After a School Shooting – How to Talk To Your Kids

Mental health in children is an indicator of their ability to thrive in adulthood. Parents and caregivers have learned so much about supporting children and their emotional and psychological well-being in general. Still, when something tragic occurs, it’s important to support caregivers as they help children cope with the possible mental health repercussions. 

Helping our kids navigate their feelings and questions after an occurrence of a school shooting is a complex issue that concerns a lot of parents. Though mass shootings are statistically rare, and are not a new phenomenon, our youth today are facing an immense amount of exposure thanks to the 24-hour news cycle, social media access, and active shooter drills at schools. 

This results in anxiety and fears that did not exist on the same level in previous generations. Parents looking for support when it comes to discussing school shootings with their families can find information and resources to take the next steps in this blog post.

Check your Own Anxiety and Reaction First

Our kids often look to us to set the tone. If we are emotionally dysregulated, have a higher level of stress, and are quicker to react harshly, they notice. It affects their experience of safety and stability when we are not ourselves. It’s absolutely natural and even expected for us to be more reactive or have higher anxiety levels when traumatic events are happening around us, but it’s also important to recognize how our behaviors may be affecting our kids. Here are some things parents and caregivers can do:

  • We can work to make sure schedules, routines, and structures are as predictable as possible.
  • We can seek support from others to work through our struggles: family, friends, clergy, community members, and/or mental health professionals.
  • We can pick a time when we are calm to start talking about their feelings and experiences, which will help them feel comfortable and secure.

Start by Listening

It’s important that children’s feelings are validated, but we also want to make sure we’re approaching them in developmentally appropriate ways. Additionally, we do not want to overwhelm them with excess information triggering more anxiety. Here are a few ideas to help you get started with appropriate ways to discuss heavy topics like school shootings:

  • We can start with open-but-specific questions. Instead of, How are you feeling? We can ask, Have your friends or teachers been talking about what has occurred? Do you have questions about what you have seen or heard?
  • Listening to your children will help you to know which follow-up questions to ask, and empower your children to lead the direction of the discussion to help you understand what support they may need at the moment. 

Give Children Information about What They Can Control 

Experiencing structure and safety is vital during times of tragedy or uncertainty. Remind children that you and the other adults in their lives are here to protect them, and approach drills like any other safety practice. We have fire drills, tornado drills, and hurricane evacuation plans NOT because it is likely we will need them, but because we want to be the most prepared in the very rare instance they may happen. Remind them that active shooter drills are there to help us know exactly what to do in order to be safe and prepared even though it’s incredibly unlikely they will need it.

Children- and many other people for that matter- also take comfort when there is something positive and actionable that they can do to move forward. Fundraising, sending cards and letters, and participating in other acts of kindness can be really helpful during the coping process, and also encourages empathy in children which is beneficial for their overall mental health.

Get Professional Support
If your child appears to have increased anxiety about violent tragedies in our country, and you’re looking for more extensive resources, you may want to talk to a professional to help with coping support. Speaking with a mental health professional can help them regain a sense of safety and preparedness as well as identify additional triggers to their anxieties. Reach out today if your family is looking for more support from our team of licensed professionals.

Social Media and Its Impact on Mental Health

Social media is a place where people can share their life moments, talents, and expertise. It has become a powerful tool that connects people. However, with the rise in social media-related violence and suicides, many experts are asking, do the negative effects of social media on mental health outweigh the benefits? The answer is complicated.

Social Media is a Double-Edged Sword

Social media has changed the way we communicate, connect and interact with people. It’s also a social platform where users can create their own identities and share information about themselves. including personal details, interests, hobbies, life experiences, and more. It gives users an opportunity to have an active online presence and friendships. However, there are several negative effects associated with using social media excessively, especially in teens and young adults, such as:

  • Lower self-esteem 
  • Cyberbullying 
  • Addiction issues 
  • Depression
  • Isolation
  • Anxiety
  • Physical health problems

Social media has a reinforcing nature. Using it activates the brain’s reward center by releasing dopamine, a “feel-good chemical” linked to pleasurable activities. The most common issues users, especially young people, face include depression, anxiety, sleep deprivation, body image and eating disorders, and low self-esteem. Those who used social media more frequently report less satisfaction with their life overall and lower levels of personal well-being than those who use it less often. 

