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How do you know when it’s time to see a psychiatrist?

By Rachel Parodneck LMSW

What is a psych eval? A psychiatric evaluation is an initial appointment with a psychiatrist to evaluate whether or not what you’re experiencing warrants psychotropic medication. Psychotropic drugs are prescribed to treat a variety of mental health issues when those issues cause significant impairment to healthy functioning. Psychotropic drugs typically work by changing or balancing the amount of important chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters. Here are some signs that you should seek an evaluation:

1. Therapy hasn’t been working: When you’ve been in therapy, doing the work, giving it your all and still haven’t seen any improvement. Often, therapy in conjunction with medication can be most beneficial to maintaining good mental health.

2. You have impaired functioning: Your mental health issues are impeding your everyday life. Be it anxiety, depression, OCD, or another disorder, medication can be essential in helping you get back to baseline.

3. Family history of mental health issues: Many mental health disorders have a strong genetic component. If your parents, siblings, or other close relatives have struggled with similar issues, this may be indicative of the need for treatment.

4. Family members who take medication feel better: Those same family members who live with mental health disorders take medication and feel better. Just as mental health issues share a genetic component, many times those meds that work well for a family member may work well for you too.

5. Suicidal Ideation: You’ve been contemplating suicide and/or self-harm. If this is the case and you have a plan, call 911 or visit your nearest emergency room. There are also numbers you can call such as National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
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Remember, you are not alone. There are millions of people in the world today who are living their best lives while taking medication. Just because you have a psychiatric disorder does not make you any less of a person. The fact that you are even reading this article and open to getting help is a sign of great strength.