West End Consultation Group is Now Accepting Patients

Patient intake has begun as of late 2023 and into the 2024 season! Come visit our team of qualified psychiatrists to help prescribe adequate medication for any of your mental health concerns. Mental health can severely impact the day to day activities as well as deeply affect relationships in our every day lives. If you need anything regarding your psychiatric medications, then don’t wait!

Contact Us for any questions or call us at 952-856-8452 to learn more. You can also review our resources to learn more about office. Request an appointment and take that first step towards better mental health!

The Difference Between Physicians & Psychiatrists

Is It Better to See a Psychiatrist or My Primary Care Doctor?

When you notice a decline in mental health, disruptions to your sleep schedule or general well-being, or suspect that you may be experiencing a mental health disorder, you may be unsure who to approach for relief and treatment—a psychiatrist or your primary care physician. Both can address your symptoms and even work together to build a care plan, but it’s essential to make sure you’re seeing the best provider for your situation.

While both are licensed medical professionals, the basic differences between physicians and psychiatrists are important. Primary care physicians tend to focus on physical health and holistic care, whereas psychiatrists are specialists who treat mental health conditions and disorders.

Considerations for Choosing a Mental Healthcare Provider

Which provider is right for you will depend on several factors, such as previous health conditions or mental health treatments, existing medication management plans, and more. Use these questions to guide you as you evaluate the differences between physicians and psychiatrists:

  • Have you been treated previously? If you do not have a pre-existing mental health disorder or condition, your primary care doctor is an excellent starting point to explore your options. In addition to providing care themselves, they can refer you to psychiatric professionals for more specialized treatment.
  • How soon do you need treatment? Certain mental health conditions need more immediate attention. Psychiatrists can often have longer wait times for appointments, and your usual doctor may be able to see you sooner. NOTE: If you or a loved one are experiencing suicidal thoughts, don’t delay in reaching out. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 for immediate assistance.
  • Are you pursuing a medication management plan? Both primary care physicians and psychiatrists have the ability to prescribe medication, but a psychiatrist will be more familiar with additional treatment options and supplemental care options as they specialize in mental healthcare.
  • How severe are your symptoms? A general care provider can treat mild to moderate mental health conditions, but severe or complex symptoms will need attention from a psychiatric specialist.
  • Are you experiencing physical or medical symptoms? Mental health disruptions can sometimes be a symptom of an underlying medical condition or cause physical issues. Your primary care provider can rule out other causes or work with a psychiatric professional to address both mental and physical symptoms.

When to See Your Primary Care Physician

Primary care physicians are responsible for diagnosing and treating a variety of mental and physical illnesses or injuries, prescribing medication, and completing regular preventative care. Care provided by your primary physician may include physical examinations, diagnostic tests, referrals to specialists, and other treatments. Seek out your primary care doctor when:

  • You have not received mental health treatment before and are unsure where to start
  • You have successfully worked with your primary care doctor before to treat mental health
  • You need to begin treatment as soon as possible (Note: for emergencies, call 911 or go to your nearest emergency department for immediate treatment)
  • You are experiencing physical or medical problems alongside mental health disruptions

When to See a Psychiatrist

Psychiatrists are medical doctors who specialize in diagnosing and treating mental health disorders. Not to be confused with therapists, psychiatrists are licensed and have undergone specific training to address many conditions, including anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, adult ADHD, OCD, and others. Choose a psychiatrist if:

  • You have had mental health treatment previously and are interested in continuing your plan or exploring new options
  • You received inadequate mental healthcare from your primary care physician
  • You received a referral for specialized care from your primary care physician, therapist, or other provider
  • You are experiencing long-term, severe, or complicated symptoms
  • You are unable to function at work, at home, or during your day-to-day life
  • You are seeking an expert provider with experience treating mental health disorders

West End Consultation Group Provides Psychiatric Services to the Twin Cities

If you decide to seek treatment from a Twin Cities psychiatric professional, the board-certified team at West End Consultation Group is in your corner. To help you get the most out of your appointments, we will work with your primary care physician, therapist, and other healthcare providers to address your symptoms, design personalized medication management plans, and build comprehensive treatments.Contact us or call 952-856-8452 to speak with a member of our St. Louis Park office to learn more and start down the path to better mental health.

How to Get the Most Out of My Psychiatry Appointment

Whether you’re new to seeing a psychiatrist or have an established care provider, getting ready for and attending a psychiatry appointment can be nerve-wracking. You may wonder what to ask a psychiatrist or which information you should bring. By making the necessary preparations and educating yourself on what to expect, you can alleviate your anxieties and make the most out of your appointment.

What Should I Prepare Before My Psychiatry Appointment?

A little preparation makes a big difference in the world of psychiatry. After researching providers and making an appointment with a board-certified psychiatric provider, it’s time to prepare for your psychiatry session. Before your visit, particularly for an initial consultation, take the time to:

  • Assemble your complete medical history, including previous diagnoses and past or present medication plans
  • Educate yourself by researching your symptoms, conditions, and possible treatment options
  • Prepare a list of all questions so you know what to ask a psychiatrist during your appointment
  • Prepare a list of goals for treatment
  • Familiarize yourself with your chosen clinic’s policies and privacy practices
  • Bring paper and a writing implement to your appointment to take notes and avoid losing track of essential information

What to Do During a Psychiatry Appointment

Be Honest and Upfront About Pre-Existing Conditions and Substance Use

Psychiatric providers are responsible for creating a safe and comprehensive medication management plan as a part of your overall treatment. However, many psychiatric medications work by altering the chemistry of your brain. As a result, it is vital to be honest and forthcoming about your use of alcohol, recreational drugs, previously prescribed medications, and other substances as they may negatively interact with your psychiatric medication and lead to critical or life-threatening consequences.

