While DP/DR Disorder can have a huge impact on people's lives, it is sometimes difficult for doctors to recognize. For this reason it is important to be honest with your doctor about your feelings. It is very important to fully communicate with your health professional what is working and what is not.
To help you and the people who care about you to understand your condition fill in the DP/DR questionnaire and take this with you when you see your health professional. Or maybe by filling in the mood diary or writing down your sleep patterns the people who care about you will be more able to understand how you feel.
What to expect from a health professional
When you talk with a health professional you should expect empathy and understanding as well as confidentiality. You should not feel hurried. Take your time to answer all the questions with as much detail as possible. There should be an opportunity for you to ask questions and raise any concerns you might have. You need to be comfortable discussing issues with the health professional and finding an alternative health professional can happen if required. Additionally you should discuss with the health professional what actions to take in an emergency.
Every one is different. If you have written about your feelings, or filled in any of the diaries or questionnaire mentioned above, then take all this along to help the doctor understand you. If you would like a second opinion or other professional support then you can request a referral. You should speak to the health professional about what information you would like to share with your friends and family. Consumers have the right to allow their health professional to speak to friends and family and this process is called "informed consent".
As part of a good treatment management plan you might be referred to a psychologist or psychiatrist and prescribed medication.
Psychiatrists and psychologists
A psychiatrist is a qualified medical doctor who has obtained additional qualifications to become a specialist in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mental disorder and emotional problems. Because of their extensive medical and psychiatric training, psychiatrists view mental disorders from a biological lens and typically prescribe medications. Medications, however, may not be effective for treating DP/DR as these are psychological symtpoms . Although medications may be helpful in treating underlying sympotms (e.g., depression and anxiety).
Psychologists are experts in human behaviour. Psychologists who work in mental health are specialized in treating people with mental illness and emotional problems. These psychologists provide psychological therapies (non-drug) which are effective in changing thinking patterns and behaviour, increasing coping skills, and reducing stress.
Both psychiatrists and psychologists have a code of ethics which means that they will keep your information confidential. However, confidentiality cannot always be absolute. A careful balance must be maintained between preserving confidentiality and the need to breach it rarely in order to promote the patient's best interests and/or the safety and welfare of other persons. There are specific circumstances where your health professional may need to reveal confidential information, for example, if the health professional becomes aware of a patient's intent to harm themselves or others, or where there is a legal requirement. When seeing a health professional, you can ask them to explain how they will look after your personal information.