How do you find a psychiatrist anyway?
March 19, 2013 7:22 PM   Subscribe

For the first time in a while, my anxiety is more than I can manage on my own without medication. On top of that, I've had chronic insomnia for over 15 years, not sleeping is a probably my biggest anxiety trigger, and I'm tired of begging my primary care doctor for ambien prescriptions. Twice before I've waited until everything fell apart and I was in a major crisis and dropping out of my life to seek help; I don't want to do that again. I've had quite successful therapy (talk and CBT) before and been prescribed various meds by primary care doctors in the past, but I want to start managing my brain chemistry in a more proactive way. I've never seen a psychiatrist and don't know where to start. Yelp reviews? Standing on the sidewalk with a sign? I'm in San Francisco, I have Blue Cross/Blue Shield PPO insurance, anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia, and real desire not to have another nervous breakdown. What's my next step?
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (13 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Ask your G.P. or any of your former therapists for recommendations, as a start. If you know anyone who works in a hospital or clinic, ask them too.
posted by griphus at 7:23 PM on March 19, 2013

Do you have an EAP through work that could provide a referral?
posted by rhapsodie at 7:38 PM on March 19, 2013

Last time I got one I used psychology today's therapist finder and did a local search as a starting point.
posted by hellojed at 7:43 PM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]

If you don't mind telling friends about your anxiety, ask your friends if they've ever seen a Psychiatrist, and if so, do they recommend them. I've gotten good referrals for doctors in the past from friends, and they've panned out. And they can tell you info that a review site may not.
posted by spinifex23 at 8:03 PM on March 19, 2013

If you can, try to directly contact Blue Cross or your EAP (if you have one).

Through trial and error my EAP program helped me get a good therapist and psychiatrist near me. It took a while to find one I liked.
posted by justinleon at 8:15 PM on March 19, 2013

When you find places to call, ask if they have time available for an interview so you can get a feel for whether or not you'll be a good match. For the longest time I had no idea you could request this and just picked doctors at random and stuck with them because I didn't want to go through new patient procedures again and again.
posted by HMSSM at 8:30 PM on March 19, 2013

We have a psychiatrist in our family through CPMC (I think swallowed by Sutter Health). On top of liking the doctor, the absolute best thing about the group is that they take our insurance and all we have is a co-pay.

We love CPMC for the ease of payment, general resources available, and number of doctors to chose from.
posted by mamabear at 8:59 PM on March 19, 2013

The Blue Shield PPO has a decent on line search tool for mental health providers in San Francisco -- you can search on issues and location. It's pretty user friendly.
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 10:04 PM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

I've had quite successful therapy

Your ex-therapist(s), even if they are in another location, can probably recommend someone.
posted by Obscure Reference at 5:06 AM on March 20, 2013

Your doctor, your acquaintances (that can be easier than your friends, sometimes), an on-line support group for people in your area with your problem.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:53 AM on March 20, 2013

The Langley Porter (UCSF) intake line is 415-476-7500.
posted by phliar at 11:11 AM on March 20, 2013

Good for you for taking steps to take care of your emotional health!

Do you have a GP or other regular doctor? They should be able to give you a referral.
posted by radioamy at 7:25 PM on March 20, 2013

I'd recommend asking your ex-therapist for a referral, and then use the above-mentioned Blue Shield PPO online search tool to make sure that the recommended psychiatrist is in your network (if you're concerned about co-pays).

If they're out-of-network and that's not an option for you, you could use the online search tool to get a list of in-network psychiatrists in a certain mile radius and ask the ex-therapist if they have a recommendation off that list. I believe that online tool has a search option for in-network only doctors.
posted by woolly at 8:10 AM on March 22, 2013

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