Why Does the Psychologist Send Me to a Doctor Sometimes?

Everyone encounters good and bad incidents in their life. It is tremendously normal to encounter bad incidents as well as good incidents in life. We should embrace the emotions that emerge when we encounter such incidents. Failing to embrace our emotions in their normal flow in the face of such situations may lead to other disturbances in the following days. Getting psychological support allows us to express our feelings and emotions and to share our experiences.

The field of psychological support is one where we can talk about the unresolved issues from the past that we are unable to forget, as well as the situations that are caused by natural stress and seriously affect our daily functioning. Having had to take refuge in or migrate to another country is a challenging experience and therefore, we may feel lonely to a greater extent. In such situations, we may experience moments where there is no one around to confide in.  Psychologists can also be persons that we can visit when we just need to talk to someone.

Sharing can bring us comfort. We all need a space where we can objectively share all types of life experiences, which make us sad, upset, unhappy or happy, without being judged.

Psychological support is the name of the process in which a professional meets this very human need and which enables us to embrace our own emotions about challenging incidents.  

In the course of this process, psychologists help people to resolve their problems which disturb them, which they are stuck in, which they keep thinking about all the time, and which consequently prevent and limit the life they are living.   

In this way, it is aimed to help people feel better and continue their daily life in a more functional way. 

Psychologists ensure this by way of talking. Psychologists may choose to refer people to psychiatrists where administration of medication is required.

First, let’s define who is a psychologist and who is a psychiatrist. 

Who is a Psychologist?

A psychologist is someone who graduated from a 4-year Psychology Department. The Psychologists working in our offices are persons who received additional training on Psychological Interview Techniques and Treatments either during their university education or afterwards. In addition, the psychologists working in our offices receive supervision support from experienced psychologists. 

Psychologists are professionals who work in the field of mental health in general and address the issues of stress and discomfort experienced in daily life in particular. They are professionals who received training on numerous issues related to human life and their solutions, including how to cope with depression, bipolar disorder as well as excessive anxiety, family problems, psychological distress caused by serious diseases, processes of bereavement and mourning the loss of someone, sleeping or eating problems, addiction, communication problems with other people, accidents and negative life events that affect us deeply in our lives, and the impacts thereof. Psychologists are also competent to administer psychological tests.

Psychologists are also knowledgeable about many issues such as childhood adjustment problems, stuttering, speech disorders, enuresis or urinary retention, attention deficit and hyperactivity, as well as about the problems that parents experience with their children.    

Psychologists do not prescribe medication, but they may refer a person to a psychiatrist in the event that they determine that it is necessary for the person concerned.

Who is a Psychiatrist?

A psychiatrist is a doctor of medicine. Psychiatrists are specialist doctors who received training in the department of psychiatry after having graduated from a 6-year Medical Faculty. When performing a psychiatric evaluation, psychiatrists include the physical examination of symptoms in their evaluation, and they can prescribe medication afterwards. Psychiatrists also issue official reports.

Psychiatrists perform the evaluation regarding psychological problems through examination, medical laboratory tests and a number of psychological tests, and administer treatment with therapeutic medications when necessary.

It is possible to talk to the psychologist for a longer time. On the other hand, the method employed by the psychiatrist involves the utilization of various diagnostic tools and a decision to be made on which medication might be beneficial to the person. Although we might think that it takes a relatively short period of time, the psychiatrist’s method yields effective results.

Why does the psychologist refer a person to a psychiatrist sometimes?

Our body is a whole. Some psychological problems affect us not only mentally but also physically. Sleeping, eating and being able to rest as much as needed are our basic needs. It is vital that these needs are met regularly and in a healthy way. In the event that some psychological conditions interrupt these needs, resorting to remedies suggested by psychiatrists for the purposes of making recovery possible can ensure the recovery.

Some psychological problems can inherently be problems that could not be treated without medication and a doctor’s intervention.

However, it does not necessarily mean that the person concerned will never change throughout his/her life, that s/he is an “insane” person, that it is not possible for him/her to recover fully, or that the same problems will be experienced on a repeated basis.

Psychological problems, like many physical disorders, are situations requiring the administration of correct intervention and treatment. A great number of psychological problems can be treated with the involvement of professionals and through a timely and correct intervention.

The resolution of psychological problems sometimes requires medication treatment while there might be instances where psychological support is required. Sometimes a combination of these two methods is employed. The psychologist has knowledge about which treatment method should be employed for what kind of situation. Therefore, when the psychologist explains that you need to go and see a doctor, having confidence that it can help with your recovery and complying with the referral made by the psychologist are essential for recovery.

The knowledge that psychologists and psychiatrists have about mental health problems is scientific knowledge. It is based on information that was obtained as a result of researches and experiences and that is reliable and supported by observations.

