Finding the Right Psychiatrist for You
Almost half of all Americans will meet the criteria for a diagnosable mental health condition sometime in their lifetime. Half of those people will develop conditions by the age of 14, according to the National Library of Medicine and the non-profit organization, Mental Health America.
Those seeking help from a mental health professional is widely varied by age. According to the CDC, the percentage of adults 18 and over receiving counseling or therapy in 2019 was just over 19 percent. This decreased as age decreased as those age 65-plus sought less help for mental health issues at just 5.7 percent.
Often people don’t understand what resources to consult in order to seek help from a psychiatrist or psychologist about a mental health problem. Our nationwide directory can help pinpoint the right psychiatrist for addiction issues, rehab centers or a mental health facility. It’s important to consider whether you need medications, counseling, or both, when choosing a mental health provider as some aren’t licensed to prescribe medications. A psychiatrist has different credentials than a psychologist for example.
Psychiatrists and psychologists are two decidedly different professions. Both require doctorate degrees. Both diagnose and treat patients with mental health issues. But that’s where the similarities end.
A psychiatrist is a physician, trained as an MD or DO. After medical school, there are four more years of residency training to become a psychiatrist. Practicing psychiatrists must be licensed to practice medicine in their state.
A psychologist requires one of two paths to a doctorate degree: the doctor of philosophy in psychology or the doctor of psychology. Psychologists that work in patient care usually focus on either clinical psychology or counseling. They are also known as therapists. Practicing psychologists must be licensed to practice in their state.
Note that there are many types of therapists: psychologists, physical, occupational and speech therapists to name a few. What sets a psychiatrist apart from a psychologist sets a psychiatrist apart from a therapist. That difference is the license to practice medicine.
Addiction psychiatry began in 1985 when a small group of academic psychiatrists from the American Psychiatric Association founded the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry (AAAP). Today there are 1,000 members of this highly recognized and specialist group of doctors.
Addiction psychiatrists use scholarly resources on drug addiction, literature linking addiction with mental illness and extensive training in addiction psychiatry. Addiction psychiatry is different than practitioners of addiction medicine. Addiction medicine is comprised of doctors who are former addicts who can treat current addicts from both a medical and experiential perspective.
Patients seeking treatment from a substance abuse psychiatrist benefit not only from a holistic plan of treatment, often from an interdisciplinary team, but from direct counsel and peer support. Addiction psychiatrists will help you identify those situations that contribute to your substance abuse and new behavior strategies that can reduce your risk of relapse. Often 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous can help support and encourage persons in substance abuse treatment.
Substance abuse is initially voluntary, according to The National Center for Biotechnology Information. Drugs excite certain areas of your brain. After a while, your brain gets used to that good feeling. That’s when your brain turns on a “switch” and what was once a choice becomes an involuntary response–an addiction. The path to recovery doesn’t just work with you to break your cycle of addiction. Your path that brought you to addiction is unique and so is your recovery.
Addiction changes the structure of a brain and how it works. Therefore addiction is classified as a brain disease. Signs that you may have an addiction include:
Nearly 1 in 4 adults have an unmet need for mental health care. Sometimes the problem stems from a lack of knowledge regarding mental health or a lack of financial resources like being uninsured. Family, coworkers and friends may recognize the signs of addiction before an addict does, but fear confrontation.
If you or someone else recognizes these signs and symptoms of addiction, it’s time to get help from an addiction psychiatrist.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the “use and misuse of alcohol, nicotine, and illicit drugs, and misuse of prescription drugs cost Americans more than $700 billion a year in increased health care costs, crime, and lost productivity.” Substance abuse also cost 640,000 Americans their lives in 2018.
Getting the right help is important if you have an addiction or suspect that you have an addiction. Repeated substance abuse changes the way your brain works, especially the parts of your brain that elicit self-control. Imaging studies over the years have shown how drug addiction changes the structure of your brain, explaining why it is so difficult change an addict’s behavior and to break the cycle of substance abuse.
Addiction is a non-discriminating brain disease. It knows no social or economic boundary. It’s chronic but treatable. You may feel it’s time to stop your substance abuse. You may know your substance abuse is harming you. You may also know that you can’t overcome addiction without help. Our nationwide directory can help you find the addiction treatment resources you need whether it be an addiction therapist, drug rehab center, mental health facility, addiction psychiatrist, suboxone clinic or sober living home. Reach out to an addiction psychiatrist near you. Recovery starts when you ask for help.