Therapy, psychiatry, and a combination of the two can all be helpful for people with various mental health concerns. For some people and for some concerns in particular, one treatment option may be more effective than others, so it may make sense to consider a variety of options given your situation.
First, you might start by seeking referrals or suggestions from your primary care doctor, friends, or family members. They may be able to attest to the effectiveness and approach of a psychiatrist in your location, and they may be able to offer suggestions of psychiatrists they have dealt with previously. This may help you narrow down your search or start with a small pool of promising options.
Also, it may be worth noting that some insurance plans may require you to get a referral from your primary care doctor for these services to be covered. You might check with your insurance company to see if this is required by your plan.
Checking Insurance Acceptance And Pricing
If you have health insurance, that plan may cover mental health services. If so, you may want to start by trying to find psychiatrists who accept your insurance. You may be able to find this information through your insurance company or by checking with the psychiatrist’s office.
If you don’t have health insurance or if you have difficulty finding psychiatrists near you who accept your insurance plan, the next step may be to compare prices. You may be able to find this online or you may have to call the psychiatrist’s office for pricing information. Some psychiatrists may charge significantly more than others, so depending on your preferences and pricing restrictions, you may be able to narrow down your acceptable options according to your budget.
Researching Credentials And Specialties
The Initial Appointment
Once you have found a psychiatrist who seems to be a good fit for you, you may start by setting up an initial conversation with them to learn more. This initial appointment may help you determine if you would like to work with a doctor before committing to a treatment plan. Many doctors have an intake appointment where they may get to know you and your situation, talk about payment options, and offer initial ideas for treatment.
You can use this intake appointment to ask questions of your psychiatrist and see if you feel comfortable with them. For this conversation, you may want to consider some of the following factors when trying to determine if the psychiatrist will be a good fit for you:
- Listening And Communication Style
Everyone has a different communication style, and not all communication styles mesh. When working with a psychiatrist, it is important to feel heard and to feel like you and your doctor can communicate effectively. If you feel that you and your psychiatrist are not communicating well, you may want to look for a different doctor, or you may let them know that you’re having a difficult time with their communication style and see if they can adjust accordingly.
- Clarity In Presenting Information
Your psychiatrist may cover a lot of information in your sessions, especially if they are prescribing medication. You may want to consider if they are presenting the information in a way that is clear and easy to understand for you, so that you can feel confident that you are absorbing what they cover. A psychiatrist may educate you about your symptoms and your diagnosis, work with you to develop a treatment plan, educate you on the methods that will be used, and prescribe medication—and with all of these, you may want to ensure that they are taking the time to present all of this in way that makes sense to you.
When it comes to seeing a psychiatrist, you may want to ensure that you are talking with someone who makes you feel comfortable and respected. It is important that your psychiatrist doesn’t dismiss your feelings or emotions, but rather treats you with respect and empathy. This may be hard to assess at first, but a psychiatrist should make you feel comfortable tell openly during each session.
- Breadth And Depth Of Knowledge
When you first talk with a psychiatrist, you might consider their knowledge about different types of therapies and medications, especially given your particular concern or concerns. The same treatment does not always work for all patients, so you may want to see if they demonstrate knowledge of multiple treatment modalities and alternative medications that can work for your unique situation. You may consider asking about their experience working with individuals with similar concerns and utilizing various treatment options.
- Frequency Of Treatment Sessions
Finally, you might consider asking how often a psychiatrist can meet with you and how easy or difficult it may be to schedule sessions. The preferred frequency of appointments may vary from person to person, so you may want to see if their availability aligns with your needs.
Other Available Options: Online Therapy
Depending on your concerns and preferences, you may find that you want to try other treatment options or work with other mental health professionals in addition to psychiatry. For instance, as the American Psychological Association notes, for depression, there is “some evidence that combining psychotherapy and medications may be more effective than either treatment alone,” and for anxiety disorders, “research generally shows that psychotherapy is more effective than medications.”
People experiencing depression or anxiety may find it difficult to leave the house and attend an in-person appointment. With online therapy such as BetterHelp, you can meet with a licensed therapist from the comfort of your own home.
There is significant research demonstrating the effectiveness of online therapy for a range of concerns, including depression and anxiety. For instance, one such study examined the effectiveness of a digital therapy program for improving symptoms of depression and anxiety. The study found that those participating in the intervention experienced significant reductions in symptoms of depression and anxiety over time.
Below, you can read reviews of BetterHelp counselors from people experiencing a range of concerns:
“Erika is a Godsend. She had me look at my situation and grief in a healthier way. She is teaching me coping skills that I will be able to use the rest of my life. I like that I can text her whatever I am thinking and feeling that exact moment. She always responds quickly and is able to address the issues I texted. We also talked on the phone, which makes it all the more personal. I have gotten more out of my two weeks with Erika than I did with two years of conventional therapy with a psychiatrist and a counselor at the same time.”
“I cannot express how much Cindi has helped me in the past few weeks that I have had her as my counsellor. She’s helped me understand more about my conditions, helped me settle some things from my past, and has given me brilliant coping techniques that I will use in the future. I’ve been to many many psychiatrists but no one has ever been as wise, caring or considerate as Cindi. She’s helped me realise things about myself that I have never known. Cindi, if you ever read this, thank you so much for everything you do. ”
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some preparations you can make before seeing a psychiatrist?
What is the most significant component of a psychiatric interview?
What makes an effective psychiatric technician?
What are the daily challenges of being a psychiatrist?
What triggers mental health problems?
What do you expect during an initial psychiatric evaluation?
What are the boundaries of a psychiatrist's capabilities?
What is the usual length of treatment of a psychiatric session?
What are possible reasons for seeking help from a psychiatrist?
What are the major limitations of mental health care?
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