Psychiatric, Health & Wellness


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Frequently Asked Questions

Why do people seek Mental Health Services?
People often seek Mental Health services when they experience difficulties and/or challenges in their life. Examples:  Marital and/or relationship difficulities, family problems , child or parenting difficulities, work stress, chronic health problems, financial stress or social challenges to name a few. 

What are common reasons that often prevent people from seeking Mental Health services?
Fear, shame, embarrassment, social stigma

What kinds of problems do Mental Health Specialists treat?
Depression, Anxiety, ADD/ADHD, Panic Disorders, Obsessive Compulsive Disorders, Personality Disorders, Bipolar, Schizophrenia, Autism, Grief, Eating Disorders and many, many others.

I feel overwhelmed, lost, depressed, anxious- Where do I begin?
A Psychiatric Evaluation and Assessment with a Qualified Professional in the field of Mental Health.

Psychiatrist, Psychologist, Psychotherapist, Physician, Nurse Practitioner degrees and initials can be very difficult to understand all the different titles and roles.  How do I know where to start or who to schedule an appointment with?

Any of the above Mental Health Professionals can provide a brief assessment of your situation and direct you to appropriate resources for assistance. However, each Mental Health Professional often specialize in specific areas.

Psychiatrists (MD) and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioners (PMHNP) are qualified to diagnose treat and prescribe medication and administer psychotherapy/counseling for Mental Health Disorders.

Psychologists (PhD, Psy.D) are qualified to administer psychological testing, psychotherapy/counseling

Psychotherapists (MA, MS, LSW, LCSW) are qualified to administer psychotherapy/counseling

Physicians (MD)/Primary Care Nurse Practitioners (FNP, ANP) are often qualified to administer a Mental Health Assessment in a Primary Care Setting. With the nationwide shortage of Psychiatric Professionals, MD's and NP's in the Primary Care Setting are beginning to treat common Mental Health disorders (Anxiety, Depression, ADD/ADHD) however, many providers often refer patients to a Psychiatrists or Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner for more complex disorders (Major Depression, Bipolar, Personality Disorders, Schizophrenia, etc.) or after a treatment/s regime has failed.

DISCLAIMER: The above list is not meant to encompass ALL Psychiatric/Psychology/Mental Health Professionals. It is provided for better understanding of the qualification and role of the Mental Health Professional to assist the patient in making an informed decision.
Licensing, Certification, Credentialing, Education and Experience differ among professions as well as state by state requirements and statues.

I am fearful of taking medication- I don't want to feel like a "zombie or drugged up." Is it common for medications to make people feel this way?
No. The goal of psychopharmacological management (prescribing Mental Health Medications) is to maximize results and minimize side effects. There are no guarantees with patient response to medication nor avoiding side effects. However, if the correct medication is prescribed at the correct dose, route and frequency, patients often experience a pleasant relief of symptoms. Your health care provider will discuss benefits and risks of treatment options including taking (or not taking) medication.

As a patient, what are some things I can do to maximize my response to treatment and medication?
1. Seek professional assistance before symptoms become severe
2. Come prepared to your initial visit. Provide a list of past and/or current medications (ALL medications including Medical and Mental Health). Provide names of medications, dose, duration and response.
(If you have difficulty recalling names, doses etc. your pharmacy can often provide you a copy)
3. Be compliant with all follow-up appointments. Consistent, routine assessments are critical in medication/treatment management and treatment outcomes.
4. Communicate with your Psychiatric Health Care Provider of any medication fears or concerns: Side effects, undesired effects (lack of sexual desire or performance), difficulty swallowing pills, cost, prior medication experience, etc.
(If you have questions about your medications, ask your Mental Health Provider-NOT the internet)
5. Complete all necessary medication forms from your Psychiatric Health Care Provider. The more information you provide (past medication response, family members response to psychiatric medications, monotherapy (one medication at a time) or two or more medications prescribed at the same time).
6. Keep a journal of all medications (names, doses, dates, side effects, response, etc.).
7. Avoid altering your medication/s in any way (increase, decrease, discontinue, etc) without your Psychiatric Health Care Provider's advice and supervision. Many medications can have very uncomfortable side effects/withdrawal symptoms and some can even cause life-threatening complications.

(Always seek your pharmacist's/providers advise before taking any OTC (over-the-counter) medication (cough, flu, vitamins, supplements, herbs, etc. to avoid drug-to-drug interactions).

8. Assume responsibility in communicating ALL medications taken with both your Primary Care Health Care Provider and your Psychiatric Mental Health Care Provider.

I have often heard it takes a long time (6 weeks or more) for my mental health medication to provide relief of symptoms, is this true?
Medication response is different for all patients. Patients absorb and metabolize medications differently depending on many factors (age, weight, health condition, diet, alcohol/nicotine usage, pregnancy, genetics, etc.)

Other influential factors: Time between initiation of medication and onset of symptoms, prior medication trials, and compliance. "Typically" many patients can begin to respond to medication in 2-3 weeks however, it often takes 4-6 weeks before the medication reaches a therapeutic level of response.

Different classifications of medications have different response times (example -ADHD medication response can often be days as oppose to antidepressant medication can be a few weeks).

How long does treatment usually last?
There is no specific answer for this question. Treatment depends on many variables: Type and severity of disorder (example- mild or severe depression, depression vs bipolar, etc.), current stressors, support systems, religious beliefs, compliance, therapy approach (therapy type of modality, consistency, duration.), coping skills.

Depression (not all types) and Anxiety research support treatment to continue for typically 9 months -1 year. Bipolar Disorder is often much longer as the treatment for some mood disorders can be life-long.

ADD/ADHD tends to be life-long-varying in degree of symptoms and depending on educational and career choices

Schizophrenia is a life-long disorder in controlling and managing symptoms.

Does therapy/counseling really help that much?
Absolutely! Research studies clearly support combining psychotherapy with medication produces better treatment outcomes.

How is a therapist able to help me?
There are many different types of therapist and each therapist often uses different types of a therapy modality (CBT, DBT, EMDR, etc.). However, most all therapist are qualified to provide a patient with supportive therapy as well as assisting them in implementing healthier coping skills. Therapists are very important in the patient's treatment team.

How do I know if a therapist is right for me?
Having a "Therapeutic Relationship" between you and your therapist is very important to your overall treatment outcome, goals and expectations.
A healthy therapeutic relationship has the following characteristics:

Genuine, acceptance, empathetic, trustworthy, dependable and shared agreement of goals

(Source: Dr. Carl Rogers)

I am fearful about feeling judged if I share things about myself I am not necessarily proud of. Is it common for people to feel this way?
Yes, patients often report they fear "being judged" about their behavior or current circumstances. Although this fear is quite common among patients, it rarely happens (at least rarely reported by patients). Therapists are trained to work with many different types of problems, situations and people. Honesty and transparency assist in building a healthy, therapeutic patient/therapist relationship.

I am fearful about putting my child on medication however, they are struggling in school with their grades and/or having behavior problems. What resources are available to assist me in helping my child?
Make an appointment with a Psychiatric Professional who specialize in treating children. A Psychiatric assessment and evaluation will be completed and treatment options will be discussed. If medications are recommended, benefits and risks will be discussed. Psychological Testing may be recommended if more information is needed to formulate a definitive diagnosis.

DISCLAIMER: The following information is not intended to diagnose or recommend any specific treatment. The information is only intended to provide possible resources and assistance for patients/parents to make an informed decision.

If an adult or child is exhibiting any self-harm thoughts, behaviors or intent of harm, they should seek immediate assistance- call 911 or go to the nearest Emergency Room (ER).