Therapy and psychiatry are both forms of treatment for mental health conditions, but they differ in their approach and the type of professional providing the treatment.
Therapy, also known as counseling or psychotherapy, involves talking with a trained therapist to address emotional, behavioral, or mental health issues. The therapist will help the patient understand their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and provide strategies for coping with difficult situations or changing negative patterns.
Psychiatry, on the other hand, is a medical specialty that involves the diagnosis and treatment of mental health conditions. Psychiatrists are medical doctors who have completed additional training in psychiatry. They can provide therapy, but they also have the ability to prescribe medication, and can order lab tests or brain imaging studies to help make a diagnosis.
In summary, therapy and psychiatry are both used to treat mental health conditions, but therapy is focused on talk therapy, and psychiatry is focused on medical treatment and diagnosis of mental health conditions.
Which should I try first?
Whether you should try therapy or psychiatry first depends on your individual needs and circumstances. In general, therapy is a good place to start if you are experiencing mild to moderate emotional, behavioral, or mental health issues, and you feel comfortable talking about your thoughts and feelings with a therapist.
If you have a specific diagnosis or a history of mental illness, or if your symptoms are severe or debilitating, then psychiatry may be a more appropriate first step. A psychiatrist can provide a comprehensive evaluation and develop a treatment plan that may include therapy, medication, or other interventions.
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It’s also important to consider access to care and insurance coverage. Some insurance plans require a referral from a primary care physician to see a specialist like a psychiatrist, therapy may be covered under your insurance.
It may be a good idea to consult with your primary care physician to help determine the best course of treatment for you. Sometimes they can provide a referral to a therapist or psychiatrist in your network or close to your home.
There are also many online options for virtual counseling where you can see a therapist or psychiatrist from the convenience of your home. Start your search for a mental health provider online using virtual counseling apps.
How can I find out if my insurance covers mental health?
There are several ways to find out if your insurance covers mental health:
- Check your insurance policy: Most insurance policies have a section that outlines what mental health services are covered and any associated costs. This information can usually be found on the insurance company’s website or by calling the customer service number on the back of your insurance card. Telehealth apps such as Doctor On Demand will provide the cost of your visit once you provide your insurance information.
- Contact your insurance company: You can call your insurance company’s customer service number and ask about mental health coverage. They will be able to provide you with detailed information about what services are covered and any associated costs.
- Consult your employer’s human resources department: If you have insurance through your employer, the human resources department may be able to provide you with information about mental health coverage.
- Check with the behavioral health department: Some insurance plans have a separate behavioral health department that handles mental health coverage. This department can provide information about covered services and providers.
- Review your insurance plan’s Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC) document: A SBC document is a standard document that provides a summary of what a particular insurance plan covers, including mental health coverage.
It’s important to keep in mind that insurance coverage can change, so it’s a good idea to check your coverage periodically. If you do not have medical insurance, you many still use Doctor On Demand for mental health services and virtual counseling.
Doctor On Demand By Included Health
At Doctor On Demand by Included Health, we have licensed therapists and psychiatrists who specialize in anxiety, depression, grief and loss, and more. You may benefit from talking to someone outside of your close family and friends. We’re here when you’re ready, and available 24/7, everyday of the year, including holidays.
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