How to Combat the Negative Effects of Social Media

Social media is a huge part of our lives now, but it can cause some serious issues. Teenagers are especially vulnerable. They’re just starting to figure out who they are as individuals and are also trying to find their place in the world. Social media makes this process more difficult because it shows people the highlight reels of other people’s lives. We see skewed pictures of bodies, relationships, social skills, and communication styles that don’t match up with reality

The effects of social media on mental health are still being researched by experts around the world; however, if you experience any lasting negative effects from your online activities or interactions with others on these sites, there are several ways to cope with them:

  1. Set Limits

You may be using social media more often than you realize. Consider tracking your usage and taking a realistic look at how you can decrease your daily use if you feel social media is negatively affecting you. You may also want to look into some online tools developed specifically for managing digital distractions.

  1. Set an Example

Adults who use social media influence their children who have access to social media. They also influence other adults around them like spouses, friends, and family members. Controlling your own usage could help others around you collectively decrease theirs as well.

  1. Practice Being Present

Your day-to-day ability to be mindful about how you spend your time without social media can be improved by meditation and intentional focus. We can help ourselves and our families disconnect from social media by increasing the amount of face-to-face communication we all get. Have a family game night, or dinner around the table with no devices or screens allowed. Take a vacation or day trip somewhere that has no cell service or internet access. The more present we are in reality, the less of a hold social media will have on us. 

  1. Support is Available

If you or a family member is experiencing chronic negative impacts from social media, there are resources available to help. Research programs within your community that may offer support. If you are looking for a therapeutic or clinical approach, the team of practitioners at Hudson Psychiatric Associates offers a variety of treatment options for individuals to address any of the impacts listed above. Contact our qualified doctors and therapists at Hudson Psychiatric Associates to learn more.

5 Ways to Prevent an Anxiety Attack

Anxiety is a normal part of life, and as such, most people experience some level of anxiety at one point or another. However, during particularly stressful times, anxiety can be difficult to deal with and can escalate to what is known as an anxiety attack or panic attack. An anxiety attack is usually triggered by something specific in your environment or thinking patterns.  It creates a physical reaction that can feel very scary. Common physical symptoms of an anxiety attack can include:

  • Sense of impending doom or danger
  • Fear of loss of control or death
  • Rapid, pounding heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Shortness of breath or tightness in your throat
  • Chills
  • Hot flashes
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Chest pain
  • Headache
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness, or faintness
  • Numbness or tingling sensation
  • A feeling of unreality or detachment

If you’re able to identify what triggers your anxiety (and talk about it), then you can start working on coping strategies before they have time to really get under your skin (or even worse— cause an attack). If you begin to feel some of these symptoms coming on, consider the following preventative steps to help you through it.

  1. Take control of your breathing

Practice breathing exercises regularly so that when you are feeling an attack coming on, you can prevent it or work through it faster. Try breathing in through your nose, and exhaling out through your mouth for 10-30  seconds. This will help lower your heart rate and make you feel calmer.

  1. Distract yourself

Can you focus on something else? If so, try doing that until the feeling passes (like watching TV or reading). Keep yourself occupied with positive thoughts that are not related to what caused the anxiety in the first place. This will help replace the triggering thoughts and keep you calm and relaxed.

  1. Talk yourself through it

You can prevent or work through an anxiety attack by reminding yourself that you are in control and practicing self-talk.

  • Remember that this too shall pass.
  • You’ve felt this feeling before, and know what to do next
  • You are safe, and it will be okay
  • You are stronger than your anxiety
  1. Be aware of your surroundings

Staying grounded in the moment is a great method for combatting anxiety

  • Stay in the present moment by recognizing physical objects, and senses around you.
  • Focus on your breathing.
  • Practice mindfulness by focusing on what’s around you in the here and now without judging it or getting caught up in any negative thoughts about it (or yourself). 
  1. Write it out
  • Keep a journal. Writing down your thoughts and feelings can help you process them, and can be a great way to remember what happened in the past. 
  • Write a gratitude list each night before bed so that when anxiety strikes, even during sleep, it’s easier to focus on all that’s going well in life rather than fixating on negative thoughts
  • Write down daily activities such as meals eaten or errands run so that when anxiety escalates, you can track habits and focus on what to do next.

