Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Options

By: LifeSpring Behavioral Health | Published 05/13/2022


OMG!!! I need help! Where do I even start? What do all these letters mean after this person’s
name?? Do I need a Psychiatrist, Addictionologist or a Nurse Practitioner for medication
management? Do I even need medications and therapy? Oh no, do I need a Therapist for
counseling or does my Psychiatrist or Nurse Practitioner do this, too? Oh look, this person has a
lot of letters after their name. Should I go with this person?? This is too much, and I give up!
Sound familiar? We are here to help.

Medication Management
A Psychiatrist is a medical doctor who specializes in mental health. Psychiatrists primarily use
medication to treat symptoms of mental health conditions, but they may also use different
types of psychotherapy. Some Psychiatrists specialize in a specific area of psychiatry, such as
addiction or forensic psychiatry. A Psychiatrist can diagnose and prescribe medication to treat
a variety of complex mental illnesses, such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Attention Deficit Disorders
  • Depression
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Borderline Personality Disorder

A Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP - psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner) is an
advanced practice Registered Nurse who is trained to provide care to patients struggling with
mental health problems. These Nurses are different from RNs in that they have the education
and experience to tend to the mental health needs of patients of all ages. They are also
qualified to diagnose patients with mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression, or
eating disorders, and prescribe treatment.

Addiction & Medication
Addictionologists are referred to as an “addiction medicine physician.” Addictionologists are
medical doctors specializing in providing medical care for those looking to overcome a
substance use disorder. Their training allows them to take into account the full spectrum of
addiction disorders rather than just the behavioral aspects of the disease. Addictionologists are
highly educated physicians and are often considered experts in their field.

What Is a Therapist? A Therapist is a broad designation that refers to professionals who are
trained to provide treatment and rehabilitation. There are many different types of Therapists.
Some of these include:

  • Addiction Therapists (Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor, LCDC)- Substance Use
  • Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC)
  • Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)
  • Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist (LMFT)
  • Psychotherapists (include all the above)

There are many reasons why you might want to talk to a therapist. Experiencing symptoms related to a mental health condition is one major reason why people decide to see a therapist. Some reasons to talk to a therapist may include:

  • Anxiety
  • Behavior issues
  • Depression
  • Difficulty coping with life changes
  • Eating disorder symptoms
  • Feelings of loneliness
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Grief
  • Low self-esteem
  • Negative thinking
  • Problems coping with a chronic illness
  • Problems sleeping
  • Questions about sexuality or gender identity
  • Relationship issues
  • Social issues
  • Stress
  • Substance or alcohol issues
  • Thoughts of suicide or self-harm
  • Trauma

In Summary, both medications and therapy might be needed to address the mental health and
substance use disorder. Evidence shows that combining both medication and psychotherapy
improves outcomes.

If you are experiencing mental health and substance use related issues, there is help available.
LifeSpring Behavioral Health offers all the above.

Chris Crawford, MSW, LCSW-S, LCDC
LifeSpring Behavioral Health

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