Medically reviewed by Kristin Hall, FNP
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated 11/27/2022
If you’re dealing with an urgent mental health issue, you might be wondering how to see a psychiatrist immediately.
Not clear on what this type of mental health professional does? Psychiatrists are licensed medical doctors. They either hold a doctor of medicine (MD) degree or a doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO) degree. Once one of these medical degrees has been achieved, a person also has to complete their residency in psychiatry.
Psychiatry is all about preventing and treating behavioral disorders. This can include anxiety disorders like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), panic attacks and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) or mood disorders like bipolar disorder.
Psychiatric care is often part of a normal routine for someone with mental health concerns. Unfortunately, there are times when a crisis situation may occur and you need to figure out how to see a psychiatrist immediately.
Those with established mental health conditions aren’t the only people who may need to seek help from a psychiatrist quickly.
So, how do you know if you need to seek out mental health services from a psychiatrist as quickly as possible? Here are some potential reasons or signs:
Your emotions are out of control and unmanageable
You’re in a rage spiral and can’t get out of it
You’re engaging in risky behavior
You have intense fear that won’t go away or are dealing with obsessive thinking
You’re dealing with an eating disorder
You are increasingly using substances as a way of coping
You’re having thoughts of self-harm
Essentially, if you’re having intense mental health issues, it’s a good idea to seek help from a medical professional. Read on to learn how to see a psychiatrist immediately.
If you know you need to seek mental health treatment from a psychiatrist, the next step is finding someone to see.
One way to do this is to ask anyone you can contact quickly for a recommendation. For example, you can call your primary care provider and ask them for a few names.
Your primary care provider may even be able to make a call to get you in faster. If you already see a psychologist, social worker or any other licensed mental health professional, you could ask them for a recommendation too.
Another option is to search online directories. For instance, the American Psychiatric Association has a searchable database. If you have medical insurance, you can also check the site for a list of psychiatrists covered by your plan.
If you really need to see someone quickly, you may need to reach out to a few people to see who has the earliest appointment.
Figuring out how to see a psychiatrist immediately can be tricky.
If you can’t find someone who can see you in person quickly, consider an online appointment. An online psychiatrist can do all the things an in-person mental health provider can do.
Worried it’s not as effective? Don’t be. A thorough review of telepsychiatry found that this online service can absolutely be effective and help people who have a mental disorder. It can also be more cost-effective than an in-person visit.
The American Psychiatric Association allows you to search its database and filter by providers who offer telepsychiatry services.
Hers also offers online psychiatry services and appointments, which make it easy to see some quickly.
There are many things a psychiatrist can do to quickly help someone having a mental health crisis.
They can assess what’s going on with you and even order tests to confirm whether it’s a medical condition or something psychiatric.
While we touched on some of them above, specific conditions that a psychiatrist can treat are:
Autism spectrum disorder
A psychiatrist can also prescribe psychiatric medication. This is one of the major differences between a psychologist and a psychiatrist — the former cannot prescribe medication.
Types of medications a psychiatrist can prescribe include:
Sedatives and anxiolytics
That said, a psychiatrist doesn’t just prescribe medication. They can also provide forms of talk therapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).
In addition to this, some psychiatrists practice things like electroconvulsive treatment and transcranial magnetic stimulation. The latter leans on a magnetic field to impact brain activity and can be used to treat symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder.
If you’re seeing a psychiatrist because you’re in crisis, they’ll also be able to assess whether you’d be best served by checking into an in-patient treatment facility or the hospital.
When navigating difficult mental health circumstances, getting help as soon as possible from a psychiatrist is important.
However, there are certain instances when you may need help even more quickly. This can be done by calling 911.
An appropriate time to call 911 would be if you plan to harm yourself or someone else. If you feel you might act on this, it’s imperative to call emergency services for help. Another thing you can do is go to the emergency room at the hospital and tell them you need help right away.
If you’re dealing with a mental health crisis, you may need to seek the help of a psychiatrist immediately.
A psychiatrist is a mental health provider who has a medical degree. They can order lab tests, prescribe psychiatric medication and offer various therapy services.
Some reasons you may need psychiatric help quickly include being in a spiral of rage or sadness, dependence on a substance, issues related to an eating disorder, thoughts of self-harm and more.
You can find a psychiatrist quickly by looking at online directories or asking your primary care provider for a recommendation.
Another option is to engage with online psychiatry services. Hers offers online consultations that make it easy to get the mental health help you need as soon as possible.