I suffer from social anxiety disorder and depression should I see a psychiatrist or psychologist? I have several different meds over the last 15 years. I usually discontinue the meds due to the side effects and wind up back on when I have a stressful tim

Hi, . Hi, more often than not, in this age of managed care medicine, psychiatrists treat patients with psychiatric medications and clinical psychologists provide different forms of talking therapy. Often the most successful outcomes are from a combination of the right medications hand- in - hand with different forms of non-medication therapy. I can understand how your trust levels could be low, if you have not had good outcomes from treatment in the past. Both depression and anxiety can be hard to treat. But, if you get no care at all, it is certain that you will continue to suffer from anxiety and depression. Even with treatment you can often take one step forward and two step backs which equates to frustration. Overcoming your anxiety and depression is much like trying to run up an escalator that is going down. If you don't try at all, you will always be stuck at the bottom of the escalator. Even when you are working your way up, sometimes you can't keep up with the pace of the escalator and it can take you back down again. You might reach the top but have new major life stressors that bring you down again. But, your efforts will pay off in the end. Your conditions are treatable, but you will need to make a serious committment to becoming more healthy. Over the last 15 years, some incredible new psychiatric medictions have been introduced. If the doctor who previously prescribed your medications was a family or general doctor, i recommend that you see a psychiatrist for medication management. I also recommend you see a therapist; whether it be a licensed clinical social worker, a counselor or a clinical psychologist. You want to work with a therapist you can feel comfortable with - but a warning: it is usually a little scary and akward any time you start sharing your life story with someone you have just met. You need to take advantage of the therapy; even if it is not a time of crisis or you are starting to feel better. As you are looking for an appropriate therapist, you might want to enquire if the provider is trained to do cognitive behavioral therapy - as this can be very helpful with both of your conditions. Don't lose hope, the right help is out there. I wish you well.
Either or both. If you want to see a specialist for med consultation, it'll have to be a psychiatrist. Some psychiatrists also provide psychotherapy, but this is becoming less common (sadly, in my opinion). Clinical psychologists are psychotherapy experts but can't prescribe meds. Many patients see both types of doctors, as the combination of medication & therapy is often best.
Social Anxiety. I recommend both, one for counseling & the other for evaluation of meds.
Group therapy. A doctor who offers group therapy, usually a psychologist, may also be helpful, especially with individuals also suffering from social anxiety disorder. Sharing the trials and successes of others can be a real shot in the arm. Gradual exposure with other group members can often accelerate desensitization to social situations which increase anxiety. Help is available.
Dr. Fowler is right. In this world where insurance dictates the medical treatment model, very often the human touch is lost and there is great pressure to "treat" in the shortest period of time. A great shame, in that there are many methods of therapy, i believe that talking with a trained person is of great help, and that medicinal treatment has come a long way. A therapist with an md can prescribe meds however.
Dr. . Dr. Fowler gave a good detailed answer. Let me just add that psychiatrists are medical doctors and psychologists are not medical doctors. Psychologists are also called "doctors" because they often have phd (doctor of philosophy) degree.
Psychiatrist. Since you have had a difficult time with your anxiety, it is my professional clinical opinion that your best option is to consult with a psychiatrist for a thorough evaluation, including a review of all medical conditions and medications. You may have more than one condition, or an illness that has not been accurately diagnosed. This will take time--find a psychiatrist who will take the time.