When you chip a tooth, you know it’s time to call the dentist. When you’re concerned about a medical issue, you know it’s time to schedule an appointment with your doctor. But when it comes to your mental health, do you know when to see a psychiatrist?
Why See a Psychiatrist: Benefits of Seeking Professional Care
Before deciding when to see a psychiatrist, it can be helpful to think about why you should take this step.
Psychiatrists are doctors (either MDs or DOs) who specialize in mental and behavioral health. These trained professionals can diagnose and treat people who have a wide range of conditions, including – but by no means limited to – anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and dual diagnosis disorders.
The following are just a few of the many potential benefits of scheduling an appointment with a psychiatrist:
- A psychiatrist can assess your needs and, if appropriate, provide you with a mental health diagnosis.
- Psychiatrists can prescribe antidepressants, mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, and other medications that can alleviate certain mental health symptoms.
- A psychiatrist may offer individual, group, and family therapy.
- If your needs exceed the services that a particular psychiatrist provides, they can refer you to another professional or a program that may be a better fit.
When to See a Psychiatrist: Signs You May Need Help
As we alluded to at the top of this page, it’s not always easy to know when to see a psychiatrist. You may think that the symptoms you are experiencing aren’t severe enough to warrant professional help, or you may believe that your current struggles are just temporary.
The fact that you’re wondering about when to see a psychiatrist is a sign that you strongly suspect you need help. Here are a few other signs that could indicate it’s time to schedule that appointment:
- You’ve been struggling with either insomnia (difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep) or hypersomnia (sleeping much more than normal).
- No matter how much you sleep, you seem to always still be tired.
- When you wake up in the morning, you often don’t even want to get out of bed.
- You find it difficult to summon the energy to perform basic hygiene or cleanliness-related tasks, such as showering, brushing your teeth, or washing the dishes.
- You have trouble concentrating and focusing when you’re at work, in school, or even simply having casual conversations with friends.
- You have begun to pull away from family and friends, preferring isolation over interacting with loved ones.
- You no longer enjoy sports, hobbies, or other pursuits that used to be important parts of your life.
- You have been using alcohol or other drugs as a means of influencing your mood or energy level, coping with stress, or numbing yourself to emotional pain.
- You have an ongoing or recurring feeling that you are in danger. This may manifest both psychologically (such as extreme worry) and physically (such as persistent muscle tension).
- You frequently have headaches, stomach aches, and other generalized discomfort that doesn’t seem to have any actual medical cause.
- You have begun to act with uncharacteristic anger, recklessness, or aggression. Examples of this can include becoming argumentative, getting into physical altercations, going on spending sprees, and engaging in unsafe sexual practices.
- Your spouse, partner, close friends, or trusted family members have suggested that you should consult with a professional.
- You have been engaging in acts of self-harm or thinking about suicide.
Note: If you believe that you are in danger of harming yourself or ending your own life, please get immediate help. If you live in the United States, you can call 988 from any phone or visit the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline website. This resource is staffed 24/7 by trained professionals who can assess your needs and connect you with appropriate care in your area.
Mental Health Treatment Options
In some cases, a few sessions with a psychiatrist can resolve your problem, or at least put you on the path toward a solution. In other cases, you may need to participate in a more structured program. Depending on the nature and intensity of your mental health challenges, you may benefit from inpatient care, residential treatment, or outpatient programming.
What’s most important is realizing that you have options. There is no single, one-size-fits-all approach that works for everyone. As is the case when deciding when to see a psychiatrist, determining what other type of treatment may be right for you is a matter of acknowledging the nature of your mental health concerns and finding the service that feels like the best fit for you.
Find Psychiatric Help in Atlanta, GA
Atlanta Integrative Psychiatry is a trusted provider of personalized mental health care for adults. Our psychiatric treatment center in Atlanta, Georgia, offers a dynamic array of evidence-based therapeutic services, all of which can be customized according to your specific needs and goals.
Throughout your time in our care, you can expect to work in close collaboration with a team of skilled and compassionate professionals. These dedicated caregivers will take the time to get to know you as a unique individual. With their help, you can make sustained progress toward improved health and a more hopeful future. To learn more or to schedule a free assessment, please visit our appointment page or call our center today.