When it comes to mental health care, specifically the treatment of schizophrenia, choosing the right doctors and therapists is critical to patients’ wellbeing. Determining which types of doctors and therapists are necessary for the treatment of these patients can be confusing and even intimidating.
It’s important to have a grasp on the doctors and therapists that should be involved in treatment plans for people with schizophrenia.
Here are some of the primary doctors and therapists involved in treating schizophrenia and psychosis:
According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), a psychiatrist is a medical doctor (an M.D. or D.O.) who specializes in mental health, including substance use disorders. Psychiatrists are qualified to assess both the mental and physical aspects of psychological problems.
Psychiatrists are involved in diagnosing and determining treatment for mental health disorders such as schizophrenia. A common treatment for people with schizophrenia is psychotherapy.
According to the APA, “psychotherapy, sometimes called talk therapy, is a treatment that involves a talking relationship between a therapist and patient. It can be used to treat a broad variety of mental disorders and emotional difficulties.”
A psychologist is similar to a psychiatrist except that psychologists are not permitted to prescribe medications.
According to the American Psychological Association (which is also known as the APA), practicing psychologists have the professional training and clinical skills to help people learn to cope more effectively with life issues and mental health problems.
After years of graduate school and supervised training, they become licensed by their states to provide a number of services, including evaluations and psychotherapy. Psychologists help by using a variety of techniques based on the best available research and consider someone’s unique values, characteristics, goals, and circumstances.
Primary Care Physicians (PCP)
Though the role of PCPs can be overlooked in treating mental illness, these doctors should be integrated into the care plan of people with schizophrenia. It is likely that PCPs will be familiar with the patient, his medical history, his family medical history, what medications he is taking, and other factors that will need to be taken into account when determining the best medications and therapies for treating schizophrenia. PCPs can prescribe medications and can work in conjunction with psychiatrists, psychologists, and other mental health professionals.
Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW) and Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC)
The LCSW and the LPC can support schizophrenic patients emotionally, psychologically, and behaviorally. These professionals can help patients cope with the everyday challenges that take a bit more work for those with schizophrenia to adapt to. These individuals can’t prescribe medications since they are not medical doctors, but will work with doctors to care for the patient and treat them as all see fit.
In order to find the right healthcare professional to meet your or your loved one’s needs, you may want to seek referrals from your current primary care physician, your health insurance provider, trusted family members, close friends, or members of your church or religious organization.
For more information on the treatment of schizophrenia and psychosis, reach out to us. We want to come alongside you in your fight against mental illness.