Psychiatric Services is a clinical program staffed by psychiatrists (physicians specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of mental health problems).
You will usually meet with a CAPS counselor prior to meeting with the psychiatrist, and the two will work together closely to provide the best possible treatment. An initial appointment with a psychiatrist usually take between 60 and 90 minutes. During this appointment they will review your medical and mental health concerns, and ask questions about your family history, your general development, and your feelings and functioning. They will also request your past treatment records and laboratory tests.
At the end of the first appointment, the psychiatrist and you will discuss treatment options, which may or may not include a recommendation for medication and/or follow-up visits.
If medication is recommended, the CAPS psychiatrist can provide a prescription, but ultimately, the decision on whether to take medication is yours.
Initiation of Medication and Medication Monitoring
If you and your psychiatrist agree that you should begin medication, you will have periodic follow-up appointments so your psychiatrist can monitor its effectiveness and possible side effects and determine if any changes in dosage or medication type are needed.
You should schedule any follow-up appointments well in advance of the need for a medication refill. It is important that you do not abruptly discontinue psychiatric medications.
Continuing on Medications Begun at Home or Elsewhere
If you have been prescribed medications outside of CAPS, you still need to meet with one of our psychiatrists for a thorough assessment before they can prescribe that medication for you.
Even if the medication you were prescribed a few months ago was right for you then, it may not be right for you now.