How Speaking with Your Physician Can Be a Great First Step

For many of us, the first step to recovery is speaking up. It is that moment when we are finally able to let go of our shame, embarrassment, and pre-conceptions and talk to someone about how we are feeling. It isn’t an easy thing to do. It requires a lot of strength and bravery to leave your comfort zone. For many, the idea of sharing your vulnerabilities with someone close to you is terrifying. We fear that it will change the way we are seen by our peers. For years, we’ve learned that vulnerability is the same as weakness. These fears are based on stigmas that have existed for years. Despite societal improvements in this area, these stigmas continue to persist. Fortunately, there are ways to work around those fears and still speak to someone who can help, for instance, a doctor. It might be easier to talk to a friend or family member, but they don’t have the medical training to diagnose or treat you. They don’t have the resources that a licensed doctor does either. Doctors are there to help not only give you support but provide medical expertise on the subject of mental health. Ask for help or share your concerns with them. If you’re wondering when to talk to a doctor about your mental condition, the answer is now. 

It is never too early to talk to your doctor, even if you only have a suspicion that you might be developing a mental illness. There is nothing wrong with speaking with your physician about it. You can take the time at your next physical or make an appointment specifically for this conversation. If it is a physician you have seen frequently, they can be a source of comfort. In any case, the steady hand of a professional can be a calming presence in a tumultuous time.

Speaking with your primary doctor may be nothing more than a first step. A primary physician, while able to diagnose and treat, may choose to refer you to a mental health specialist. Primary physicians are not trained to handle all aspects of mental health and are not as well-versed in the complexities of mental illnesses when compared to say, a licensed therapist or psychologist. Still, coming to these physicians can be enough to get you started. They can carry out screenings, tests, and other tools to diagnose and determine the best course of treatment. They may be able to prescribe medication to help, as well. Most importantly, however, they have the resources to find a mental health specialist. In our experience, the mental health specialist is an expert on the situation. Your physician isn’t wrong, but the mental health specialist is trained to handle these cases. Ultimately, most general practitioners will defer to psych professionals in cases of mental illness. Unfortunately, there isn’t always a plethora of psychiatrists and mental health experts available. While we want you to keep looking, contact your insurance company for help. Continue seeking the best treatment possible and use your primary care physician as a resource. They may not be a trained specialist, but they are professionals and are there to help you. 

Talking with a professional is a monumental step in your recovery journey. Rid yourself of fears and doubts. Talk about what you are going through. It is never too early to seek help, and you should never be afraid to approach your physician. Even if their professional scope is limited, they are still a step in the right direction. Speaking with them can lead you to the right treatment plan, and can help you find the best specialist. Taking this step will make the next one more manageable. Don’t be afraid to speak up for yourself, and don’t be scared to seek the help of a doctor. They are there for you, and you deserve to get the help you need. 

     If you, or anyone you know, is struggling with anxiety or mental illness, do not hesitate to contact the team here at True Recovery. Our program, founded in 2014, is built around finding what’s best for you to overcome your addiction. Our facility is located in Newport Beach, California, with our supportive housing located close to our campus in Costa Mesa. Take advantage of the local beaches, nature preserves, and Orange County community while we fight for you. Contact us at (866) 399-6528 or [email protected]