Just as we go to hospital for treatment when we suffer a heart attack and make an effort to follow the treatment plan devised by doctors, we can also get support by consulting relevant professionals when we feel bad psychologically.

Psychologists and psychiatrists are the relevant professionals where Mental Health and Mental Health Problems are concerned.

  • Why is it necessary to go to a psychiatrist?

It is because the treatment of some psychological problems requires the use of medications.  When coping with some problems that affect our body deeply such as distress and pain, uncontrollable thoughts, obsessions and depression, the treatment plans devised by psychiatrists might help us in the process of resolving such problems. On the other hand, some of the mental health problems necessarily require medical treatments as is the case with heart conditions and stomach disorders.

  • How does the process after the referral to a psychiatrist work?

The psychologist might make your first appointment for psychiatry department as well as the follow-up appointments should you need it.   

When we go to a psychiatrist, accurately conveying the situations that adversely affect our life, the changes that take place in our body, and the experiences we go through will help the doctor understand us better and devise the most suitable treatment plan for us. If we feel confused about what to express when we go to psychiatry department, it is possible to share such concerns with our psychologist.

As is the case with psychological support, seeing a psychiatrist also involves a certain process. Psychiatric intervention differs from the types of treatments where we see a doctor and use medication for a short while when we feel bad like when we catch flu. Instead, it is a process, which involves more than one session, encompasses a certain period and should continue at regular intervals within the framework of a treatment plan.    

There are four main elements to pay attention to during a psychiatric examination: 

  1. Accurately expressing ourselves and what we have been going through
  2. Informing the psychiatrist of all kinds of medications we are using, our past medical history and any allergy we have, if any 
  3. If prescribed, learning by heart in which dose and at what time the given medication should be taken
  4. Committing to memory the date of the next appointment

Key Points

  • Psychiatric treatment plan is designed specifically for the individual concerned and according to his/her situation and conditions.  
  • The majority of psychiatric medications are medications that should be used regularly for at least six months or one year after the initiation of treatment. Depending on the patient’s condition, the psychiatrist determines the dose and duration of the medications to be used. 
  • In case of any problem, side effect or physical reaction related to the use of medication, it is necessary to inform the psychiatrist of any such situation.
  • It is necessary to go to the appointments regularly at the intervals decided on by the psychiatrist.
  • It is essential to use the medications prescribed by the psychiatrist every day on a regular basis as determined by the psychiatrist.
  • In future appointments, the prescription may change, the doses of medications may be increased or decreased, new medications may be added to the prescription or some of the medications may be removed from the prescription. These are matters for the psychiatrist to decide. In any case, it is crucial to continue with the latest prescribed medications, to discontinue the medications that the psychiatrist asked us to quit taking, and to follow the treatment plan.  
  • It is necessary to start and to continue taking medications under the supervision of the psychiatrist. It is also crucial to discontinue the medications within the framework of the psychiatrist’s treatment plan and in compliance with descriptions of the psychiatrist.     
  • In some cases and for some disorders, the administration of medication might be spread over many years.
  • Following the treatment plan, which the psychiatrist has prepared specifically for you, step by step will assist your recovery. Following the plan only partially or not following it at all will delay your recovery and may worsen your situation.    

What We Need to Know About Medications Prescribed by the Psychiatrist

Medications prescribed by the psychiatrist are not standardized ones. The medications in the prescription are prescribed specifically for the person concerned. There is no guarantee that a medication that works for someone else will have the same effect on you. In fact, using medications, which are not prescribed for you by your doctor or prescribed for someone else, can cause harmful effects.

Medications should be used under the supervision of the psychiatrist and they should be taken in the doses and for the durations prescribed by the psychiatrist. If the psychiatrist gave specific instructions on which medication to use, the number of pills to be taken daily, the required dose and the duration of the administration, then we must comply with them.

Cases of addiction regarding the psychiatric medications are extremely rare.

After starting the medications prescribed by the psychiatrist, some side effects may be observed on rare occasions. The potential side effects may differ from person to person and from medication to medication; some people may experience no side effects at all. Most of the aforementioned side effects are ones that do not interfere with a person’s daily functioning very much, are temporary, and disappear upon the discontinuation of the medication. In cases of side effects, it is necessary to see the psychiatrist again and inform him/her of the situation. As there are a variety of medication options available today, the psychiatrist decides on medication options that will have the minimum effect on one’s daily functioning. For any questions you may have about psychiatric medications, you can consult a psychiatrist, who is a professional of this subject, or a psychologist.  

If you want to benefit from our mental health services, you can apply to the nearest ASAM office for further information. Sessions are held free of charge and in accordance with the principle of confidentiality.

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