Online Psychiatrist. How & Why Online Psychiatry Helps 2020 | Find The Best Licensed Professional Today

By: Corrina Horne

Updated September 25, 2020

Medically Reviewed By: Denise Doster

Content/Trigger Warning: Please be advised, the below article might mention trauma-related topics that include sexual assault & violence which could potentially be triggering.

Is Seeing An Online Psychiatrist Right For You? Learn More About How An Online Psychiatrist Can Help Support Your Mental Health Journey

Most people in the modern world suffer from mental health issues at some point in their lives. From depression to anxiety, to impulsivity and insomnia, we can likely all find some form of mental imbalance or mental struggle we could use some help with.

Any mental health issue, no matter how seemingly insignificant, can feel like an insurmountable obstacle-and can be embarrassing to seek help for. Fortunately, there are ways to enlist the help of a reliable, qualified mental health professional without setting a single foot out of the door by using online mental healthcare, or online therapy.

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Mental Health Treatment Online

Using the internet for personal aid is certainly not a new concept. Online shopping has been around for years, and has helped countless people who experience issues with mobility, busy schedules, or who simply struggle to get out and about due to anxiety and depression or fear. If any of these conditions apply to you, you may benefit from taking advantage of making an appointment online for mental healthcare via distance therapy using video or phone.

With online therapy, you can find high-quality, life-changing mental health professionals without ever having to pick up the phone and speak to a receptionist, or complete the sometimes-arduous task of getting ready and stepping out of the door. You can now begin to heal your anxiety and depression using innovative video conference software. Today's online therapists provide a range of services, from video chat telepsychiatry services to controlled medication management prescribed by psychiatrists and other medical doctors like your primary care physician.

The first step to take is to find the best online therapy for you. Once you find a therapist that meets your needs, you attend online sessions including live chat, phone, video, and consultations over the internet. Essentially, you're having sessions with a traditional psychiatrist - in a non-traditional setting. You can take part in online therapy sessions in a private room at home and work, and get real time responses with live sessions, text, video, or phone calls.

Just like searching for a primary care doctor or any health specialist, there are many things to look for in a mental health professional, including reliability, expert qualifications, a history of excellence, and experience in the field of your condition-but we'll get to these qualities a little bit later. Find a therapist who specializes in treating symptoms using the latest treatment related to the field of mental health (that’s related to your specific needs) among the numerous mental health professionals at your disposal. Licensed therapists can help you achieve your goals, improve your mental health, and get the help you need, whether you’re managing anxiety or depression, addiction, sleep issues, or social anxiety.

There are many sites dedicated to providing individuals and couples with proper mental health treatment, regardless of ability or position in life.

The extremely helpful board-certified psychologists and licensed counselors at BetterHelp.com provide treatment that involves getting therapy for ADHD, anxiety, bipolar disorder, depression, PTSD, relationship issues, and other mental health issues. Above all, BetterHelp ensures patient privacy and confidential treatment for serious mental-health-related concerns, and will keep your information secure under our online therapy privacy policy.

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Getting Help via Online Treatment

While reaching out for help can be frightening, at least one in every eight adults with a psychiatric disorder seeks help for their condition-and usually finds it through the use of behavioral medicine. More people than ever before are working to heal their minds of trauma, anxiety, and personality disorders, or another disorder (OCD, for example), bringing thousands of people closer to mental and emotional health.

Having a mental, emotional, or personality disorder can be scary and can feel lonely, but there are other people just like you, who gathered their courage, and reached out to the mental health professionals to gain access to doctors who can provide available behavioral medicine services in person or online. Board-certified psychiatrists and nurse practitioners are available to provide cognitive behavioral therapy for treating the following conditions online (among many others):

  • Psychological Testing and Evaluation
  • Geriatric Psychiatry
  • Forensic Psychiatry
  • Asperger's Syndrome
  • Cognitive Therapy
  • Clinical Psychiatry
  • Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
  • Grief
  • Teen counseling
  • Free mental health assessments 

It's important to note that if you're seeking online therapy treatment, rather than in-person sessions, you should ensure that the website is reputable. Here's a list of reputable, online counseling sites that provide services for children, adolescents, and adults:

LiveHealth Online provides online appointments with licensed psychologists and psychiatrists, and their psychiatrists may prescribe non-controlled medication. This means that LiveHealth Online psychiatrists cannot give prescriptions that are defined as controlled substances (under federal law) with online appointments.

7 Cups is a website offering professional mental health help via messaging.

Breakthrough (also called MD Live) offers Video chats with a mental health professional and may allow some insurance companies to reimburse.

AmWell provides video conferencing as well and may also accept insurance reimbursement.

Online Therapy Through BetterHelp.com

Although most people confronted with the question of wanting optimal health would adamantly agree that yes, they do want to be healthy and strong, the fear of actually seeking treatment can overwhelm their sincere desire to get help. Calling a hotline or busy phone number to schedule an appointment, meeting with a therapist and psychiatrist, and finding room in your schedule can all feel like impossible tasks. These issues can be easily resolved by making an appointment online for distance therapy or telepsychiatry/online therapy services.

A new baby, an overwhelming job, or living in a remote area can all wreak havoc on your attempts to enlist professional help. Enter: online therapy and telepsychiatry services. You can get an online psychologist to help and get a clinical assessment and telepsychiatry services without having to leave home or work. We'll explain. If your registered mobile device can meet the required internet speeds of your chosen platform - you may be a great candidate for online therapy! A free assessment can help you identify any areas of your mental health that may benefit from online therapy.