Being prepared for an anxiety attack is a key component of managing it. If you know what to expect, then you can take steps to control it. If you’re struggling with anxiety,  know that you are not alone.  You should talk about it and seek help from a mental health professional, friend or family member, support group, counselor, and/or doctor. If you don’t know where to start and need assistance finding someone who can help you, reach out to the team at Hudson Psychiatric Associates today.

When to See a Psychiatrist

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:

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.

The Effects of ADHD on Childhood Friendships

and How You Can Help

A common challenge children with ADHD face is navigating relationships with their peers. This can include maintaining friendships and experiencing rejection. As parents and caregivers, it can be heart-wrenching to watch your child struggle with developing successful peer relationships, but there are resources and support to help intervene early and regularly. With early intervention, your child can develop some essential tools. Family, teachers, and other adults play a key role in supporting children with ADHD  to develop the skills they need to create and maintain healthy and lasting friendships.

Typical Peer Relationship Struggles for Children with ADHD

Do any of these descriptors sound familiar?

  • They have difficulty playing by the rules when engaging in paired or team activities.
  • They struggle to develop close friends and keep those friendships going long term
  • They are likely to argue or fight with peers when engaging in activities.
  • They appear withdrawn or uninterested in the activities and interests of others.
  • They misread social cues and are found to be annoying by their peers.
  • They have difficulty managing their own feelings.
  • They may have developed a negative reputation among their peers.
  • They lack the social and conflict resolution skills that others seem to have developed.

If any of these characterizations ring true for your child, you are not alone. It’s very common for children with ADHD to be less socially mature than their peers, and to have a hard time reading and navigating social situations. The good news is there are simple ways you can support children with ADHD and help them develop the skills necessary to increase their self awareness and social skills in order to support long term friendships.

1- Recognize What Makes Your Child Wonderful

Children can often feel rejected and worthless when they have troubled friendships. In order to help them build their self-esteem, recognize what makes them worthy and what you enjoy when you are around them.

 Are they creative? Do they have a great sense of humor? Do they have a special skill or talent that they are passionate about? Do they have a kind heart? Do they give great hugs? Does their energy bring you joy at times? Whatever it is, point it out and let them know how much you value what makes them special. Developing a stronger self concept will help prepare them for the coaching and guidance they need when it comes to peer relationships. Help them understand they don’t have to change who they are, they’re simply learning a new set of skills they need some help with.

2- Support their Social Skills Development

Coaching children through difficult-to-navigate social situations in the moment is important, but they also need regular practice in low-stakes environments. This will help the skills cement themselves in your child’s brain so they know how to react when they are experiencing situations down the road. Social skills can take a lot of practice because children with ADHD are battling with impulsivity and/or inattentiveness, which makes saying and doing the appropriate thing a more difficult task.  

Ask your child questions and help them navigate what-if scenarios. Role-play with them in a safe and non-judgemental environment. Research and ask for resources for social stories from your child’s school, or community programs. Talk to your child’s pediatrician about your options.

3- Reach Out for Mental Health Support

ADHD is one of the most commonly diagnosed mental health disorders in children and adolescents. The good news is that the staff at Hudson Psychiatric Associates are more than capable of helping both you and your child navigate the world of ADHD with evidence-based treatment options like play therapy, holistic and collaborative treatment plans, and medication when necessary.

Reach out to our team today to request an appointment by filling out and submitting our contact form

The Rise of Anxiety and Depression in Teens: What’s Causing It, and How Can We Address It?

Today’s young adults are facing a world very different from the one most of us grew up in. Though social media has been around for years, we are just beginning to understand the negative impacts. Couple these impacts with the unique physical, social, and emotional impacts from the global pandemic that we are still navigating, and the mental health consequences for our teens have become dire. 

It’s time to recognize the depth and gravity of the sources and triggers and come up with actionable steps to protect children from what the American Academy of Pediatrics has deemed a National Emergency in Child and Adolescent Mental Health.

Let’s Talk Social Media 

Social media can be a place for connection and a way to decompress and relax, but for teens and adults alike, it can also be a place that puts a strain on our mental health. The use of deceptive facial filters and the likelihood of people to show only the highlights, not the complex and 3-dimensional experiences of day-to-day life, leave many adults and teens alike playing the comparison game. In this game, the cards are stacked unfairly in the favor of carefully curated posts. 

