6 Ways to Get Comfortable at Your First Therapy Appointment

Mental health in America is declining at a rapid rate. About 25% of adults are dealing with a mental health diagnosis, according to Johns Hopkins. This means that the demand for psychiatrists is at an all-time high. The good news is that this means you should have plenty of options for a certified mental health professional in your area.

If you’re someone who has never seen a psychiatrist before, you might be feeling a little apprehensive about your first appointment. Here are six ways to help you feel more comfortable and get the most out of your first session.

1. Research Psychiatrists Ahead of Time

It’s important to find a psychiatrist with the precise experience and training required to assist you. You can research a psychiatrist’s background and specialties online. This is a great way to ensure that they’re equipped to guide you on your healing journey. You should also find a psychiatrist whose personality matches or meshes well with your own. After all, you’re going to have lots of lengthy conversations with this person! Therefore, it’s ideal if your psychiatrist has a personality that makes you feel comfortable and at ease.

2. Consult With Other People in Therapy

If you know anyone who’s currently in therapy, ask them about their experiences and what they think makes for a successful psychiatrist-patient relationship. They might also be able to give you some insights on what topics to bring up during your first session. Speaking with someone who’s been down this road before is a great way to prepare yourself.

3. Choose a Convenient Location

It’s essential that you choose a therapy model that suits your own comfort levels. If you have anxiety or apprehension about traveling long distances, then you should ensure you find a psychiatrist within close proximity to your home. You may even be interested in telehealth appointments. This allows you to receive counseling right from the comfort of your home. Many patients find this ideal for the convenience and comfort it provides.

4. Prepare Before Your First Session

You’ll want to have an idea of what you want to talk about going into your first session. Many psychiatrists will ask you why you’re seeking therapy and what your goals are for treatment. It can be helpful to write these answers down ahead of time so you don’t forget anything important. This can also help you feel more prepared to tackle your therapy session with confidence.

5. Be Open and Honest

For therapy to be effective, you need to be transparent with your psychiatrist about what’s going on in your life. Such honesty can be difficult, but try to remember that your psychiatrist is there to help you and is not there to judge you. Be prepared to disclose details of your life that you might not share with others. Remember that your psychiatrist is a professional who is bound by privacy laws to keep everything you say confidential.

6. Ask Questions

Your psychiatrist will ask you lots of questions during your first few appointments. However, you should use this time to ask questions yourself! Therapy is not, in fact, a one-way street. Treat your first session like a conversation or a getting-to-know-you session with your psychiatrist. Ask them about their specific credentials and approaches to therapy. This will help you gauge their ability to assist you with your specific goals.

Seeking therapy can be a big step, but it doesn’t have to be a scary one. By doing a little research and preparing ahead of time, you can ensure that your first therapy appointment is a comfortable and productive one. If you’re ready to experience the tremendous benefits of therapy, give SouthEnd Psychiatry a call today. We look forward to helping you.

A Beginner’s Guide to Mental Health Medication Management

With mental disorder diagnoses becoming more common, many people are looking for viable mental disorder treatments every day. Have you visited a mental health professional lately? According to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report, just over 19% of adults received some mental health treatment in 2019. Roughly 10% of these individuals sought counseling or therapy, and almost 16% of them received mental health prescription medicine. A few years later, a 2022 Hopkins Medicine report indicated that close to 26% of adults in the U.S. struggle with mental illness. In other words, statistically, one out of four individuals has a mental disorder. With such a significant ratio, the need for mental health medication can’t be stressed enough.

Psychiatric Medication

While psychiatric medications can’t cure mental disorders, they can help significantly improve your symptoms. Additionally, they help make other treatments, such as psychotherapy, more effective. The best medication for your particular case must be recommended by your psychiatrist. The right choice also depends on how your body reacts to the medication. A qualified psychiatrist should only prescribe psychiatric drugs after a diagnosis. Depending on their findings, they may recommend the following medications.

