Is Telemedicine Psychiatry as Progressive as Traditional Telemedicine?

Telemedicine has been taking the medical field by storm in recent years, introducing patients to a whole new realm of health care, accessible direct from their homes. Since the smartphone revolution, many of our industries have found a new lease of digital life online, and health care was bound to follow sooner or later. Telemedicine is the practice of treating patients through the use of telecommunications; in the past, this referred specifically to telephones, as telemedicine was actually implemented to a primitive degree in the 1960s. These days, however, it refers to any device that can connect people remotely, including smartphones, laptops, and tablets. As well as traditional medicine, which focuses on physical ailments, telemedicine psychiatry has also been introduced as a way to connect patients with their doctors or psychiatrists. The question is: is it as effective?

Before talking about the telemedicine side of things, it’s important to make a distinction between psychiatry and traditional medicine. The latter deals with physical disease, while the former deals with disorders of the mind. These are usually a lot harder to quantify, with nuances that differ on a person-to-person basis. With a physical ailment, the cause and treatment path are more often than not easily identifiable after a few tests. This is not always the case with psychiatric illnesses, which can lie undetected by a patient for many months or years. Even when a psychiatrist gets to grips with a patient’s specific symptoms and disorder, a treatment plan might take a long time and require a trial-and-error approach.

Divan - Mental Health Scrabble

Potential patients are reluctant to go to the doctor, even if they realize they’re suffering from a form of mental disorder.

There is also a stigma attached to psychiatric illnesses that hasn’t gone away. It’s only in the last few decades that mental disorders have been recognized, and taken and treated seriously; they’re most definitely starting on the back foot when it comes to the medical field at large. Potential patients are reluctant to go to the doctor, even if they realize they’re suffering from a form of mental disorder. This leads to huge cases of untreated disorders that are left for the sufferer to deal with alone, or ultimately get worse.

In this way, telemedicine psychiatry is actually extremely effective at breaking down the first barrier for potential mental health patients. It allows patients to touch base with a mental health professional from the comfort of their own home. Visiting a psychiatrist’s office can be daunting and intimidating to first-time patients; they’re entering an entirely new world, where they’re expected to muse on their deepest darkest feelings to complete stranger. Telemedicine psychiatry takes some of the edge off this intimidating initiation. By contacting the doctors from home, it becomes easier to manage and to deal with. This is also one of the overall progressive features of telemedicine as a whole, not just psychiatric telemedicine, and possibly the biggest advantage in the whole initiative.

It’s especially effective with the psychiatric branch of telemedicine, however. While most patients will need to go and speak with their doctor face-to-face at some point in time, at the beginning of the relationship (which is all-important when it comes to psychiatry), telemedicine can serve both doctor and patients extremely well. An added benefit that doctors have claimed to be particularly useful is that telemedicine affords them the chance to see inside their patients’ homes and daily lives a little, which can aid them in getting to grips with the nuances of that specific patient. Not to mention it’s a cheaper and quicker way to communicate for both patients and doctors alike, meaning that doctors can see more people in a day, and patients don’t have to revolve their entire schedules around a trip to their doctor’s office.

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Telemedicine psychiatry is extremely effective at breaking down the first barrier for potential mental health patients.

Another primary use of telemedicine for both the traditional and psychiatric is that patients in remote areas can easily access care. This was one of the main reasons for telemedicine’s introduction back in the sixties, and one that remains important to this day. With the aid of digital technology, we can build on its original use and adapt to 2018, as patients are no longer limited to the nearest available specialist or psychiatrist. They can search all over the country for a doctor that meets their criteria and suits their needs, making the use of telemedicine progressive in both different fields. Patients are no longer limited by space in receiving the support they require, be it mental, physical, or both. They can even order certain types of medicine over the internet; medical marijuana has been proven to have a positive effect on both physical and mental ailments. Through sites like MMJ Recs, patients can order their medicine from the comfort of their living room.

