What type of treatment would one expect when visiting a Ph.D. versus a M.D.? I am looking for a doctor who can help with Battle Fatigue/PTSD. Who and what kind of treatment would best help me?
In mental health services in the US, a Ph.D. is typically a licensed Psychologist or Counselor who provides psychotherapy as well as specific non-medical treatments for conditions such as phobias, depression, anxiety, PTSD, etc. An M.D. is both a Physician and a Psychiatrist and can prescribe medications for mental health problems. Both professionals would conduct an assessment of your situation and symptoms, recommend a course of treatment, and make appropriate referrals to other professionals if necessary as part of the treatment program. Psychologists/Counselors often refer patients to a Psychiatrist when medications are appropriate. Psychiatrists often refer to Psychologists/Counselors for psychotherapy or specific treatments.
What kind of treatment would best help you? With a diagnosis of Battle Fatigue/PTSD, any mental health professional would review your symptoms and complaints. Professionals also follow what is called a “decision tree” when conducting assessments. In your diagnosis, some of the decisions to be made are:
- Are your PTSD symptoms such as “traumatic recollection” — the emotional remembering of traumatic events — attached to single events/issues (fear of air flight, upset by the presence of firearms, etc.), or are they more widespread? If they are specific and do not intrude into your daily life, a Psychologist/Counselor may be helpful. When your symptoms are more widespread, occurring frequently during the day, an antianxiety medication prescribed by a psychiatrist may be helpful.
- Are you experiencing the physical and body symptoms associated with a mental health problem? Most significant mental health issues have strong connections to the brain’s neurochemistry. If you are experiencing the physical symptoms such as sleep/appetite problems, chronic fatigue, poor concentration, increased thinking speed, increased physical aches/pains, loss of sexual interest and motivation, weight loss, etc., then a Psychiatrist will provide the most help.
In cases of Battle Fatigue and PTSD, we typically find a combination of both psychotherapy concerns and symptoms that should be addressed with medications. Research tells us that the quickest recovery from Major Depression, for example, uses a combination of Psychotherapy and psychiatric medication. In your case, I would obtain a consultation with either mental health professional. Both are qualified to evaluate your condition and create a treatment plan. In cases of PTSD, I would also recommend reading my article on Emotional Memory on this website. The article offers strategies for dealing with traumatic memories and backgrounds.
Please read our Important Disclaimer.
All clinical material on this site is peer reviewed by one or more clinical psychologists or other qualified mental health professionals. Originally published by Dr Greg Mulhauser, Managing Editor on .on and last reviewed or updated by