Frequently Asked Questions About Online Psychiatry

I was a typical nerdy boy who wanted to be friends with popular, older kids at school. I often got excellent grades and even won at decathlon competitions, but I paid attention to becoming a football team’s water boy, hoping to get the jocks’ attention. My academic accomplishments became more insignificant to me than ever when Jack, the star quarterback, invited me to a party at his house one weekend.

Objectively speaking, I did not think that Jack meant to invite me. I thought he merely did it out of courtesy because I happened to be in the locker room as he invited the other players. Despite that, it did not deter me from going.

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I half-expected the other kids to bully me when I showed up at Jack’s house. After all, my aesthetics screamed that I was not a part of their clique. Thus, you could imagine my surprise when a few jocks came up to me and handed me a beer in a can.

I could only look at it for a second, unsure whether to take it or not. I just turned 16 years old back then; I was nowhere near the legal drinking age. Due to my desire to please my potential best friends, I accepted the beer and chugged it. It tasted like I assumed urine would taste like, but the guys cheered me on, so I kept drinking until the can was empty. When I put it down, a lit cigarette came into my line of vision.

Nope, not a cigarette – a rolled-up weed. I realized that Jack was holding it, and he gave me an encouraging smile. “If you finish this, you’ll be one of us,” he said.

Brazened by that promise, I took the weed and brought it to my lips. It was so bitter that I almost spat it out, but I felt the need to do it to be one of the cool dudes at school. After my first roll, they gave me more weed and beer all night long.

Knowing I Was Going Down The Drain

True to Jack’s words, I became a part of their group after that party. People envied me and wanted to know how it happened, but I never tattled. I remained friends with the jocks for years and continued smoking pot, drinking, and even snorting cocaine several times when we entered college.

However, the only time I felt like I was genuinely going down the drain was when Jack came to a summer break party with meth, candles, spoons, and injections. It meant that he wanted us to try injecting illegal drugs into our bodies. Knowing I had to avoid that at all costs, I sneaked out of the party, arranged my transference to a university on the other coast the next day, and never spoke with Jack again.

While I did the right thing, it did not mean that I managed to avoid withdrawal symptoms. I could not go to rehab without letting my parents know why I had to do that, so I began looking for other ways to get help. That’s when I discovered online psychiatry and therapy.  

Is online therapy safe?

Yes, online therapy is generally safe, especially if you sign up at a reputable virtual platform. They can secure your details and have data-protection measures to keep hackers out. More importantly, no one will know that you are receiving therapy unless you tell them yourself.

Can BetterHelp prescribe?

No, BetterHelp cannot prescribe medication. It is a platform that helps mentally troubled individuals reach licensed psychologists and therapists without the fear of revealing their woes to others before they feel ready to do so. In case online therapy does not work, and the person genuinely needs antidepressants, the therapist or psychologist will most likely advise them to seek a psychiatrist’s help. 

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Is it better to see a psychiatrist or psychologist?

In reality, most people tend to see a psychologist first, especially when they experience psychological symptoms but are yet to receive a diagnosis. If it turns out that they indeed have a mental disorder, the psychologist may recommend therapy for treatment. Many psychologists double as therapists, but they may refer you to another mental health professional if you meet one who does not.

Now, in case your symptoms are quite severe – e.g., delusions, hallucinations, panic attacks, etc. – it may be better to see a psychiatrist. The primary reason is that mental illnesses with such symptoms cannot be treated by therapy – antidepressants, sedatives, or stronger medications may work. Those are things that only psychiatrists can prescribe. 

What are the benefits of online therapy?

The main benefit of getting online therapy is that you need not look for a mental health facility that offers therapy. In truth, you do not have to leave your house at all as long as you have internet or mobile data. This is ideal for people with disabilities or who live in remote areas, considering their treatment can go on without meeting their therapists face-to-face.

Furthermore, online therapy is an affordable version of psychotherapy. Many people who have tried this treatment claim that it is not too different from going to a therapist’s clinic, except that they are not required to pay hundreds of dollars to receive therapy. 

Is online therapy as effective?

Yes, various studies have proven the effectiveness of online therapy over the years. In all honesty, they go as far as saying that online treatment is as effective as face-to-face therapy. That is especially true for online cognitive-behavioral therapy, given that people with depression, social anxiety, panic disorder, and other common mental illnesses have found relief through online therapy.