After registering for your email-protected account with BetterHelp.com, the next steps are to assess potential psychologists and licensed counselors in the field of psychiatry that you need and get ready to book online. You’re matched with a licensed professional and are able to schedule appointments each week depending on your schedule. You have the option to schedule your sessions for times that work for you (that can fall outside typical face-to-face appointment times) and individualized treatment sessions, day or night, via live chat, phone, text, video, or live sessions.

Your sessions are held online with the board-certified mental health professionals (including licensed therapists and social workers) that are certified to treat common and complex psychiatric conditions. Some of the major health insurance providers now offer coverage for ADHD, depression, anxiety, major depressive episodes, and sleep medicine treatment online for children, adolescents, couples, and adults. Check with your health insurance provider to learn if online mental health services with a licensed counselor is a covered behavioral health benefit under your current plan.

What's the Difference Between a Psychiatrist and a Psychologist?

Before we continue, we should probably clarify the differences between these two terms. A psychiatrist, or psychiatric provider, is a medical doctor that treats children, adolescents, and adults for common psychiatric conditions with a combination of therapy and medication. Similar to a primary care physician, they attended medical school to earn a doctoral degree. A certified psychiatrist can provide psychiatric services and controlled medication management for child and adolescent people, adults, and the elderly. Psychiatrists typically teach individuals and couples how to manage their meds and allow them to get off their meds if needed.

A psychologist focuses on providing the latest treatment in psychotherapy for child and adolescent, adult, and elderly patients. Psychologists can diagnose and treat disorders through emotional and mental health assessments, medical lab tests, psychotherapy, and controlled medication. Children, adolescents, and adults receiving psychiatric services all get an individualized treatment plan for therapy that best suits their specific needs. Most fields of psychology require a doctorate (Ph.D. or PsyD); all psychologists must fulfill state requirements for providing psychiatric care and services before being granted a license. This information also typically applies when distinguishing a difference between a therapist and a psychiatrist.

With that said, a psychiatrist may prescribe controlled medication and medical testing for learning a patient’s clinical neurophysiology, and psychiatric genetics neuroimaging while a psychologist uses cognitive techniques as opposed to clinical psychiatry. There are benefits to both approaches, so often, in both traditional therapy and online therapy, psychologists and psychiatrists work together to treat children, adolescents, adults and work with the elderly, using a combination of psychiatric services.

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Reasons Why One May Choose an Online Psychiatrist

Now, let's go into the specifics as to why someone may pick a psychiatrist online or seek online therapy. A psychiatrist can provide you with a wide variety of psychiatric services to treat many mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety disorder, or stress, especially if they are mild to moderate. A psychiatrist is also licensed to medically provide child pediatric psychiatry services. The best online therapy for you is one that’s accessible, whether that looks like live chat, phone, text, video, or live sessions. The best online therapy for you provides what you need, whether that’s sex therapy, emotional support, or simply knowing that your therapist will respond in real time when you need help.

If you have severe mental health problems, or need a behavioral intervention, a psychiatrist who specializes in the field of psychiatry related to your condition may be a better option. If you're considering suicide, or have thoughts of suicidal ideation, call a suicide hotline or go to the nearest emergency room for immediate help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255, and is available 24/7.

Online Psychiatry For Anxiety Disorders

When one has a severe anxiety disorder, just getting out of the house can seem like a hassle. Anxiety disorders manifest themselves in many ways, from mild, to moderate, to being so severe that every step feels like an anxious decision. Children, adolescents, and adults who have anxiety disorders can benefit from talking to a board-certified psychiatrist online; however, certain types of anxiety medication are controlled substances that cannot be prescribed over the internet in online therapy. When seeking therapy online, anxiety doesn’t have to stand in your way-with BetterHelp, you can create an anonymous username, or communicate through live messaging.

Online Psychiatry For Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder can make it hard to get out of the house, and is not just a women's health issue, but affects everyone equally. Sometimes, you may feel so manic that going to the therapist's office is on the bottom of your to-do list. Other times, you feel so depressed that going there is a struggle.

Board-certified psychiatrists can help you with any problems you may have from your official diagnosis of bipolar disorder. If you are undiagnosed and you suspect you have it, a psychiatrist can help diagnose and treat your bipolar disorder. They'll act as your care physician, benefiting you in many different ways. There are many types of bipolar disorders, and an online psychiatrist can help treat them all. Bipolar disorder can be complex, but by talking to a psychiatrist, you can get psychiatric medications that can help you with your conditions.

Online Psychiatry For Sleep Issues

Sleep is something we all need, but unfortunately, mental disorders can affect this. Sleep disorders happen, and psychiatrists or social workers work to help with the treatment of this through talk therapy or different medications. These medications can also help with treating mental disorders that can affect sleep. If you are struggling with sleep, and you feel there are mental health disorders at the root, seeking out a psychiatrist could help you, as well as visiting your primary care doctor.

Online Psychiatry For Talk Therapy

Not every online psychiatrist will prescribe psychiatric medication. Another aspect of a psychiatrist online is talk therapy, which can be used for issues including a mood disorder, anxiety, or specific issues. Talk therapy is when a professional treats you by letting you speak and talk out your problems. Sometimes, a person who is struggling with mental health problems just needs someone who can listen, and help them reframe their thought patterns.

