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Look Inside Young Adult Road Map

2 Guiding Star Point

2 Guiding Star Point Two: Learn System Basics Know Your Support Staff Receptionists, physicians’ assistants, administrators, technicians, and nurses can be great sources of information about how things work in a provider’s offce or clinic. Take time to notice them, learn their names, and ask for their advice. Five Rules for the Road 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Think Primary First: Understanding yourself starts with a physical examination by a primary care provider. This person is sometimes known as a “primary care practitioner,” or “family medicine practitioner.” In some cases, you will see a Nurse Practitioner (NP). Even if the doctor has already done a regular physical exam, he or she may order special tests or ask different questions. Some behavioral problems can be caused by physical conditions; for example, certain brain injuries or fevers may affect behavior. Also, some health problems may lead to behavioral or emotional issues. If that’s the case, your doctor may want to refer you to a medical specialist or a behavioral health specialist. Take Your Records: Be sure to bring any physical examination records to any specialists who evaluate or treat you, since they may not do full examinations themselves. This information is also important when you fill out health history forms, which you may need to do each time you visit a new provider. Ask what, why and “Can you explain?” questions: If a med is being prescribed, make sure you understand and agree with the provider’s decision. In some rural counties and other areas that are short on behavioral health providers, the primary care doctor may prescribe medications for behavioral health issues. (Some primary care doctors have special training for this.) In some cases, a doctor may order a blood test or other procedure to find out if a medical condition is causing your atypical behavior. It is important to know that no current medical test can diagnose conditions such as ADHD or anxiety. The provider must rely on observation and information provided by you. Keep primary care providers in the loop: If your treatment begins with a psychiatrist or other behavioral health specialist, be sure to keep the primary care provider informed and involved. For example, certain medications for ADHD or mood disorders can affect your weight or risk for diseases, such as diabetes. If so, your primary care doctor can work with you on a plan to prevent or treat such conditions before they become big problems for you. Ask before trying alternatives: Many people are interested in “alternative” medicine therapies (which might include herbal treatments, massage, meditation, or acupuncture). Some alternatives can be very useful. If you think one of these might be right for you, be sure to check with your primary care provider first. You need to make sure they are not harmful and will not interfere with an existing condition or medication you are taking. 16

Who’s Who in Health Care Medical, behavioral, and developmental health specialists who may evaluate you include: MEDICAL DOCTORS AND NURSES who can prescribe medications: Primary Care Physician: A medical doctor who handles routine checkups and general medical needs. Note: Some people go to a Licensed Nurse Practitioner (see below) for this purpose. Psychiatrist: A medical doctor who is trained to evaluate and treat you, primarily by prescribing medications. A psychiatrist has the most formal training in behavioral health, but may spend the least amount of time with you during treatment. Behavioral/Developmental Pediatrician: Combines physical, psychological, and developmental evaluations, as well as treatment. Neurologist: Medical doctor who specializes in how the brain functions physically and chemically. Licensed Nurse Practitioner: Assists in or performs clinical evaluations, designs treatment plans, and may provide counseling, medication management, and/or other treatment. May work in a primary care practice. A Licensed Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner does mental health management. When you go to a walk-in clinic in a pharmacy, you usually see a Licensed Nurse Practitioner. FAQs The National Institute for Mental Health offers a useful booklet on behavioral health. Go to http://nimh. It describes the treatments and medications most often used, and it answers frequently asked questions. You can order free booklets in English or Spanish. BEHAVIORAL (MENTAL) HEALTH PROVIDERS who may evaluate or treat, but do NOT prescribe medications: Clinical Psychologist: Licensed by the state to evaluate your behavioral health. May also provide psychotherapy, a form of counseling that is commonly known as “talk therapy,” but may include other kinds of one-on-one or group treatment. Licensed Clinical Social Worker: Licensed by the state to provide one-on-one or group therapy. Counseling and Evaluation Providers: Some providers (including those listed above) may have other titles, such as Licensed Psychological Examiner, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Licensed Professional Counselor, or Licensed Substance Abuse Counselor. Feel free to ask questions about the therapist’s training. His or her license should be posted somewhere in the building. 17