Whether you’re dealing with lingering depression or anxiety that’s disrupting your life, you may be thinking about seeing a psychiatrist. If you’re worried about symptoms of mental illness, talking to a psychiatrist is a great way to address your concerns. Today on the blog, we’ll guide you through the process of finding a psychiatrist – without waiting months for an appointment.
What Do Psychiatrists Do?
Whether you’re dealing with lingering depression or anxiety that’s disrupting your life, you may be thinking about finding a psychiatrist. If you’re worried about symptoms of mental illness, talking to a psychiatrist is a great way to address your concerns. Today on the blog, we’ll guide you through the process of finding a psychiatrist – without waiting months for an appointment.
The American Psychiatric Association defines psychiatry as “the branch of medicine focused on the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders.” Most often, psychiatry is associated with the prescription of psychoactive medications to alleviate mental health disorders.
These services can be provided by board-certified psychiatrists with M.D. or D.O. credentials. However, they are not the only professionals who deal with prescriptions. Psychiatric and mental health nurse practitioners are also fully qualified to assess patient needs and prescribe accordingly. Other individuals approved to administer psychiatric drugs include psychiatric pharmacists, family nurse practitioners, and primary care physicians. It is important to note that approved professionals vary on a state-by-state basis.
Regardless of your provider’s credentials, you can probably expect your initial meeting to look a certain way. Here’s what your intake appointment may look like:
- Upon arrival, you will complete some paperwork about your personal history and reason for seeking care.
- Your psychiatrist will ask for information about your medical history, your family’s history of mental illness, and a list of medications you have tried in the past (if any).
- You will explain your symptoms and concerns to your provider.
- They may ask you questions about what you hope to get out of treatment, what you’ve tried before, and your current lifestyle. Answer honestly – alcohol or drug use would interfere with psychiatric medications.
- If needed, your provider may refer you to a psychotherapist for further assessment and concurrent treatment.
- Your psychiatrist will present you with options for medications that may be helpful, along with any additional tests they recommend. Sometimes, running labs can identify other causes of your symptoms. For example, vitamin deficiencies may cause fatigue and low mood.
Why You Might Need to See a Psychiatrist
Before hunting for the right psychiatrist it’s best to understand why you may need one in the first place. There are several reasons why a person may need to speak to someone or pursue speaking to a psychiatrist. Some reasons for finding a psychiatrist may include:
- You are struggling with a mental condition – Those diagnosed with mental health conditions often use therapy as a part of their recovery/treatment.
- Drug and alcohol use – Speaking to a psychiatrist has been proven to help those dealing with drug and alcohol addictions; it’s typically used during recovery treatment.
- Feeling the need to speak with someone – Sometimes opening up to a
- You have been referred by your doctor
When to See a Psychiatrist
Many people put off seeking mental health care for a very long time. They may believe that they’ll pull themselves up by their bootstraps and “get over it.” They might also be worried about what others will think – indeed, stigma is a major obstacle to conquer for many people. However, if certain symptoms begin to arise, it is necessary to seek professional help. Here are the signs that it’s time to see a psychiatrist, therapist, or counselor.
- You feel sad, dejected, or hopeless most of the time.
- Your anxiety levels are so high that you cannot do the things you want to.
- You’re struggling to make it through each day.
- You’ve become isolated from friends and family members.
- You can’t stop obsessing over certain thoughts and feelings.
- You are so reliant on having things “just so” that you cannot function normally.
- You suspect that you may have an undiagnosed mental illness.
- You’re unable to pay attention in class or at work.
- You frequently experience emotional outbursts in inappropriate settings.
- You have developed irrational, strong beliefs that aren’t based in reality.
- You are preoccupied with thoughts of death or suicide.
- You cannot meet your obligations.
- You have become dependent on drugs or alcohol.
- You can’t sleep (or you’re sleeping all the time).
- You’re seeing or hearing things that aren’t there.
- Others have expressed concern about your mental health or safety.
- If any of these symptoms represent something you have experienced, rest assured that help is available.
How to Find a Psychiatrist
The most challenging part of finding help is admitting that you need it. From there, it’s a matter of logistics. Here is how to find a psychiatrist who can help with your mental health concerns.
Ask for a Referral
Many people begin this process by speaking with their primary care physician. Your doctor can connect you with a local psychiatrist who is well-known and trusted. Speaking with your provider before seeking mental health care can also ensure that you are paired with a psychiatrist who works with your specific area of concern.
Check Your Insurance Coverage
Note: If you’re unable to visit your doctor, you can always talk to friends or family members. They may have worked with mental health providers that they would recommend for you.
Thanks to recent advances in parity law, most health insurance plans include some degree of coverage for psychiatric services. Be sure to read your statement of benefits thoroughly to understand what is (and isn’t) included in your plan. Remember that while many private practices do not accept insurance, payment options are available. Even if a treatment provider is not in your network, you can still submit claims to your insurer for out-of-network coverage. Speak to your psychiatrist about this before committing to a long-term program of care.
Schedule and Attend an Intake Session
Once you’ve found some final candidates, arrange a time to meet. Your initial session will be a bit longer than most meetings. This is because, as mentioned above, there’s quite a bit to go over. Your provider will want detailed information about your symptoms and medical history before they prescribe any medication.
This time can also be a great opportunity to get to know your psychiatrist. During your intake session, make a note of whether you get along with your provider, agree with their statements, and feel like they understand what you’re saying. This information can help you to select your psychiatrist.
With many resources available online, it’s important to know how to find a psychiatrist – more importantly, the right one. With local and abroad psychiatrists, there are many different options and resources available. It’s important to do your research first before jumping straight into a session. There are several different aspects of a psychiatrist you should keep in mind when trying to find the right one for you.
It can take some time to find the best psychiatrist for you! Don’t be discouraged if you have to call multiple centers or talk to your insurance provider more than once. Remember that your efforts will be worth it once you find your partner in mental wellness. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, contact a center with multiple treatment providers on staff. They can match you with a psychiatric professional that specializes in your area of concern.
Finding the Right Psychiatrist for You
When figuring out how to find a psychiatrist, it’s important to look at several factors. Everyone’s case is different and sometimes it takes certain qualities to get the right match. A few factors to look out for when finding a psychiatrist include:
- Consider your options – You can meet with a different psychiatrist before committing.
- Consider location – Keep location in mind when weighing out psychiatrists.
- Consider experience and expertise – It is best to look out for psychiatrists who have extensive experience in certain conditions if they pertain to your case.
- Look into reviews – While reviews aren’t always accurate, they can be great indicators of who’s recommended in the field.
- Consider telehealth options – Telehealth and online sessions can be a great option in some cases.
- Look into what your insurance covers – Insurance coverage should also be taken into account when finding a psychiatrist.
- Consider your own preferences – It’s recommended to make a list of what you are looking for in a psychiatrist and stick to it when researching.
Walk-In Psychiatrist Clinic
Many people seeking mental health care find themselves waiting weeks (or months) for an intake appointment. If you need help right now, there is a new option in the Los Angeles area. MindMD has brought walk-in wellness services to Beverly Hills, CA. Our expert clinicians offer medication management services for those who need to refill their prescriptions at a moment’s notice.
We also provide various holistic therapies – including yoga classes and one-on-one counseling sessions – to address all aspects of your mental and physical well-being. To learn more about MindMD, give us a call today!