Frequently Asked Questions

Many people are unsure of the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist. A psychiatrist is a physician who has completed medical school and specialized residency training in psychiatry. Because they are M.D.s, psychiatrists can prescribe medication. Most psychiatrists only treat people with medication but a few, like Dr. Bhushan Mhetre, also provide therapy for people who are interested. Psychologists are not physicians. Their degree is a Ph.D. or Psy.D. Psychologists do not prescribe medications. Most psychologists have intensive training in the treatment of mental illness through a variety of types of therapy. Psychologists usually have a lot of experience providing testing. Child psychologists have specific training in the treatment of disorders often seen in childhood.
People come to see a psychiatrist for many reasons. Some people have severe mental illnesses like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. Some people are simply having trouble coping with the many stresses of modern life. Some people are already seeing a counselor who has suggested that medication might help them feel better. Most people who see a psychiatrist are simply trying to find ways to cope better with difficult feelings or behaviors and see psychiatric treatment as an opportunity to improve their lives.
As with psychiatrists, child psychologists see some children and adolescents with severe mental illnesses, but most children who see psychologists have a variety of difficulties that are interfering with their ability to succeed in school, get along with friends, or get along with their parents. Sometimes a child's teacher will suggest that a child receive testing to determine whether s/he has a problem that interferes with learning. These types of tests are available through the schools but some parents prefer to have their child seen by a professional who is independent of the schools. Psychologists usually work with parents as well as children to help parents develop strategies for managing a child's behavior or improving their relationships with family members.
We all have times when we are blue or particularly stressed. Usually these times pass and we begin to feel like ourselves again. Sometimes these problems persist a long time or start to interfere with daily life. People may have trouble sleeping, may feel more irritable, or begin to have difficulty in their jobs and relationships. Many of the websites on our links page have checklists that might help you decide if you need to see someone about your mental health. If you are unsure about whether you would benefit from treatment by Dr. Bhushan Mhetre , feel free to call us and describe your problems to see if we can help you make this decision.
No. There is a negative stereotype that many people have that can make them shy about coming to see a psychologist or psychiatrist. Because of this stereotype, many people put off treatment when they could have been feeling better long ago. Seeing a mental health professional really just means that you are struggling with feelings or behavior and would like help. It's no different than if you were seeing an eye doctor because you couldn't see well. Often as part of treatment you will receive a diagnosis. The diagnosis is shorthand to describe the types of problems you have, to qualify you for services from schools or the government, and to help you get reimbursement from your insurance company. We firmly believe, though, that a diagnosis does not define who you are and definitely does not mean anything bad about you. All people are unique and any two people with the same diagnosis are usually very different from each other. So coming to Wilmington Psych does not mean you are crazy and if you take a survey of your friends, family members, and coworkers, you will probably find a large percentage of people who have sought treatment for mental health at some time in their lives.
Rehabs are structured treatment programs aimed at helping those struggling with addiction. Rehab can help addicts work toward a healthy, happy, and sober lifestyle.
There isn't a set period of time that applies to everyone when it comes to rehabilitation. Many rehab facilities offer 30-day programs. However, some individuals benefit from longer treatment programs, such as 60-day, 90-day, or even longer-term treatment at residential or inpatient treatment centers to further develop and maintain a steady recovery path. When determining the appropriate length of treatment, treatment professionals will take into consideration the history and severity of the addiction, specific substances used, any co-occurring medical, mental, or behavioral health conditions, and the physical, mental, emotional, social, cultural, and spiritual needs of the individual. Studies find that those who spend three months or longer in treatment programs have better rates of long-term sobriety. Longer programs afford the opportunity to focus on the root causes and behaviors behind the addiction, and more time to practice sober living behaviors.
There is no cure for addiction, but it can be managed effectively. Regardless of its duration, drug and alcohol addiction recovery doesn't conclude after the patient completes a rehabilitation program. Recovery from substance use is an ongoing, lifelong process. Managing an addiction involves learning how to navigate through daily life without using, and involves hard work and dedication.
Schizophrenia occurs at a rate of about 1 out of 100 or 150 people (approximately 1 percent of the population), and affects people at every socioeconomic status. It is not considered a common mental disorder.
The cause of schizophrenia is unknown. There are, however, many different theories of what causes schizophrenia and these theories have varying amounts of research to back them. Determining the cause in any single individual usually does not alter the recommended course of treatment or treatment outcomes.
