Table of Contents

What is Psychiatry?

Psychiatry is a field of medicine in which providers use medication to treat mental and behavioral health disorders when needed. Psychiatric care providers are licensed medical professionals. Patients either see a medical doctor, an advanced nurse practitioner, or a physician assistant.

Psychiatry vs. Psychology

Psychiatrists are trained medical doctors and can prescribe medications. They spend much of their time with patients on medication management as a course of treatment.

Psychologists focus extensively on psychotherapy and treating emotional and mental suffering in patients with behavioral intervention.

Psychiatrists often recommend to pair medication management along with cognitive behavioral therapy to create a more holistic treatment plan.

Will My Psychiatrist Push Medication on Me?

At LifeStance Health, we empower patients to make their own decisions about their health. Our providers will not shame you into taking medication that you don’t want to take. Instead, they inform you about all of your care options, including benefits and risks. Then you make the decision.

What Kinds of Medications Are Prescribed?

If you and your provider determine that medication should be part of your treatment plan, your provider will walk through your medication options with you. Depending on your needs, the provider may prescribe medications such as antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, stimulants, or mood stabilizers.

What If My Medications Don’t Work or Cause Side Effects?

At LifeStance Health, we recommend ongoing medication management to ensure that medications work well for our patients. It’s important to attend these follow-up appointments or reschedule them as needed. During medication management appointments, your provider will ask about your symptoms, any side effects, and how you feel about your medication.

If you have serious or severe side effects, you can contact your provider before your follow-up appointment. They will give you directions on how to wean yourself off the medication if needed. If you have a life-threatening reaction to the medication, seek emergency medical attention.

Conditions That Can be Treated Through Psychiatry

Anxiety Disorders

People with anxiety experience fear and dread as a response to certain situations or objects. Symptoms can include physical signs of panic or anxiety that are not appropriate for the environment, like an increased heartbeat. Anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and specific phobias.

Mood Disorders

Mood disorders can bring repeated feelings of sadness or periods of feeling overly happy – or fluctuations between the two extremes. Common mood disorders include depression and bipolar disorder.

Psychotic Disorders

Psychotic disorders involve distorted awareness and thinking. Two of the most common symptoms of psychotic disorders are hallucinations and delusions. Schizophrenia is an example of a psychotic disorder.

Eating Disorders

Eating disorders can involve extreme emotions, attitudes, and behaviors involving weight and food. Anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder are the most common eating disorders.

Personality Disorders

Personality disorders are often characterized by extreme and inflexible personality traits that may cause problems in work, school, or social relationships. Examples include antisocial personality disorder, histrionic personality disorder, schizoid personality disorder, and paranoid personality disorder.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

OCD is where people are troubled by constant thoughts or fears that cause them to perform certain rituals or routines. An example is a person with an unreasonable fear of germs who constantly washes their hands.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

PTSD is a condition that can develop following a traumatic and/or terrifying event. People with PTSD often have lasting and frightening thoughts and memories of the event, and tend to be emotionally numb.

Online Telepsychiatry Appointments Available

Online telepsychiatry is a secure and effective way to connect with therapists. In these sessions, patients talk with their therapists through live video. Patients can log on to the calls from anywhere with a secure internet connection, and we recommend having plenty of privacy as well.

Clinical studies have shown that video-based online telepsychiatry is as effective as its in-person counterpart. In fact, online telepsychiatry is more effective for some patients because they are able to attend more regularly.