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Frequently Asked Questions

People often seek Mental Health services when they experience difficulties and/or challenges in their life. Examples: Marital and/or relationship difficulties, family problems, child or parenting difficulties, work stress, chronic health problems, financial stress, or social challenges, to name a few.

Fear, shame, embarrassment, social stigma.

Depression, Anxiety, ADD/ADHD, Panic Disorders, Obsessive Compulsive Disorders, Personality Disorders, Bipolar, Schizophrenia, Autism, Grief, Eating Disorders, and many, many others.

A Psychiatric Evaluation and Assessment with a Qualified Professional in the field of Mental Health.

Any of the above Mental Health Professionals can provide a brief assessment of your situation and direct you to appropriate resources for assistance. However, each Mental Health Professional often specialize in specific areas.

Psychiatrists (MD) and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioners (PMHNP) are qualified to diagnose, treat, and prescribe medication and administer psychotherapy/counseling for Mental Health Disorders.

Psychologists (PhD, Psy.D) are qualified to administer psychological testing, psychotherapy/counseling.

Psychotherapists (MA, MS, LSW, LCSW) are qualified to administer psychotherapy/counseling.

Physicians (MD)/Primary Care Nurse Practitioners (FNP, ANP) are often qualified to administer a Mental Health Assessment in a Primary Care Setting. With the nationwide shortage of Psychiatric Professionals, MD's and NP's in the Primary Care Setting are beginning to treat common Mental Health disorders (Anxiety, Depression, ADD/ADHD) however, many providers often refer patients to a Psychiatrists or Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner for more complex disorders (Major Depression, Bipolar, Personality Disorders, Schizophrenia, etc.) or after a treatment/s regime has failed.

No. The goal of psychopharmacological management (prescribing Mental Health Medications) is to maximize results and minimize side effects. There are no guarantees with patient response to medication nor avoiding side effects. However, if the correct medication is prescribed at the correct dose, route, and frequency, patients often experience a pleasant relief of symptoms. Your health care provider will discuss the benefits and risks of treatment options, including taking (or not taking) medication.

1. Seek professional assistance before symptoms become severe.

2. Come prepared for your initial visit. Provide a list of past and/or current medications (ALL medications, including Medical and Mental Health). Provide names of medications, dose, duration, and response.

(If you have difficulty recalling names, doses etc. your pharmacy can often provide you a copy)

3. Be compliant with all follow-up appointments. Consistent, routine assessments are critical in medication/treatment management and treatment outcomes.

4. Communicate with your Psychiatric Health Care Provider of any medication fears or concerns: Side effects, undesired effects lack of sexual desire or performance, difficulty swallowing pills, cost, prior medication experience, etc.

(If you have questions about your medications, ask your Mental Health Provider-NOT the internet.)

5. Complete all necessary medication forms from your Psychiatric Health Care Provider. The more information you provide, such as -past medication response, family members' response to psychiatric medications, etc. can be very helpful in predicting your response to treatment.

6. Avoid altering your medication/s in any way (increase, decrease, discontinue, etc.) without your Psychiatric Health Care Provider's advice and supervision. Many medications can have very uncomfortable side effects/withdrawal symptoms, and some can even cause life-threatening complications.

(Always seek your pharmacist's/providers advise before taking any OTC (over-the-counter) medication (cough, flu, vitamins, supplements, herbs, etc. to avoid drug-to-drug interactions).

7. Assume responsibility in communicating ALL medications taken with both your Primary Care Health Care Provider and your Psychiatric Mental Health Care Provider.

Medication response is different for all patients. Patients absorb and metabolize medications differently depending on many factors (age, weight, health condition, diet, alcohol/nicotine usage, pregnancy, genetics, etc.)

Other influential factors: Time between initiation of medication and onset of symptoms, prior medication trials, and compliance. "Typically," many patients can begin to respond to medication in 2-3 weeks; however, it often takes 4-6 weeks before the medication reaches a therapeutic level of response.

Different classifications of medications have different response times (example -ADHD medication response can often be days as oppose to antidepressant medication can be a few weeks).

There is no specific answer to this question. Treatment depends on many variables: Type and severity of the disorder (example- mild or severe depression, depression vs. bipolar, etc.), current stressors, support systems, religious beliefs, compliance, therapy approach (therapy type of modality, consistency, duration.), coping skills.

Depression (not all types) and Anxiety research support treatment to continue for typically nine months to one year. Bipolar disorder is often much longer as the treatment for some mood disorders can be life-long.

ADD/ADHD tends to be life-long-varying in the degree of symptoms and depending on educational and career choices Schizophrenia is a life-long disorder in controlling and managing symptoms.

Absolutely! Research studies clearly support combining psychotherapy with medication produces better treatment outcomes.

There are many different types of therapist, and each therapist often uses different types of therapy modality (CBT, DBT, EMDR, etc.). However, most therapists are qualified to provide a patient with supportive therapy as well as assisting them in implementing healthier coping skills. Therapists are very important in the patient's treatment team.

Having a "Therapeutic Relationship" between you and your therapist is very important to your overall treatment outcome, goals, and expectations.

A healthy therapeutic relationship has the following characteristics:

Genuine, acceptance, empathetic, trustworthy, dependable and shared agreement of goals

(Source: Dr. Carl Rogers)

Yes, patients often report they fear "being judged" about their behavior or current circumstances. Although this fear is quite common among patients, it rarely happens (at least rarely reported by patients). Therapists are trained to work with many different types of problems, situations, and people. Honesty and transparency assist in building a healthy, therapeutic patient/therapist relationship.

Make an appointment with a Psychiatric Professional who specializes in treating children. A Psychiatric assessment and evaluation will be completed, and treatment options will be discussed. If medications are recommended, benefits and risks will be discussed. Psychological testing may be recommended if more information is needed to formulate a definitive diagnosis.