Ask anybody who has had need of psychiatric care of one sort or the other what it is they find most disconcerting and it's likely they'll say it's the inability to find that one good doctor. Below are some clues and tips about what kind of qualities a good doctor ought to have.
Fortunately for us, this section and the UGLY one will be rather short. There aren't that many really bad doctors, but there are some troublesome characteristics that, depending on your personality, may be more or less tolerable. Here's a few:
There are precious few UGLY doctors, something for which we can all be thankful. But despite their rarity, the topic does warrant our attention because of the sheer amount of damage one of these bad actors can do. Here are some truly crucifiable offenses:
Should this ever happen to you, report the offender to the police and their professional association immediately!. Having done that, make sure you contact whatever support network you've built so you have some aid in getting through the situation and in getting a new physician/therapist.
This is a crime not easily spotted by the layperson. For example, as of may 1997, there were still no official credentialing precedures for 7 states in the US. At least in those states, anyone can hang out a shingle claiming to be a therapist. However, should you become aware of a potentially dangerous or fraudulant situation, immediately report it to the appropriate authorities for investigation. Make no effort to confront the deception yourself.
Should any physician be culpable of such behavior, then the standard laws apply and you should report them to the police as soon as possible.
Physicians are bound by ethical standards that prohibit them revealing a patient's medical records and details of their condition without legal warrant. Any unfounded act of this sort is an extremely serious violation of patient privacy and steps should be taken to forestall such incidents and/or to report them should they occur. One area of particular concern in the information age centers around patient/doctor use of electronic mail.
Admittedly, all of the four possibilities listed above are extremely rare and one should not be overly concerned about them for the most part. I mention them simply because they do occasionally occur, and because mentally ill persons are a particularly vulnerable population.
No matter how tough you think you are, your first visit with your psychiatrist(s) will be excruciatingly uncomfortable and anxiety-ridden. Following are some tips on how to prepare for that visit (assuming you had a choice that is), and things you can do to get you and your doc off to the best possible start.
Give them a break, they aren't mindreaders people, but most genuinely care about their patients. Oh...one other thing to remember is that doctors are busy, and if you want their attention and respect, NEVER cry wolf! (yes, some bipolar clients play manipulative non-funny games. Here's some examples.