Studies suggest that about seven crore Indians suffer from different forms of mental illness. It means about one in every twenty people in the country needs psychiatric help. Furthermore, the society mired by stigma and superstition around psychiatry may not reveal the exact figures. So, it has become necessary for people to seek a qualified mental health expert.
But finding the best psychiatrist in India should not be stressful or cause you more anxiety. Hence, here are a few tips that could guide you to finding the right therapist.
1. Narrow down your choices
You can ask for referrals of potential psychiatrists from your healthcare clinic or primary care doctor or recommendations from your friends, family or other healthcare professionals.
You should research the doctors’ experience and credentials on reputable websites and learn about different types of clinical subspecialties and psychiatric practices. Some work at hospitals or residential facilities, while others at regular medical or private practices. It can help you narrow your choices and pick the one that meets your needs.
2. Look into the credentials
About 700 psychiatrists graduate each year in India, and the ratio of psychiatrists to the country’s population is way below what it should be. So, the proliferation of incompetent counsellors is pretty commonplace.
Therefore, the most important factor you need to consider when choosing a psychiatrist is board certification. It will ascertain that the doctor has the skills, experience and training to provide effective psychiatric healthcare.
You should also check if the psychiatrist has any history of disciplinary actions or malpractice claims. For this, your insurance company could be of great help.
3. Check the psychiatrist’s experience
The medical professional’s experience can be a decisive factor when mental health issues are concerned. The more experienced one is, the better the results you will get.
You may also inquire about the number of patients with the same condition as you the doctor has treated. Moreover, if you need any specific procedure like electroconvulsive therapy, transcranial magnetic stimulation or biofeedback, you may ask about the number of times the doctor performed the procedure. You should learn about complication rates and the risks you may face.
4. Learn about telehealth capabilities
The best psychiatrist in India should be able to diagnose you and provide treatment using email and smartphones, which is called telehealth. So, you must learn whether the doctor has telehealth capabilities.
While telehealth does not replace office visits, it could reduce the number of office trips to a large extent. Some conditions can easily be managed by sending vital signs and symptoms with a virtual visit with the doctor.
Telehealth can also be a convenient option for regular follow-ups or minor issues. So, make sure you are getting the most out of your telehealth services.
5. Assess the communication style
The psychiatrist you choose must be someone you are comfortable with and who supports your needs. So, when you meet your psychiatrist for the first time, you should observe how he or she responds. You should see whether the doctor is welcoming to your queries and answer them in a way you can understand.
Remember, therapy may take several months or even years, so you must build a relationship based on trust. Hence, look for a therapist who is invested in you, consider your treatment preferences and respects your decision-making.
Choosing the right psychiatrist requires careful consideration of many factors for a comfortable and effective treatment. You can also look at the reviews of previous patients to learn more about various aspects of the doctor’s medical practice. You can even learn about other factors like wait times, the process of scheduling appointments and staff friendliness that can help you with your choice and subsequent treatment.