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Re: How to Find the Best Doctors?

Posted by JohnL on October 6, 2000, at 2:26:40

In reply to How to Find the Best Doctors?, posted by Billb on October 4, 2000, at 19:23:05

> What is the best way to find a pdoc who specializes in social anxiety and uses agressive strategies to identify the best medications to help my condition? Are there directories or references that will point me to a "good" pdoc? Life goes by so quickly I don't feel that I have time to "trial and error" thru a series of doctors.
> I would be willing to drive within a 3 hour radius if needed to find the right doctor. The closest urban areas are Columbia SC, Charleston SC, Savannah GA, and Atlanta GA
> Any tips, advice, personal references, etc., would be greatly appreciated.
> Bill

In my own journeys, finding a good pdoc is a major task. It's worth it though if you can find who you're looking for.

The first thing is to come up with a profile of the kind of doctor you want. For example, in my situation, I want someone who is willing to try anything, someone who understands that our symptoms can be caused by any number of quite different brain chemical imbalances. I don't want a doctor who's going to focus just on serotonin meds. I want a doctor who is going to allow me to compare different medications before becoming committed to any one of them.

Another feature I want is accessibility. I want someone who can return my call the same day. Someone who can squeeze me into their schedule if I have an adverse reaction. For example, if he/she gives me drug XYZ and in three days I have become much worse, I don't want to have to wait a month for the next appointment. And I don't want to hear "give it more time". I want a different med, sometime within the current week. Can the doctor make that happen? If not, I don't think I would be comfortable with that choice.

The best pdocs I've had were the ones who had no favorite drugs or favorite strategies. They understand and accept that different patients will respond to dramatically different drugs, depending on each person's unique chemical imbalance. The best ones are open to trying anything, and don't let their ego get in the way. The last pdoc I had (now retired) went along with anything I wanted. He would say, "Anything's possible. What you want makes sense and it's safe enough. Sure, let's try it." I like that. It was that kind of treatment that allowed me to discovere what works for me and what doesn't.

How to find a pdoc? That's hard. What I did was write a one page letter to every pdoc name I could find anywhere (yellow pages, clinics, hospitals references, counselors). In the letter I briefly described my situation, where I had been, where I want to be, and how I want to get there. I included a self addressed stamped envelope for their reply, and gave them my phone number. I figured if they are interested, they will contact me. If they aren't, they won't. That was my way of screening them. Out of the dozens of letters mailed, I got responses from about six. I then called them personally for a brief phone introduction and to 'feel them out'. More screening. From there I made my final choice. From there I also asked them who they send their toughest cases to. Do they recommend another pdoc? Sometimes they do. I ended up going with a guy who was known for superb bedside manners and who had experience in treating difficult cases, both in private practice and as a Head of a psychiatric institution. The search was tough, but the end result was worth it.

I don't know of any easy way. I think though it's important to invest the time and effort into finding a doc that fits your particular needs. Screening is important. Bang on a lot of doors, ring a lot of phones. The right one for you is out there.




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