From initial evaluation to medication management to psychotherapy referrals, LifeStance Health’s psychiatric team puts you on the right path to optimal mental health. On your first visit, we will review symptoms, personal history, treatment options, and life goals to create a plan that keeps you moving forward. At returning visits, we monitor progress as well as respond to any new treatment modalities. We’re here to help you achieve your goals every step of the way.
How You Can Prepare for Your Initial Psychiatry Appointment
Congratulations on taking the first step toward a healthier future by booking your first psychiatric appointment. To make the most of your telehealth or in-person visit, please:
- Write down a list of your symptoms to help facilitate a conversation that is direct and informative.
- Prepare any important medical or mental health records to be shared with the provider.
- Create a list of your medications and reasons taken, or bring your medications in the prescription bottles to the appointment. You may be able to call your pharmacy to generate a list of medication you’ve been prescribed.
- Write down questions about the diagnosis, treatments, and further available assessments. Our psychiatrists are open to exploring alternative care and different treatment fields. Consider sleep studies, light therapy, chiropractic care, a nutritionist, psychological testing, group therapy, genetic testing, and more.
If your initial appointment is through telehealth, you should also ensure you have the correct software before the appointment. Call our offices if you have any questions about how to log on to an online appointment.
What to Expect at Your Initial Psychiatry Appointment
Initial appointments are generally 40 to 60 minutes for adults and 60 minutes for children under age 18. Initial appointments for children should involve a parent or caregiver. During this time, the doctor will conduct a full assessment, which includes:
- Psychiatric, medical, social, developmental and family health history, substance use/abuse, potential to harm self or others, and your response to the usual vicissitudes of life such as divorces, job loss, death of friends or family, etc.
- The doctor will likely suggest psychotherapy if not already engaged with a therapist or, in some instances, suggest a medication to help with your symptoms. The doctor will not always prescribe medication at the first visit.
- Additional labs or tests may also be ordered to rule out other medical conditions that could contribute to your complaints or symptoms.
- Follow-up appointments are set to allow enough time for adequate observation, communication, assessment, exchange of information, and ongoing decision making. No question, concern, or problem is ever too minor or unimportant to be discussed during a follow-up appointment. You are also welcome to reserve more time for your next visit at the next follow-up appointment.
- Providers may not be able to complete legal paperwork such as applications for disability or long-term residential care on your initial visit. In order for a provider to comply with this request, they may need care established for an extended period of time. You may be charged for the time a provider spends to complete requested paperwork.
How Follow-Up Appointments Work
Depending on the clinical situation, the length of time or frequency of visits will vary. However, most of our psychiatric staff requests a follow-up visit within 2 to 8 weeks after the initial intake visit. If you’re stable and the medication is effective, we may decrease the frequency and increase the time between appointments thereafter to every three to six months.
When the agreed-upon time on medications has passed and the original complaints are resolved, the medication will be tapered, and possibly discontinued, to see if medication is no longer needed to keep the symptoms treated.
Follow-up medication management appointments are typically 20 minutes. In some situations, the doctor may recommend a client return for a 40-minute follow-up appointment to allow time for family interaction or to evaluate a complex medication change or adjustment. Follow-up appointments for children under the age of 18 require a parent or caregiver present to make medical decisions for the client.
How can I request prescription refills?
Pharmacies may send refill requests via fax, but note it may take up to five business days to process due to provider availability and the required time to review your chart. If you need refills, please call the psychiatry coordinators directly at 630.428.7890, Ext. 360.
Your adherence to treatment is a factor when reviewing your refill request. This means that your provider must have established care and you are attending your scheduled appointments consistently in order for your provider to safely prescribe medications. Multiple no-shows or cancellations may lead to a denial of your refill request until you are evaluated in-person during a scheduled appointment.
Controlled substance refill requests (refills for stimulants, benzodiazepines, hypnotics) are monitored consistently to ensure appropriate use according to your treatment plan. Early refills of controlled substances are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. It is safe to assume refills of stimulants will only be provided during in-person visits.
What should I do if I have a reaction to the prescribed medication?
If a rash has developed after starting a new medication, stop taking the medication and make a follow-up appointment as soon as possible. Our client services department will fit you into an emergency opening, so please request the earliest available time slot.
If you’re having trouble breathing, stop the medication immediately and call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. Once you have proper medical attention, please email your psychiatrist here. Also, call 630.428.7890, Ext. 320 to make a follow-up appointment at the earliest emergency opening.
Other side effects or developing symptoms may occur after starting a new medication. If the situation seems urgent, contact your primary care provider/pediatrician or go to the nearest emergency room. You may also contact the doctor or the psychiatric coordinator here with non-urgent questions.
Can psychiatrists prescribe medication through telehealth?
If the provider believes it is necessary and safe, they may prescribe medication to patients who choose telehealth appointments. However, some medications have additional restrictions that require in-person appointments.
Do your psychiatrists prescribe methadone or suboxone?
Unfortunately, our providers are not equipped to treat clients currently struggling with substance abuse. Some of our providers will work with and prescribe psychotropic medications for clients with a past substance abuse history but are now stable.
Can I use EAP for psychiatric services?
Unfortunately, EAP services do not cover psychiatric care. Typically, psychiatry services are billed through your primary medical provider, but occasionally the behavioral health provider is still the payer for the doctor’s claims. Contact the billing department here if you need help understanding or verifying your insurance benefits.