How long will it take me to feel better? Will I have a full recovery?
At Potomac Psychiatry, we are committed to helping you feel better and reaching full recovery as soon as possible. We are also committed to making sure you know what you can expect from treatment, and what it will cost you. In this FAQ, we want to help you understand the factors and forces that often predict a faster recovery, and those that will likely result in a longer recovery.
Before we outline the factors themselves, however, it is important for you to understand our approach to psychiatry, as it may differ from others you have spoken to previously. Here at Potomac, we practice what is known as precision psychiatry. This type of psychiatry looks to many different biological and behavioral markers to determine the root cause of your distress. One of those markers we take into account is your unique genetic makeup, which we determine via a genetic test.
We recognize that “genetic testing” may sound to some like an unnecessary expense that will only add to your emotional distress, not to mention your medical bill. In fact, it is just the opposite. Numerous scientific studies have proven that genetic testing results in faster recovery times with less expense to the patient. These studies are backed up by our own experience. Since our practice began genetic testing eight years ago, our psychiatrists have successfully tested over 1600 patients, and blogged extensively about the successes our patients have seen thanks to a simple cheek swab.
As we work to determine the root cause of your emotional pain, we frequently use genetic testing as a baseline. However, many other factors play a role in helping us understand your health, and your needs.
For instance, not uncommonly, the following attributes may predict a faster recovery.
- Recent onset of symptoms
- No prior episodes
- An acute external stress (like a loss) triggered the symptoms
- “Resilience genes”
- Good physical health
- Supportive family and friends
- Satisfying work life
- Mild functional impairment
- Willingness to stick with the treatment plan
If these attributes resemble you, it is possible to begin to feel better in three to four weeks with psychotherapy alone, or combined with supplements or medication guided by genetic testing results. It is possible you may experience a full recovery in about three months.
The following attributes, particularly when a number of them are present, predict a longer road to recovery.
- “Treatment resistance” characterized by prior or current treatments that have not brought about significant relief of symptoms
- Multiple different medication trials that have resulted in little improvement
- Symptoms have been ongoing for years
- Serious childhood or adult trauma (e.g., sexual or physical abuse)
- Multiple “vulnerability genes”
- Serious functional impairment
- Unsupportive family life
- Chronic gut-related symptoms
- Substance abuse
- Multiple physical problems
- Difficulty sticking with a treatment plan, even when you believe in it
If these characteristics remind you of you, we recommend you undergo our Root Cause Analysis program to enable us to get to the bottom of what’s wrong, and create a treatment blueprint that systematically address each and every one of the root causes of your chronic distress. Our goal here is that by the end of three months you will begin to feel some modest alleviation of symptoms, with additional relief occurring by six months, and substantial relief by the end of the first year. We will do whatever it takes to help you achieve a full recovery, and realistically, one to two years of progressive interventions is not uncommon. What will help you achieve the greatest possible recovery is a willingness to truly partner with us every step of the way, an attitude of patience, and a persistent effort on your part to implement our recommendations.
While we cannot guarantee you a full recovery, we are committed to work incredibly hard on your behalf, and you can count on us to provide you the latest scientific assessments and treatments, and collaboration with top specialists as needed to bring in their expertise as well.
Frequently Asked Questions
Psychiatric Staff at Potomac Psychiatry
Contact Potomac Psychiatry