We’ve all been there: you show up at your doctor’s appointment and suddenly you can’t remember much more than the initial problem that brought you in. Weren’t there some questions you wanted to ask? A side effect or symptom you thought was maybe related to the new medication you’re taking? Was there some information you were supposed to bring this time? In other words, showing up to a medical appointment feeling prepared can be harder than one might anticipate. So how can you make sure you show up as prepared as possible for your medication management appointment? 

Fortunately, our medication management team has come up with 5 tips to help you get the most out of your medication management appointment at LynLake Centers for Wellbeing.  
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1. Make sure you do your paperwork.

At risk of sounding like Roz from Monsters Inc., it is really important that you complete all of the intake paperwork in your LynLake portal account prior to your first medication management visit. This allows your provider the chance to read over your history, diagnoses, symptoms, medications, and any other background information they need to guide their decision-making. Be sure to include all medications you currently take, including dosage and how frequently you take them, as well as supplements. Also, make sure you know which medications you have taken in the past, and at which dosages, even if they didn’t work well for you. 

2. Identify your main goals beforehand (and consider writing them down).

As mentioned earlier, sometimes the mind goes blank once a medical visit has started, so perhaps give some thought beforehand as to what your goals are for the appointment, then write those down to have on hand for your visit. You might even want to talk with your therapist about possible goals for your med management consultation. Are you hoping for relief from depressive symptoms like low energy, no motivation, sleeping too much or too little, and so forth? Or maybe you experience panic attacks and you are hoping to find something that might reduce how often they happen or how long they last. If you aren’t able to be that specific about your goals, that’s ok too. Your med management provider will be able to ask questions to help them hone in on what it is you’re hoping to achieve with medication. 

3. Come with an open mind.

While the TV might be encouraging you to try a certain pharmaceutical for your depression, or you have a friend whose anxiety practically disappeared after they began taking a specific medication, your med management provider may determine that you would more likely benefit from something you have never heard of before. So while you may have a specific medication in mind, try to keep an open mind when it comes to the actual medication you may end up trying. Your provider looks at a number of factors in order to determine which medication may be right for you, and those factors may point to a different solution for you than for your friend. Your med management provider may even recommend that you hold off on medication for now, until some other issue has been resolved, or because they believe a non-medication solution might be more effective. If you go into your session focused on your overarching goals, rather than on a specific pharmaceutical solution, you are more likely to be receptive to your provider’s recommendations. 

4. Ask questions to determine the right plan for you.

Even though your medication management provider will do their best to identify the best solution for your symptoms and concerns, you can always ask questions to better understand their recommendations. It is your mental and physical health that will be affected by their decisions, after all, so speak up if you have questions about their decision, any potential side effects, safety concerns, what to expect from the medication, how long it will take before you notice any improvements, and so on. It’s even ok to decide, after meeting with your provider, that you don’t want to take the medication they prescribed! Plenty of people decide to take some time after their appointment to determine whether they want to take the medication that was prescribed or try an alternative approach. You can also ask questions after your appointment by messaging your provider through your LynLake portal account – you don’t need to wait until your next appointment.

5. Be patient and keep reasonable expectations.

Rarely do medications work immediately. In fact, most medications for depression and anxiety can take up to a month before you see any benefits at all. Likewise, some of the initial side effects you may experience might subside over time. It’s also important to keep in mind that medications tend to work slowly over time.  You may not even notice they are working until one day you realize you haven’t had a panic attack in a few weeks, or you have been getting up with your alarm most mornings lately and have felt more motivated to spend time with friends.

It’s also important to remember that medications target symptoms, not your overall personality. For example, medication cannot turn an introvert into an extrovert, nor can it transform you into someone who is organized and on time for everything. So be sure to talk with your medication management provider about the results you can reasonably expect from the medication they have prescribed for you, and when you can reasonably expect to start experiencing those results. 

At LynLake, we want you to feel empowered to advocate for yourself and your mental health. Medication management can be a beneficial part of that plan, so if you would like to meet with one of our medication management providers, be sure to talk with your therapist or contact our referrals team directly to schedule your appointment.