A psychiatrist is a medical doctor (M.D. or D.O.) specializing in mental health. The psychiatrist assesses both the psychological and physical aspects of psychological problems.
And do I have to lay in a chair and talk? No. Meeting with a psychiatrist is often misrepresented on TV. Psychiatrist’s medical training includes the complex relationship between emotional, medical illnesses, and family history genetics to evaluate medical, neurological, and psychological data. They make a diagnosis and work with patients to develop a treatment plan.
A Psychiatrist is a medical doctor MD (completed medical school and residency) with additional years of training in psychiatry. A psychiatrist can prescribe medications and other medical treatments. A psychologist usually has an advanced degree, most commonly a doctorate (Ph.D.) in clinical psychology, and often has extensive research or clinical practice training. Psychologists treat mental and behavioral disorders with various types of talk therapy, and some specialize in psychological testing and evaluation. If you are interested in meeting with our psychologist or a counselor, request an appointment.
If you take medication for a mental health disorder, your Doctor, certified Physicians’ Assistant, or Nurse Practitioner would also provide medication management. While this may sound intimidating, it simply means creating a plan to determine the best medication and how to take it. Medication management may involve:
- Discussing your health needs, your treatment options, and the best medication
- Choosing a prescription based on potential benefits and side effects
- Determining the best starting dose and schedule for the medication
- Receiving education and information about the medicine, how it works, and what to expect
- Developing a treatment plan, including a trial period to observe the medication’s effectiveness and side effects
- Scheduling follow-up visits
- Creating a plan for changing the dose or tapering off the medication, if necessary
A psychiatric assessment is a series of tools and cognitive-motor activities used to diagnose problems with memory, thought processes, and behaviors. Diagnoses can include depression, attention deficit disorder (ADD), attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) schizophrenia, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and addiction. A psychiatric evaluation may consist of some of the following:
- Questions from the doctor based on what you tell them, what they see, your medical history, and what they read about your past treatment or injuries
- Filling out questionnaires or other forms about your family history, physical and mental health history, and lifestyle
- Taking cognitive tests, such as memory tests, can help find possible causes of your symptoms
- Develop a medication plan, referral to another provider for additional treatment, such as a therapist for talk therapy or a neuropsychiatrist for cognitive treatment.
The duration of a psychiatric evaluation varies from one person to another. The amount of information needed determines the amount of time the assessment takes. If this is the first time visiting a psychiatrist evaluation is typically 30 minutes.
Both psychologists and psychiatrists are capable of asking questions and administering tests to provide you with a diagnosis and a recommended treatment plan. The evaluation process and the recommendations have different purposes, outcomes, or intended use of the diagnosis.
- A psychiatric evaluation is used to arrive at a psychiatric medical diagnosis with a prescribed treatment plan that may include medication.
- A psychological evaluation is used to provide a snapshot of behavior, cognitive functioning, or mood by contrasting the individual results against a peer group. The recommendations can include counseling, talk therapy, school learning-skill adjustments, or a referral to a psychiatrist for medication.
Most medicines are not addictive. Only some medications come with a risk of addiction, and effective medication management addresses this concern. The patient and doctor find the right balance for the patient, monitoring progress over time.
Counseling can be helpful by allowing children to process their feelings and develop healthy coping skills to adapt to current stressors successfully. Additionally, parents can learn how to support their children outside of therapy to foster improvement in symptoms.
The frequency and duration of counseling are individual and based on the intensity of symptoms and underlying concerns. As the therapy progresses and symptoms improve, you might gradually reduce the frequency of sessions or until the child no longer needs counseling.