Behavioral health and mental health providers are physicians and counselors who treat a number of problems. They address issues that occur due to behaviors or those that arise from an underlying mental health issue. Since behavioral health covers a range of illnesses, different practitioners may be called on for treatment. The following are three different types of behavioral health providers.
1. Substance Abuse
A certified alcohol and drug abuse counselor has specific clinical training in alcohol and drug abuse. They are trained to diagnose individuals and then provide them with counseling. There are also addiction specialists, who are physicians and psychiatrists who have gone through special training according to the American Board of Preventive Medicine (ABPM) and the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM).
General physicians can also provide substance abuse treatment. The American Medical Association has helped advance the legitimacy of addiction as a treatable illness by doctors, allowing them to better assist patients in their recovery.
2. Mental Health
There is an array of practitioners who treat mental health problems. A clinical psychologist has a doctoral degree in psychology and can provide both individual and group therapy. Patients could also work with a clinical social worker, who provides group and individual counseling, often in a hospital setting. There are also licensed professional counselors, who have a master’s degree in psychology, counseling or a related field, as well as mental health counselors, who have a master’s degree and several years of experience in supervised clinical work. Another mental health provider you might encounter is a nurse psychotherapist, who is a registered nurse trained in the practice of psychiatric and mental health nursing.
There are also peer specialists, who have experienced mental health or substance problems themselves, as well as marital and family therapists and pastoral counselors who may assist patients in their recovery.
3. Emotional Disturbances
For those under the age of 18, a counselor may treat a mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder that has been diagnosed as a “Serious Emotional Disturbance.” They treat those who have been impaired in their functioning within their school, their family or the community. For extreme cases, patients may work with a child/adolescent psychiatrist, who has special training and can prescribe medications to help minors reach their full potential.
Behavioral health providers span the range of counselors to psychotherapists, but they all want to help patients get the appropriate treatment. Whether the problem is mental health, substance abuse or behavior in a school setting, the right provider is available.