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Not State or Country Specific - Basic Information you should research prior to F2F
#1
Whether it is your first visit with a GP or Psychiatrist or a follow on checkup, it is important to know as much about the conditions you are suffering from and the medications typically prescribed to treat them.  Some Physicians will, pardon the expression, "get their ass up on their back" if you present yourself with the attitude that you're a better diagnostician than they are (they did, after all, invest the time and effort to earn that M.D. hanging on their office wall), but many (especially if you are past 40 years of age, with a good education, a stable job, and good insurance) will appreciate the fact that you've researched your condition and can discuss it intelligently, and if you present yourself dressed appropriately, speak conversationally (yes, you're paying him, but you're not his boss, so don't act as if you are), and don't shrug off his or her suggestions as nonsense, you are much more likely to get the treatment you want, even if it takes two or three office visits to get there.

There are five books that are essential to researching your condition before a F2F Doctor visit (I keep copies of all five on my bookshelf, and keep an eye out for new editions to replace the old ones when they are released):

1) If you are suffering from pain or discomfort, you should invest in The Physician's Desktop Reference.  This is the same information your Doctor will use to diagnose your condition (you'll see his or her copy on the desk or bookshelf of their office, or you'll see them pull up their electronic copy of it on their computer screen after you've described your systems and they've performed a checkup on you (blood pressure, vitals, examining, poking, and prodding the affected area, and probably ordering bloodwork).  If you've already consumed the information they are reviewing (and keep in mind that this isn't the first time they are reviewing it - You can be prepared, but if you don't practice medicine for a living, they've probably not only consumed it, but reviewed it on countless occasions...They are always going to be a better diagnostician than you will ever be), you'll be prepared to discuss your symptoms intelligently at the very least.

2) If you are suffering from depression or anxiety, you should invest in three texts: The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders V (commonly referred to as DSM-V, the most recent edition of the classic DSM, first published in 1952, and revised three times since), and its predecessor edition The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV, along with the supplemental DSM-IV-TR (a text reference to the DSM-IV that provides a categorical classification system that Psychiatrists use as a reference to determine the severity of a disorder once they've identified the disorder with the DSM-IV).  The DSM-IV-TR will give you the information you need to explain your symptoms in a manner that will lead the doctor to classify them as causing "clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning", rather than mild, moderate, or severe.  The only reason I keep the fourth edition and its text reference is that the fifth edition is relatively new (published in 2013), and adds little to the fourth edition and its text reference other than the deletion of subtypes of schizophrenia and subsets of autistic spectrum disorder.  DSM-IV and DSM-IV-TR are still the most commonly used diagnostic and treatment guides in practice, and will probably remain so for some time to come, as DSM-V, per the American Psychiatric Association (APA), will be frequently updated with incremental updates (5.1, 5.2, 5.3, etc.), in an effort to to respond more quickly when a preponderance of research supports a specific change in the manual. The research base of mental disorders is evolving at different rates for different disorders, but until DSM-VI (which will contain all of the incremental updates to DSM-V) is released, it is unreasonable to expect that those of us who aren't practicing Psychiatrists will have the time to acquire and consume all of the incremental updates to DSM-V.

3) Regardless of your condition, once you have established what it is, The Pill Book is the most comprehensive guide to prescribed medications in the US - It is invaluable for use in assessing the medications you need AND the medications you are prescribed, from A-Z.  It is a large paperback with color images of every pill available for prescription in the US, with descriptions of what the pill is typically prescribed for, how it works, dosages, side effects, and availability of generics.  The index is fantastic - You can find the exact pill you are looking for by category or name.

I don't recommend these texts only for F2F visits (although that is probably where they are most valuable), but also for use in assessing your condition and knowing everything you can about it, as well as the medications available for treating it.  Reading them frequently won't make you a Doctor, but it will help you understand what you are suffering from, and give you the information you need to request a different medication if the one(s) you are prescribed are not providing you sufficient relief.

WHATEVER YOU DO, don't mention these references to the Doctor unless he or she asks how you know so much about your condition - If asked, there is nothing wrong with admitting that you've done your own research, and these references carry much more heft than a printout from WebMD, rxlist.com, or God forbid, a blog, forum, or bulletin board post.  Walking in the door and tossing something like that on your Doctor's desk is liable to get you labeled as a drug seeker, and THAT, my friends, goes into the state medical database - You'll have a hard time getting a prescription for an antibiotic from then on.

