If you have been considering going to counseling or therapy, you may be wondering about the available options. Licensed mental health professionals can be psychiatrists, psychologists, counselors, or therapists. Do they all do the same thing? No, but they all do provide mental health care. It’s important to find a licensed mental health professional who is a good fit for you.
A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who specializes in mental health. Psychiatrists graduated from medical school and completed training to specialize in psychiatry. (Sometimes, this is confused with psychology, which is also focused on mental health. A psychologist also has an advanced graduate degree and specialized training but is not a medical doctor.)
Psychiatrists focus on diagnosing, treating, and preventing mental, emotional, and behavioral health disorders. Psychiatrists are qualified to assess the physical and mental components of mental health. Psychiatrists can perform lab and diagnostic tests and analyze genetic and physical attributes that may affect mental health. Psychiatrists may treat patients with psychotherapy (sometimes called talk therapy), medication, other interventions, or a combination of treatments to meet an individual’s needs.
Because psychiatrists are medical doctors, they can write prescriptions for medication. (Other licensed mental health professionals, such as psychologists, counselors, or therapists, cannot prescribe medication. However, they may collaborate or consult with their client’s psychiatrist or primary care physician about medication options for an individual’s treatment.) Sometimes treatment involves working with a physician and another licensed mental health professional.
You may have questions about what to look for in a psychiatrist and how to find a psychiatrist. There are steps you can take when looking for a psychiatrist:
How Much Does A Psychiatrist Cost?
There is no one certain answer to this question. When it comes to how much psychiatric treatment costs, many things come into play. For instance, the initial appointment may be charged at a higher price than subsequent appointments. Geographic location can also make a difference in cost. If you have an insurance plan and whether the psychiatrist is on it or not can make a difference in cost. One psychiatrist’s office may cost more than others. Calling and asking for rates and payment options is a smart way to determine the cost of potential treatment.
There are options for affordable mental health services. Some psychiatrists may work on a sliding scale, which means they might charge each patient based on their income. Community health centers and medical schools can also be good resources for finding affordable psychiatric care.
What If I Can’t Find A Psychiatrist In My Area?
If you can’t find a psychiatrist in your area, speaking to your primary care physician or reaching out to a community health center can help. They may be knowledgeable about psychiatrists who are in the area or who you can consult with virtually. They may also have other suggestions for treatment. An example might be seeing a licensed mental health professional who is not a psychiatrist and consulting with a nearby medical doctor.
Continue Seeking The Help That You Need
If you find that you work with a psychiatrist or other licensed mental health professional and things aren’t improving the way you had hoped for, don’t give up. You may not see progress right away, but you must stick with treatment. You can give the process some time, but if you feel that your mental health care provider is not a good fit for you, it might be time to look for someone else. There are likely other good options, and having a good connection with your mental health care provider is important for your treatment. (However, if you are on medication for your mental health treatment, make sure that you do not stop taking it without speaking to the doctor who prescribed it or to your primary care physician.)
Connecting With A Licensed Mental Health Professional
If you live in one of the more popular cities, you’ll probably find many psychiatrists from which to choose. However, in-person visits aren’t the only way to get help.
If you or a loved one has mental health concerns, your primary care physician or community health center can offer good resources for finding help. There is also a free, confidential Helpline that can help you find healthcare providers: call 1-800-662-HELP (4357) any time, day or night—speakers of both English and Spanish staff the Helpline. There is also a treatment service locator option online to help you find a mental healthcare provider. You can enter your address, city, or zip code to search for treatment services near you.
Connecting online with a licensed mental health professional can also be a great way to find help. At BetterHelp, online options for therapy are convenient, accessible, and affordable, and you can connect with culturally competent, licensed mental health professionals.
Need To Know More? Below Are Some Commonly Asked Questions On This Topic:
How Much Does It Cost To Consult A Psychiatrist?
Costs to consult psychiatrists vary greatly. Although the costs depends on the doctor’s experience and geographic location, there are other variables to consider, such as the consultation fee, testing, prescribed medications , and which portions your insurance plan will cover.
What Should I Not Tell A Psychiatrist?
You should be able to speak openly and in confidence with the psychiatrist about anything. If you feel concerned about saying “the right things” or think you should hold back, this could be a sign that the psychiatrist isn’t the right person for you.
Can You Self Refer To A Psychiatrist?
Yes, you can self-refer to a psychiatrist. However, check that your insurance provider doesn’t require a referral. Some psychiatrists also prefer a referral from a primary medical provider.
Can I Consult A Psychiatrist For Free?
Some psychiatrists may donate a portion of their time by providing free or low-cost services. Most often, individuals are able to schedule a free consultation with an organization like MentalHealth.gov.
What Are Anxiety Symptoms?
Almost everyone has anxiety symptoms at some point in their lives. However, when anxiety prevents you from enjoying life or performing normal daily tasks, it’s time to reach out for help. Here are some common symptoms of anxiety:
Is Psychiatry Covered By Insurance?
Coverage depends of the insurance provider and the insurance plan in place for the patient. The American Psychiatric Association has recommended improving access to psychiatric services by increasing insurance coverage of mental illness diagnoses and treatment.
What Does A Psychiatrist Do On The First Visit?
The psychiatrist will ask you many questions about your health (physical and mental) history and listen to your concerns. The psychiatrist will try to make you feel comfortable as your answer the questions. You may feel strong emotions while sharing the answers, but that’s okay.
Is It Better To See A Psychiatrist Or Psychologist?
Whether you see a see a psychiatrist or psychologist depends on you and your needs. The psychiatrist will focus more on the medical aspects of your treatment, including prescribing and monitoring medications, if they are considered necessary. The psychology helps with the behavioral aspect and guides patients through their treatment plans.
How Do I Know If I Need Therapy?
Therapy can help people cope with a variety of situations, including developing work-life balance, dealing with relationships, overcoming poor habits, and finding ways to manage anxiety.
When Should I See A Psychiatrist?
Mental illness can affect anyone, but help is available. Anyone who has been experiencing changes in personality or inability to no longer to the things they once did because of depression or severe anxiety could benefit from seeing a psychiatrist. If you think you or someone you know might have a mental illness, reach out to a psychiatrist.