Rehabilitation programs use a range of professionals to provide personalized care and essential services. Many treatment programs have an in-house or contracted psychiatrist to conduct assessments, prescribe medications, and track symptom progress. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Addiction psychiatrists are [specifically] trained to give evidence-based treatment to their patients, which involves not only addressing addiction but also addressing any mental disorders that might have contributed to behaviors associated with addiction.” Newport Beach Recovery Center offers a wide range of treatment services to help our clients, including psychiatric assessments.

What Is a Psychiatrist?

A psychiatrist is a medical doctor trained to diagnose and treat mental health disorders. Like any other doctor, they had to obtain a bachelor’s degree, complete four years of medical school, and go through a residency. In addition to providing admissions assessments and diagnosing clients, psychiatrists also determine if clients may benefit from prescription medication. Many programs use psychiatric assessments to determine the best approach to treatment.

Some people confuse therapists with psychiatrists. However, a therapist does not have the same medical training and cannot prescribe medications. In many cases, a psychiatrist can reduce stress on the client by playing multiple roles in the recovery process. Some people feel more comfortable having one person responsible for supervising their therapy, medication management, and treatment plan. However, in most cases, clients will have both a therapist and a consulting psychiatrist.

How Can Psychiatry Help You Heal?

Psychotherapy combined with medication and alternative holistic therapies provides essential support for people in recovery. Often, a psychiatrist collaborates with the client and care team to ensure the best possible outcome. Psychiatry can help reveal hidden issues and alert the care team to undiagnosed co-occurring mental health disorders. Rehabilitation is only effective if it addresses the whole person and any potential underlying problems.

A psychiatrist does the following to help individuals struggling with SUD and related conditions:

  • Provides psychoeducation on the causes of addictive behaviors
  • Assists clients in recognizing the underlying cause of specific thoughts and behaviors
  • Prescribes medication to reduce symptom severity
  • Assists the care team in addressing any co-occurring mental health disorders

You can benefit from seeing a psychiatrist if you struggle with moderate or severe mental health symptoms. Newport Beach Recovery Center ensures every client undergoes a comprehensive assessment during admissions to ensure we have a clear idea of how to approach treatment.

What Are the Differences Between Psychiatry and Therapy?

A psychiatrist is a medical doctor that focuses on the symptomatology, diagnosis, and treatment of substance abuse and mental health disorders. In some cases, they may assist with interventions, consultations, or other aspects of treatment. On the other hand, a therapist may not have the training to conduct complex mental health assessments and interventions.

You can expect to interact with therapists during the following:

  • Group therapy
  • Individual therapy
  • Peer activities and community events
  • Trauma therapy

Most clients have regular contact with their therapist during their time in the program. However, they may have limited exposure to the psychiatrist responsible for conducting assessments or prescribing their medication.

Does Every Treatment Plan Require a Psychiatrist?

You might only meet briefly with a psychiatrist or work closely with one depending on the severity of your co-occurring disorders. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), “A psychiatrist provides services crucial to sustaining recovery and stable functioning for people with [co-occurring disorders]: assessment, diagnosis, periodic reassessment, medication, and rapid response to crises.” Every case is unique, and not everyone requires psychiatric support during rehabilitation. However, most programs have a psychiatrist take part in at least the admissions assessment.

Usually, a psychiatrist will only become closely involved in a client’s individualized treatment plan if they have severe symptoms that require specialized therapy or medication. Some of the conditions that a psychiatrist might diagnose and help treat include:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Depression
  • Dissociative disorders
  • Mood disorders
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Panic disorder
  • Personality disorders
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Schizoaffective disorder
  • Schizophrenia

Severe symptoms related to co-occurring disorders often require medication management supplied by a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist helps juggle the intersections of disorders.

Who Benefits From Seeing a Psychiatrist During Aftercare?

Aftercare ensures a smooth transition between structured treatment and independent recovery. You will move from a controlled environment, a.k.a. the “treatment bubble,” to the real world, where you will need to maintain the coping skills you learned. The change can feel destabilizing for some people. Newport Beach Recovery Center uses aftercare planning and alumni services to support clients after they complete rehabilitation.

Individuals with the following will benefit most from psychiatric care during aftercare and ongoing recovery:

  • Debilitating mental health disorders that require additional treatment
  • Chronic mental health issues
  • Most people who rely on prescription medication to maintain mental stability

People who continue to see a psychiatrist after completing rehabilitation have severe underlying mental health issues or lingering symptoms of SUD. They shouldn’t be shamed for taking advantage of the resources available. Ultimately, sobriety and emotional well-being is the goal for everyone.

Many people confuse therapists and psychiatrists. While they both focus on mental health and psychology, they have very different training. They each bring their own expertise to a care team. A therapist counsels clients, helps them identify issues related to mental health, and teaches coping skills. A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who focuses on mental illnesses. They often conduct assessments, diagnose clients, and prescribe medications as necessary. Many people recovering from substance misuse will have a psychiatrist who provides them with a diagnosis and manages any necessary medications. With the help of therapists and a psychiatrist, you can heal. To learn more about a path to recovery, call Newport Beach Recovery Center at (888) 850-0363.