When selecting a mental health professional there are a few questions that will help guide you:
• Will medications be required? If the answer is yes, and it most certainly will be with bipolar I, you’ll need someone who is licensed to prescribe medication. This will include psychiatrists, who can be MDs (medical doctors) or DOs (doctors of osteopathy), and APRNs (advanced practice registered nurses).
In the state of New Mexico, some psychologists (PhDs) can also prescribe psychiatric medicines if they’ve obtained additional training and DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) licensure to do so.
• Will psychotherapy be included in treatment? Here your options open up a great deal, and when we discuss various therapeutic choices, this will guide your choice. While many prescribers, such as psychiatrists and APRNs can provide the therapy component, most do not, and will work with other professionals who do, such as licensed social workers, psychologists and licensed professional counselors.
• How are you going to pay for treatment? For many this is a major question that will need to be resolved, and we will go into this in more detail. But to start you’ll need to evaluate what, and which practitioners, your insurance may, or may not, cover, what you can afford out of pocket and what other resources may be available in your community that accept sliding scale payment, or even free treatment, as is sometimes found in training programs or state-operated agencies.