Athletes participate in highly competitive activities that challenge them mentally and physically. Stressors facing athletes include injuries, pressured training regimens, relationships with teammates/trainers/coaches, and competitive losses in games. In addition to their commitments to sports, athletes have to balance life with their families and employers. Athletes are not immune to mental illnesses. However, in a culture of being stoic and being excellent, an athlete may find it difficult to reveal mental illness due to fear of being seen as “weak”. Like the general population, athletes also face mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and ADHD due to environment and genetic factors.
Mental illness can impair an athlete’s ability to perform on a competitive level. Sports psychiatry deals with the diagnosis, treatment, and management of an athlete with a psychiatric illness. Careful attention to pharmacological treatment of athletes will be taken. Certain medications may cause weight gain, sedation, and delayed reactions times. These factors will be addressed while creating alternatives that will not compromise lifestyle and standards needing to be met for competitive sports. Goals will be to help the athlete-patient reduce or eliminate mental illness symptoms with a combination of psychotherapy and pharmacological treatment.
Most athletes agree that a large portion of their success is accounted for by mastering the psychology of performance. However, the mental game is often misunderstood. With proper therapy, you can learn to manage those performance jitters.
Call or make an appointment online today with Genesis Psychiatric Solutions in McLean, Virginia and Washington, DC. If you’re outside of Virginia, be sure to ask about available telepsychiatry services.