Since teens are still developing the rational and emotional center of their brains, it can be nearly impossible for them to be able to interpret images related to body image, violence, sexuality, and health without increasing levels of loneliness, anxiety, depression, and sleep disruption.

On the extreme side, though adults have taken mitigating actions in recent years, cyberbullying also remains a very serious part of the problem with social media. The more time spent online, the higher the likelihood that kids and teens will encounter cyberbullying increasing anxiety, depression and risk of suicide.

Pandemic Effects

Children and teens have faced two years of loss during the pandemic. Beyond the reality of losing loved ones to the coronavirus, they have also had increased anxiety and depression due to Covid-19 upending their:

  • Routines and structures
  • School attendance and performance
  • Access to sports and extracurricular activities
  • Feeling of safety and stability
  • Access to resources 
  • Connections outside of their households
  • Relationships within their households

As we turn the page and look ahead to what’s next, there are solutions to helping our teens battle this mental health disruption.

What Are the Next Steps To Help Our Teens?

1| Increase connection and communication. These two factors have a huge impact on mental health and are left extremely vulnerable by both social media overuse and the effects of the pandemic. Parents can increase the opportunities to connect by integrating activities you both enjoy, having tech-disconnected family time, and addressing the issues head-on without judgment or stigma. Letting teens know that they are not alone and have people who care about them and see their value in everyday life is a great start to combatting anxiety and depression.

2| Don’t face it alone. There are school, faith-based, and community resources available to help you navigate the next steps. Consider bringing in community leaders to connect with and speak with your teen, and reach out to your child’s pediatrician to learn what your options are going forward.

3| Learn about counseling and psychiatric resources. Sometimes, cases of anxiety and depression can be short-lived when treated early. Other times, they are a chronic issue that requires dedicated care. Every person has different needs, and what may work for one individual, may not be appropriate for the next. It’s important to research the kind of care that is right for your family. Your teen may benefit from a variety of scientifically-backed treatment options in tandem with the resources and solutions mentioned above.

If you are looking for a holistic method to find the right balance of psychotherapy, medical assessment, and treatment, reach out to our team of doctors and therapists at Hudson Psychiatric Associates to learn more.

The Pandemic & The Effect on Youth Mental Health

Prior to the pandemic, we were seeing increases in children faced with mental health struggles. Since the pandemic began, it has hit astronomical heights.

In late 2021, The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the Children’s Hospital Association put out a joint statement declaring a National Emergency in Child and Adolescent Mental Health.

Due to the adversities and disruptions faced on a global level, an already growing issue facing our youth of increased anxiety, depression, and attempted suicide has set alarm bells off for advocacy groups who are fighting to address and change the systemic complications that inhibit a child’s access to support.

Complicated access to youth mental health support

Schools are often the first place that can recognize and offer support for children dealing with mental health struggles. When students are learning virtually, it’s much harder for teachers and school staff to identify problems, and it can be a lengthy process in getting them support through public education resources. This is made even more complicated by budgets stretched to their breaking points and schools being chronically understaffed.

A lack of support at school to include parent advocates and educators makes it difficult for families who are already facing external struggles to know where to turn or the right steps to take to protect and support their kids.

While this is a complex issue with no easy fix, there are some steps you can take if you experience or suspect a child is facing mental health struggles.

Addressing the problem and finding solutions

Indicators that a child is struggling with their mental wellbeing include difficulty in school isolation from peers and social anxiety, low self-esteem, poor focus, mental exhaustion, and loss of social skills.  If you have children and haven’t experienced ANY of these, count yourself among the extremely lucky few. 

If you have, there are a number of ways you can begin to address these struggles and help your child regain feelings of empowerment, joy, and resilience.

First Step: Check in with yourself

If you are a child’s caregiver, you are their most important ally in regaining mental health. That’s next to impossible if your own struggles aren’t being addressed and possibly treated. Put your oxygen mask on first and reach out for support. You can talk to your doctor about lifestyle changes, and possible further interventions to help you deal with struggles ranging from extra stress and anxiety to depression and chronic mental illness.