Remember, healthcare providers will not break confidentiality unless you are at risk of harming yourself or others. By disclosing all pre-existing conditions and substance use, you can ensure you receive an accurate and safe medication plan.

Ask All of Your Questions

Bring your prepared list of questions to your appointment so you do not forget to ask for important information. Options for what to ask a psychiatrist can include:

  • What is your treatment approach?
  • How much control or involvement do I have in my care?
  • Can you help me make a plan that addresses my life goals as well as my symptoms?
  • What are my medication options? Will you walk me through the side effects of each one and how they specifically address my symptoms?
  • Do the side effects impact weight or sex drive?
  • Are you available outside of appointments to address emergency refills or other unexpected events?

These questions and others specific to your symptoms and goals can guide your appointment to ensure all your concerns are addressed. Take notes of all answers to refer to later.

Clearly Articulate Your Treatment Goals

Having a clear set of goals for your psychiatric treatment and appointment can help your provider create your best plan. As with questions, writing these goals down can make it easier to communicate them to your care team. Goals could include:

  • Stating how you currently feel, want to feel, and do not want to feel
  • Establishing a sleep schedule that matches your lifestyle
  • Ensuring you can achieve a healthy sex life that fits your needs
  • Communicating if you want to be able to drink alcohol or use recreational drugs while undergoing treatment
  • Talking about how treatments may impact pregnancy or avoiding pregnancy
  • And other goals relevant to your life.

Your provider will create a strategy that allows you to achieve your goals while addressing symptoms. In addition to medication management, this may include working with a therapist, establishing new habits, and utilizing other options.

West End Consultation Group Makes the Most Out of Your Psychiatry Appointment

The board-certified team at West End Consultation Group is dedicated to providing adults in the Twin Cities with non-judgmental and empathetic treatment for adult ADHD, mood disorders, and other mental health conditions. Your goals are our goals, and we look forward to working with you to build an improved quality of life through personalized treatment. Call 952-856-8452 or request an appointment to get started on the road to better mental health.

What is the Difference Between Psychiatry and Therapy?

This is a common question people have about mental health services. You may be considering if you should talk to someone about your mental health, but should you see a therapist or a psychiatrist?

The difference between psychiatry and therapy is a relevant topic among many practices, as it’s important to offer a wide range of mental health treatment options. Psychology, or therapy, focuses on addressing behavioral patterns through psychotherapy, while psychiatry prescribes medication and monitors from a clinical standpoint.

If you are dealing with life changes and challenges, and you want to understand your behaviors and thoughts better, therapy may benefit you. If you’re experiencing a more complex condition that’s impacting your health physically, nutritionally, etc., you might prefer to see a psychiatrist who can prescribe medication. Therapy and psychiatry often work together or overlap when developing well-rounded and effective treatment.

What is the Difference Between a Psychologist and a Psychiatrist?

Therapists are also called psychologists, which can be confusing because they sound so similar. There are different educational requirements and credentials for therapists versus psychiatrists. Psychiatrists are medical doctors who specialize in the area of mental health care. On top of attending medical school for at least 4 years, psychiatrists also undergo 4-5 years of residency, specifically in psychiatric care.

Because psychiatrists are medical doctors, they are licensed and able to prescribe medication to their patients, while therapists cannot. Psychiatrists can offer a well-rounded approach to treatment by accurately diagnosing mental health conditions. Their medical training and education help determine and rule out any environmental or physical causes.

Psychiatrists also treat more complex, more severe mental health disorders that generally require medication, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and severe depression. While therapists focus mainly on psychotherapy and addressing behaviors, psychiatrists have a wider range of treatment options.

Should I See a Therapist or a Psychiatrist?

If you are seeking support for your mental health, you might be trying to determine if you should see a therapist or a psychiatrist. While therapists and psychiatrists often work together as part of your overall care team, these questions may help you decide whom you should primarily work with:

If you answer yes to any of the questions below, consider seeing a therapist:

  • Would you prefer talking with someone over taking medication to help your mental health?
  • Are you looking for a more affordable mental health treatment option?
  • Has your primary care doctor ruled out any medical conditions or health factors that may impact your mental health?

If you answer yes to any of the questions below, a psychiatrist may be a better fit:

  • Are you open to taking medication for your mental health?
  • Do you have physiological or medical symptoms related to mental health that need to be evaluated?
  • Do you have a more complex mental health disorder? (Such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or severe depression)

Schedule a Psychiatry or Therapy Appointment at our St. Louis Park, MN Clinic

At West End Consultation Group, we have multiple mental health care providers with both psychiatrists and therapists on staff. Our team works together to help develop a comprehensive mental health treatment plan when you request an appointment at WECG. Check out our patient mental health resources before your visit.

Our specialists serve adults across the Twin Cities who are seeking treatment for mental health disorders. Our office is located near Minneapolis, so schedule an appointment today if you live in Minnesota.