A psychiatrist is a doctor who deals with mental health issues. They have a deep understanding of how mental and physical health are related, and they typically spend most of their days diagnosing and treating patients with mental health issues.
A psychiatrist typically has over 12 years of training if the time it takes to get a bachelor's degree is counted. They have to get a medical degree like all doctors, then at least four years of training at a hospital.
A psychiatrist helps to manage and treat a wide variety of mental health issues like eating disorders, bipolar disorder, addictions, depression and schizophrenia.
A psychiatrist is qualified to:
- Assess a patient's physical and mental symptoms
- Make a proper diagnosis of a patient's condition
- Come up with an effective treatment plan that addresses the problem
- Provide medication, psychological treatment and perform procedures like electroconvulsive therapy
- Provide emergency care for a sudden mental issue
- Manage long-term mental disorders
- Educate the patient about lifestyle changes that will improve their health
- Work with the patient individually or with their family members
- Provide advice and second opinions to other doctors
- Refer patients to other health care professionals
- Admit patients to a hospital
Most psychiatrists work in community mental health centers, private offices or hospitals. Not all psychiatrists focus on working directly with mental health patients. Many are involved in teaching, advocacy, legal services and research. That means you can also find psychiatrists at government offices, universities and research centers all around the world.
It is not uncommon for a psychiatrist to juggle multiple roles. Some split time between working with employers, like hospitals, teaching and running their own private practice.
The different types of psychiatrists
There are many subspecialties in psychiatry. These include:
- Perinatal psychiatry – This field deals with the mental health of mothers and babies
- Addiction psychiatry
- Child psychiatry
- Adolescent psychiatry
- Young adult psychiatry
- Old-age psychiatry
- Psychotherapy – This field deals with helping people change their behavior
When is a psychiatrist needed?
Common mental issues can be treated by other health care providers like psychologists, but the services of a psychiatrist are often required if:
- The patient's condition is difficult to diagnose or complicated
- The patient is suicidal
- Medication that can only be prescribed by a psychiatrist is needed
- The person is not responding to the treatments being administered
- The mental health issue occurs suddenly
Reasons why you might need a psychiatrist
Life often throws its share of challenges, like the loss of a family member or a job, and many of these things can negatively affect a person's mental health. It has been somewhat normalized for people to avoid talking about mental issues and this only makes the problem worse.
Reach out to a psychiatrist if you are dealing with any of these issues:
- Difficulty dealing with a major change
- An inability to stop worrying about things
- Suicidal thoughts
- Depression – This often comes with overwhelming feelings of hopelessness and helplessness. It is not something a person can simply snap out of. Depression typically leads to the person losing interest in the things they once found interesting and an inability to control their emotions. A psychiatrist can help to locate the source of the disorder
- Violent thoughts
- Constant restlessness. This is usually accompanied with difficulty sleeping and an inability to relax
- Negative thoughts that never go away
- Phobias – These are irrational fears that some people have. Some phobias are harmless for the most part, like a fear of spiders. A phobia like that rarely negatively affects the person's life, it just makes them avoid anything related to spiders at all costs. However, a phobia like sitophobia (the fear of eating) can lead to serious health issues like malnutrition or starvation.
- Obsessive behavior
- Delusions – Having difficulty separating reality from thoughts
- Constantly feeling like others are out to get you
- Out of control alcohol or drug use
- Issues with addictive behaviors like gaming, social media and gambling
- An inability to think clearly
- Difficulty concentrating
- Insomnia – This is usually a symptom of other psychiatric disorders
- Lifelong disorders like autism and ADHD. A psychologist can teach a person how to cope with the disorder and enjoy a higher quality of life
- Uncontrollable emotional or violent behavior – These people often have emotional scars or psychological issues that trigger their behavior
Treatments provided by a psychiatrist
There are a variety of treatments that a psychiatrist can use to deal with any of the issues listed above. Some of these include:
- Psychotherapy: This is also known as talk therapy
- Brain stimulation like electroconvulsive therapy
The psychiatrist will also educate the patient about how simple things, like improving their diet, exercising more often and getting more sleep, can bring some relief from their mental health problems. The psychiatrist will provide the patient with detailed information about their condition so that they have a better understanding of the symptoms and how the treatment works.
With the services of a highly-qualified mental health doctor like a psychiatrist, patients know that the treatments that are being recommended are effective and safe.
The psychiatrist will talk to the patient about:
- How the treatment works
- Why it was recommended
- The side effects
- Any risks associated with the treatment
- What the treatment will cost
- How long the treatment takes
The patient will have to decide for themselves if they want to go with any treatments recommended by a psychiatrist.
Never neglect your mental health
Most people tend to focus more on their physical health than their mental health, but neither is more important than the other. Keeping your mind healthy should also be a priority. A healthy mind makes it easier for you to do the things that keep your body fit.
If you are dealing with any of the issues we highlighted in this article, a psychiatrist can help you get back to a healthier mental state. At MD Care Now, we provide diagnosis and treatment for a wide range of mental health issues. Visit us at our Stratford office today.
Check out what others are saying about our Psychiatrist services on Yelp: Psychiatrist Stratford
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