Schizophrenia is a serious disorder that has a significant impact in the individual’s life and the life of their family and friends. The sooner it is diagnosed, the quicker treatment can begin and the more likely the person will experience a positive treatment outcome. Because relapse is a recurring issue with people who are diagnosed with schizophrenia, it’s important for family members to recognize symptoms of schizophrenia to help the individual decrease the time in relapse.
Depression is more than being sad or feeling grief after a loss. Depression is a medical condition, just like diabetes or heart disease. Day after day, depression affects your thoughts, feelings, physical health and behaviours. It affects normal day-to-day activities. For diagnostic purposes, a depressive episode must be experienced at a certain level of severity for a minimum duration of two weeks.
Suicide is preventable. Any statements about suicide should be taken seriously; 50 to 60 percent of all people who died by suicide gave some warning of their intentions to a friend or family member. Most people considering suicide need help getting through their moment of crisis. Often they have tried to find solutions but may begin to feel hopeless and unable to see alternative solutions to problems. If someone tells you they are thinking about suicide listen non-judgmentally, and help them get to a professional for evaluation and treatment. If someone is in imminent danger of harming himself or herself, do not leave the person alone.
At the current time there is no definitive measure to predict suicide or suicidal behavior. Researchers have identified factors that place individuals at higher risk for suicide, including mental illness, substance abuse, previous suicide attempts, family history of suicide, history of being sexually abused, and impulsive or aggressive tendencies. While many people may think about suicide, attempts and death by suicide are relatively rare events and it is therefore difficult to predict which persons with these risk factors will ultimately complete suicide. What is important is that people considering suicide usually do seek help; for example, in one study, nearly three-fourths of those who died by suicide visited a doctor in the four months before their deaths, and half in the month before. Being aware of risk factors and warning signs can help detect someone that may be at risk for attempting suicide.
Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to this question. People die by suicide for a number of reasons. A suicide attempt is a clear indication that something is gravely wrong in a person’s life. The majority of people who take their lives (estimated at 90 percent) were suffering with an underlying mental illness and substance abuse problem at the time of their death. No matter the race or age of the person, how rich or poor they are, it is true that most people who die by suicide have a mental illness, emotional disorder and/or chemical dependency. The most common underlying disorder is depression, with an estimated 60 percent of suicides were by people suffering from depression. However, it is very important to remember that the vast majority of people living with depression do not attempt or die by suicide.
Impulsiveness is the tendency to act without thinking through a plan or its consequences. It is a symptom of a number of mental disorders, and therefore, it has been linked to suicidal behavior because of its association with mental disorders and/or substance abuse. The mental disorders with impulsiveness most linked to suicide include: borderline personality disorder among young females, conduct disorder among young males, antisocial behavior in adult males, and alcohol and substance abuse among young and middle-aged males. Impulsiveness appears to have a lesser role in older adult suicides. Attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity and impulsivity is not a strong risk factor for suicide by itself. Impulsiveness has been linked with aggressive and violent behaviors including homicide and suicide. However, impulsiveness without aggression or violence present has also been found to contribute to risk for suicide.
Researchers believe that both depression and suicidal behavior can be linked to decreased serotonin in the brain. Low levels of a serotonin metabolite, 5-HIAA, have been detected in cerebral spinal fluid in persons who have attempted suicide, as well as by postmortem studies examining certain brain regions of suicide victims. One of the goals of understanding the biology of suicidal behavior is to improve treatments. Scientists have learned that serotonin receptors in the brain increase their activity in persons with major depression and suicidality, which explains why medications that desensitize or down-regulate these receptors (such as the serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs) have been found effective in treating depression. Currently, studies are underway to examine to what extent medications like SSRIs can reduce suicidal behavior.
While suicidal behavior is not genetically inherited, it can be socially learned from significant others and many risk factors for suicide can be inherited. A healthy person talking about a suicide or being aware of a suicide among family or friends does not put them at greater risk for attempting suicide. And mere exposure to suicide does not alone put someone at greater risk for suicide. However, when combined with a number of other risk factors, exposure to suicide can increase someone’s likelihood of an attempt. Major psychiatric illnesses, including: Bipolar Disorder, Major Depression, Schizophrenia, alcoholism and substance abuse, and certain personality disorders, which run in families, increase the risk for suicidal behavior. This does not mean that suicidal behavior is inevitable for individuals with this family history; it simply means that such persons may be more vulnerable and should take steps to reduce their risk, such as getting evaluation and treatment at the first sign of mental illness.