Managing your mental health symptoms can be complex and overwhelming at times. Your healthcare provider can be your trusted partner in helping you manage and control your condition. Open communication with your healthcare provider can help you more easily adjust to starting a new medication, nutritional supplements, or changing your current regimen.
Dr. Dave Scheiderer, an accomplished mental health clinician and Director of Education for Integrative Psychiatry, says it is important to be fully aware of how your experiences and different treatment methods, with both lifestyle changes and medication or supplements, may make you feel.
Here are a few ways to work in tandem with your healthcare provider.
1) Know the lingo
Find resources, like our library of Integrative Psychiatry Articles, and continue to learn all you can about your mental health condition. For example, if you are bipolar, do you know what a mixed episode is? Or, do you know what the possible symptoms are for both mania and bipolar 1 depression?
When describing your mental health symptoms, knowing the basic lingo will help you and your provider speak the same language and make better sense of what you are going through.
2) Track your moods
Track your moods with a mood chart. It helps you become aware of how severe your symptoms might be from day to day. Your mood chart can also show how long your symptoms last, how much sleep you’re getting, and how any recent major life events make you feel.
There are often patterns between one’s life events or lifestyle changes and a shift in a person’s symptoms. Once you know what these factors are, sometimes called triggers, you can more easily identify the rise of symptomatic episodes by recognizing the pattern in your mood chart and then taking appropriate steps.
3) Know your mental health history
This is a fuller look at the mood tracker. It is important to keep a record of major mood episodes, the things that were happening in your life at that time, what your medications or supplements were at the time and if you or any family member has ever been hospitalized for a mood episode. By documenting your lived experience, your health provider will be able to identify important details, detect trends and more easily recognize symptoms. All of this can help your provider better manage your mental health needs.
4) Track your medications and supplements
If you are taking medication (or natural supplements) to treat a mental health condition, it is important to take your medication/supplement as your prescriber has instructed. You should reach out to that provider with any questions you may have regarding your treatment. If you are taking multiple medications and supplements, make sure you understand and are clear on how and when to take each as prescribed.