Getting the help you need to overcome major issues in your life can come in layers. Participating in psychiatry and therapy together can be helpful to unpack these issues. You may need someone to discuss your issues in grave detail and then be sent home with behavioral changes to implement reflecting therapy. Conversely, you might find medication to be helpful without talking out your issues in-depth, utilizing psychiatry. Or, you may benefit from seeing a therapist to discuss your issues in-depth for 53-minute long sessions at a time, on top of also needing medication to help the process. In this instance, you would be in psychiatry and therapy together.
There are many different paths that can lead you to therapy. Sometimes things feel so out of control that you need the guidance and help of a neutral party such as a therapist. If you start working with a therapist, and you begin to take back some control of your life through processing your thoughts and feelings, and making some behavioral changes, you should continue with your therapist. Having medication as an added help won’t be necessary for you.
If you have been seeing a therapist but things haven’t been improving for you, ask yourself why you think that is. If you don’t feel like you and your therapist are a good fit, then you should discuss this with your therapist and maybe reevaluate whom you are seeing. If you are not putting in the work that needs to be done because you’re not prioritizing change in your life, then you need to ask yourself “is therapy right for me right now?” On the other hand, if you are putting in the work and you do enjoy the relationship with your therapist but you’re still feeling stuck, medication might be the added help you need in order to make changes.
Signs medication and working with a psychiatrist might be helpful are:
- Your therapist or healthcare provider recommends to you that you make an appointment with a psychiatrist for a medication evaluation
- You have all the insight for change but you can’t seem to motivate yourself, despite doing everything in the past three months that your therapist has suggested
- During the past three months, while working with a therapist you like and respect, you have made minimal progress in the struggle to gain control of your racing thoughts
- You struggle to get out of bed, or out of the house, and often find yourself missing appointments
- You have an overwhelming cloud/weight on your shoulders that won’t seem to go away
- You have poor attention and struggle to focus on one task
- You do not finish tasks
- Your conversations are tangential and you often need redirecting
- You can’t sit and watch an entire television show or movie in one sitting
- After three months of therapy treatment, your mood has not improved or stabilized
- After three months of therapy, your anger continues to feel too big to manage, and you want more support than just talk therapy
- You participate in behaviors that you are aware are not good for you but you lack the self-control to walk away
- You have manic phases that are unexplained and resistant to therapeutic treatment
- You have depressive phases that are unexplained and resistant to therapeutic treatment
- Your panic attacks feel too extreme to manage, medication along with talk therapy can help you gain control
- You have experienced an extreme situation and need immediate relief
- You feel hopeless
- You are hallucinating
- You feel paranoid
- You are feeling suicidal
If there are items on this list that apply to you, or you simply believe you might benefit from medication, you should schedule yourself an evaluation with a psychiatrist. Evaluations are risk free. At best, you are giving yourself options in how to best “treat” yourself. At worst, you have simply spent some money to know that medication is not appropriate for you.
Going on medication can be that added help you need to start making the changes you’ve discussed with your therapist. Medication can get you over those barriers that seem impossible to climb. Your therapist can work together with the psychiatrist to promote your health. Having both people on the same page with your treatment is most beneficial.
A psychiatrist’s training is medical; they are an MD or DO with a specialization in mental health. Your primary care, while legally allowed to prescribe psychiatric medication, typically does not have as much experience in this area. Psychiatrists’ training is far more in-depth than a general practitioner’s. Further, it’s more typical that, on a daily basis, psychiatrists work with many more patients with psychiatric problems than a general practitioner. Psychiatrists are trained to ask you personal questions to help them manage the effectiveness of your medication prescription. Psychiatrists are looking at if you’re experiencing any side effects, is the medication working to combat the symptoms you came in for, is the dose too high or too low, are your psychiatric medications interacting at all with any other medications you might be taking?
When your therapist and psychiatrist are working together, your therapist will be aware of when your medications are changing so they can provide extra support. This can be especially helpful during the times that you are trying to reduce or get off your medication. Your therapist can help you decide if increasing your dose is a good idea and help you navigate your visits with the psychiatrist. Since you are seeing your therapist more regularly, the therapist can inform the psychiatrist of anything that may be of importance for your medication regiment.
Your psychiatrist can inform your therapist of possible side effects to monitor. Your psychiatrist can also shed light on how certain symptoms are manifesting and why.
When you’re in treatment with multiple providers, you may forget key pieces of information. It’s so easy to think you’ve already told that provider, when really you told another provider. At the Center for Growth, the therapists and psychiatrist form a treatment team that meet regularly. During the meetings, we discuss symptoms and on-going issues for you, the client. We make sure that both parties are on the same page in regards to direction of treatment. Thus, alleviating the risk of information being missed that may be vital to your treatment. Having a treatment team also decreases the risk of disjointed treatment by providers.
Now that you have a better idea of what the benefits of psychiatry and therapy together are and why you might utilize both, discuss with your therapist or psychiatrist if having both would benefit you. Or, if anything stood out to you as you were reading this article, you might find that participating in both psychiatry and therapy together could help you best.
To locate a psychiatrist near me contact 215 922 5683 x 100