A lot of people face mental health issues at some point or another throughout their lifetime. Occasional stress, disappointment, and sadness are pretty normal. However, whenever you experience continuous or severe mental health issues, then it’s time to seek help.
Help is available if you feel insecure or a situation escalates into a crisis. You need to take the necessary initiative to reach out for help.
Conditions that Require Help
The following are the symptoms that may trigger an underlying mental health condition:
- Extreme fear or anxiety regarding weight gain
- Contemplating hurting yourself or others
- Delusions or hallucinations
- Constant feelings of regret, depression, sorrow, or fear
- Regular emotional outbursts or mood swings
- Drastic changes in food regimen or sleeping habits
- Hesitation or sudden loss of memory
- Unexpected changes in academic or professional performance
- Unspecified physical ailments
- Detachment from social activities or relationships
- Failure to adjust to daily activities or difficulties
- Substance abuse, inclusive of alcoholism or indulging in illegal drugs
- Disobedience of authority, absenteeism, theft, or vandalism
If you consider hurting yourself or anyone else, seek help straight away. But if you have other symptoms on this list, then immediately fix an appointment with a doctor. Once they rule out a physical basis for your symptoms, they may forward your case to a mental health specialist and other resources.
Seeking Help During an Emergency
If you’re planning to hurt yourself or another person, then it’s a mental health emergency. It’ll be better to visit a hospital emergency department or contact your local emergency services straight away. Dial 911 for immediate help during any emergency.
Suicide Prevention Hotlines
If you contemplate hurting yourself, then you must consider getting in touch with a suicide prevention hotline. Feel free to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, providing 24/7 support, at 800-273-8255.
Types of Healthcare Providers to See
Various categories of healthcare providers diagnose and treat mental illness. Whenever you suspect yourself of having a mental health condition or require mental health support, fix an appointment with your family physician to determine what type of provider you should consult. In most instances, they can provide a referral as well.
They might recommend seeing one or more of the healthcare providers below.
Providers Eligible to Prescribe Medicine
A therapist can diagnose and cure mental health conditions. Various types of therapists are there, such as:
- Clinical Counselors
Therapists mostly specialize in specific domains, like addiction or child behavioral issues.
Only a few categories of therapists are eligible to prescribe medications. Either they need to be a physician or nurse practitioner. In certain instances, you may seek a physician’s assistant as well or a doctor of osteopathic medicine.
Whenever your doctor feels that you might benefit from therapy, they might refer you to a psychologist. Psychologists are qualified to diagnose and treat mental health conditions and issues, like the following:
- Sleeping Disorders
- Eating Disorders
- Anxiety Disorders
- Relationship Issues
- Challenges while Learning
- Substance Abuse
Psychologists are also eligible to give psychological tests and they can administer an IQ test or personality test.
A psychologist can potentially facilitate managing your symptoms via counseling or other forms of therapy. They can prescribe medicines in states like Louisiana, Illinois, and New Mexico. Even if they can’t, then psychologists can collaborate with other healthcare providers who can advise medications.
When your doctor suspects that you have a mental health condition necessitating medication, they might refer you to a psychiatrist to diagnose and treat conditions like the following:
- Anxiety Disorders
- Bipolar Disorder
- Obsessive-compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Prescribing medications is mostly their principal approach while providing treatment. Many psychiatrists don’t offer counsel. Rather, they collaborate with a psychologist or other mental health professionals eligible to provide counseling.
Usually, nurse psychotherapists diagnose and treat psychiatric disorders. They may treat other health conditions as well.
Nursing psychotherapists with advanced nursing degrees are trained as clinical nurse specialists or nurse practitioners. Clinical nurse specialists can’t prescribe medications in maximum states. But nurse practitioners can. They mostly combine medications and counseling to treat patients.
Providers Ineligible to Prescribe Medicine
Licensed Professional Counselor
Licensed professional counselors (LPCs) are eligible to provide individual and group counseling. They may possess multiple titles, based on the specific areas they focus on.
LPCs can’t prescribe medication as they aren’t eligible to do so. A few LPCs provide marriage and family therapy.
Marital and Family Therapist
Marital and family therapists, skilled in psychotherapy and family systems mostly treat individuals and families coping with domestic issues. They aren’t authorized to prescribe medication. But they often collaborate with healthcare providers, licensed to prescribe medications.
Peer specialists are the ones who have individually experienced and recovered from mental health issues. They offer support to others facing similar experiences. Often, they help people recover from substance abuse, psychological distress, or other mental health challenges.
Peer specialists are role models and sources of support as they share their personal experiences of recovery to guide others. Additionally, they help people set goals and develop strategies to move forward in their recovery. Many peer specialists work for organizations as paid employees. Others serve as volunteers.
As they aren’t clinical professionals, peer specialists can’t prescribe medications.
Mental Health Counselor
A mental health counselor is qualified to diagnose and treat people coping with challenging experiences in their life, such as:
- Relationship Issues
- Mental health issues, like bipolar disorder or schizophrenia
Mental health counselors offer counseling on an individual or group basis. A few practices privately. Others work for residential treatment centers, hospitals, or other agencies.
Mental health counselors aren’t authorized to provide medications as they’re unlicensed. But a lot of them collaborate with healthcare providers eligible to prescribe medications if needed.
Apart from that Alcohol and drug abuse counselors, VA-certified counselors, Pastoral counselors, and social workers are also ineligible to prescribe any sort of medicine.
If you ever experience symptoms of a mental health challenge, don’t wait for them to get worse. Rather you should reach out for help.