Talk therapy provided by licensed therapists and social workers who have gone through basic training for psychiatric treatments can help with that. Finding talk therapy and counseling online can help someone come up with their own solutions or find ways they can handle their problem, such as through CBT or through another form of medication-free therapy. The best online therapy for those seeking talk therapy will include options for video sessions, live chat, and phone sessions. Try out talk therapy if you don't like medication. Since medications tend to mask symptoms (as opposed to cure them), a large majority of psychiatrists work alongside a therapist or psychologist to truly help their patients recover. Online talk therapy is an effective, proven treatment method. An extensive study by the Berkeley Well-Being Institute found BetterHelp to be as effective as face-to-face counseling. The study showed that 98% of patients made significant progress, and 70% of patients reduced depression symptoms.

Online Psychiatry For Medication Management

Many online therapy sites, such as BetterHelp or LiveHealth online, offer a full range of therapy services. One service an online psychiatrist can provide for you is medication management. Medication management involves you learning how you can keep track of your medications. If you have a mental health problem, all the medications you have to take can seem like an impossible task. Medication management makes it much easier, and an online psychiatrist can help. A licensed psychiatrist can provide medication management as a licensed medical professional, regardless of their primary field of psychiatry study.

Online Psychiatry For Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Another way a psychiatrist online can help you is by helping you manage your PTSD. PTSD is one of the biggest mental health issues out there. It's important you have a health plan to help you manage your PTSD. From identifying your triggers to having a psychiatrist available on nights and weekends who can help you manage any episodes you may have, your therapist will respond to you to help you tackle this issue. An online psychiatrist can help you with emotional support and more.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can affect you throughout life, even if the traumatic event happened several years ago. It can be the root cause of many other mental disorders too. Psychiatrists may work to help with the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) by helping you get medications that help you cope with the feelings this provides. Through the different forms of psychotherapy, and sometimes medication,  you can quell the symptoms that post-traumatic stress disorder gives you, and reduce the worry and pain you feel from it.

Online Psychiatry For Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

An online psychiatrist may be able to help you with your OCD. Online psychiatrists help you do this by working on nights and weekends to help you identify triggers that make you obsessive and compulsive. OCD can be managed not only by medicine provided by a psychiatrist or primary care physician, but also  through cognitive behavioral therapy. By talking to a professional, a psychiatrist online can make you feel better faster and manage your OCD.

Online Psychiatry For Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline personality disorder involves difficulty regulating emotions. It's a disorder that causes physical and mental distress, as you can be left on an unwanted emotion for a long time. Online psychiatry can help you learn how to regulate your emotions and be your primary care source.

Online Psychiatry For Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

ADHD is common in the world of psychological problems. It's not just a childhood problem; it can occur in adults as well. A psychiatrist can help you find therapy to treat your ADHD, from learning how to focus to even learning how to regulate your energy levels.

Online Psychiatry For Anger Management

Sometimes, our anger gets the better of us, and we need therapy to treat it. Anger management can help. For those who feel like they are always angry, a consultation with a psychiatrist can help figure out why, give you medication to regulate your mood, and teach you ways to cope with your anger or turn it into something productive rather than something toxic. Talk to an anger management therapist today and see what we mean.

Online Psychiatry For Eating Disorders

Eating disorders have been stereotyped as a women's health issue, but they affect everyone of every gender. Often, eating disorders may be accompanied by other mental disorders, such as a personality disorder or mood disorders. Eating disorders include anorexia, bulimia, and eating too much (binge eating). Teen counseling can focus on the pressures of adolescence and how to manage an eating disorder during this stage of life. A psychiatrist can help you recover from your eating disorders, and help you eat better and retain a healthier weight. Eating disorders can be fatal, so talk to a psychiatrist today.

Online Psychiatry For Substance Abuse

If you've been abusing alcohol or drugs, having a professional with training in psychiatry or clinical psychology can help. Many people think that substance abuse is a choice, but it's part of various mental disorders. A psychiatrist can monitor your drug use, look for triggers, and help should you relapse.

Addiction psychiatry helps to look at the root of your addiction, and psychiatrists work with you to overcome the hurdles of this. Because a psychiatrist is a medical professional, they can also help with the psychical treatment necessary to help overcome the troubles with addiction psychiatry.

Online Psychiatry For Psychiatric Genetics

Another health service an online psychiatrist may provide is online psychiatric genetics testing. Your genetics can make you more likely to develop certain diseases. Your psychiatrist may allow you to send your genetics to them and see if there is a family history. Psychiatric genetics testing is excellent for figuring out whether or not you have a family issue or the likelihood your family may have in developing certain mental health and substance abuse issues.

Can A Psychiatrist Treat A Wide Variety of Medical Conditions?

Remember that a psychiatrist is a medical professional, so they can help with anything from treating including postpartum depression, bipolar disorder, depression, insomnia, unexplained symptoms of weight loss, to the treatment of pain through medications. They can help with all forms of psychotherapy that are necessary, along with both physical and mental health disorders that are bothering you, which is part of integrated care.

Psychiatrists can even use different techniques to help cope with depression and anxiety and other mental illnesses, such as transcranial magnetic stimulation, and psychiatric professionals know what they're doing with the tools they're provided. Some psychiatrists specialize in only one discipline, like forensic psychology. Online therapy offers access to a psychiatrist who can help you weigh the pros and cons of different types of treatment, and which is the best online therapy plan for you.

