Preparing for your appointment

By Mayo Clinic Staff

If you have signs and symptoms common to cyclothymia, call your doctor. After your initial appointment, your doctor may refer you to a mental health provider who can help make a firm diagnosis and create the right treatment plan for you.

Here's some information on how to prepare for your appointment and what to expect from your doctor.

What you can do

  • Write down any symptoms you've been experiencing, and for how long.
  • Write down your medical information, including other physical or mental health conditions with which you've been diagnosed.
  • Make a list of any medications you're taking, including over-the-counter medications, vitamins and supplements.
  • Ask a trusted family member or friend to come to your appointment, if possible. Someone close to you may provide additional insight about your condition and can help you remember what's discussed during your appointment.
  • Write down questions to ask your doctor.

Questions to ask at your first appointment

  • What do you believe is causing my symptoms?
  • Are there any other possible causes?
  • How will you determine my diagnosis?
  • Should I see a mental health specialist?

Questions to ask if you're referred to a specialist

  • What is my diagnosis?
  • What treatments are likely to be helpful in my case?
  • How much do you expect my symptoms to improve with treatment?
  • Will I need to be treated for the rest of my life?
  • What lifestyle changes can help me manage my symptoms?
  • How often should I be seen for follow-up visits?
  • Am I at increased risk of other mental health problems?
  • Do you have printed material that I can take home with me? What websites do you recommend?

Don't hesitate to ask for more information if you don't understand something.

What to expect from your doctor

A doctor or mental health provider may ask:

  • What prompted you to seek treatment?
  • How would you describe your symptoms?
  • How have the people close to you described your symptoms?
  • When did you or your loved ones first notice these symptoms?
  • Have your symptoms been getting better or worse over time?
  • If you have intense high and low periods, how long do these periods generally last?
  • Do you also have periods where your mood feels relatively stable?
  • How would you describe your mental and emotional state during high versus low periods? How would your loved ones answer this question about you?
  • How would you say your choices and behaviors change during high versus low periods? How would your loved ones answer this question about you?
  • Do your physical needs change during high versus low periods, such as your need for sleep, food or sex?
  • How are these cycles affecting your life, including work, school and relationships?
  • Have any of your close relatives had similar symptoms?
  • Have you been diagnosed with any medical conditions?
  • Have you been treated for other psychiatric symptoms or mental illness in the past? If yes, what type of therapy was most beneficial?
  • Have you ever thought about harming yourself or others?
  • Do you drink alcohol or use illegal drugs? If so, how often?
June 13, 2012

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