I need to rephrase my question. I found a psychiatrist that I'd like to go see but how do I know if they specialize in medication? Do I call and ask?
All psychiatrists are specialized in medications, it's all part of the specialty.
All p-docs specialize in "talk therapy," but there are as many different psychaitic approaches as there are psychiatrists. It's why it's essential to have an initial "meet and greet" session to see if you're both on the same page.
You can shorten this process by calling your local Doctor/Psychiatrist referral line.(Available through most hospitals) They will ask you some questions about your specific needs and do their best to give you the names of doctors who best fit those needs. There may also be a referral service through the American Psychiatric Association.
All psychiatrists are able to prescribe medications. (They had to become MDs BEFORE specializing in psychiatry)
I actually prefer a p-doc to prescribe psyctotropic meds for me. They have a far, far better understanding of not only how and why they work, but they are much better at prescribing ONLY what you need. Most GPs have had ONE psych rotation during med school and they simply do not know enough about these psychological conditions as a p-doc nor do they know eough about treating them since virtually all they know of these powerful drugs is what the pharmaceutical company rep tells them. Which is pretty much just the "good" hype and almost nothing about the possible nasty side effects.
Sorry for going on a wee rant. GPs have messed me up really bad in the past and it will never happen again.
I wish you the very best.
Whereas for me, while I agree that general docs litter the web with horror stories about the treatment they give, most of the psychiatrists I've seen are hacks and one of them destroyed my life, so you do have to understand that medicine isn't like it is on TV -- we really don't know all that much about this stuff or any other medical condition. So you want to find a psychiatrist who does seem to know not only how meds work but how to deal with them when they don't do what they're supposed to -- who know how to handle the bad with the good. Also, these days very few psychiatrists do talk therapy. Those who do can also prescribe medication, but often will have someone else in the office to do that. One of the reasons for this is that psychologists actually have longer training in psychology, but because they're not MDs they charge less and give you 5 minutes more per session, so the talk part is the same. To enhance their profit, most psychiatrists can see tons of patients for 15 minutes each just to prescribe medication and make a fortune doing it, whereas talk sessions take 45 minutes. Money talks.
In my experience, both professionally, and personally, these days, p-docs primarily only prescribe and maintain meds. The therapy part is usually done by a psychologist, or licensed therapist. It's pretty rare to find a p-doc who does both...if you have, that's kind of cool! I would give it a try and see who it works out.
The other common thread among a lot of p-docs is that they seem to be lacking personality and bedside manner. Now of course, this is just based on MY observations, and from talking to others, but it seems pretty commonplace to have a p-doc with no personality and compassion. Very strange, because out of ALL the kinds of doctors, those are the ones who need those qualities the most. Point in mentioning that is, personally, I couldn't see ANY of the p-docs I've seen for meds EVER being someone I would feel comfy with in a therapy setting. One couldn't maintain eye contact, and the other had the personality of a pet rock. :0)
Anyway, finding the right therapist is so important. You want to see someone you have a good comfort level with, who you find personable, and someone who you feel okay opening up with. Just keep that in mind, and if the doctor isn't the "right" one, don't feel badly about seeking out another. Who knows, this may end up being a great thing!
I'll be anxious to hear how this goes for you, keep us posted!
Yes, it is good to call and ask what the psychiatrists philosophy is. There are still some psychiatrists that do both the medication end and talk therapy however, a large portion now primarily manage meds and work with psychologists for the talk end of treatment. Often these psychologists are in the same office as the psychiatrist. A patient may meet initially with both and then primarily see the psychologist on an ongoing basis with occasional check ins with the psychiatrist to see how the medication is doing, make adjustments, etc.