When Should I Consider a Psychiatrist?

Many people suffer from deteriorating mental health conditions but are unable to decide if the problems warrant a consultation with a psychiatrist. Anxiety and depression, along with a host of other disorders, can impact a person’s ability to function. It is important to know that help is available, even for conditions that on the surface might not seem to require psychiatric care. When is it time to make an appointment?

How to determine if it is time to see a psychiatrist

It is normal to hesitate before taking the next step toward improving your mental health. Here are signs you can watch for to help you decide.

Reduced quality of life

Some individuals believe it takes a severe type of mental illness to necessitate psychiatric care, but this is not the case. Anyone experiencing an emotional issue that has led to a decrease in quality of life would be a good candidate for evaluation. Psychiatrists diagnose and treat a wide variety of mental health conditions, including ones that are considered extremely common, such as depression or anxiety.

Strong mood swings

Mood swings can be a problem for many people and sometimes can be present throughout an individual’s life without an effect on lifestyle or relationships. In other cases, these shifts in behavior can change over time, becoming more evident to loved ones and negatively affecting the person’s life. If mood swings are worsening or causing more frequent lifestyle problems, a mental health disorder might be at play and psychiatric evaluation may be helpful.

Troubling thoughts or feelings

Persistent negative thoughts or feelings are always a sign that an appointment with a mental health provider could be beneficial. If these feelings have become more prevalent over time, are increasing in magnitude or are persistent in general, it is important to contact a provider and set up an initial appointment or mental health consultation.

Potential need for medication

If the issue in question potentially needs improvement through the assistance of prescription medication, a visit to a psychiatrist would be warranted. Unlike other mental health providers, psychiatrists are able to treat both the physical and psychological aspects of illness and are able to prescribe medication as needed. The type of treatment depends on the diagnosed disorder, but in all cases, regularly scheduled follow-up visits are necessary to check for symptom improvement.

History of substance abuse

Mental health disorders can be difficult for an individual to navigate if the problem is compounded by a history of substance abuse. Psychiatrists can often help people with this combination of factors experience symptom relief while assisting with residual issues stemming from past substance abuse. In some cases, mental health issues can develop as a result of addiction, so even with recovery, ongoing care might be necessary.

Conclusion

It is sometimes difficult to decide if outside help is needed for a known or developing mental health condition. Compounding factors can make psychiatric care a necessity, but any mental health issue that is persistent and prevents a happy life is one that needs to be examined by a psychiatrist or other mental health provider.

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