Psychosomatic medicine is another part of psychiatry. Psychosomatic symptoms are when your mind physically makes your body ill, and can manifest in high blood pressure, or even heart conditions. You can treat this with different forms of psychotherapy, and luckily, there is more research and clinical practice being done to help with the treatment of this.

Now, let's discuss online therapy, online counseling, online psychiatry, and other online mental health services in general.

Online mental health services offer immense benefits, involving time, money, and effort. Going to therapy can be expensive, both in terms of the time it requires to attend, and the money the endeavor requires. Using online therapy, online counseling, or online psychiatry, however, you do not have to worry about the hassle of driving to your appointment, enduring long wait times, and driving home; instead, you can have access to a psychiatrist by simply sitting in a comfortable space, opening your smartphone, tablet, or computer, and speaking directly with a mental health professional, who's eager and willing to help you improve your mental health and wellness and will respond to messages in a timely manner.

The cost of a physical space can play a role in how a therapist's rates are created, and speaking with an online therapist greatly reduces the cost for the practitioner-if it isn't removed altogether. Practitioners offer the same privacy, the same rights, and the same expert counsel of in-person therapists, without the same obstacles. Read below for some reviews of BetterHelp counselors, from people experiencing different issues and life challenges.

Counselor Reviews

"I have not been working with Andrea for long but I have found her to be compassionate and adaptable. I would recommend her to people who need help processing complex trauma and have found other talk therapy approaches unhelpful. She understands that while I practice and find merit in CBT type thought therapy, doing thought exercises while in the middle of a PTSD episode is unlikely to be possible. A person having flashbacks during an acute crisis is unlikely to be capable of doing thought exercises. Andrea seems to naturally understand something important that most medical professionals, in my extensive experience as both a worker and a patient, seem to miss these days: telling a person who is literally dying slowly and painfully that they should be able to meditate away that pain and carry on as normal without any medication or outside emotional support , is ridiculous. Andrea has been a breath of fresh air in that regard. She helped me realize that if a doctor or therapist isn't able to empathize and they are approaching my problems cynically and with indiscriminate doubt, they cannot help me. Andrea is the first person in a long time that inspired me to hope they can help and trust that they will at the very least try."

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"I love working with Nancy! She's been very empowering, very compassionate and very understanding. Whenever I text or even video call, I know she'll be there for me and that she'll provide me with an insight that will help me find my way. I've been really appreciative of this counseling services and I am so very glad I made the decision to do counseling. It's an investment in ones health. I've been on psychotic meds for a whole decade and while medications numb the pain, they do not resolve it. Counseling does! I am definitely continuing to work with Nancy. :)"

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Seeing a Counselor vs. Figuring It Out on Your Own. How Do You Know?

Figuring out your mental health issues on your own is tempting; after all, it is your head, your emotional quality of life, and your problem, right? Why shouldn't you figure it out yourself? While this mindset is certainly an alluring one, it does have a few problems: mental health professionals have been trained for years to navigate the minds of healthy and unhealthy individuals alike and will have a unique perspective to offer you. Online therapy is much more than a chat room-it’s a space with a team of psychologists and mental health professionals who are experienced in and passionate about providing mental health services to individuals with specific issues.

Mental health professionals are also trained to understand the nuances of your experiences and symptoms that you, yourself, might not recognize. Emotions are powerful things and can sometimes steer you in the wrong direction; you might feel mad, but you might actually be sad and fear abandonment by a friend following an altercation. When you’re matched with an online therapist, you can feel confident that you’ll be able to speak each week, depending on your schedule. Services for teens, couples, families, and individuals are available online.

Figuring it out on your own, you might think, can help your pride. Once you've gotten yourself healthy, gotten yourself under control, you can come forward with friends and loved ones about your struggles. That way, they won't have to worry, you won't have to feel weak, and everybody wins, right? Unfortunately, no.

Most of the time, our loved ones can instinctively feel when something is not quite right with us, but might not feel it is their place to encourage us to get help. That beautiful, incredible responsibility-the responsibility to chase health and get help-is ours alone, and finding therapy online can be just the outstretched hand that you need. You can get started with online therapy by taking a free assessment to see if you’re a good fit, then decide on the best online therapy for you.

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Online Therapy vs. In-Person Therapy

Physically meeting with a therapist can be draining in multiple ways. Your wallet can be drained, your emotional state can droop, and your desire to stick to your appointments can drag. Although therapy is an incredible tool, actually making it to a physical appointment can be daunting, time-consuming, and difficult.

Seeing your therapist's facial expressions and examining their body language can be useful, but can also be something of a deterrent, if you are worried about being judged or you are afraid of others' perceptions of you. When choosing a therapist in person, you are likely to be limited in your options, as you will need to find someone in your immediate area, and the therapists closest to you might not engage the particular modality you're hoping to use.

Conversely, meeting with a therapist online affords you the ability to meet on your schedule, in the comfort of your home. You may be more comfortable divulging honestly and fully with your therapist in your home, via live chat, rather than in the standard office setting. This can speed the development of your treatment plan, as your therapist may not have to spend additional time trying to tease out the entirety of your symptoms and needs.

This form of online therapy can also be more cost effective, as you and your therapist are not required to spend money on gas, or a physical space, which can be costly. Online therapy also allows you to feel more in control of your own treatment and safety; if you find, for instance, that you are not connecting with your therapist, you can seek another, without the trouble of explaining to the therapist or office manager that you'll need to cancel your appointments. Instead, the matter can be taken care of with a quick email.