How do you get therapy if you can’t afford it?

If you cannot afford therapy, you may try doing the following:

  • Inform your therapist about your financial situation. Many mental health professionals may have an ongoing professional fee, but it does not mean that you cannot ask them to make an exemption and lower their costs for you. It all comes down to honesty and agreement.
  • Go to a university mental health clinic. This suggestion is ideal for people who live close to universities with psychology programs. Some students tend to volunteer at outpatient hospitals and offer therapy for free. Although they do not have the same number of experiences as seasoned therapists, they have the same training or knowledge that the latter may have.
  • Try group therapy at local institutions. Considering there is at least one mental health facility in your area, feel free to check if they offer group therapy. This is generally cheaper than one-on-one treatment, so you may be able to afford it. If you can find one that does not charge anything for group therapy, that’s better.
  • Consider getting online therapy. Online therapy is more affordable than traditional therapy by a mile. You may receive the latter for one-fifth of what other therapists charge if you meet them face-to-face.

Is online therapy cheaper?

Yes, online therapy is cheaper than in-person therapy. When you sign up for the latter, you may get unlimited chances to chat or talk to a psychologist or therapist for as low as $35 per week. If you choose one-on-one therapy, $100 may not be enough for a one-hour session with the therapist.

How much does a therapist cost a month?

The cost of seeing a therapist depends on various aspects. For instance, if you are in Los Angeles, New York, and other parts of the country with a high living cost, the fee may start at $200 per session. In other inexpensive cities, it may begin at $150. However, if you want to try online therapy, you may only need to pay $30 every week.

What is the difference between ADHD and Asperger’s syndrome?

The main difference between ADHD and Asperger’s syndrome is that only one of them belongs to the autism spectrum – and that’s the latter. Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder is in a league of its own, in the sense that people with this disability are known for their impulsive and hyperactive behaviors and lack of attention. Despite that, mental health professionals conclude that an individual has ADHD before scraping that diagnosis and realize that what they have is Asperger’s syndrome.

How can you tell if a girl has autism?

These are the telltale signs that a girl may have autism:

  • She asserts control by dictating what game to play or how they should play it.
  • In case the girl does not get her way, she prefers to play alone.
  • She feels lost in a social function and tends to copy others’ behaviors.
  • She deals with mental breakdowns at home, although she may never do that anywhere else to blend in.
  • She can be overly sensitive to the extent that she removes clothing tags or avoids deodorants.

How can you tell if someone has Asperger’s?

Someone with Asperger’s syndrome may have the following symptoms:

  • They cannot make friends and often chooses to self-isolate instead of socializing with their peers.
  • They cannot meet others’ eyes when they are talking or distinguish sarcasm from honesty.
  • They tend to misbehave unknowingly.
  • Having great common sense is not one of their best qualities.
  • They show intense fascination in specific subject matters, but they cannot talk about others.
  • They thrive well when they have a schedule to follow.

Do people with Asperger’s syndrome lack empathy?

It has always been said that people with Asperger’s syndrome lack empathy, but it is not entirely true. Yes, they do not understand others’ feelings, reactions, or tones. Yes, they may even be baffled whenever someone cracks a joke and end up taking the latter seriously. However, they can still be compassionate at times.

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Can BetterHelp diagnose you?

No, BetterHelp cannot diagnose you. The platform houses many licensed psychologists who should be able to do that, but there is a strict regulation to only make diagnoses face-to-face. All they can provide online is therapy.

Does Asperger’s syndrome get worse with age?

The answer depends on how early the Asperger’s syndrome has been diagnosed or what the diagnosed individual has done to treat the condition. Although Asperger’s syndrome cannot be cured permanently, many people end up leading everyday lives, getting married, and excelling in the workplace. The only time it may worsen with age is if it’s left untreated.

Can BetterHelp diagnose ADHD?

No, BetterHelp cannot diagnose ADHD. Aside from the fact that psychologists cannot conduct a psychological evaluation or diagnosis online, specific mental health professionals deal with ADHD. That’s something that BetterHelp is not equipped for. 

Final Thoughts

The first couple of mental health professionals I talked to were hesitant to accommodate me and advised me to rehab. However, I could not do that, so I kept looking for a psychiatrist or therapist who did not mind offering therapy to a reforming substance abuser. Luckily, more than a handful of mental health services providers chose from, so I eventually received the help I needed to get my act together.