What to Do When Psychiatrist Becomes Threatening?

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Q. I’ve never had a history of drug dependency, prescription tampering, or anything like that. I’ve sometimes taken fewer dosages than normal when I’m running out of meds, but that’s it. But in the last five months I’ve missed two appointments with my psychiatrist (one was in early morning and I overslept, and the other I missed because of work conflicting at the last minute). Anyway, I think mainly because of my missing these appointments, he’s become paranoid about what my intentions in using his clinic really are, and yesterday he blew up in front of me, accusing me of prescription tampering so I could get even more meds than he prescribed and not have to see him as often. He completely overreacted, and I was in shock, and denied everything. But he gave me dirty looks whenever I protested, as if he’d already made up his mind. He wants to keep even closer tabs on me now, so he wrote a prescription to last only two weeks and asked me to come back in then. I agreed simply because I wanted to keep peace between us. But ever since I left I’ve thought the idea of me going back there is ridiculous. We clearly can’t stand each other now, so what’s the point? Do I now have an obligation to see him again or else be in danger of criminal prosecution?

A. You are under no legal obligation to see your psychiatrist unless you have been court-ordered to do so. Short of being court-ordered to see a particular doctor, you can see whichever psychiatrist you want to. If you are having difficulty with your current psychiatrist and it is so bad that you no longer feel that he is helping you, you can and should seek out other opinions. The decision is yours and you will not be prosecuted or get into any trouble for choosing another physician.

Before you switch doctors, however, for your own self-integrity, you might want to make it clear that you were not involved with prescription tampering or anything related. You could do this by writing your doctor a letter. As a way to refute any future false accusations, ask that the letter be placed in your patient record.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2008

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2008). What to Do When Psychiatrist Becomes Threatening?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 26, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2008/10/06/what-to-do-when-psychiatrist-becomes-threatening/