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Navigating the Intersection of Psychology and Psychiatric Care for Mental Well-being

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The United States has a major mental health problem. Not only are there millions of people living with mental health conditions, but a significant portion of them go through life without any form of treatment at all. Many factors contribute to this unfortunate situation.

For many years, mental health stigma was a driving force. People worried that seeking support for depression or anxiety would hurt their public image. Financial barriers also play a role. Many insurance plans do not offer comprehensive mental health coverage.

Then there is the issue of awareness. Some people simply don’t realize that there’s an off-ramp to the stress, anxiety, or depression they experience.

But there is. In this article, we look at how psychiatric care can help people improve their mental well-being.

What is Psychology and Psychiatric Care?

Psychology is essentially just the study of the mind. Not necessarily from a biological perspective but a cognitive one. How do people mentally respond to certain forms of stimulation? What does prolonged exposure to stress and anxiety do to the human mind? How does that impact a person’s overall quality of life? Psychology seeks to answer these and other questions about human behavior and the mind.

Psychiatric care is the practical application of these questions. Most people with mental health issues will see either a therapist or a psychiatrist, or sometimes both. While these roles are similar, there are important distinctions to remember.

  • Therapist: Psychotherapists specialize in what is commonly referred to as talk therapy. During sessions, patients talk about their lives, what is troubling them, and their personal goals and struggles. Therapists help patients contextualize their feelings while helping them develop skills to cope and handle them.  
  • Psychiatrist: A psychiatric practice more closely resembles that of a medical doctor. Psychiatrists might diagnose patients with a disorder and prescribe medication to help them manage their condition. They may also often employ various forms of talk therapy.

Choosing between the two types of professionals can be challenging. Cost and accessibility often factor heavily.

For example, your health insurance plan may cover a set number of sessions annually with a therapist. However, if you want to see a psychiatrist, the insurance company may require you to demonstrate a need for this more expensive form of care.

When to Get Care

Deciding when to get care is a tricky process that can be different for everyone. The fact that you are reading this article may be a sign that you have begun to think that some form of mental health care might be right for you.

Perhaps you are experiencing ongoing sadness, stress, or anxiety. If this is the case, you may benefit from a consultation with a mental health professional. Note that certain feelings — thoughts of suicide, despair, or wild mood swings — require immediate attention.

If you feel that your need for care is less urgent, you may start by speaking with your insurance company to determine what is covered. General stress management can usually be handled in therapy. However, diagnosable mental health disorders such as lasting depression or severe anxiety may require the help of a psychiatrist. Some people use both forms of care simultaneously.

The title of this article references the “intersection of psychology and psychiatric care.” What that looks like can vary significantly from person to person. In practical terms, it means you can use the services of both types of professionals to improve your mental health.

You may see your therapist regularly to talk about your feelings and develop coping strategies for handling stressors in your life. Psychiatrists, on the other hand, will treat your symptoms and underlying causes of the disorder. They may prescribe medications and adjust them according to how you respond. It is not uncommon for people with mental health conditions to require a combination of medications.

Don’t Let Cost Be a Barrier to Care

Are you uninsured or otherwise lack access to mental health care? Even for insured Americans, it isn’t always financially or logistically easy to connect with mental health care. Fortunately, a wide range of resources are available to help you get the assistance you need.

Telehealth services offer an affordable and accessible alternative to traditional care. These services allow you to connect with mental health professionals online at less cost and greater convenience than in-office care.

There are also many clinics and nonprofit organizations that work specifically with people who cannot afford care through other channels.

Routine Help

Not all care takes place in an office. Even if you do not feel the need to see a mental health professional, you could probably benefit from focusing more on your mental and emotional wellness. Many employers offer self-care resources that can have a beneficial impact on your lifestyle and overall well-being.

Self-care can involve everything from yoga and meditation to regular exercise and healthier eating. It’s about sleeping enough, avoiding stressful situations, and having the confidence to say no to situations or obligations you are uncomfortable with.

The journey toward wellness and improved mental health is never truly over. Do regular assessments of your mental health, and look for resources that can help you cope with the stressors in your life. There is no shame or stigma in seeking help.

If you or someone you know experiences mental health issues, it is important to seek help from a qualified professional. Our Resource Specialist can help you find expert mental health resources to recover in your community. Contact us now for more information on this free service to our users.

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About the Author: Sarah Daren has been a startup consultant in multiple industries, including health and wellness, wearable technology, nursing, and education. She implements her health knowledge into every aspect of her life, including her position as a yoga instructor and raising her two children.

Photo by Mikhail Nilov: https://www.pexels.com/photo/photo-of-women-wearing-blazers-9304675/

The opinions and views expressed in any guest blog post do not necessarily reflect those of www.rtor.org or its sponsor, Laurel House, Inc. The author and www.rtor.org have no affiliations with any products or services mentioned in the article or linked to therein. Guest Authors may have affiliations to products mentioned or linked to in their author bios.

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