Online therapy can be amazing for people who suffer from all manner of anxiety disorders, as even leaving the house can prove almost impossible when anxiety is running rampant. Selecting and seeing a psychiatrist online can mitigate much of the fear and anxiety associated with seeking professional help, and can provide you with peace of mind as you move forward with treatment. To begin your search, search online for therapists who specialize in whatever you’re seeking support with.

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What to Look for When Choosing an Online Psychiatrist

When choosing the best online psychiatrist for you, you want to find one that has years of experience in the field. An online psychiatrist that doesn't have this may not understand your particular issues, or they could improperly treat mental disorders.

Typically, when looking for an online psychiatrist, one who knows the diagnosis and treatment of many mental disorders will help you best. Generally, like a primary care doctor, they will have years of experience, have completed residency training in some form or another, and have been approved by the psychiatric association in the area they're practicing in.

Residency training is where they actually work hands-on in the field, and these psychiatrists work with a wide range of mental illnesses in order to gain experience. They are known for working with patients from all different backgrounds in order to understand and handle a variety of mental illnesses.

You also want someone who is on call that can help with emergency psychiatry, in case you experience bad side effects to medications, or you notice you're struggling with an episode.

How Available Should My Psychiatrist Be?

Typically, online psychiatrists are available day and night to help you with any problems, and typically, it's important to find one who can help you with problems both during hours, and after hours. The best online therapy is not a chat room, but you should feel like you have access to your therapist when you need them.

If you can't get a hold of your therapist, you should contact emergency services to help with the issue, especially if it's potentially life-threatening. If your issue is an emergency, those psychiatrists that have years of experience will be able to help you through any problems you might have, and troubles you might possess.

But Isn't It Better to Go To an Office?

For some people, it may be, but it isn't always possible. While visiting a clinical practice might give you a more direct experience, with the hustle and bustle of today's world, it may not be possible.

Online psychiatrists can handle a full range of mental disorders, improving your mental state, by providing therapy via video sessions, live chat, and audio messaging.

Psychiatrists work with you and your schedule if you're looking for online therapy to treat mental conditions. For adolescents, accessing teen counseling online can be a life saver, as working with busy schedules can make scheduling difficult. Some say going to private practices might be better, but they also are much more expensive compared to online psychiatrists. If you're being mindful of spending and need help right away, then online therapy is a wonderful way to get assistance for a variety of mental disorders.

The Many Ways to Try Online Psychiatry

What makes online psychiatry, and online mental health care so effective, is that there are many ways to get help.
Here are a few of them.

Email

Being able to email online psychiatrists about your problems has its benefits. Email is quite versatile. Every smartphone, tablet, computer, or other device has some form of email. While the tone of your voice can be lost to email, you can formulate and edit your thoughts before sending, which is convenient for people who feel socially awkward.

A Mobile App

Almost everyone has a smartphone, and while smartphones come with their own concerns about mental health, they can be used to your advantage. One way is through a mobile app, like BetterHelp’s, or LiveHealth Online’s. A mobile app centered around online therapy, psychiatry, or other related services is discreet, with all your data protected with privacy and confidentiality, and it allows you to talk to a psychiatrist any time you want. A mobile app centered around online therapy is free to download in most cases.

A Video Conference

Many people prefer in-person therapy because it allows for a face-to-face conversation. We do understand that aspect, and luckily, you can chat (video sessions) with a therapist through video chat or using a private phone number. As long as your signal/internet service works well, video conferencing can fulfill the need for a face-to-face experience quite well.

Online Consultations

Many online psychiatrists provide online consultations. An online consultation offers access to psychotherapy and may help you break the ice and decide if a psychiatrist is for you.

With traditional psychiatrists or mental healthcare providers, consultations can be a hassle. You have to find the mental health clinics or private practices they work at, then drive there. Then, you may not like the psychiatrist. Online consultations make it much easier, and they can allow you to get to your point much faster.

What Health Care Services Can Online Psychiatry Give You?

Figuring out which health care services psychiatric care gives can help you decide if psychiatric care is right for you. Just like other mental health care providers, you can get quite a few services.

Medicine

Psychiatrists are known to prescribe medicine. In fact, their reputation is a bit infamous. Like some primary care doctors, psychiatrists have been written off by some as pill pushers for people with mental health issues. However, a good online psychiatrist uses the medicine as a way to manage your problems while you work on other ways to cope with them. Due to federal regulations, an online psychiatrist cannot prescribe medications that are classified as "controlled substances" under federal law.

When considering face-to-face psychiatry, medical school may teach a psychiatrist or primary care physician to prescribe only when necessary and to monitor the patient. A psychiatrist keeps the knowledge they've learned at the school of medicine handy, and they will change the medicine if needed, and help you taper off it. Remember that those psychiatrists that can prescribe medications know what they're doing, and they pick a medicine that will help you based on the diagnosis and treatment necessary.

Online mental health medication management and therapy is not intended to be a substitute in emergency situations. If you or a loved one is experiencing a life-threatening situation, call your local emergency services or contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24-hours a day at 1-800-273-8255.

Testing and Evaluation

An online psychiatrist can help you with psychological testing. You may be seeking therapy services for teens, psychotherapy services, sex therapy, or another type of mental health support. Sometimes, you may know you have a mental illness, but don't know which mental illness it is. Is it attention deficit disorder? A personality disorder? One of the many mood disorders? A psychiatrist helps you find which one it is so you can live a better life.

