Mental healthcare, just like general healthcare, can be complex. There are many options and factors to keep in mind when it comes to seeking treatment. So, how do you know when it’s time to seek the care of a psychiatrist over another kind of mental healthcare provider?
Understanding the distinctions between a psychologist and a psychiatrist is a good place to start. While both kinds of practitioners offer therapy, Psychiatrists approach mental health by treating the biological and physical symptoms and responses, while psychologists address the cognitive and behavioral aspects of mental health.
This blog will go a little deeper into the practice of psychiatry to help you make informed decisions about mental healthcare.
Take a Closer Look at Psychiatry
Psychiatrists are physicians that can diagnose and treat mental illnesses and prescribe medications. They can address more complex mental health issues or emergency mental health crises.
Psychiatrists treat a wide range of conditions including:
- Anxiety disorders
- Bipolar disorder
- Eating disorders
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Substance abuse disorders
- Suicide attempt or ideation
They will evaluate patients through one-on-one appointments, various testing and evaluations, and sometimes additional medical testing. From there, they will develop a treatment plan, and may prescribe various treatment medications and/or procedures. Psychiatrists also offer therapeutic treatment and alternative forms of treatment based on the needs and preferences of the patient.
When Psychiatry is the Best Treatment Option
There are many cases where a psychologist, another type of therapist, or even a medical doctor is an appropriate choice to seek treatment. This typically includes when your mental health struggles are mild, situational, or related to a general health issue.
However, it’s important that you recognize when a psychiatrist is the type of mental health specialist you need. If you answer yes to the scenarios below, you should consider seeking out a psychiatrist near you for treatment:
- If you have a child dealing with emotional or psychological problems. Mental illnesses tend to be more severe and complex when they present in young children and require more intensive screening and treatment to help with development and coping skills.
- If you have a mental health condition that requires medication or medical procedures, or any other instance when mental health and biological response or treatment converge beyond what a psychologist or medical doctor can treat in isolation.
- If you have a mental health condition being treated by a psychologist or other clinician, and your condition is not improving, or you want more information about your particular body and brain response.
- If you are dealing with new suicidal ideation or suicide attempt. This should be treated as a mental health emergency and should always be treated by a psychiatrist. As should any other mental health emergency where the individual is threatening immediate harm to themselves or others, has lost touch with reality or is otherwise disoriented, or is exhibiting dangerous or out of control behaviors.
Hudson Psychiatric Associates is dedicated to empowering our communities to be educated and informed about mental health. If you’re looking to have a conversation about improving your mental wellness or that of your minor child, reach out today to learn more about what treatments and resources our associates offer.