In the previous parts of this series we looked at identifying how ill a person is, and options for mild and moderate cases. In part 4 we will look at the only choice for people with severe cases of mental illness.
If a person can be classified as having a severe mental health problem from part 1 of this series, the options of providers becomes a choice of one, and that one choice is Psychiatry. The reasons for this are people with severe mental health problems more than likely do not have normal brain function and require medication to bring that function back to normal or as near normal as possible. As only a psychiatrist can prescribe medication, it leaves them the only choice. Please note the term brain vs mind. The brain is an organ of the body, where the mind is a product of the brain.
Abnormal brain function can come from a variety of things, but the most common is recreational drug usage that has lead to physical damage of the brain. Brain damage can also occur naturally as in cases of Alzheimer’s where plaque builds up eventually leading to dementia.
However as psychiatrists primarily use medication first for whatever reasons, people who select a psychiatrist first who do not have severe mental health problems often end up medicated. The fact that 4 out of 5 people on medication do not need it is testimony to that. Insurance companies looking for the cheap way out are a big contributor to this problem. That is also partly the motivation to write this series as people simply do not know who to go to for mental health problems.
If the psychiatrist tells you that you need to be medicated for life, then that is just another way of saying you have some sort of brain abnormality. If they do not say that then chances are the choice to medicate is being driven by insurance and you may want to reconsider your choice of health care providers before getting drugged.
Medication is not really needed for mild and moderate mental health problems, and does nothing at all to resolve the underlying problems and only hides them. Because of that careful consideration must be given to medicate, and that choice should not be up to an insurance company who is more interested in their bottom line. Do not be afraid to press a psychiatrist for options other than medication.
Medication can also be used to bring a person with severe mental health problems down to a manageable moderate level where a psychologist or Clinical Hypnotherapist can work with them. This way it becomes a team effort to resolve the underlying problem between two or more types of professionals. This is most common when a short term overwhelming problem needs a little help from medication to get over that bump in the road. The decision to medicate must be carefully weighed again.
As psychiatrist are the only group of mental health providers that are qualified for all types of mental illness, careful consideration must be given to using the big guns on little targets. Unless it is severe mental illness as described in part 1 of this series, psychiatrists are simply overkill. Bigger is not always better when it comes to mental health.
It is the goal of every mental health provider to put themselves out of work by making people better. Knowing what mental health provider to select is an important self help step in that direction.