Psychiatry is the highest level in medical specialties for people with mental illness. Whether it’s any of the anxiety disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, phobia disorder, attention-deficit or hyperactivity disorder, autism, eating disorders, mood disorders, bipolar disorder, major depression disorder, personality disorders, chronic pain disorders, managing through disabilities, cognitive or behavioral disorders, psychiatrists work closely in concert with affected individuals to offer new opportunities for identifying triggers, understanding limitations and ultimately overcoming challenges.
At times of life crisis, social workers, psychologists and counselors may offer sufficient treatment to help ensure a quality of life. Yet, there are times in which a chemical imbalance or other factors may inhibit your ability to put quality life back into action. At the early onset, it may seem that daily life is not optimal and soon a mental disorder may affect your ability to manage tasks which may compromise your quality life.
Affecting 25% of the U.S. population, mental disorders may be unmanageable without the proactive assistance of a psychiatrist. Typically, the onset is by 14 years of age. However, the onset may become evident in earlier years or later years, even senior age related years. In fact, the onset may not become apparent until it is linked to a traumatic event or other medical conditions, such as, vascular dementia. Regardless, the right psychiatrist is able to properly diagnose your condition and treat your condition in such a way that you may lead a healthy, independent life once again.
In layman’s terms, there’s a relationship between genetics, brain circuit composition, biological processes and environmental factors that may all play a role in the outcome of your day-to-day life. The good news is that there are psychiatrists who are readily available to assist and may vastly improve your quality of life.
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While psychiatrists apply research in neuroscience, psychology, biology, chemistry, and pharmacology to their practice, each psychiatrist applies their own education which may include advanced diagnostic testing, psychotherapy, counseling, medications and/or advanced treatments to enhance your quality of life and the lives of those you love. Many of today’s psychiatrists simply prescribe medication based upon your symptoms, medical history, reports from your other physicians and interviews with family members. Other psychiatrists may also be psychotherapists, while more focus on other adjuncts and alternatives to first line treatment. Some psychiatrists work in concert with clinical psychologists or other types of therapeutic counselors who share similar philosophies when it comes to the requirement of ongoing support. At times, you may choose to consult with a clinical psychologist first who may then refer you to a psychiatrist.
Psychiatrists do receive core medical education training to earn their initial degree as a doctorate of medicine (M.D.). In addition, psychiatrists complete four more years of training through an accredited residency program designed to support clinical activities, medicine dispensing, and rehabilitative developmental goals. In order to be a board certified Psychiatrist, the physician must fulfill the board’s examination requirements. Some psychiatrists may also earn their PhD. and/or participate in continuing medical education courses to focus on sub-specialty areas, including:
- Sports Medicine: including: Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation and Spinal Cord Injury
- Pediatrics: such as Autism and Attention Deficit Disorder
- Neurology: including traumatic brain injury, Alzheimer’s and dementia
- Pain Medicine
- Age Related Disorders
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Depending upon your insurance, it may be difficult to obtain support for ongoing care unless you become educated about the avenues available to maximize your benefits and by entrusting treatment to the right mental health professionals.
Certain HMO plans may be very slow to approve ongoing therapeutic care and delayed care may result in a more severe condition. So, it’s wise to pursue treatment regardless of insurance constraints because the benefit of being able to lead a more productive life limits the risk of a greater or complete debilitation. Prompt care at the onset of warning signs can be financially rewarding as well, possibly lending the ability to enhance your professional life and to remain out of a hospital. Once a psychiatrist gets to know you well, you’ll likely not need to go as often for therapeutic visits. Yet, you may have the opportunity to call in on short notice to request an appointment if you experience early warning signs which may prevent a far more costly and time consuming hospitalization filled with downtime from life.
PPO plans tend to offer more flexible options. Yet, you still need to be aware about annual limits, the number of times you may receive therapy, the type of treatment you may receive, and what types of conditions are covered for treatment. For example, post-traumatic stress disorder may not offer an adequate number of therapeutic sessions when compared to the number of sessions allotted for people with personality disorders even though both conditions may be equally debilitating.
In the end, the important thing you can do yourself and your family is to be proactive about your care. Do you research. Be inquisitive when you select your mental health provider. In this way, you may have broader options to able ensure your select the right treatment at the right time for your situation.
It is important to recognize that there are benefits and risks associated with all medical procedures and medications. It is also important to recognize that all information contained on this website cannot be considered to be specific medical diagnosis, medical treatment, or medical advice. As always, you should consult with a physician regarding any medical condition.
Your Health Access disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.