For people with mental health conditions, telepsychiatry can be an excellent option to consider. These days many healthcare services, including psychiatric care, are handled virtually and there are many advantages to opting for a virtual psychiatrist rather than receiving care in person.
What Are The Advantages of Telepsychiatry
There are several advantages to telepsychiatry, and for patients, the main advantages include the convenience factor and the ability to choose the best possible psychiatrist for their needs and not simply rely on finding “psychiatry near me.”
Many studies have shown that telepsychiatry does not reduce the accuracy of diagnosis nor the quality of care of psychiatric services. We also use a secure platform for each session, so patient privacy and confidentiality are protected.
Telepsychiatry also has been approved by the American Psychiatric Association and many of my patients prefer it to traditional face-to-face meetings. After all, as a psychiatrist in Thousand Oaks, I know only too well how stressful it can be navigating L.A. traffic.
Telepsychiatry allows us to meet without forcing patients to drive to a mental health center or medical center or take extra time out of their day for travel. With telepsychiatry, we typically see reduced wait times for health services, which is another advantage.
Are There Disadvantages?
Some patients do respond better in a face-to-face setting, so while telepsychiatry services were the norm during the pandemic, this was probably not the best option for these patients. Many patients love the convenience, but for those that prefer meeting in person, it might be wise to find a local psychiatrist instead.
Some treatments also cannot be accessed virtually, such as Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) or ketamine treatments. EMDR can be an excellent option for patients with PTSD, and ketamine can be an option for patients with treatment-resistant depression, but they do need to be provided in a medical office setting.
What Can Be Treated Via Telepsychiatry?
Many mental health issues can be treated with telepsychiatry services. For instance, I offer services as an ADHD psychiatrist, depression psychiatrist, anxiety psychiatrist and bipolar disorder psychiatrist. I also treat patients for alcoholism and drug addiction.
Behavioral health care is truly just as important as taking care of your physical health. Mental illness can take a huge toll on your happiness and enjoyment of life, and, too often, people resist getting mental health services.
Psychiatric disorders are not a weakness. They are biological diseases that often are treatable. Seeking psychiatric treatment is no different than heading to your primary care doctor to deal with issues such as strep throat or asthma or heart disease. Whether you are suffering from one or more mental health disorders, I strongly urge you to seek psychiatric care and move toward a happier, healthier life.
Whether you opt for virtual psychiatry or in-person services, the best advice I can give is to find a doctor that provides you with a thorough diagnosis that addresses all of a patient’s mental and physical issues.
For instance, if you are suffering from addiction and chronic pain, both of these issues need to be addressed in order for treatment to be as successful as possible. Likewise, if you suffer from anxiety and an eating disorder, a doctor shouldn’t just focus on anxiety and ignore the eating disorder. Co-occurring disorders are extremely common, and it’s crucial to find ways to treat every issue you are facing.
Telepsychiatry Vs. Telepsychology
A psychiatrist is a medical doctor and, as such, these doctors are the only mental health professionals able to write prescriptions for psychiatric medications. Additionally, as a medical doctor, a psychiatrist will approach each patient from both a physical and mental health perspective.
Often, a psychiatrist will want a patient to undergo certain tests beyond diagnostic testing. For instance, we might want to check your blood for any indicators of health issues or perhaps even consider scheduling an MRI or EEG to study a patient’s neurological health. In some cases, physical ailments can be causing mental health issues or contribute to these issues. If we can alleviate physical health issues, this can decrease or eliminate symptoms of mental health issues.
Additionally, it is important that you provide your psychiatrist (or any doctor) with a complete list of the drugs and supplements you take, including recreational drugs such as marijuana, MDMA, etc. Sometimes drug interactions also cause or exacerbate mental health issues.
Keep in mind, we are not here to judge you, we are here to help, so you must be completely honest about all substances that you take, even vitamins and other health supplements so that we can provide the best possible mental health care.
While a psychologist cannot provide you with prescriptions for medication or evaluate your physical health, these professionals serve as a crucial part of any successful treatment plan, and they also can diagnose mental health disorders. Psychiatrists typically focus only on diagnosis and treatment but don’t actually provide talk therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy or other types of non-medication-related therapies.
In many cases, medication can help patients, but the most successful treatment plans also incorporate different types of therapy. Talking to a psychologist or therapist can be hugely beneficial, and, often more beneficial than simply relying on medication management.
Therapy can provide you with an outlet for your emotions as well as providing you with helpful strategies to manage your day-to-day life. Even those without mental health disorders can benefit from therapy and there are many therapists and psychologists out there offering virtual services these days.
Contact Dr. Jesalva Today!
If you are suffering from mental health issues, I can provide you with quality telepsychiatry services. If you prefer to find “psychiatry near me,” my offices are located in Thousand Oaks, and I can serve patients face-to-face throughout the Los Angeles metro area.
Dr Jesalva is a psychiatrist. He is in private practice in Thousand Oaks, CA since 1989. He successfully treats very challenging patients with varying co-occurring disorders with medications.