Our encounters with psychiatrists have been limited to what we see on television for many of us. Shrinks are often portrayed as eccentric, emotional, or even unstable. While some mental health professionals may fit this bill (after all, we are only human), most of them are down-to-earth people who want to help others. Psychiatrists normally work in outpatient or inpatient settings, but they may also work in schools, prisons, or other institutions. Some practices, such as 90210 Recovery, work exclusively with patients with addiction and mental health disorders.
What Does A Psychiatrist Do?
A psychiatrist is a medical doctor specializing in diagnosing and treating mental health disorders. Psychiatrists use a variety of tools to help them understand and treat their patients, including:
Medical history-Medical history can provide valuable information to psychiatrists that can help them understand a patient’s current condition. This information can help identify any potential mental health conditions present and any possible triggers for psychiatric symptoms. It can also provide insight into how a patient has responded to previous treatment methods, which can help develop an effective treatment plan.
Psychological testing-Psychological testing can help psychiatrists better understand a patient’s mental state and how they may be feeling. This type of testing can also diagnose any underlying mental health disorders. Various psychological tests can be used, and the type of test will depend on the individual patient and the psychiatrist’s clinical judgment.
Interviews-Interviews with patients are another important tool that psychiatrists use to assess mental health. These interviews can help psychiatrists understand a patient’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. They may also ask questions about a patient’s family history, as mental health disorders often run in families.
Observation: Psychiatrists may also observe a patient’s behavior in some cases. This can help assess psychiatric symptoms and how a patient responds to different situations.
As part of the diagnostic process, they will refer to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). This manual is published by the American Psychiatric Association and provides a common language and criteria for classifying mental disorders. Mental health professionals use DSM-5, but it is still a widely used resource.
Although many people confuse psychiatrists and psychologists, there are some key differences between the two professions. Psychologists typically do not prescribe medication, while psychiatrists are medical doctors and can prescribe medication. Psychologists often have a Ph.D. or Psy.D., while psychiatrists have an M.D. Psychiatrists also complete four years of medical school and four years of residency, while psychologists do not attend medical school.
What Conditions Do Psychiatrists Treat?
Psychiatrists can treat a wide range of mental health disorders, including:
Anxiety disorders-Psychiatrists can help patients with anxiety disorders to understand and manage their symptoms. Common anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and phobias.
Depressive disorders-Depressive disorders are characterized by persistent feelings of sadness, emptiness, or hopelessness. These disorders can make it difficult for people to function in their everyday lives. Common types of depressive disorders include major depressive disorder and dysthymia.
Bipolar disorder– Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition characterized by extreme mood changes. People with bipolar disorder may experience periods of mania, followed by periods of depression. Bipolar disorder can be a very debilitating condition, but a psychiatrist’s treatment can help patients better manage their symptoms.
Schizophrenia-Schizophrenia is a serious mental health condition characterized by hallucinations, delusions, and disordered thinking. Schizophrenia can be very disabling, but a psychiatrist’s treatment can help patients manage their symptoms better and live a more normal life.
Eating disorders-Eating disorders are characterized by abnormal eating behaviors and distorted views of body image. Common eating disorders include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder.
Substance abuse and addiction: Substance abuse and addiction are serious problems that can devastatingly impact a person’s life. Psychiatrists can help patients overcome their addiction and get their lives back on track.
What treatment methods do psychiatrists use?
Psychiatrists use various treatment methods to help patients with mental health disorders. The type of treatment used will depend on the individual patient and the severity of their condition.
Psychotherapy-Psychotherapy is a type of counseling that can help patients understand and manage their symptoms. Psychotherapy can be conducted individually, in group therapy sessions, or family therapy sessions.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)-CBT is a type of psychotherapy that helps patients identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviors. CBT is an effective treatment for mental health disorders, including anxiety disorders, depressive disorders, eating disorders, and substance abuse disorders.
Medication– In some cases, psychiatrists may prescribe medication to help patients with mental health disorders. The prescribed type of medication will depend on the individual patient and the severity of their condition. Medication can be used to treat conditions such as anxiety disorders, depressive disorders, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.
Hospitalization– In some cases, patients with mental health disorders may need to be hospitalized. This is usually done when patients are a danger to themselves or others or when their condition is so severe that they cannot care for themselves.