Adjusting to the new normal

It’s important for all of us to reintegrate social interaction into our lives. It feeds our mental wellbeing to build and nurture positive relationships with friends and family. Check out this blog post that gives tips for reintegrating back into a new normal after the traumas and isolation of the pandemic.

We are all in this together

Parents can reach out to their child’s school or doctor to help connect them with agencies that can offer the deeper level of support needed. Your child’s school may not be able to address it within its walls alone, but many public schools have access to public services that might be appropriate for your child.

Child psychiatrists and therapists can help by using a variety of evidence-based treatments including play therapy, family therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and medication treatment if needed.  They will work with the child’s parents, teachers, pediatricians, and other relevant people to help kids improve their overall function and wellbeing in school, home, and elsewhere.

There is no easy answer or one size fits all solution to addressing this critical issue among our youth. If you need help figuring out the next best step, reach out to our team of doctors and therapists at Hudson Psychiatric Associates to learn more. 

Social Anxiety: Signs It May Be Time to Get Help

Anxiety and depression affect 25% of the population at any given time. Social anxiety is on the rise across many demographics and can affect your approach to work, relationships, and overall enjoyment of life.  

Since the isolation and other uncontrollable factors of the pandemic began, many people have been affected by new or preexisting social anxiety, even as we try to gain some normalcy back in our day-to-day lives.  Though social anxiety is common, it’s not always something you can address and solve on your own. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms or effects listed below, and aren’t sure how to address them, we can help.

What Exactly is Social Anxiety Disorder?

As mentioned above, social anxiety disorder is common. People who suffer from social anxiety disorder likely experience

  • Fear of judgment, humiliation, or rejection in social situations
  • Aversion to daily activities like eating, speaking, or asking questions in front of others
  • Anxiety or fear when it comes to meeting new people or interacting with people you don’t know

Social anxiety can negatively impact your wellbeing when these fears, aversions, and anxieties keep you from going to work or school, and occupy your thoughts and cause worry long before they happen causing you to avoid them.

According to the National Institute for Mental Health, physical and psychological symptoms of social anxiety disorder present in a variety of ways. Sufferers may experience the following either during their daily lives or as performance anxiety such as when playing a sport or instrument, public speaking, or similar scenarios:

  • Blush, sweat, tremble, feel a rapid heart rate, or feel their “mind going blank”
  • Feel nauseous or sick to their stomach
  • Show a rigid body posture, make little eye contact, or speak with an overly soft voice
  • Find it scary and difficult to be with other people, especially those they don’t already know and have a hard time talking to them even though they wish they could
  • Be very self-conscious in front of other people and feel embarrassed and awkward
  • Be very afraid that other people will judge them
  • Stay away from places where there are other people

When and How to Get Help For Social Anxiety Disorder

Social anxiety is common and can prevent those who suffer from it from performing to the best of their ability, or building connections and bonds with others. If social anxiety is affecting your ability to work, go to school, or develop meaningful relationships with others, it may be time to seek help.

If you have had prolonged symptoms that cause you extreme loneliness, thoughts of self-harm or substance abuse, it is time to seek help as soon as possible.

There are several treatments for social anxiety disorder including therapy, holistic treatments, lifestyle changes, and prescription medications that give a good prognosis for those who suffer from this condition. Working with mental health professionals to incorporate one or more of these treatments regularly creates a likelihood that people suffering from social anxiety disorder will build healthy coping strategies and control the symptoms of their social anxiety.

The team of doctors and therapists at Hudson Psychiatric Associates is committed to helping patients regain the quality of life they deserve. We’re equipped to serve patient needs in person and through telehealth appointments. If you’re ready to take the next first step in taking back control and satisfaction in your life, we’re here to help. Contact us today to take the next step in reclaiming your life.

When to Seek a Psychiatrist for Treatment of PTSD

Trauma is not an uncommon experience. More than half the population will experience some type of trauma in their lifetime. For 6% of people, trauma will trigger Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms at some point. 

PTSD is a condition caused by experiencing or witnessing traumatic events like:

  • Life Threatening Violence
  • Combat Exposure
  • Sexual Violence or Abuse
  • Childhood Abuse
  • Grave Accident or Injury

It’s important that people who are exposed to traumatic events understand and identify when they may be experiencing symptoms of PTSD, and are able to recognize when it might be time to seek treatment. Our objective at Hudson Psychiatric Associates is to help you make educated decisions about your mental health.

