Psychiatry is the branch of medicine focused on the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mental, emotional, psychological and behavioral disorders.
A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who specializes in mental health. Psychiatrists are qualified to assess both the mental health and physical aspects of psychological problems.
People seek psychiatric help for many reasons. The problems can be sudden, such as depression, panic attack, frightening anxiety , stress reaction, stress and burnout, social anxiety, phobias , adjustment issues , psychological issues secondary to job loss, relationship problems, stress induced brief psychosis, menstrual cycle related mood problems , pregnancy and child delivery related conditions like post natal depression, anxiety, Or they may be more long-term, such as feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or anxiousness, constant feelings of emotional instability , anger and impulsivity, mood fluctuations as part of conditions like Bipolar affective disorder, abnormal thoughts, perceptions, behaviors arising from conditions like schizophrenia that never seem to lift or problems functioning, causing everyday life to feel out of control.
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Because they are physicians, psychiatrists can order or perform a full range of medical laboratory and screening tests which, combined with discussions with patients, help provide a picture of a patient’s physical and mental state. Their education and clinical training equip them to understand the complex relationship between emotional and other medical illnesses and the relationships with genetics and family history, to evaluate medical and psychological data, to make a diagnosis, and to work with patients to develop treatment plans.
What Treatments Do Psychiatrists Use?
Psychiatrists use a variety of treatments including medications, brief psychological interventions and other treatments depending on the needs of each patient.
Most medications are used by psychiatrists in much the same way that medications are used to treat high blood pressure or diabetes. After completing thorough evaluations, psychiatrists can prescribe medications to help treat psychological disorders. Psychiatric medications can help correct imbalances in brain chemistry that are thought to be involved in some mental health conditions. Patients on long-term medication treatment will need to meet with their psychiatrist periodically to monitor the effectiveness of the medication and any potential side effects.
Class of Medications
- Antidepressants – used to treat depression, panic disorder, PTSD, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, borderline personality disorder and eating disorders.
- Antipsychotic medications – used to treat psychotic symptoms (delusions and hallucinations), schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, psychotic symptoms related to stress, epilepsy, and other neurological conditions.
- Sedatives and anxiolytics – used to treat short term anxiety and insomnia.
- Hypnotics – used to induce and maintain sleep.
- Mood stabilizers – used to treat a variety of conditions leading to mood instability like bipolar disorder, mood instability leading from personality issues.
- Stimulants and non stimulant medications – used to treat ADHD.
Psychiatrists often prescribe medications in combination with psychotherapy.
Other treatments are also sometimes used. Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), a medical treatment that involves applying electrical currents to the brain, is used most often to treat severe depression that has not responded to other treatments. Deep brain stimulation (DBS), vagus nerve stimulation (VNS), and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) are a few of the newer therapies being used to treat some mental disorders. Light therapy is used to treat seasonal depression.
Some times clients present with acute symptoms and thoughts. They are not able to handle stress any more and feels unsafe to stay on their own. Psychiatrist at LifeWorks Holistic Counseling center aims to assess the clients in such conditions and guide them appropriately.
What Is the Difference Between a Psychiatrist and Psychologist?
A psychiatrist is a medical doctor (completed medical school and residency/training) with special training in psychiatry. A psychiatrist is able to use counseling strategies and prescribe medications and other medical treatments.
A psychologist usually has an advanced degree, most commonly in clinical psychology, and often has extensive training in research or clinical practice. Psychologists treat mental health disorders with psychotherapy and some specialize in psychological testing and evaluation.