All of the above texts are available on Amazon, The Pill Book is inexpensive, but the others can be pricey - Look for used copies, sometimes those will even have handwritten notes on the pages from the Physician who was the previous owner, and those can be just as valuable as the text itself.

Best of luck,

- b2g
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#2
Phenomenal write up! What a great way to approach you docs. I'll have to be sure to check those books out. I'm always eager to get more media on my shelves. Smile
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#3
B2G, I'm a tad bit confused.

The Physician's Desktop Reference or PDR as referenced is a huge book that is a list of all medicines, chemical properties, rx'ing info, side effects, etc.,  I have one.  

I think you may have published the title of this book by mistake over another.  Also it is no longer available to the non-licensed public.  It is not used for diagnosing ailments.

"The Physicians' Desk Reference is a commercially published compilation of manufacturers' prescribing information on prescription drugs, updated annually." (wiki)
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#4
(04-24-2016, 04:23 PM)Harley Wrote: B2G, I'm a tad bit confused.

The Physician's Desktop Reference or PDR as referenced is a huge book that is a list of all medicines, chemical properties, rx'ing info, side effects, etc.,  I have one.  

I think you may have published the title of this book by mistake over another.  Also it is no longer available to the non-licensed public.  It is not used for diagnosing ailments.

"The Physicians' Desk Reference is a commercially published compilation of manufacturers' prescribing information on prescription drugs, updated annually." (wiki)

Hi Harley,

You can purchase the PDR on Amazon, even the latest edition (I'm pretty sure they have a 2016 edition already out, although mine is the 2014 edition).  You're no doubt correct that I described it somewhat inadequately - It is sometimes used by small town or country doctors to assist with diagnosis (as the rx'ing info describes what condition the med is commonly prescribed for), but it certainly isn't the primary diagnostic tool - That would be the Doctor's exam itself.

Thanks for the edit - I'm often in desperate need of an editor, want to volunteer? Smile

They just fired a 155mm flechette round at a 50x50 yard sheet of canvas strung between two telephone poles here at a distance of 200 meters, and the canvas disintegrated, along with the tops of the two telephone poles.  Need to work on their aim, it seems...
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#5
Back2Good !

Excellent info,
I agree, one should definitely be educated in  ones own health issues.
Doctors spend so little time with patients, that things can be overlooked.
One has to manage their own health care to make sure all their bases ore covered,
Always a pleasure to read your posts!
cheers
Zorada9
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#6
(04-23-2016, 09:45 PM)Back2Good Wrote: Whether it is your first visit with a GP or Psychiatrist or a follow on checkup, it is important to know as much about the conditions you are suffering from and the medications typically prescribed to treat them.  Some Physicians will, pardon the expression, "get their ass up on their back" if you present yourself with the attitude that you're a better diagnostician than they are (they did, after all, invest the time and effort to earn that M.D. hanging on their office wall), but many (especially if you are past 40 years of age, with a good education, a stable job, and good insurance) will appreciate the fact that you've researched your condition and can discuss it intelligently, and if you present yourself dressed appropriately, speak conversationally (yes, you're paying him, but you're not his boss, so don't act as if you are), and don't shrug off his or her suggestions as nonsense, you are much more likely to get the treatment you want, even if it takes two or three office visits to get there.

There are five books that are essential to researching your condition before a F2F Doctor visit (I keep copies of all five on my bookshelf, and keep an eye out for new editions to replace the old ones when they are released):

1) If you are suffering from pain or discomfort, you should invest in The Physician's Desktop Reference.  This is the same information your Doctor will use to diagnose your condition (you'll see his or her copy on the desk or bookshelf of their office, or you'll see them pull up their electronic copy of it on their computer screen after you've described your systems and they've performed a checkup on you (blood pressure, vitals, examining, poking, and prodding the affected area, and probably ordering bloodwork).  If you've already consumed the information they are reviewing (and keep in mind that this isn't the first time they are reviewing it - You can be prepared, but if you don't practice medicine for a living, they've probably not only consumed it, but reviewed it on countless occasions...They are always going to be a better diagnostician than you will ever be), you'll be prepared to discuss your symptoms intelligently at the very least.

