According to The World Health Organization, hundreds of millions of people around the world live with mental illness. If you think you might be one of them, going to your primary care doctor is a good place to start.
However, your doctor may recommend that you see a mental health practitioner, such as a psychiatrist. Our compassionate psychiatric providers at Alpha Care Medical offer customized treatments for patients with mental, emotional, and behavioral health issues.
In this blog, we give an overview of what mental health disorders are and when it might be a good idea to see a mental health professional.
What are mental health disorders?
Johns Hopkins University estimates that about 26% of American adults live with a mental health disorder. Mental health disorders are conditions that affect your mood, behavior, and thinking. This, in turn, can affect your relationships, work or school performance, and participation in activities.
Mental health disorders can manifest in different ways, but most people experience symptoms that fall under one or more of the following categories:
- Anxiety disorders, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder and phobias
- Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD
- Personality disorders, such as antisocial personality disorder
- Eating disorders, such as bulimia
- Mood disorders, such as depression
Mental illness can affect a number of aspects of your personality. Some signs of mental illness can be physical, and having a mental illness can raise your risk of developing chronic conditions, such as diabetes, stroke, and heart disease. Symptoms of mental health illness can occur for long periods of time or occasionally. Some signs of a mental health disorder include:
- Feeling hopeless
- Changes in your energy levels
- Unexplained aches and pains
- Changes in appetite
- Withdrawing from activities that you once enjoyed
- Drug abuse
- Thoughts that won’t stop cycling
- Feeling numb
Common risk factors
While there’s no way of knowing who will or will not have a mental illness, there are certain factors that can increase the risk of developing a mental illness, such as the following:
- Family history
- Chemical imbalances in the brain
- Personal history of stressful or abusive environments
- Brain injury
- Use of alcohol or recreational drugs
- Recent or past traumatic experiences
For which issues should I see a psychiatrist?
If you identify with any of the factors listed in the overview above, you may benefit from seeing a psychiatrist. Your primary care physician can refer you to a psychiatrist, who can help you get effective treatment for mental health issues that you may be facing. Psychiatrists can treat nearly any mental health disorder, but many practitioners specialize in a specific field, such as addiction medicine or forensic psychiatry.
Psychiatrists are medical doctors who treat mental illness through a combination of medication and talk therapy. Psychiatrists use biochemistry and psychology to diagnose, treat, and prevent mental illness. Whether you’re experiencing bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or depression, a psychiatrist can assist you.
What happens when I meet with a psychiatrist?
Prior to your first appointment with your psychiatrist, you should write down a list of symptoms or issues that you’ve been facing, so you can address as much as possible with your provider. Upon arrival, your provider will go over your medical history, including your family history, and give you a psychiatric evaluation.
Your evaluation, along with your medical and family history, will help your provider determine the type of treatment that would best help you. Your psychiatrist will prescribe treatment for you and monitor your progress with regular check-ins. Your treatment may include a combination of therapies, such as medication, lifestyle changes, dietary changes, and exercise.
Your mental health and physical health are inextricably linked. Caring for your mental wellness and physical health will go a long way toward helping you live a fulfilling and productive life. If you think you may be living with a mental illness, call 800-818-8680 to book an appointment with Alpha Care Medical today. We have locations in Seaford, Millsboro, Harrington, and Dover, Delaware.