Have you been seeking a “psychiatrist near me?” If you’ve been struggling with anxiety, depression, or what may be symptoms of a mental illness; nothing should hold you back from asking for help. Mental health issues affect tens of millions of Americans, and trying to go it alone is not recommended. By seeking professional help, you’re giving yourself the chance to start recovering and live life to the fullest.

Chances are, you’ve been searching for a “psychiatrist near me,” but don’t know exactly how to make a decision. You want to choose the best doctor around, but they also need to be nearby and have slots available.

Here is everything you need to know when looking for a “psychiatrist near me.””

Psychiatrist Near Me: How You Can Start Looking

There are a number of ways to find a “psychiatrist near me.” A Google search is just one way to get started. But before you start searching, what type of professional are you actually looking for?

What is a Psychiatrist?

A psychiatrist is a medical professional who has specialized in psychiatry. In other words, they are fully qualified as a medical doctor, and have done several more years studying psychiatry and getting supervised experience. They can, therefore, diagnose mental health conditions and prescribe appropriate medication.

This is in contrast to a psychologist, who can provide therapeutic treatment but cannot prescribe medication to a patient. While psychiatrists will generally have some experience with therapy, they use their skills to understand your problem mainly for diagnosis and prescription purposes. They will often also recommend that you see a therapist in addition to using medication.

How Do I Find a Psychiatrist?

The most common ways to find a psychiatrist are:

  • Get a referral from your doctor.

This is highly recommended, as your primary care physician knows enough about you to refer you to someone who is perfect for your particular needs. You may also feel more comfortable seeing someone who you know your doctor trusts. Some insurances require that you get a referral letter from a doctor before seeing a psychiatrist.

  • Professional Associations.

Most professional associations have great online directories of the psychiatrists registered with them. If you don’t want to speak to anyone else about your problem, you can use the directories of professional associations to seek a “psychiatrist near me.” However, you will not get the sort of personalized recommendations you would from your doctor.

Simply searching Google for a “psychiatrist near me” should give you a number of options. This is a simple solution, but you are likely to trust the psychiatrist you find a little less than if a doctor or association recommended them.

Why Can’t I Just See My Primary Care Physician?

Technically, your primary care physician can prescribe you antidepressants or other types of medications that are used to treat mental illness. However, they do not have the years of study or experience in diagnosing mental illness that a psychiatrist requires. They might be very knowledgeable, but without the years of specialization, they lack the expertise you need. They will probably explain this to you, and refer you to someone they trust.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Mental Health Disorders

The diagnosis and treatment of mental health disorders depends very much on the individual and type of illness. If you have a clear idea of your problem (especially if you’re already seeing a psychologist) your psychiatrist may simply need to talk to you to get an understanding of what you need. This is particularly true with illnesses such as anxiety and depression. They will go through a checklist of symptoms that will help them decide if you fit the criteria.

Alternatively, they may request a range of laboratory tests to determine your exact diagnosis and to develop a treatment plan. In certain cases, they may do basic memory and logical tests to determine whether a mental illness is affecting you cognitively.

Types of Mental Illness

There is a large range of mental illnesses that psychiatrists may diagnose. Chances are, you’re searching for a “psychiatrist near me” to help you with a mood disorder. These are the most common type of mental illnesses and include generalized anxiety disorder, major depression, bipolar disorder, and others.

Psychiatrists will also do tests to determine if you may be struggling with a personality disorder. A personality disorder refers to a specific set of characteristics that have developed due to inherited traits or as coping mechanisms. The most common personality disorders are borderline personality disorder (which is characterized by fear of abandonment, rocky relationships, and mood swings) and OCPD (characterized by an obsession with cleanliness, order, and rigid rules).

5 Things to Look For in a Potential Psychiatrist

What should you be looking for in a psychiatrist?

Researching Credentials

Most psychiatrists can be found in online searches, along with their credentials, bios, and specific experience. Before choosing a psychiatrist, check their credentials to ensure they are fully certified and that they can help with your problem. Ask other professionals if they know anything about the psychiatrist who you are considering seeing.

Communication Style

We all have different communication styles, and in turn respond to different communication styles. A psychiatrist who is direct and even a bit abrasive may be perfect for one person but totally wrong for another. Try to get an idea of their style in your initial interview.

Good Listening and Observation Skills

Good listening and observation skills are the absolute minimum for a good psychiatrist. If they cut you off or make assumptions without checking them with you, they are unlikely to give you the treatment you need.


Nearly all humans have the capacity for empathy (or putting themselves in another person’s place). However, psychiatrists and other mental health professionals have spent years honing their empathy. They should be able to get a good idea of what you are going through by listening to you and by noticing your body language. These mental health professionals must also be good at showing that they understand.

Checking Insurance Acceptance and Pricing

Most psychiatrists accept insurance, but not all do. Check with the psychiatrist before booking an appointment with them. They may charge very high prices that you’ll be unable to afford in the long term. Also, check with your insurance to make sure they cover mental health services.

Preparing for The First Appointment

You should have an idea of why you’re going to see a psychiatrist, and should prepare for the first appointment by making a list of:

  • symptoms you or others have noticed
  • your personal history, including major life events
  • medications you are taking
  • your medical history
  • questions you have for them

What Happens in the First Session?

In the first session, you will share the information you have prepared with the psychiatrist. This will help them to get a better idea of who you are. They will ask you specific questions to help determine whether you have a mental illness or need medication. Also, during the first session you will be able to assess their communication style, skills, and empathy levels.

What if I Change My Mind?

If you don’t feel like the psychiatrist is the right person for you, you should feel free to change your mind. A psychiatrist will be largely responsible for forming your treatment plan. If they don’t understand you, they could possibly recommend the wrong treatment. By the time you see them, you should have a good idea of their credentials. However, you may realize during the session that it is just not the right fit.

Find a Psychiatrist Near Me

Searching for a “psychiatrist near me” should not be a shot in the dark. Make sure you have all the information you need to make an informed choice. Don’t be scared to ask your trusted professionals for a referral. Go on, start looking today!

author avatar
Angel Rivera
I am a Bilingual (Spanish) Psychiatrist with a mixture of strong clinical skills including Emergency Psychiatry, Consultation Liaison, Forensic Psychiatry, Telepsychiatry and Geriatric Psychiatry training in treatment of the elderly. I have training in EMR records thus very comfortable in working with computers. I served the difficult to treat patients in challenging environments in outpatient and inpatient settings

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