Telemedicine is undoubtedly progressive on both fronts, but telemedicine psychiatry appears to come across as a little less progressive than its clinical counterpart, as patients requiring psychiatric care are often seen as longer-term projects than physical ailments. This is, in fact, not the case; psychiatric telemedicine is equally as progressive as regular telemedicine, and looks set to continue that trend long into the future.

How You Can Use Telemedicine to Keep on Top of Your Mental Health

In an increasingly stressful world, it can feel impossible to stay on top of your mental health. These problems can be made even worse if you can’t make the time to visit a doctor or a psychologist thanks to your busy schedule. Mental health is something that needs to be prioritized, but it can be so difficult to properly make time for it until it’s too late and you get burned out. Luckily, telemedicine exists to help people with busy schedules to properly take care of their mental health.

Telemedicine is experiencing a huge boom in popularity at the moment thanks to the proliferation of smartphones. Now that everyone has a machine in their pocket that allows them to order food, get a date, or buy clothes, medical professionals are using this technology to bring care to people who really need it. Telemedicine is the combination of telecommunications technology with medical or diagnostic advice. It has been in existence for almost as long as telecommunications, but in the past it was mostly used in emergency conditions where medics could not access patients, such as warzones and remote areas. However, in a world where everyone has a smartphone, telemedicine is being utilized for all kinds of everyday care.

Mental health maintenance is one of the ways that telemedicine is being used, and this is happening in many different ways. The first way is that people are accessing primary care physicians via their smartphones to conduct regular medical appointments in a way that is more convenient for them. For busy professionals, it can be hard to make time to visit your doctor’s office, especially if their location or opening hours are inconvenient. This is especially true if your job is particularly high-pressure and taking time off during working hours is unthinkable. Telemedicine means you can access medical advice for a mental condition or get a repeat prescription from the comfort of your own home.

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Scheduling a telemedicine appointment is as easy as picking up your smartphone.

You might be unsure about how a medical appointment over the phone can work, but the truth is that it’s a very easy process. The first step is to log on and either make an appointment or visit a drop-in service, depending on the type of telemedical provider you’re visiting. In either instance, you may have to join a virtual waiting room, but after a short period of time, you’ll be connected with a doctor and you’ll be able to speak to them face-to-face via the camera on your phone. Like any doctor, they’ll ask about your condition and suggest treatment paths for you. For mental health issues, these may involve medication, therapy, lifestyle changes, or a combination of all three.

As well as being able to access primary care physicians, telemedicine can allow you to access therapy from psychologists or psychiatrists. You can ask your primary care physician for a telemedical referral or do your own research to find a provider that would work for you. Like using telemedicine for primary care, therapy via your smartphone is surprisingly easy. Using your phone for therapy means that you’re not confined to face-to-face therapy. Indeed, many telemedical therapy services allow patients to use text, phone, and email to speak to their therapists; this can be very useful for people with social anxiety who are nervous to speak with people and seek therapy. For people who have trouble leaving the house, telemedicine can offer them a safe space to access help and health care without forcing them out of their comfort zone. By using telemedicine in this way, you’ll be able to build up to fighting the symptoms of your mental illness in a way that is comfortable and safe for you.

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If you need medication for your mental health condition, telemedicine can make procuring it a lot more convenient.

In seeking therapy or primary care for your mental health condition, you may have to get prescriptions for medication. Lengthy waits at pharmacies to fill prescriptions can be triggering for people suffering from some kinds of mental illness, especially if leaving the house is difficult. Telemedical providers can often link directly with pharmacies and send your prescriptions straight to them. This means that your medications will be ready and waiting for you when you arrive to the pharmacy, so you won’t have to wait and inconvenience yourself.

While mental illnesses can be some of the most difficult to live with on a daily basis, telemedicine is truly revolutionizing how mental health patients access their health care. It is a truly patient-centered approach, meaning that people who suffer at varying levels of severity will be able to access health care in a way that puts them at less stress, and thus helps them properly treat their conditions.

