I have a mental illness called Treatment-Resistant Bipolar Disorder Type 1, which means I am depressed more often than I am manic or hypo-manic. There’s no cure for mental illness and I manage day to day by taking a combination of medications, regular visits to my therapist, and most importantly my Psycophamracologist.
Why is a Psychopharmacologist?
Psychopharmacologists are critical for your mental health if you have a severe mental illness that requires a combination of medications or a complex disorder. I have both. Psychopharmacologists know how each drug affects the brain which allows them to be very specific in the type of medication they prescribe and the amount.
I would not be alive without my doctor, no question about that. It’s quite frightening that he is about to retire after seeing him for over 25 years and he still has no recommendation on who will take his practice over. There are only a few Psychopharmacologist in my area. You may have difficulty finding one or insurance may cap what they pay since they are more expensive than Psychiatrists. In my case, he doesn’t take insurance. I have to pay upfront and file myself. It’s worth every extra penny and ounce of effort.
Why are they so hard to find? My understanding is the curriculum is more specialized than a medical doctor or Psychiatrist. It’s basically a Psychiatrist with a degree in Pharmacology. Dr. T says that most doctors today want to keep their studies wide open and not narrow down their field of practice. It’s a loss to all of us who have a mental illness.
A psychopharmacologist is someone who studies the effects of drugs on behavior. The field of psychopharmacology includes both psychiatric drugs used to manage mental disorders and psychotropic drugs utilized recreationally. Psychopharmacologists study psychology, psychiatry, and pharmacology, integrating knowledge about human behavior and mental disorders into their study of drug development. A related field, neuropharmacology, focuses on drugs which cause functional changes in the nervous system.
World Mental Health Day is an international day for global mental health education, awareness, and advocacy against social stigma. It was first celebrated in 1992 at the initiative of the World Federation for Mental Health, a global mental health organization with members and contacts in more than 150 countries.
This day, each October, thousands of supporters come to celebrate this annual awareness program to bring attention to mental illness and its major effects on peoples’ lives worldwide.
Brain & Behavior Research Foundation (BBRFoundation.org): Awards grants for scientific research. Keep up to date on the latest research
International Bipolar Foundation (IBPF.org): Bipolar research. Care and support resources for individuals and caregivers. Erase stigma through education.
MentalHealth.gov: US government mental health resources and information.
MentalHealthAmerica.net (MHA): Address the needs of those living with mental illness. Promote mental health.
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI.org): Build better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH.nih.gov): Federal agency for research on mental disorders.
NeedyMeds.org: 1-800-503-6897. Educates and empowers those seeking affordable healthcare.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA.gov): Reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities.
If you know of other resources please drop me a line in the comments section, I’ll add to my resources list under Organizations Who Can Help.