Are psychiatrists simply highly educated bartenders or hairdressers, where for insurance subsidized fees people can safely pour out their hearts and get sympathetic nods and sage words of advice?
Hang in their Buddy, life’s tough, but you’ll make it.
Yeah, your husband’s a real jerk; you deserve better.
Plus, as an added bonus, the shrink will toss in a dozen tranquilizers or sleeping pills…
The answer is not complicated. It’s NO!
Most people who use the “paid friend” analogy are either ignorant of what psychiatrists do or are very defensive and fearful of what issues are lurking within themselves.
The symptoms of depression, such as sadness, loss of energy, negativity, and sleep disturbances, just to name a few, can be transient, chronic, mild or severe. There are numerous types of depression — Dysthymia, Major Depression, Bipolar Disorders, postpartum depression, cyclothymic disorder, psychotic and non-psychotic types, suicidal, non-suicidal, substance abuse induced depression, depression associated with medical disorders etc. etc. Each type and each individual requires a different form of treatment.
It’s true that Louie the bartender can try and cheer you up with a free drink (although alcohol makes depression worse). Jacques the hairdresser can flatter you with a new look and distract you from the negative feelings that are so haunting that sometimes life feels unbearable. But, it’s often only a psychiatrist or other mental health professional that can make a clear diagnosis and recommend a form of treatment that will address the underlying problem and personalize the treatment depending on each person’s needs.
Imagine the relief of finally knowing what you’re suffering from and getting the appropriate help.
On second thought, I think I’m being a little too rigid. Getting a new haircut is definitely not off the table… Maybe after treatment is successful, you’ll look in the mirror and decide you need to look more positive, or wild, or unique and give Jacques a call. Fine! See Jacques whenever you want. He is very charming, and it feels especially good to get your hair washed and your scalp massaged…