Antidepressants (SSRIs and SNRIs)

If a psychiatrist diagnoses a patient with anxiety, depression, or other related disorders, they’ll recommend antidepressants. These medications help to improve symptoms like hopelessness, sadness, lack of interest, and difficulty concentrating. This treatment option might include antidepressants like Lexapro, Zoloft, Prozac, Cymbalta, or Effexor.

Anti-Anxiety Medications (Benzodiazepines)

Patients with various anxiety disorders, like panic disorders and generalized anxiety disorders, improve drastically if they use anti-anxiety medications. The medication also helps with other conditions like insomnia and agitation. Anti-anxiety medication includes lorazepam (Ativan), alprazolam (Xanax), diazepam (Valium), and chlordiazepoxide (Librium.)

Mood-Stabilizing Medications

If your psychiatrist diagnoses you with bipolar disorder, they’ll most likely prescribe a mood-stabilizing medication such as lithium, lamotrigine (Lamictal), or valproic acid (Depakene.) These medications can also help to treat depression when used with antidepressants.

Antipsychotic Medications

The above drugs are prescribed to patients with psychotic disorders, including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. They can also be used to treat depression when used in combination with antidepressants. Examples of antipsychotic medication include quetiapine (Seroquel), risperidone (Risperdal), ziprasidone (Zeldox), clozapine (Clozaril), and paliperidone (Invega.)

Psychiatric medications benefit people struggling with mental illnesses. These drugs help control the triggering symptoms that lead to mental problems. Give us a call at SouthEnd Psychiatry today to schedule an appointment. We’re dedicated to helping people maintain their mental health.

4 Different Types of Mental Health Professionals You Should Know

Mental health is just as important as physical health, but many people don’t regard it as such. According to Mental Health First Aid, more than 46% of all Americans will suffer from a mental health disorder. To provide care, there are several types of mental health professionals that are each trained in a different discipline. If you are struggling with mental health or want to consult with a professional, you should first learn what type of interpersonal psychotherapists are available.

Psychologists

Psychologists are the most common type of interpersonal psychotherapist. They have doctoral degrees in clinical psychology and some have also studied counseling and therapy. A psychologist can diagnose a mental disorder through constant clinical interviews, which is why they’re often the first interpersonal psychotherapists most people see when they have a mental health disorder. Along with private practice, some psychologists are also academics who teach at universities, conduct experiments, and publish papers in their research fields.

Therapists

Therapists and counselors are health care professionals who treat a patient over the course of weekly or monthly sit-down sessions. These interpersonal psychologists work in different fields based on their professional training. Some therapists work as clinicians, some work in education, and others work in private practices. Counselors are commonly found in the health offices at public and private schools, universities, and some health clinics. Today, online therapy is also available.

Psychiatrists

Similar to psychologists, a psychiatrist holds a PhD and MD degree. However, the additional education required for psychiatrists means they can officially diagnose patients and prescribe them medication. They will also communicate deeply with their patients during conversational therapy to get at the root of their problems and develop coping strategies that they can use in tandem with medication to feel better. Psychiatry can be just as specific as any other health discipline. Some professionals will choose to assess teenagers and adolescents while others may focus in geriatric psychiatry, which takes certain age-related diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia into account.

Primary Care Physicians

A primary care physician can prescribe medication to help treat mental disorders even if they are not necessarily a trained psychologist. In health care clinics, there will often be psychologists in the same ward or office as the primary doctors. That way, the medical professionals can refer patients to one another at the patients’ convenience. A primary care doctor’s general knowledge of mental health is often helpful for patients who aren’t looking for an intense therapeutic process but still want to address their mental health concerns.

Mental health is a serious matter that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Knowing what type of interpersonal psychotherapist is right for you is important to consider before meeting with a medical professional. For more information about mental health professionals, call SouthEnd Psychiatry today or explore the talk therapy and medication management services on our website. We look forward to working with you.