Should You See Your Primary Care Doctor for Mental Health Issues

Did you know that more than 70% of primary care visits today are made for psychosocial issues like anxiety and depression? What is more staggering than this is that most primary care physicians entrusted with these issues, do not have the qualifications or resources to address them properly. In this article, we will discuss three stigmas patients have and reasons why you should see a specialist when it comes to mental health issues.


For many patients and family that have and regularly attend a preferred medical doctor (PMD), it is not uncommon for them to believe that they can go to this authority on medicine for their mental health questions and concerns. The truth is, while some PMDs will familiarize themselves with basic knowledge about the vast variety of mental illnesses, their expertise are not in this realm. However, psychiatrists have 3 full years of training devoted to learning the ‘science’ and ‘art’ of prescribing psychiatric medications that PMD’s have had no training for.


The issues surrounding mental health, and the stigma that has been developed in society makes the topic of mental health a sensitive and uncomfortable one to broach. Many people who are suffering or know someone who is suffering from mental illness would rather get a prescription than cope with how they are feeling with a complete stranger. The truth is, therapy and discussions about mental health can be a very healthy and comfortable process and can often decrease or eliminate the need for medication altogether.


The types of mental illness vary exponentially beyond the terms ‘anxiety’ and ‘depression’, and the types of specialists that are educated and skilled in treating each type of illness are also a wide variety. Due to the complexity of mental health, the therapies involved, and medication required, PMD office hours are not suitable for proper treatment. Some medications require supervision and care beyond regular work day hours, and patients often run the risk of scheduling important appointments too far apart to accommodate for PMD availability.


While we here at Cognitive Psychiatry firmly believe it is necessary to see a psychiatrist over a PMD for all mental health issues, we recommend you cease seeing your regular physician and make an appointment with a psychiatrist immediately if you are experiencing the following:

If we can help answer any questions for you or if you need to schedule an appointment please contact us. We have same-day urgent appointments available everyday and we have a no-wait policy, meaning you do not have to wait hours to see a doctor at the time of your appointment. You are seen at the exact time you are scheduled.

To Your Health,
Dr. Jennie Byrne

Dr. Jennie Byrne, M.D., PhD. With over 15 years of medical expertise, Jennie Byrne, MD, PhD, is a board-certified psychiatrist with experience treating mental health conditions in adults, including dementia, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety, and depression. After practicing in New York City for 12 years, Dr. Byrne relocated to North Carolina in 2008; she currently cares for patients in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, at Cognitive Psychiatry of Chapel Hill. Dr. Byrne earned her bachelor’s degree at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. She then received her doctorate from New York University Department of Neurophysiology. She also has a doctorate of medicine from New York University School of Medicine. Dr. Byrne went on to complete a psychiatry residency at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York. In addition to her work as a psychiatrist, Dr. Byrne has performed extensive research on attention, memory, and depression. As a board-certified adult psychiatrist, Dr. Byrne focuses on the needs of each patient to pro

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