Which Mental Health Professional Should I See?
When you’re dealing with a mental health condition, it can be difficult to know which type of professional you should see. You may feel like you’re walking around a foreign country without a map or guide.
It’s important to find the right person for you. That starts with calling a few prospective providers and asking a few questions.
If you have a mental health condition and your symptoms are interfering with your daily life, it’s important to seek professional help. You can see a psychiatrist, who specializes in treating mental health conditions, to determine the cause and get on the right track toward recovery.
Psychiatrists are primary mental health physicians who focus on the diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of mental disorders. They use a combination of psychological and medical techniques to diagnose and treat patients.
A psychiatrist will begin care by evaluating your symptoms, medical history and personal and family history. They may also conduct a physical exam and brain imaging to rule out medical problems that can cause psychiatric disorders. After establishing the presence of a psychiatric disorder, they will prescribe medication and psychotherapy to address the symptoms.
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
A psychiatric nurse practitioner is an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) with specialized training in a mental health specialty. They provide treatment for a wide range of mental-health disorders, including depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
They also assist patients with addictions, ADHD and other related conditions. These advanced-care nurses often work in primary care and community hospitals, as well as university nurse education centers, psychiatric clinics and private practices.
NPs in this field are in high demand. A national study found that 65% of mental health organizations faced supply-and-demand issues, and many had to turn away patients due to lack of staffing.
A psychiatric nurse practitioner can help alleviate these difficulties and increase access to mental health care. By combining their advanced nursing skills with psychotherapy methods and psychopharmacology, they can create holistic care plans that prioritize a dynamic level of patient education and professional support.
Getting help for mental health issues can be a challenging process. But it can also be a rewarding experience. Psychologists can be a great resource for anyone who is struggling with emotional issues or a life stressor.
Psychologists provide a wide variety of services, including counseling, psychotherapy, and medication. They use a variety of techniques, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and biofeedback, to help people improve their mental well-being.
They also conduct testing and assessments to identify the causes of mental health problems. These tests can evaluate intellectual skills, cognitive strengths and weaknesses, personality characteristics, and neuropsychological functioning.
Seeing a psychologist can help you understand your personal strengths and weaknesses, learn effective coping strategies, control challenging and impulsive behaviors, manage stress more effectively, improve sleep, increase happiness and life satisfaction, and improve relationships. Therapists offer a uniquely objective viewpoint that allows them to quickly pick up on any areas of your life that are holding you back and create concrete steps for change.
When you have a mental health issue, seeing a counselor can be a crucial step in getting the help you need. Counseling can help you work through difficult issues, find healthier ways to cope with your emotions and learn new strategies to handle stress.
A counselor may be a licensed psychologist, social worker, marriage and family therapist or psychiatric nurse. Their education, training and licensure depend on state law.
Your doctor can help you determine which mental health professional is best for you. They can also recommend mental health providers who specialize in specific conditions, such as eating disorders or anxiety.
Once you’ve found a few professionals who look like they’re a good fit, call them to ask questions. You should find out what their approach to therapy is, how often they see patients and whether or not they accept insurance.