Psychiatry is the practice of medicine as it relates to mental health. It includes diagnosing medical conditions such as such as anxiety, depression, sleep problems, bi-polar disorder, stress and more, as well as creating comprehensive treatment plans which may include prescribing medications.
The way we approach psychiatry is integrative, meaning that we bring a lifestyle-based focus to your health and wellness, with medicine as a supporting, rather than as a primary agent of healing and change. Part of an integrative consult is exploring how your lifestyle can aid your healing and growth process for specific conditions. We integrate nutrition, mindfulness, exercise, relational and social interaction, physiological considerations such as sleep, stress, and eating patterns, supplements, coordinating with your therapist, and more, to help you with your concerns.
Integrative Psychiatry includes:
- Longer consults to really get to know you and understand your concerns
- An exploration of lifestyle modifications
- Supplement recommendations
- Medication when needed, at the lowest therapeutic dose, for as short a time as possible
- Support for occasional sleep, stress and anxiety issues
- Evaluation of current medications and plan going forward
Why Integrative Psychiatry?
Many doctors talk to you for 15 minutes, hand you a prescription, and never follow up with you. We believe psychiatry must be practiced expertly and carefully. We take the time to get to know you, prescribing medication only if needed and at the lowest therapeutic dose. We form a plan with you to come off the medication. We follow up with you and stay in touch so we know that the approach we’re taking is addressing your issue. And we discuss natural, supportive components of treatment with you like lifestyle modifications, exercise, nutrition, supplements, meditation and more.
Psychiatry sometimes requires some tinkering the establish the right medication and the right dosage. Everyone’s chemistry is unique, and there isn’t exactly a one-size-fits-all approach to depression, anxiety, or other issues. Our practitioners take the time to find out exactly what helps you, monitoring results and making any needed changes in that process.
Do I Really Need Medication?
That’s what a professional consult will help establish. In some cases, lifestyle modifications and supplements may be enough to address an issue. Other times, medication plays an important role. There are many types of mental health medication. Some you take daily and they support your brain slowly over time to balance neurochemicals and other messengers. Some, you take as needed if it’s a tough day, to help you sleep, with stress, or to lower high anxiety. Here are a few points that are important to consider about medication that are poorly understood:
- If the side-effects of your issues or symptoms are worse than the side-effects of a medication, the medication may support your health
- Lingering severe depression, stress and anxiety are neurotoxic and degrade brain cells and your overall health
- The longer it takes to treat a mental health condition, the more difficult it may be to treat and the longer recovery may take. Medications sometimes speed up the process and at times provide critical interventions
- Medication is not an ‘escape’ from challenges or emotional pain. Generally, medication helps you be more present to process those challenges and allows psychotherapy to work more effectively with your mind
- Medication is often helpful to get you over a ‘hump’ in life, be it high anxiety or depression, and helps your brain learn how to function in a more healthy manner so that then the medication can be removed
- We only recommend medication when it’s needed, and when it’s needed, it can be a life saver
- Some mental health medication have no side effects
- You may be medicating already with pot, alcohol, excessive caffeine or other substances. The health impact of recreational drugs on your body is often worse than the impact of targeted drugs
I like to Treat Things Naturally. Is that OK?
Sure. We prefer natural approaches as well. The question is, what is the health impact of the issue you’re dealing with? We are experts in the treatment of depression, anxiety, stress, sleep issues, and more, and have seen it all. Trust us–you’re not the only person wondering if a ayahuasca ceremony in the jungle might cure your depression. There are some natural approaches that work well, and these form part of your consult with a professional to determine if that’s the right path for your healing. In some cases, natural methods are enough. In other cases, they can prolong the problematic symptoms, allow disease to progress, can make it harder to treat your issue later, and in some instances, may make your problem significantly worse. We will help you determine the appropriate mix of natural approaches and if medication may be an important part of your healing plan.
Medication Management–How Long Has it Been?