Behavioral Therapy Techniques

In addition, video sessions with an online psychiatrist may do more than just prescribe medications and evaluate you. Some therapists may teach you various ways to help yourself mentally. One example is cognitive behavioral therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, involves training your mind and allowing yourself to avoid any self-defeating thoughts or actions that can cause you distress or make your anxiety, depression, or other mental health problems worse.

CBT can be self-applied, but a professional often knows many different ways to apply CBT. Anyone can learn it while working with a professional, so if you think you can't, that's definitely not the case.

Finding an Online Psychiatrist

You may wonder how you can find the best psychiatrist. Here's how you can find a psychiatrist to help.

They Need to Be Qualified

A psychiatrist is something that few people can truly call themselves. A psychiatrist has spent many years training in psychiatry to get where they are today. Here's how you can know how a psychiatrist is qualified:

  • They're a member of the American Psychiatric Association. There are over 37 thousand members of the American Psychiatric Association, so your online psychiatrist may be a part of that. They may also be part of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. The American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology is not for profit and teaches people about psychiatry and its benefits.
  • They have a medical degree. Ask a psychiatrist for their medical degree to prove their qualifications.

Finding One Near You

While online psychiatry is good, sometimes you may need to find the best online psychiatrists near you. How can you find psychiatrists that can help? Here are a few ways you can find a psychiatrist who is near the area.

  • Ask your doctor. Medical doctors, such as your primary care doctor and even urgent care ones, tend to know psychiatrists who may be able to help you. Other examples of medical doctors in this context include your general practitioner, a child and adolescent doctor, a doctor in clinical psychology, and much more. Talking to a primary care physician near you can help.
  • If you know someone who goes to a psychiatrist and likes to talk about it, they may be able to recommend a good psychiatrist they see. Of course, they may not want to talk about it. Psychiatry tends to be a sensitive issue, so handle it with care.
  • Talk to other medical professionals for recommendations, for example, nurse practitioners. Nurse practitioners may know someone who can help you. A nurse practitioner is excellent in the field of both medicine and psychiatry. A nurse practitioner may assist in interpreting the results of a test. A nurse practitioner can help with treatment plans, too.

What Age Groups Do Online Psychiatrists Cover?

Online psychiatry works with various age people of all ages and all sorts of health systems. There is a psychiatrist online suitable for all age groups. Let's look at a few of them.

Child and Adolescent

A child/adolescent psychiatrist can help those in their younger years cope with life. There is an online child/adolescent psychiatrist who can help your child with any problems they may have. Today, there are psychiatrists working with children all around the world. Children are always on their tablets, so a child/adolescent psychiatrist working with children is not unheard of.

They can work with teens as well. Teens have smartphones, and are quite prone to mental illness, so an online child/adolescent psychiatrist could be just what the doctor ordered. When it comes to teens, online therapy may help a teen express themselves in creative ways, such as art therapy. If you want your child to get better, talk to a child/adolescent psychiatrist today. Teen Counseling, included in the BetterHelp platform, is best for teens to access therapy online.

Child and adolescent psychiatry can also help with a variety of mental disorders that affect both adults and children. For example, with child and adolescent psychiatry, mental health professionals can work to tackle the emotional difficulties a child is going through, especially if it involves loss, or a sudden change.

They also offer a variety of medical treatments for pretty much any condition, and they, along with a primary care physician, can really help get your child on the right pathway. Some look down on psychiatrists because they're given a bad name, but if your child is struggling, then you should have them see someone.

Elderly

Online psychiatrists who work with elderly patients are called geriatric psychiatrists. In the later years, there are many problems one may face, and a geriatric psychiatrist can specialize in helping the elderly. From Alzheimer's Disease to a brain injury, your older loved ones can get the help they need.

Geriatric psychiatry can help those who are older that are struggling with various mental disorders that are plaguing them. Elderly people experience mental health conditions, especially as they lose their friends and loved ones. But, board-certified psychiatrists from the American psychiatric association can help keep you mentally sound even as you get older.

Geriatric psychiatry is good for older people, because sometimes, with the breakdown of the body, you start to reduce the production of SSRIs, and a psychiatrist can offer treatment for many mental health conditions that are out there. Oftentimes, those with years of experience can help the elderly with different mental health disorders, and there are many forms of therapy that the elderly can seek out.

Anyone

Online psychiatrists also help anyone in-between. Young adult, adult, or middle-aged, it doesn't matter. No one is too young or too old to get online help. Online therapy can be best for couples who are on different schedules and can’t get to the same physical location for appointments, too. If you need an online psychiatrist, talk to one today and see if one can benefit you.

Do Online Psychiatrists Accept Insurance?

Getting Started

Getting started with a BetterHelp.com therapist is simple; all you need is an internet-ready device (computers, smartphones, and tablets are all acceptable tools), a reliable internet connection, and a private space to meet, where you feel comfortable talking. Selecting a therapist is simple: you'll be asked to fill out a multiple-choice questionnaire to help match you to a therapist who would most effectively meet your needs, then you'll create a profile.

The questionnaire takes less than five minutes to complete. If, for some reason, you are not satisfied with your match(es), you can request a change. After all, the goal is to optimize your mental health and get the help you need.

Online therapy might be relatively new to the therapeutic scene, but it is enormously beneficial to people seeking therapy who do not have the means or the ability to engage in typical face-to-face therapeutic settings. Being able to find therapy online brings the power of mental health treatment to people across the world and can get you started on the road to mental health today.

