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Behavioral Health and Primary Medical Care – Why its important that you obtain a good physical at the beginning of treatment

Quality behavioral healthcare should include collaboration between the patient’s behavioral healthcare provider (e.g., therapist/counselor) and their primary care physician. You may ask, what does my physical health have to do with my behavioral health treatment? The following information will help explain why I believe so strongly in reviewing general medical conditions and symptoms with my clients, and why I ask my clients to have a complete physical, and allow me to collaborate with their primary care physician.

The fact is, people with serious mental health problems die earlier than individuals who do not have these concerns. Premature death estimates range from between 14 to 32 years earlier for those with serious mental health problems http://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2006/apr/05_0180.htm. Suicide was the 10th most frequent cause of death in the United States in 2010. 38,364 individuals died of suicide, or approximately 105 people per day http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/suicide_datasheet_2012-a.pdf. However, suicide is not the leading cause of death for people with serious mental health issues. Rather, co-morbidity, or concurrent general medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke and cancer contribute to the premature death of people with more serious mental health concerns.  http://www.nimh.nih.gov/about/director/2011/no-health-without-mental-health.shtml?amp&amp#refvii.

It’s also important to note that some physical symptoms can be misdiagnosed as mental health concerns. At the same time, some mental health issues can be secondary to general medical conditions http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/294131-overview .

Does this mean that all my clients have serious mental health issues? Of course not.The purpose of sharing this information is to encourage collaboration between behavioral health and primary care treatment. As a behavioral health provider I believe that treatment of the whole person, mind, body and spirit is essential to achievement of the best quality of life that can be achieved. Questions? Call 334.329.7155 for a brief consultation to see if behavioral health treatment is appropriate for you.