Psychiatry Services

Medications often can be helpful to students struggling with depression, anxiety and other emotional concerns that have a biological component. We have a strong commitment to helping students understand their difficulties and to offering a range of options to make things better.

Our psychiatric clinicians (psychiatrists and nurse practitioners) can meet with students to determine which medications might be helpful and to recommend a course of treatment.

Students interested in an evaluation for psychiatric medication need first to meet with a counselor in either Counseling & Psychological Services or Social Services. Counselors will help a student evaluate the range of available treatment options and arrange for a psychiatric medication appointment when needed.

Medical Evaluation

Our psychiatrists can meet with students for a medication evaluation to determine whether medications might be helpful and to discuss how to combine them with therapy and other self-care. If medication is right for you, the psychiatrist can provide follow-up care, making adjustments in medication and dose when needed.

UC Berkeley students are referred to psychiatrists by counselors at CAPS or Social Services. If you are interested in medications, please make an appointment to talk with a counselor. 

Our Combined Treatment Model

Medication alone is rarely adequate to address the complex psychological and social factors that contribute to most presenting problems. Research has repeatedly shown that for most conditions, when treatment with psychiatric medications (pharmacotherapy) is combined with psychotherapy, clinical outcomes are significantly better than when psychiatric medications are taken alone. Some of the benefits of combining pharmacotherapy with psychotherapy over pharmacotherapy alone include:

  • Enhanced emotional and psychological support during periods of heightened distress.
  • Enhanced awareness of how cognitive, emotional, life style, and interpersonal factors affect symptoms being targeted by pharmacotherapy.
  • Enhanced development and strengthening of skills that allow for a greater sense of agency in reaching and maintaining treatment goals.
  • Enhanced reduction of symptoms.
  • Enhanced stability of symptom improvement.
  • Improved adherence to prescribed medications.

The University Health Services, therefore, has adopted a model of combined treatment in which all students seen in our Psychiatry Services will be expected to be concurrently in counseling with either a UHS or community psychotherapist. If concurrent substance use or other treatment is also recommended, students will be expected to actively engage in that treatment as well.

The goal of our combined treatment model is to insure that students have the counseling support we believe they need while they are taking psychiatric medications. Your counselor and psychiatric clinician will jointly determine the recommended frequency of counseling and other treatment visits and make adjustments as needed over time, including if at any time medication treatment may be continued without concurrent counseling. The counselor and psychiatric clinician make these determinations based on the severity of a student's symptoms, circumstances, and the response to medications, counseling, and other treatments. Students who decline or are unable to adhere to the recommended treatment plan will need to transfer their psychiatric care to an off-campus psychiatrist.

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