How Are Psychiatrists Different than Other Mental Health Professionals?
Psychologists and mental health counselors usually share advanced degrees, a master’s degree or higher. To earn the title of a psychiatrist, you must have completed medical school. That’s right, psychiatrists are medical doctors who specialize in treating and managing mental health and substance use disorders (SUD’s) through a variety of interventions.¹ Unlike other mental health professions, psychiatrists can treat mental health concerns and SUD’s with prescription medication.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 21% of adults in the United States have a mental illness, and 5.6% of U.S. adults have a serious mental illness (SMI).² Symptoms of mental illness present differently based on the person and the type of mental health disorder they are experiencing. Psychiatric conditions and symptoms in patients can range in severity and intensity.
Common mental health disorders include:²
- Anxiety disorders: Several different anxiety disorders differ slightly; however, they all involve excessive worry that interferes with your ability to function at your highest capacity.
- Bipolar disorders: Bipolar disorders include drastic and intense changes in your emotions, energy, motivation, and behavior.
- Depression: Depression involves chronic feelings of anhedonia (loss of pleasure in once pleasurable activities), hopelessness, changes in sleep, and changes in appetite
- Borderline personality disorder (BPD): (BPD) involves erratic changes in emotions, which contribute to poor self-esteem and relationship problems.
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): ADHD is a combination of hyperactive behaviors (talking too much, difficulty remaining seated) and inattentive behaviors (unable to follow through with tasks, difficulty focusing).
- Eating disorders: Eating disorders occur because of modifying your food intake to the point that it impacts your physical, social, and psychological health negatively.
- Schizophrenia: Schizophrenia involves psychosis (hallucinations or delusions) and impacts your decision-making, cognitions, relationships, and emotions.
Substance Use Disorders and Co-occurring Disorders
As previously stated, our outpatient psychiatry clinic in Phoenix can treat both mental health and SUD’s. If you have used alcohol or drugs to the point where you are experiencing psychological, medical, social, occupational, or family problems, you may be suffering from a SUD.³ Examples of SUD’s include alcohol use disorder (AUD) and opioid use disorder (OUD). Like mental health disorders, SUD’s can vary in severity and are specific to each person. Psychiatrists can also treat co-occurring disorders. When both a substance use disorder and mental health disorder exist at the same time, it is considered a co-occurring disorder. This may also be referred to as dual diagnosis.
What to Expect During Psychiatry
You can expect the process to complete an evaluation at our outpatient psychiatry clinic when you first meet with a psychiatrist. A psychiatric evaluation can consist of a few psychological tests as well as physical evaluations in the form of bloodwork and other lab tests.¹ Psychiatrists try to gain a sense of who you are as a whole person and address both psychological and physical aspects of your overall health. Your psychiatrist will work with you to develop a treatment plan that addresses your unique physical, biological, and psychological needs.¹
Based on your current health status, needs, and overall goals, you and your psychiatrist will identify interventions and outpatient psychiatry services to help you reach your treatment objectives. Services that may be included as part of your treatment plan can include psychotherapy, medication management, and other ancillary services.¹
Common medications prescribed by psychiatrists include:¹
- Stimulants: Used for the treatment of ADHD.
- Anti-psychotics: Treats hallucinations and delusions associated with certain mental health disorders like bipolar, schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder.
- Anti-depressants: Treat mood disorders such as anxiety disorders and depression.
- Mood stabilizers: Treat bipolar disorder to help stabilize mood.
- Sedatives: Used to treat sleep disorders like insomnia as well as anxiety disorders.
Your board-certified psychiatrist may integrate care by working with your primary care doctor and mental health needs counselor to ensure you receive the most comprehensive care possible. Our psychiatrists in Phoenix, AZ, at Camelback Recovery, are dedicated to delivering a multifaceted approach to mental health treatment.