How Long Does It Usually Take To Get A Diagnosis From A Psychologist Or Psychiatrist?

Question

Asked by buffy

How Long Does It Usually Take To Get A Diagnosis From A Psychologist Or Psychiatrist?

I have suffered from depression and suicidal thoughts for most of my life. I am 37 and recently had an episode of severe depression with suicidal ideation. I have never gotten therapy before but my friend convinced me to go get help this time. I have been in therapy with a psychologist and seeing a psychiatrist for about 3 weeks now. They have prescribed Prozac and Wellbutrin for me which I have just started taking. I do not have depression or depressed mood constantly. It comes in episodes of a few days to a week. At other times I feel either normal mood or energetic. I wouldn't call it manic but I can get lots of things done during that time. The depressed moods are very severe when they come however. I have asked my psychologist for a diagnosis but he says he doesn't like to label people and that it is difficult to diagnose something after only seeing someone for 3 times of an hour each time. The psychiatrist says similar things but now seems to be diagnosing clinical depression. Sometimes I feel like the psychiatrist doesn't necessarily listen to everything I am telling him. He tends to talk over me in a way. The therapist is great however. Anyway, how long does it take to get a diagnosis for a mental illness? When should I reasonably expect one? Sometimes I feel like the psychiatrist is just medicating me to see what happens and then will decide on a diagnosis after he sees the effect the meds have on me.

Answer

Honestly, I've never heard of a diagnosis taking that many visits. It sounds odd to me that they are that reluctant to give you a diagnosis. Just for practical reasons, I believe that they have to present your health insurance with some kind of diagnosis to get reimbursed.

Also, if there is a possibility that you are bipolar instead of unipolar, antidepressants are a tricky proposition. If I were in your position, I would get another opinion, from a second psychiatrist.