How Telemedicine Can Improve Your Mental Health

You might not have heard of telemedicine, but this bold new way of treating patients is currently taking the health care world by storm. Even though the idea behind the incentive is an old one, it’s found a new way to blossom in the contemporary world thanks to the advent of digital technology. Initially designed to help patients who lived far away from a doctor or were incapacitated some way and couldn’t get to see them, telemedicine utilised, as the title suggests, telecommunications. Back in the 1960s when the concept was first introduced, phones were the only method that doctors could use to contact remote patients. But in 2018, there are many more tools at doctors’ and patients’ disposal. As a result, telemedicine is revolutionizing the health care industry, for both clinical doctors’ visits and telemedicine psychiatry.

The main focal point of telemedicine has not changed; it helps doctors connect with remote patients and those with limited mobility. However, thanks to modern technology, there are many more benefits to using telemedicine than simply remote access. It allows patients to connect with their doctors instantaneously, saving both parties time and money. Worrying symptoms can be checked up on immediately, and doctors are better able to monitor their patients through a number of diagnostic tools. Also, there’s better access to specialists, and a wider selection of options for patients who may have previously been limited in scope of choice. But while this is all very clear-cut for patients dealing with physical disorders, when it comes to psychotherapy, can telemedicine have the same impact?

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Mental disorders are much harder to diagnose than physical ones.

The arena of mental health has changed a lot since the 1960s, when telemedicine was first introduced. We undoubtedly have a better understanding and a more empathetic view of many psychological conditions in 2018, but in many ways, it remains a difficult area to treat. While the stigma around mental health is also being lifted, there is still some that surrounds the diagnosis of some conditions, meaning potential patients aren’t as likely to come forward to doctors as they might be with a physical ailment. Despite this, thousands of people across the U.S. routinely visit psychiatrists for a variety of disorders. So naturally, it makes sense that the emerging field of telemedicine psychiatry can aid and improve mental health across the country.

The first thing that telemedicine psychiatry can help with is removing the gravitas from mental health. Many people could benefit from seeing a psychiatrist at some point in their lives, but they don’t want to go through the hassle of setting up an appointment, and thereby admitting to themselves they might be suffering from a mental disorder. This is a direct result of the stigma around mental health issues, which has been prevalent all over the world for many years. Telemedicine psychiatry can help potential patients ease into treatment; they will feel far more relaxed and reassured if they can conduct the initial discussions with their chosen doctor from the comfort of their own home. Admitting you may be suffering from a mental disorder and all that comes with that can be intimidating; telemedicine can be a great way to make the process less of an event, and help you get the care you need.

Telemedicine can help in other ways too. It might be that a patient is too overwhelmed by anxiety or depression to leave their house. Maybe they just can’t face going to a doctor or psychiatrist’s office. Again, telemedicine psychology can help by bringing them specialist care from the safety and comfort of their own home. It also provides patients with a wide range of options; you’re not just limited to the specialists in your local area. You can select from a wide range of psychiatrists who specialize in many different fields. This mechanism can help patients discover the right doctor for them, instead of having to settle for the handful who are within driving distance from their home.

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An ESA can help reduce symptoms of common mental health disorders.

Telemedicine is also helpful in the field of emotional support animals, or ESAs for short. This popular new mental health treatment involves utilizing regular pets with no specific training as a way of providing support for those suffering from a wide variety of mental health disorders, such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and PTSD. The key to getting an ESA is a emotional support animal letter, which must be prescribed from a mental health professional. Again, this might seem like a daunting task for those who are intimidated by the mental health field, but through sites like Moosh, which guide patients through the process of procuring an ESA letter from their home, telemedicine is making a positive impact on people’s lives.

The field of psychiatry is still evolving; mental health professionals are doing their best to remove the stigma from the field, and encourage patients to see a specialist when they’re feeling vulnerable. Unlike physical disorders, mental afflictions can be very hard to quantify. Telemedicine psychiatry is an invaluable tool that can make the fight for mental health easier across the world.

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