A letter from Dr. Robert Moran:
Everyone should receive state of the art treatment. Psychiatry is the subspecialty of medicine which focuses upon how the brain expresses mood regulation, anxiety, thought process/content, and behavior. More and more research reveals how increasingly complicated brain function is. When people develop problems in any of these areas, it means that the part of the brain which controls that function is not working properly. It is the psychiatrist who can determine by talking with you what parts of the brain are not working well.
Once a comprehensive evaluation is conducted and a diagnosis is established, treatment can then be offered. It is very important that every individual seeking help is made aware of the available treatment options which have been proven by medical science to be effective. This is what is referred to as “evidence-based medicine.” To obtain this description, multiple medical studies have been done and scrutinized by researchers and clinicians before being accepted as effective treatment. There are very many so-called treatments/treatment programs promoted in our country which have little to no valid research supporting their use. We see this very commonly in addiction treatment programs which do not integrate into treatment medicines which have been proven by research to be more effective than a 12-step approach alone. When the science is ignored, people suffer needlessly.
As a result, I think that evaluation and treatment recommendation should always begin with the psychiatrist. Far too often, people seek treatment from individuals without even knowing their credentials. Often, people have problems with mood, thinking, and behavior, which are caused by underlying medical problems that have not yet been diagnosed. Since the psychiatrist is also a physician, he/she can determine the further evaluation/medical testing that should be done to identify these other problems.
The treatment recommendation may include psychotherapy. If so, it would by a type that has clear evidence supporting its efficacy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, psychodynamic therapy, or motivational enhancement therapy. Just talking nicely to someone is not the same as therapy. When conducted properly (with the experience of formal training and supervision), these psychotherapies can be just as powerful as medicine. Knowing when they should be combined with medicine or used in place of medicine is the art of psychiatry.
The goal of treatment in general is to help you feel much better. This includes resolving distressing/disabling symptoms and improving overall level of functioning. I never give up until I have helped you to achieve those goals.
– Dr. Robert Moran