If you're still wondering if online therapy is right for you, please contact us at contact@betterhelp.com or check us out online at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest & Tumblr.

What are some other mental health resources? Here are other mental health resources online:

NAMI Facebook

NAMI Twitter

NAMI YouTube

Suicide Prevention Lifeline Facebook

Suicide Prevention Lifeline Twitter

SAMHSA Facebook

SAMHSA Twitter

SAMHSA YouTube

National Domestic Hotline YouTube

RAINN YouTube

If you need a crisis hotline, please see below:

RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network) - 1-800-656-4673

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline - 1-800-273-8255

National Domestic Violence Hotline - 1-800-799-7233

NAMI Helpline (National Alliance on Mental Illness) - 1-800-950-6264

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)

To view all of our frequently asked questions, please visit our FAQs page. To view or full privacy policy, contact us at Contact@BetterHelp.com, or visit our privacy policy page.

Can online psychiatrists prescribe medication?

Your online psychiatrist can provide psychotherapy and psychological support. While a selected few providers can prescribe psychiatric medication online, this is currently the exception and not the rule. Board-certified psychiatrists will provide patients who need medication management with the appropriate resources and referral via offline partnerships. Due to federal regulation of controlled substances, online psychiatrists cannot prescribe medications that are classified as "controlled substances" under federal law. Your psychiatrist picks best-trust their judgement on medications.

Controlled substances, such as psychiatric medications used to treat ADHD, anxiety, and sleep disorders, must be prescribed and obtained in-person, much like how primary care and other doctors are responsible for controlled substances that are used to treat pain because there is a potential for abuse.

Is there an online psychiatrist?

Yes! There are psychiatrists available online that provide diagnosis and treatment services for anxiety disorders, substance abuse, hyperactivity disorder, mood disorders and other general psychiatry related diagnosis.

How much does it cost to see a psychiatrist?

Session costs with a board-certified psychiatrist will vary based on your condition and individual treatment plan. Online sessions with board-certified psychiatrists are generally less expensive than private practice in-office visits. Depending on your insurance, if you have insurance, the session cost may be fully or partially covered.

Do psychiatrists prescribe medication for first visit?

In an effort to mitigate the effects of anxiety disorders, your potential psychiatrist may prescribe medication for anxiety-related conditions like obsessive-compulsive disorder. During your initial session, the psychiatrist may prescribe medication at your first visit, or they may request that you attend a few sessions where you communicate with the therapist about your history and needs to determine if medication management is the best route to take.

What can psychiatrists prescribe?

Psychiatrists and primary care physicians have undergone extensive training in psychosomatic medicine to complete medical school. After completing psychiatric residency, a certified psychiatrist can prescribe medications to treat symptoms of -post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, and general psychiatry related medications. An attending psychiatrist can also provide sleep medicine services for aggravated issues.

Is a psychologist or psychiatrist better for anxiety?

If you're looking for a provider to manage your anxiety, it is important that you find the right psychiatrist (or psychologist) based on your individual needs. A board-certified psychiatrist has undergone advanced psychopharmacology training and can prescribe medicine to alleviate the symptoms of anxiety, depression, and other anxiety-related disorders. A psychologist can provide talk-therapy sessions, but generally no medication management, and may still refer you to a primary care physician or psychiatrist in private practice for medication management or sleep medicine services. As mentioned above, medications tend to mask symptoms, while talk therapy directly deals with the underlying cause of the symptoms. For example, some medication may take away the physical symptoms of anxiety, but those symptoms tend to return if you're not taking medication. Talk therapy, on the other hand, looks at the causes of your anxiety (such as past trauma or abuse), and heals you with regard to those causes so that you stop experiencing anxiety symptoms.

What does a psychiatrist do for anxiety?

A certified psychiatrist has undergone extensive training and learned advanced psychopharmacology methods along with specialized treatments for child and adolescent psychiatry and managing sleep disorders. This combined knowledge helps you find the right psychiatrist who can provide talk therapy and medication management for mitigating the symptoms of anxiety.

Do I need a therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist?

This is one of the most common questions that many new patients have. Whether you're visiting your neighborhood medical center for neighborhood psychiatry services with a board-certified psychiatrist or attending a private practice session for in-person therapy, this choice is ultimately up to you.

The main difference between a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst is the ability to prescribe medication. An attending psychiatrist is licensed to prescribe medication whereas a psychologist is not. However, most people who struggle with mental health concerns benefit from a combination of both talk therapy and medication. If you’re still wondering if therapy is right for you, and how much therapy costs, please contact us at contact@betterhelp.com.

Do I need a referral to see an online psychiatrist?

You may need a referral to see a psychiatrist in private practice. You can bypass the private practice wait by scheduling a session with a psychiatrist certified by the World Psychiatric Association online.

BetterHelp.com offers a free service online that can help you find the right psychiatrist to meet your needs. Many online therapists are certified by the Academy of Addiction Psychiatry and specialize in treatment for substance abuse.

Is an online psychiatrist a real doctor?

This is another question that many new patients have. Psychiatrists who practice online, in private practice settings and medical centers have undergone psychiatry training that qualifies them to practice medicine online and offline. They are healthcare professionals and specialists who have the same qualifications (a medical degree) as the primary care physician or local urgent care provider that you trust.

Psychiatrists are skilled at providing treatment and medication management for a variety of mental health related disorders like bi-polar disorders, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, child and adolescent psychiatry, and substance abuse. Your mental health professional picks best, so you can feel comfortable with the treatment plan and medication that they recommend.

