed. Sometimes, prescribed medications may need to be adjusted, while other times, your health care professional or counselor will recommend lifestyle changes.
To get the maximum benefit from counseling, you should try and meet with a counselor or therapist at least once every other week when you’re starting out. Meeting with a counselor regularly ensures all important information is available and everyone is on the same page. The more you can communicate your symptoms, the better others can diagnose, learn about your illness, or prepare you for how to overcome your illness going forward.
Write down what you want to talk about
Studies show you can retain information better when you write it down. Being able to do this is crucial, as doctor’s visits are limited and you may have to wait weeks or longer to get another appointment. You don’t want to spend too much time in a doctor’s office trying to figure out what to say. Get in the habit of keeping a recovery log or recovery action plan so you can pinpoint the information that needs to be shared quickly. At times, you’ll find that writing down what you want to say will present more time to discuss other relevant issues. In the end, you shouldn’t feel like you’re wasting a doctor’s time when you’re simply trying to make sure everything is covered.
Share details about your medical and mental health history
The information you need to share includes hospital admission and discharge dates, previous medications taken, the names of your previous and current diagnoses, and other background details that will help your treatment team decide what’s best for your care. Other pertinent information to consider sharing with your treatment team is specific incidences of trauma, as well as surgery, prior medical illnesses, and allergies to any medication. Your treatment team will need to put together a full medical profile to understand your illness.
Some patients might hesitate to share all of this information because they don’t want to be vulnerable. That’s understandable since trust issues arising in mental health and substance abuse treatment are common. Still, you can lose a lot of time if your counselors don’t have all the facts and assign you a treatment plan that doesn’t take into consideration what’s most important. Tell your counselors as much as you can about your prior mental health history. The more you can communicate your symptoms, the better others can help you overcome your illness going forward.
While drug rehab in Los Angeles and other cities is worth the time and effort, your mental illness may change over time, meaning a new diagnosis is needed, or a separate treatment plan entirely. The same way you discussed your medical history is the same way you should talk about new and present information, especially if it’s been updated. In the end, you can see that talking about your mental illness is an important part of drug rehab.