People are quick to seek help for a physical medical issue. Unfortunately, however, seeking help for mental illness is not as common. Sometimes, it’s because individuals don’t understand psychiatry and mental health.
Furthermore, they don’t know the difference between a psychiatrist vs. therapist. So who do they see? And if a person doesn’t know where to go or who can help, how do they get help? If you are in the middle of a medical crisis, when should you go to the hospital for mental health?
Mental health issues are quite prevalent in the United States. So knowing how psychiatry can benefit those with mental health issues is crucial.
Stats on Mental Health in the U.S.
Mental illness is common in the U.S. Nearly one in five adults have a mental illness. So in 2017, 46.6 million Americans were living with mental illness. Mental illness can vary from mild to moderate to severe.
Two broad categories describe mental illness: Any Mental Illness (AMI) and Serious Mental Illness (SMI). AMI refers to all mental illnesses. But, SMI refers to a select group of severe disorders.
The 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports the following data.
As the number of people with mental illness continues to rise, so does the need to access psychiatry. Psychiatry helps a person make changes. With psychiatry and mental health treatment, people can live healthy and positive lives.
Psychiatry is a branch of medicine that diagnoses and treats mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders. Addressing mental health illness is only half of the psychiatry goal. It also focuses on overall health. A person’s eating habits, exercise, and medical conditions are all factors in psychiatry.
Psychiatry has many benefits for those suffering from AMI. The negative thoughts and behaviors of AMI and SMI can have major impacts on a person’s life. Psychiatry offers therapy and medications to manage mental health symptoms and improve the quality of life.
The benefits of psychiatry include:
Psychiatry helps a person cope with stress and build healthy relationships. Everyone has emotional and life changes. And some of them might be too much to deal with. Seeking help from a psychiatrist doesn’t make you weak as society makes people feel. It makes for a stronger and more emotionally stable community.
A psychiatrist is a specialized medical doctor. They treat mental health and substance use disorders. They can also access the physical issues of AMI.
People seek psychiatry and mental health treatment for many reasons. Sometimes the issue happens suddenly like a panic attack or suicidal thoughts. Or the issues may be long-lasting, such as anxiety and depression. But who can help? Psychiatrist vs. therapist, what’s the difference?
Psychiatrists have specialized training in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of AMI. Because they are medical doctors, they complete four years of med school. They also complete one year of on-the-job training. And then, they have three years of specialized mental health training.
Intensive education and training allow psychiatrists to identify both medical and mental illness. They monitor how AMI affects physical health and vise versa. Also, psychiatrists have a medical license and can prescribe medication. If a person needs therapy on top of meds, a psychiatrist may refer them to a therapist for counseling.
Generally, therapists have a master’s degree. They can diagnose and treat AMI. But, they can’t prescribe medications. The goal of a therapist is to help people understand their thoughts and feelings. It also helps them change behaviors and develop life skills.
Because of the differences, psychiatrists and therapists often work together. Psychiatrists prescribe and monitor meds while a therapist helps address the issues. By working together, it provides a person with comprehensive mental health treatment and increases recovery.
Our psychologist will go over all medications and vitamins a member is taking. It is important to talk about any allergies or issues with previous meds.
After talking with our psychologists, a member may go the medication route. If so, a few common meds in psychiatry and mental health include the following.
Antidepressants treat depression. They can also treat anxiety and insomnia. Although antidepressants do not have FDA-approval to treat ADHD, it also helps adults with ADHD.
Popular antidepressants are SSRIs or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. They include:
Another type is SNRIs or serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors. SNRIs antidepressants include venlafaxine and duloxetine.
Bupropion is another type of antidepressant. And it works differently than SSRIs and SNRIs. Bupropion is used to treat a seasonal affective disorder as well as helping people to stop smoking.
Anti-anxiety meds reduce the symptoms of anxiety. The most common type of anti-anxiety medication is Benzodiazepines. They are used to treat generalized anxiety disorder and include:
Beta-blockers manage the physical symptoms of anxiety. They can include trembling and a rapid heartbeat. Some members need long-term medication to manage symptoms of chronic anxiety. Buspirone takes a few weeks to work, but it is very helpful in managing symptoms.
Antipsychotic medicines manage psychosis, which is a condition that affects the mind. It is a break from reality, causing delusions and hallucinations. The cause of psychosis could be a physical reason, such as drug abuse. However, mental issues such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or psychotic depression could be the issue.
When used with other medications, antipsychotics help in treating:
Mood stabilizers treat bipolar disorder and AMI that cause mood swings. In some cases, they offset the effects of antidepressants. Mood stabilizers decrease abnormal brain activity and are used to treat:
Lithium is approved to treat mania and bipolar disorder. Furthermore, the long-term use of Lithium has anti-suicidal benefits.
Anticonvulsants help treat seizures. But, they control mood swings as well. For some, Valproic acid works better than Lithium in treating comorbid mania and depression. Other anticonvulsants include:
Sana Lake BWC’s team of certified professionals includes highly trained psychiatrists. They attend medical school and specialize in the interactions of behaviors and the brain. Psychiatrist train in neurology, forensic psychology, and chemical dependency.
Our psychiatrists build a relationship with a member from the start of recovery. This is important because the psychiatrist handles all medical and mental health issues. The involvement includes an initial evaluation to determine if the illness is psychological or physical.
After the evaluation, our psychiatrist develops a medication plan if needed. All members in recovery attend therapy. So our psychiatrists work with our therapists to build a successful recovery plan.
A member is always under supervision. With help from therapists and other trained professionals, psychiatrists can adjust medications and therapies as members need. Our psychiatrists play a vital role in a member’s recovery journey.
A majority of mental health issues are managed through medications and regular therapy. But, occasionally, mental illness becomes too overwhelming. The feelings can leave a person feeling unstable and suicidal.
But where do you go for help? When you or someone you love is having a mental challenge, it can be scary. They need immediate urgent care. In an emergency, hospitals provide extra support, help stabilize mental health, and monitoring for safety.
What is a Mental Health Emergency?
Most people know when to call 911 for a medical emergency. However, not many know what a mental health emergency is. A psychiatric emergency is a dangerous and life-threatening situation. A person in a mental crisis can cause harm to themselves or others.
It is important to know the warning signs of a mental crisis. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), the most common warning signs include:
The risk of suicide is the biggest concern in a mental crisis. A person can feel overwhelmed, worthless, self-hate, and anger. Mental illness can lead to isolation. Consequently, isolation feeds the thoughts that no one cares.
The following are signs of suicide, according to NAMI.
Because of the risk of a mental crisis in those with mental issues, it is vital to have a strong support system. Along with the support, you should also have a plan in place in case of an emergency.
At Sana Lake BWC, we are here 24/7 to help in a mental emergency. Our psychiatrists provide care in our Urgent Access Center as well as our other programs. We understand that a mental crisis needs more attention than family and friends can provide. If you or a loved one is suffering a mental illness we can help. Contact us now, and start your journey to Recovery for Life.