How long does it take to get a psychiatrist appointment?

This time frame can vary depending on the route you take to get treatment. You have the option to schedule an appointment with a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst via the following avenues: private practice, in-person neighborhood psychiatry medical center visits, online medical center visits, and emergency psychiatry. Getting treatment online is likely going to be a faster route to relief than participating in neighborhood psychiatry visits which may have long wait times, and with an online counselor, you’re able to schedule appointments weekly depending on your availability.

Can controlled substances be prescribed online?

There are a lot of things that your primary care physician and psychiatrists provide online now. And, if you don’t have a primary care physician, you can even find an online primary care doctor through services like LiveHealth Online (rights reserved). However, when it comes to getting a prescription, online options are slightly limited.

You cannot receive a prescription online for controlled substances. These controlled substances have a higher likelihood of being abused so they are monitored more closely than some other forms of psychiatric medication. If you need a prescription for controlled substances, you’ll need to meet with your primary care doctor or psychiatrist in person.

You will most likely find that you cannot receive a controlled substance prescription for mental health challenges from an urgent care doctor. They require close monitoring which can require you to work with your own primary care doctor and highly-trained psychiatrists.

Can a psychiatrist prescribe medication online?

Psychiatrists who practice online, in private practice settings and medical centers have undergone psychiatry training that qualifies them to practice medicine online and offline. They are healthcare professionals and specialists who have the same qualifications (a medical degree) as the primary care physician or local urgent care provider that you trust.

Can a psychiatrist prescribe me medication if I’m breastfeeding?

Many medications pass through breast milk. However, this isn’t a reason why you should stop yourself from seeking all possible treatment options. A psychiatrist can help you identify possible medications that could work for you. If you’re struggling with nursing your baby as a result of mental health challenges, you may benefit from getting breastfeeding support along with talking to a psychiatrist. Your primary care physician, OB/GYN or pediatrician can make recommendations for a lactation consultant or breastfeeding support group.

How can I get a prescription without seeing a doctor?

In the United States, there are now many options for receiving prescription medication without having to head to your primary care physician’s office. However, in order to have a prescription written for you, you’ll need to have some form of consultation with a medical professional that’s able to prescribe medication. This includes medical professionals such as your primary care physician or a psychiatrist.

The good news is that unless you’re looking for a prescription for a controlled substance, there are plenty of options for getting a prescription without having to see a doctor in person. Your own primary care doctor may provide telehealth services, such as live sessions, that you can use. There are also some health insurance companies that provide online access to doctors through companies such as LiveHealth Online (rights reserved).

If you’re looking for online therapy, online psychiatrists may be able to provide you with a prescription online. However, it’s important to remember that therapists and psychiatrists are different. Many online therapists are psychologists, who can provide psychotherapy, but are not able to prescribe psychiatric medication. Much like primary care doctors, psychiatrists are required to attend a school of medicine to earn their doctorate. Because of this, they are medical doctors. While they are able to provide other forms of treatment like therapy, many choose to stick to the medical side of mental health. It’s important to note that many psychologists also hold doctorate degrees. As mentioned earlier, there is strong evidence that seeking treatment through a psychologist (otherwise known as “talk therapy”) can bring immense benefits, and reduce many mental health symptoms. Sometimes people prefer a combination of medication and talk therapy too.

If you’re tempted to head into urgent care instead of seeing your primary care doctor for mental health issues, you may find that they won’t provide you with a prescription but instead encourage you to make a follow-up visit with your regular doctor. However, if your mental health issue is an emergency, you can go right to the hospital to seek treatment. Because they are open 24 hours a day, it could be your best option at certain times.

How much does it cost to see a psychiatrist without insurance?

The cost of seeing a psychiatrist without insurance varies based on the psychiatrist and where you’re located. It can cost up to around $400 for an initial consultation and close to $100 for a follow up visit. You may be tempted to save your money by skipping the follow up visit, but they play an important role in making sure that you have the right medication and dosage.

There are options that can help you save money. For example, if you are interested in seeing a psychiatrist about your psychiatric medications, you may be able to meet with your primary care doctor instead. You may have better coverage from your insurance going this route. There are plenty of companies that offer access to health services online such as LiveHealth Online. This is basically finding a primary care doctor through an online platform.

If you’re interested in finding online therapy, online therapy may be a good solution for you if you aren’t in need of psychiatric medication. While an online therapist may not have attended a school of medicine in order to write prescriptions, they are able to help you through other forms of treatment. This includes treating mental health challenges such as anxiety disorder, depression, stress, and relationship troubles.

If you think that you’ll save a little money by seeing an urgent care doctor for medication instead of a psychiatrist, it’s not likely that it will work for you. They are more likely to encourage you to follow up with your primary care doctor.

Why is it so expensive to see a psychiatrist?

Psychiatrists are highly trained medical doctors who have attended medical school, similar to your primary care physician. They are able to write prescriptions for psychiatric medication, such as anxiety medication. This is one of the reasons why it can be more expensive to see a psychiatrist instead of a therapist such as a psychologist or social worker. While they can provide therapy, psychiatry often has a specialized focus.

You may be able to save money by working with your primary care physician for medication and finding an option for counseling online such as BetterHelp. Or you may be able to find a more affordable way to meet with a psychiatrist through a service like BetterHelp or LiveHealth Online.


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