2) If you are suffering from depression or anxiety, you should invest in three texts: The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders V (commonly referred to as DSM-V, the most recent edition of the classic DSM, first published in 1952, and revised three times since), and its predecessor edition The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV, along with the supplemental DSM-IV-TR (a text reference to the DSM-IV that provides a categorical classification system that Psychiatrists use as a reference to determine the severity of a disorder once they've identified the disorder with the DSM-IV).  The DSM-IV-TR will give you the information you need to explain your symptoms in a manner that will lead the doctor to classify them as causing "clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning", rather than mild, moderate, or severe.  The only reason I keep the fourth edition and its text reference is that the fifth edition is relatively new (published in 2013), and adds little to the fourth edition and its text reference other than the deletion of subtypes of schizophrenia and subsets of autistic spectrum disorder.  DSM-IV and DSM-IV-TR are still the most commonly used diagnostic and treatment guides in practice, and will probably remain so for some time to come, as DSM-V, per the American Psychiatric Association (APA), will be frequently updated with incremental updates (5.1, 5.2, 5.3, etc.), in an effort to to respond more quickly when a preponderance of research supports a specific change in the manual. The research base of mental disorders is evolving at different rates for different disorders, but until DSM-VI (which will contain all of the incremental updates to DSM-V) is released, it is unreasonable to expect that those of us who aren't practicing Psychiatrists will have the time to acquire and consume all of the incremental updates to DSM-V.

3) Regardless of your condition, once you have established what it is, The Pill Book is the most comprehensive guide to prescribed medications in the US - It is invaluable for use in assessing the medications you need AND the medications you are prescribed, from A-Z.  It is a large paperback with color images of every pill available for prescription in the US, with descriptions of what the pill is typically prescribed for, how it works, dosages, side effects, and availability of generics.  The index is fantastic - You can find the exact pill you are looking for by category or name.

I don't recommend these texts only for F2F visits (although that is probably where they are most valuable), but also for use in assessing your condition and knowing everything you can about it, as well as the medications available for treating it.  Reading them frequently won't make you a Doctor, but it will help you understand what you are suffering from, and give you the information you need to request a different medication if the one(s) you are prescribed are not providing you sufficient relief.

WHATEVER YOU DO, don't mention these references to the Doctor unless he or she asks how you know so much about your condition - If asked, there is nothing wrong with admitting that you've done your own research, and these references carry much more heft than a printout from WebMD, rxlist.com, or God forbid, a blog, forum, or bulletin board post.  Walking in the door and tossing something like that on your Doctor's desk is liable to get you labeled as a drug seeker, and THAT, my friends, goes into the state medical database - You'll have a hard time getting a prescription for an antibiotic from then on.

All of the above texts are available on Amazon, The Pill Book is inexpensive, but the others can be pricey - Look for used copies, sometimes those will even have handwritten notes on the pages from the Physician who was the previous owner, and those can be just as valuable as the text itself.

Best of luck,

- b2g

Read the first paragraph and skipped the rest.  b2g i've elaborated on what you've said a million times to people who 'can never get anything' from their M.D.  All very important points.
Don't test a physicians ego.  Dress like you care about how you look and come across to people.  Actually have a conversation (intelligently)...not 3 word answers.  And remember kids...honesty goes a long way with these guys.  They are lied to hourly.  i.e. "I took this pill once and I think it was called xan*x...maybe?"  Translation: "I've taken xa*ax 42 quadrillion times."  This last statement falls into the 'don't test a physicians ego/intelligence' category.
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#7
Nice post!  I never considered looking into a PDR.  The older I get, the more medical situations crop up. I write most of them off as the aging process. My internet surfing is trying to figure out which specialist may be able to help diagnose the problem.  It's really frustrating when several Dr's shrug their shoulders, you're then left with.. "am I just imagining this?"  Thankfully I found an awesome PCP that's been able to send me to the correct specialists.(she's 4 for 4) My previous PCP was a waste of $ unless it was a sinus infection.
A Problem Shared Is A Problem Halved
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#8
Great information. Will definitely keep this paged bookmarked
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#9
Excellent information. The only thing that I would accentuate is being well dressed. I'm not talking about a suit and tie or black dress, but just be very presentable. If you have any visible tattoos, wear a long sleeve shirt or something that will cover it. I've noticed that this helps greatly for me, versus going in clothing I'd wear out with friends. First impressions are crucial.
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