Understanding PTSD symptoms 

Trauma doesn’t always trigger symptoms of PTSD, but when it does, it affects people in a variety of ways. PTSD presents in people of all ages and is influenced by a variety of factors like intensity or duration of the trauma and other traumatic events in your life, genetics. brain chemicals, and natural resilience and coping mechanisms.

PTSD symptoms are generally categorized in 4 ways and include:

  • Intrusive Memories
  • Avoidance
  • Negative changes in thinking and mood
  • Changes in physical and emotional reactions

When is it time to seek professional help for PTSD?

When symptoms begin to interfere with your daily life or get worse over time and you are having difficulty coping, it may be time to seek psychiatric services to get treatment. The earlier a patient receives treatment for their symptoms, the easier those symptoms are to treat and get under control. 

If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, reach out for additional help through your mental health professional as well as support systems like your loved ones, spiritual leaders, and/or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255). 

What a Psychiatric Professional Can Offer To Treat PTSD

Those who suffer from trauma and PTSD may benefit from different treatment approaches. Hudson Psychiatric can integrate psychotherapy with medical assessment and treatment including ordering medical tests and prescribing medication if necessary. We support alternative medicine therapies and take time to evaluate the whole patient while making clinical and therapeutic treatment decisions 

Psychotherapy and medical intervention should be included with coping techniques you use independently. That can look like support groups,  education and empowerment, self-care, and following the treatment plan your psychiatric professional provides.

There are a variety of ways to treat the symptoms of PTSD. Reaching out to a mental health professional who you can trust is the first step. Our team of psychiatric service providers in Hoboken and Paramus offers a variety of resources and services to fit your needs including convenient virtual appointmentsContact us today to learn more about our treatment options.

Psychiatrist Vs. Psychologist | What’s the Difference?

If you’re interested in understanding and addressing mental health,  you might be curious what exactly the differences are between a psychiatrist and a psychologist. There are some key distinctions between these two types of mental health professionals, as well as some common misconceptions.  Whether you’re looking for more information and resources for yourself, or for your children,  there are a few things people need to know when looking for the right professional psychological services.

The Main Distinction Between Psychiatrists and Psychologists

The biggest difference is their medical authority. Psychiatrists are practicing medical doctors and can prescribe medication and deliver psychotherapy to treat a range of mental health-related illnesses and disorders.  Psychologists, on the other hand, are trained in the study and modification of human behavior from a philosophical standpoint.

Psychiatrists complete medical school and receive their Doctor of Medicine (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (OD) degree. Psychologists complete a graduate degree and go on to get their doctoral degree as a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) or Doctor of Psychology (PsyD). Both psychiatrists and psychologists complete different levels of training in their field where they receive hands-on experience serving their patients before they complete their certification.

Psychiatrists and Psychologists approach mental health with different tools. Psychiatrists are medical doctors who treat the biological symptoms of their patients, while Psychologists treat cognition and behavior. Psychologists and psychiatrists may work together to treat a patient’s needs, and psychologists might refer patients that they are treating to a psychiatrist for medication and monitoring. 

What Does Treatment Look Like from a Medical Standpoint?

Psychiatrists are qualified to medically treat a wide range of mental health disorders like:

Anxiety and Depression


Bipolar and BPD

Postpartum Depression

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.

What Does Treatment Look Like from a Cognitive/Behavioral Standpoint?

Patients may seek out, or psychiatrists may refer patients to, a psychotherapist or psychologist for therapy.  These situations are offered in one on one, group therapy, and family therapy models.

Both psychologists and psychiatrists can treat patients in a variety of practices and programs such as 

  • private practices
  • hospitals
  • psychiatric hospitals
  • university medical centers
  • nursing homes
  • prisons
  • rehabilitation programs
  • hospice programs

Both types of mental health professionals can also specialize their training to build focused expertise and serve a specific type of patient. Hudson Psychiatric Associates offers a range of clinical services to enhance and optimize overall function and life satisfaction.

If you’ve decided it’s time to find a clinical medical health professional to meet your specific needs, contact us today to get more information on our resources available to you.