Should You See Your Primary Care Doctor for Mental Health Issues

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.

Patients Believe a PMD Has Knowledge in Psychiatry

For many patients and families 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.

A Prescription will fix a Mental Illness

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.

Mental Health Abides By Office Hours

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 workday hours, and patients often run the risk of scheduling important appointments too far apart to accommodate for PMD availability.

Signs You Need to See a Psychiatrist

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:

  • Your PMD has tried you on medication and it is not helping.
  • Your PMD has tried you on medication and it helps some, but not enough.
  • You are having thoughts of death or dying (psychiatrists have a better ability to assess and treat suicidal tendencies/thoughts/feelings).


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 every day 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

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