A primary care doctor is usually a patient’s first point of contact when experiencing symptoms of a medical condition. Primary care physicians receive training to provide general healthcare for the full range of acute and chronic health issues, including mental health problems.
Part of a primary care physician’s fundamental function is to establish care coordination between the patient and other specialists. A primary care physician may give a psychiatric referral if a patient reports signs and symptoms of a mental health problem.
Reasons for a Psychiatric Referral
If you are experiencing any of the following, your primary care physician will likely give you a psychiatric referral so you can receive specialized care:
- Panic or anxiety attacks
- Persistent feelings of sadness, becoming withdrawn, or have lost interest in things that once brought you joy
- Unusual shifts in mood and energy, alternating between euphoria and depression
- Obsessive thoughts and compulsions that interfere with your daily life
- Traumatic experiences that are currently affecting you (flashbacks and nightmares)
- Hallucinations (hearing or seeing things that do not exist)
- Dependence on medication, such as opioids
- Eating disorder (starving yourself, forcing yourself to throw up, or binge-eating)
- A strong, often uncontrollable urge to drink alcohol or consumption past your limits
- Feelings of hopelessness associated with a diagnosis of a chronic health condition or terminal illness
- Thoughts of self-harm or suicide
- Relationship problems due to any of the signs mentioned above
How a Psychiatrist Can Help
On your appointment with your psychiatrist, you can anticipate a comprehensive diagnostic evaluation, during which you will be asked to describe in detail your thoughts, symptoms, and behaviors and how they affect your daily life. A psychiatric evaluation also includes a review of your medical history and your family’s mental health history. Your psychiatrist may also ask that you take some behavioral assessments to aid in the diagnosis. From there, your psychiatrist will then devise an effective treatment plan and teach you a number of coping strategies to enable you to live a good quality of life.
Your psychiatrist will likely use a combination of medication and psychotherapy. Psychotherapy is a term used to represent a series of techniques that helps patients understand and work through their issues. For instance, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which is a common type of psychotherapy, helps patients identify and restructure their harmful thought patterns and behaviors. When used in conjunction with medications, psychotherapy has proven to be highly effective in addressing a wide range of mental illnesses.
Psychiatrist in New York and Connecticut
At Psy-Visions, Dr. Mark Stracks has earned a solid reputation for the compassionate, comprehensive, personalized psychiatric treatments and excellent outcomes he consistently provides. Dr. Stracks has a wealth of experience in providing care for the full range of mental conditions that affect adults, teens, children, and elderly patients.