Part of psychiatry is what we call med-management, checking in on medications you may be taking to evaluate if they are still needed, effective, or can be slowly tapered out. If you haven’t had a psychiatric visit in over a year and take a mental health medication, or if you originally had a mental health medication prescribed by a primary care provider, we recommend making an appointment for re-evaluation to check what you are taking, at what dose, if it is fully effective, and if it is still the right approach. Primary care physicians are not mental health experts and may mis-diagnose an issue, prescribe a medication when a different one may be better, or not follow up to monitor the effects of the medication over time. Many medications also lose their efficacy over time and need to be rotated or replaced. We will help you check on if you should continue with a medication you are taking, or the dose, and if a different medication might be more targeted to your current goals.
In Psychiatry, Expertise Matters
It’s your brain and mind! Don’t entrust them to a non-expert! So many people get prescriptions for depression from a doc-in-a-box who doesn’t specialize in mental health medication. Don’t make that mistake! Our psychiatric team is one of the best. We take the time to get to know you (none of this 15 min ‘pill mill’ stuff!), do longer and more detailed, in-depth, consults, and take the time to reflect on the best option for you. Then, we stay in touch with you, and are available for follow up contact as you notice the effects of treatment.
Psychiatry can be done well, or not well, and too often, the latter is true due to short consults, knee-jerk prescribing, and little to no follow up with you regarding your care. Austin Professional Counseling has always only worked with the best psychiatrists in Austin, making sure the medication side of care is done right, and now we have our own internal program to better coordinate with the counseling and therapy we provide. You can still come in to just see your prescriber–you don’t have to be in therapy with us to benefit from our careful approach to medication.
Adrienne Feehan, PMHNP
Our integrative psychiatric practitioner is Adrienne DiRaddo Feehan, PMHNP. Adrienne is a talented and experienced psychiatric nurse who will help you consider supplements, lifestyle modifications, and prescribe medication if needed to help resolve your mental health issue. Our head of department is Dr. Robin May-Davis, who is our supervising physician. Adrienne charges $225 for 75 minute initial appointments and $175 for 30 minute follow ups. We currently accept Blue Cross Blue Shield PPO and Whole Foods, Inc. plan as the only insurance options for psychiatry. To schedule with Adrienne, please call our main office at 512-469-0535 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. She can sometimes accommodate same-week appointments.
Austin is a town that is into health, wellness, nature, and a natural lifestyle. It makes sense, therefore, that many in Austin have aversions to mental health medication. We understand. We aim for a healthy, natural lifestyle as well. In our integrative approach, medication is only recommended when needed and then administered carefully. Keep in mind that the side-effects of many mental and emotional health issues are worse than the side-effects of most medications used in mental health. It’s worse for your health, immune system, and lifespan to try and white-knuckle your way through lifelong anxiety, or through major depressive episodes. Relationships can suffer from untreated ADD. Some conditions really benefit from medication and neuroscience helps us understand when that is the case.
One benefit of pairing medication with counseling when it is necessary to do so, is that it helps your mind learn to live free of the issue you are experiencing. Once your mind adjusts to a new way of moving through life, it can often hold those gains even as the medication is phased out. We try to help you get off the medication as soon as possible.
Certain psychological issues can be difficult to overcome without also treating physiology and the body. Here at the Wellness Center, we examine your issues both physiologically and psychologically, giving you the best chance to fully understand and correct them. Supporting the body, which works hand in hand with the mind, is key to the fast and effective treatment of many psychological issues. For many, once your mind learns to live and function without the problem, the medication can be eased out and many of the gains made in counseling remain.
While you may have heard or read some negative things about mental health medication, engaging in a proper, managed process of taking medication for mental and emotional health alleviates many potential drawbacks and increases positive outcomes. Medication is an imperfect tool like anything else, but done correctly and in the right circumstances as needed, the combination of medication with counseling offers the best and fastest treatment for many mental health issues.
Our integrative psychiatric practitioner is Adrienne DiRaddo Feehan, PMHNP. Adrienne is a talented and experienced psychiatric nurse who will help you consider supplements, lifestyle modifications, and prescribe medication if needed to help resolve your mental health issue. Our head of department is Dr. Robin May-Davis, who is our supervising physician. Adrienne charges $225 for 75 minute initial appointments and $175 for 30 minute follow ups. We currently accept Blue Cross Blue Shield PPO as the only insurance option for psychiatry. To schedule with Adrienne, please call our main office at 512-469-0535 or email us at email@example.com. She can often accommodate same-week appointments.