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How Psychiatrists Can Help Your Mental Health
Many patients might feel anxious about visiting a psychiatrist for mental health concerns. Whether ashamed because of the negative stigma associated with mental illness or apprehensive about not knowing what an appointment could entail, people sometimes might avoid treatment. It is helpful for individuals who are interested in receiving care to learn what to expect during a visit. Continue reading for some useful information on what methods and techniques a psychiatrist uses to help improve a patient’s mental health.
What does a psychiatrist do?
A psychiatrist is a type of medical doctor who diagnoses and treats mental illnesses using a variety of treatments. While other types of mental health providers, such as a psychologist or therapist, can provide only evaluate and address conditions using different types of therapy, a psychiatrist can prescribe medicine to patients and adjust medication use when necessary. Some doctors offer psychotherapy as well, while others focus solely on the neurological and physiological aspects of mental health.
What to expect during a visit
To receive help from a psychiatrist, a patient needs to make an appointment or get a referral from a doctor or therapist. During the initial visits, patients can expect to fill out paperwork and detail their medical and psychiatric history. Once in the session, the psychiatrist might ask a variety of open-ended questions on the reason for the visit and what the patient is experiencing. This information helps the doctor make a diagnosis and develop the appropriate plan of treatment.
Once the consultation is over, the psychiatrist will likely discuss options for medication and recommend labs or tests that should be taken before prescribing any medicine. The doctor may also refer the patient to a psychologist or therapist. Once a diagnosis and treatment plan is put in place, patients should continue to see the doctor to ensure the medication is working as it should and make changes if needed.
How to choose a psychiatrist
Patients may not know how to choose a doctor or may feel discouraged if the first visit does not meet their expectations. If the patient is already seeing a primary care doctor or therapist, these providers can help make a referral for a psychiatrist. Since some doctors specialize in specific conditions or age groups, patients should search for someone trained to deal with the unique situation. Patients should also come to the first appointment prepared with questions on what the treatment process will look like and the psychiatrist’s views on medicine and psychotherapy. It is normal and acceptable for patients to try more than one before finding a doctor who is a good fit.
For patients struggling with a variety of mental health concerns, a psychiatrist can help by assessing the individual’s mental health and developing a unique treatment plan. These medical professionals can both provide psychotherapy and prescribe medicine, meeting with the patient over time to evaluate the effectiveness of the current treatment and make adjustments as needed.
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