RECOMMENDED PSYCHIATRIST: Birmingham, AL - Dr. Gurmendi
Good psychiatrist recommendation in Birmingham, AL: Dr. Gurmendi
(Submitted a previous post about Dr. King (Auburn, AL) who referred me here for medication.)
Dr. Gurmendi was really great. I’d taken medication before years prior that was prescribed by a different psychiatrist, and the experience left me very nervous about taking medication. Dr. Gurmendi was very open to how I felt, answered my questions without judgment, and made every effort to make sure I was receiving the treatment I needed. I was a minor when I saw him (saw him in high school, now I live out-of-state for college) and he always listened to what I was feeling and did not belittle me for my age, as some people in the profession are known to do. My dad came with me to these appointments as we used his car; Dr. Gurmendi did ask my father some questions about his observations (since I lived with him), but he always checked with me before doing so and made sure I was comfortable with him asking. He also made sure to ask how I felt about my father’s view and when the thoughts/experiences/feelings I expressed differed from what my dad observed, he always listened to me and my feelings above all. (And he actually seemed to help my dad, who has a tendency to not fully listen, understand the importance of my view, and in several cases helped my dad to see how I might be experiencing something differently than he was, not by talking for me but by providing me a place to explain these things to him myself with the “back up” of a doctor, which was obviously really nice.)
He found me a medication which really worked for me. As I said, given my past experiences with medication, I was very nervous about it and was wary of taking it (even though, I suppose I should note here, I was there entirely by my own choice). He worked with me to find the “right fit” for me, which ended up being two medications working together, and adjusted the dosage accordingly over the first few visits. I took the medication for a few years, and though I am no longer on it (or any medication currently), I can honestly say that my thoughts and personal fear regarding that form of medication have changed completely; the medication he prescribed helped me so much, and you could tell that he was just as enthusiastic about that as I was and really wanted me to do well.
The thing that just really stood out was that I could tell he was listening to me and really cared about what I was saying. He didn’t just listen to me talk, write out a prescription, and send me on my way. He wanted to know about me and other areas of my treatment as well (such as how therapy was going, etc). He really listened to the areas of my life I wanted to improve, no matter how seemingly small, and took the time to follow up about them, even when I might not have remembered to bring it up myself. The focus seemed to be what I noticed in my life, what I felt was holding me back, where I wanted to see improvement; he seemed very willing to “follow my lead” in what I wanted for my treatment, while at the same time knowing what questions to ask to guide me in the right direction. I didn’t see him that often (as he wasn’t my therapist, and after I got settled on my medication, visits were less frequent), yet he didn’t seem to have trouble remembering what we’d talked about. He would sometimes flip through his notes to find a specific date that we talked about something, but you could tell that he hadn’t forgotten the content of the discussion, even if it had happened months ago.
Dr. Gurmendi also worked with my therapist on getting me appropriate accommodations for SAT testing (for my anxiety) and assisted in documentation for my previously undiagnosed learning disability. This was another case of him really listening to my needs for treatment. As I said, it wasn’t just filling out a prescription for me every few months, he really cared about how I was doing, and directed me towards extra resources for my disability (ex: when I talked a little about my trouble in concentration and learning styles, he showed me a website where I would be eligible to receive free audio textbooks due to my disability; there were several instances like this, where I thought he went beyond what I was expecting from him to help me).
Couldn’t speak much to his thoughts on orientation/gender. I didn’t really speak with him much about it, as again, he wasn’t my therapist and I wasn’t seeking anything in that area. I will throw out that I’m a panromantic asexual and I would definitely remember if he had done anything negative or offensive in that regard, which he didn’t. You can take that with a grain of salt as I don’t know for certain that I brought it up at all (maybe once and probably in regards to experiences with family). That said, regardless of my poor memory in that area, he certainly seemed to be an accepting person and did not make me feel judged for anything I expressed to him; on the contrary, there were often times when I would come in with a very negative view of myself or expect scrutiny for something, and he would work to make me feel comfortable and positive about myself, so that I could leave with a better perspective about something I might have been beating myself up over.
On a final note, I should mention that I was living in Auburn, AL at the time when I saw him, which is about 2 hours away. (My therapist referred me to him as she said she’d heard good things about him and had experienced negative feedback from patients about more local psychiatrists.) He was very willing to accommodate the distance, and once I got “settled in” to the medication he prescribed, did Skype appointments on several occasions so I didn’t have to travel as much. Also, as I prepared for college out-of-state, he offered to help me with the transition by continuing these Skype visits until I could find someone in-state for treatment (and actually offered to continue treating me full-time, but that would involve coming in for regular visits (on school holidays, etc) which I appreciated but didn’t accept, due to the distance from my hometown making it a bit inconvenient).
TL;DR: Dr. Gurmendi was very helpful and listened to my needs and goals for treatment, and you could tell he really cared about his job and his patients. Took the time to find the medication that best suited my individual needs and asked all the right questions to get me going in the right direction. Would definitely recommend to those in the area.