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Melissa Deuter, M.D. (San Antonio, TX)

Psychiatrist and Author, Stuck In The Sick Role: How Illness Becomes an Identity


Judy McDonough | | 512-501-4399 ext 710 | Twitter: @jemmcd

  • Board certified psychiatrist specializing in the care of teens, young adults, and their families, with a special interest in the unique mental health needs of emerging adults.
  • Named one of San Antonio’s Top 10 psychiatrists


In her psychiatric outpatient and urgent care practices, Dr. Melissa Deuter has longbeen an expert advisor to “failure to launch” young adults (and their families) who are stuck in a mindset of disability. Now she brings this unique expertise to readers everywhere with Stuck In The Sick Role: How Illness Becomes An Identity.

Through vivid stories of typical emerging adult patients who seek treatment for mental illness – and the parents who seek to free them from the psychological trap of their diagnoses – Dr. Deuter demonstrates how changes in parenting coupled, with an increase in healthcare and mental health care consumption, have led too many to become “stuck in the sick role” indefinitely.


  • Half of all young people in their 20s are labeled with (or label themselves with) a mental disorder (anxiety, depression, etc.). How did we get here?
  • Why are so many young people lacking jobs and basic life/social skills? Why are they not leaving for college with the life skills we had, one generation ago?
  • What’s in a label? The do’s and don’ts of kids growing up with a diagnosis – and how to help them not be defined by their situation.
  • Battle or benefits: weighing the pros and cons, as a parent, of getting a child diagnosed, potentially labeled, in the system, etc.
  • How do parents prepare their children for life events such as college, relationships, career, marriage, pregnancy, particularly in relation to their illness (such as risk factors of stressors, hormonal changes). As parents, how are we not preparing them? What can be done?
  • Diagnosing mental disorders: bipolar, anxiety disorder, ADHD – and why psychiatry should be diagnosing more people with nothing at all


Dr. Melissa Deuter is and expert and trendsetter in the world of mental health care. She founded Sigma Mental Health Urgent Care and in doing so is on the forefront, redefining how psychiatric services are delivered. Dr. Deuter is a board certified psychiatrist in San Antonio, Texas. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Arkansas and attended medical school at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. She completed psychiatry residency at the University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio and served as Chief Resident. Dr. Deuter currently holds an appointment as Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at UTHSCSA and is the course director for the resident training seminars on Eating Disorders and Sexuality and Sexual Development. She is a former President of the Bexar County Psychiatric Society, a current member of the Texas Society of Psychiatric Physicians Ethics Council, and a current member of the South Texas Psychiatric Physicians Research Network’s Executive Committee. She has been recognized as a San Antonio’s “Top Doctor” and a “Best of” Doctor, a Texas Super Doctor’s “Rising Star,” and has received the American Registry “Patient’s Choice Award.” Dr. Deuter has a special interest in early stage psychiatric care, differentiating serious illness from normal brain development, and the unique mental health needs of emerging adults.

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