Medicine
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How Do I Choose the Best Psychiatrist for Depression?

Lainie Petersen
Lainie Petersen

When choosing a psychiatrist for depression, you should first consider whether you plan to see the psychiatrist for therapy or will be seeking only a medication evaluation. In the first case, you will typically want to choose a psychiatrist who has expertise in treating depression and who has good therapeutic skills. In the second case, you may wish to rely more heavily on the advice of your current therapist, who may need to work with your psychiatrist during your treatment. Other considerations include the psychiatrist's training, credentials, and reputation. If finances are a concern, you should verify whether your health insurance covers the services of a psychiatrist for depression and, if it doesn't, you will need to ask the psychiatrist for his financial policies before making an appointment.

Psychiatrists are physicians who completed a residency in psychiatry after graduation from medical school. A psychiatrist is capable of diagnosing and treating mental health conditions using a variety of treatments, including psychotherapy, electric shock therapy, and prescription medication. While it is possible to receive psychotherapy from a number of different types of mental health professionals, in many jurisdictions only a medical doctor can prescribe drugs for treating depression and other mental illnesses. As such, seeing a psychiatrist for depression makes sense if you or your current therapist believe that treatment with medication is in your best interest.

It's important to remember the distinction between a psychologist and a psychiatrist, the latter of which holds a medical degree and can prescribe medication.
It's important to remember the distinction between a psychologist and a psychiatrist, the latter of which holds a medical degree and can prescribe medication.

If you are already seeing a therapist, you may wish to ask for a referral to a psychiatrist. Otherwise, friends and family members may be able to recommend someone, or you can contact a community mental health center or medical referral service in your area for referral to a good psychiatrist for depression. If you believe that you need to see a psychiatrist for therapy as well as medication, ask about this when you call to make an appointment. Keep in mind that some psychiatrists may be better at tailoring a pharmaceutical regimen to their patients needs than actually offering psychotherapy. In such cases, you may want to utilize the psychiatrist's services for pharmaceutical treatment but seek psychotherapy or counseling elsewhere.

Prior to seeing a psychiatrist, it is important to ensure that one's health insurance plan covers mental health treatment.
Prior to seeing a psychiatrist, it is important to ensure that one's health insurance plan covers mental health treatment.

Review your health coverage to make sure that it covers mental health treatment. If it does, be aware that some policies may limit the amount of office visits you can make to a psychiatrist or other mental health professional each year. If you are concerned about costs, talk to the psychiatrist's staff when you call to make your appointment. They can tell you about which insurance plans the doctor accepts and whether payment plans are available.

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    • It's important to remember the distinction between a psychologist and a psychiatrist, the latter of which holds a medical degree and can prescribe medication.
      By: michaeljung
      It's important to remember the distinction between a psychologist and a psychiatrist, the latter of which holds a medical degree and can prescribe medication.
    • Prior to seeing a psychiatrist, it is important to ensure that one's health insurance plan covers mental health treatment.
      By: alexsokolov
      Prior to seeing a psychiatrist, it is important to ensure that one's health insurance plan covers mental health treatment.