WHO IS A PSYCHIATRIST?

We live in a world where our mental well-being is given equal importance as our physical health. Psychiatrists are physicians, who are trained to diagnose and treat mental illness. 

These medical professionals help us identify and manage the symptoms of our mental disorders. Psychiatrists have an understanding of situations and circumstances that could affect our mental state. They also have strong knowledge of how our body and mind are related. Through various interventions including psychotherapy and medications, psychiatrists help us improve our psychological condition.        

What Is the Difference Between a Psychiatrist and a Psychologist?

The titles of these mental health professionals are so similar that it may be confusing. It is fair to say that both psychiatrists and psychologists deal with mental health issues and work together in some cases. But the treatments they provide, their qualifications, and their areas of specialization are different.

To start with the basics, let's understand what qualifications these professionals need:

Psychologist: An advanced degree such as a PhD or PsyD in Clinical Psychology 

Psychiatrist: Licensed medical doctors with a specialization in psychiatry

Methods of treatment:

Psychologist: One-on-one therapy, family therapy, group therapy, play therapy for children  

Psychiatrist: Medications, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, Electroconvulsive therapy, consultation with professionals at schools and other agencies, access to community-based resources including outpatient programs and inpatient hospitalizations. 

Areas of expertise:

Psychologist: Talk therapy; Psychological assessment; School-based consultation for academic placement; Marriage Counselling

Psychiatrist: Medication Management; Psychiatric Consultation; Other interventions such as Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation and Electro-Convulsive Therapy

What Does a Psychiatrist Do?

Even though psychiatrists do not perform complex surgeries, the amount of pressure that comes with their job is equal to that of surgeons. There is no way to argue that a consultant psychiatrist's work is simple at all, and there is much more to their workday than just talking to people. 

A psychiatrist helps in the assessment and diagnosis of various mental disorders. They also assist in planning treatment suitable to your condition as well as suggesting lifestyle changes. If your condition requires it, then they arrange sessions with you and your family. Besides that, they also deal with long-term mental illnesses, provide emergency care, and even suggest hospitalization in some cases. Along with that, prescribing medications to manage mental diseases is certainly their specialty.  

Therapies

When we think of one fundamental treatment offered by a psychiatrist, therapy is the first thing that comes to mind. What is unknown to many is that there are multiple approaches to psychotherapy. These different types of therapies treat various mental illnesses. Some therapies used by psychiatrists include. 

  • Interpersonal therapy - This type of therapy emphasizes improving interactions and communication that you have with your friends and family. Its primary goal is to treat depression caused by abrupt life events, relationship conflicts, mourning, etc. Interpersonal therapy usually lasts for about three to four weeks. 

  • Dialectical-behavior therapy - This therapy is advised to patients to treat them from a borderline personality disorder and suicidal thoughts. It focuses on changing unhealthy behavior like self-harm and impulsive behavior.  

  • Psychodynamic therapy - Individuals suffering from emotional problems are recommended psychodynamic therapy. This therapy is founded on assumptions that someone might have unusual, unresolved conflicts from childhood that need settling. Psychodynamic therapy is given for several months and may also last up to years, depending on the condition.
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy - This type of therapy is mostly used to treat depression and anxiety by reconfiguring distorted thoughts and changing maladaptive behavior. It is an extremely effective and time-tested intervention. 

Medications

It is essential to understand that therapy is not the only solution for treating mental illnesses. If the effect of the condition is much more than what it usually is, psychiatrists prescribe medicines to curb its symptoms.

Some standard class of medications includes:

  • Antipsychotics - These are possibly the oldest used medication category in Psychiatry and used commonly for conditions such as Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder, and other Psychotic Disorders. They include two classifications of medications, Atypical (newer) and Typical (older). Someone on these medications has to be followed up with a Psychiatrist regularly to assess their efficacy and monitor side effects. Few side effects of these medications are weight gain, metabolic impairment, Extra Pyramidal symptoms, Tardive Dyskinesia. 

  • Mood stabilizers - Mood stabilizers are highly effective medications to manage Bipolar Disorder. Some of the mood stabilizers include lithium, valproic acid, and Carbamazepine. Most of these medications need close follow-ups including blood tests. Some of these medications can have deleterious side effects including toxicity,  liver abnormality, and risk for birth disorder if taken during pregnancy.

  • Antidepressants - Antidepressants aim to rectify chemical imbalances and target specific neurotransmitters in the brain such as serotonin and norepinephrine. Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitor(SNRIs) and Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) are the two common types of antidepressants. Apart from Depressive Disorder, this medication treats conditions like PTSD, Panic Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, and Phobia, to name a few.

  • Hypnotics - As the name suggests, hypnotics induce sleep. This medicine helps in treating insomnia and is also used for Anxiety Disorder. Hypnotics are commonly known as sleeping pills.  

Reasons to See a Psychiatrist

In the early times, there was a lot of stigma around having a psychiatrist consultation, but now things are changing for the better. Most people are feeling comfortable in an open discussion about their mental illness, their struggles, and their therapy experience. 

We have come up with a list of reasons for you to understand if you need to book an appointment with a psychiatrist. You need to see a psychiatrist if-

  • You are having extreme anxiety and Panic attacks
  • You are severely despondent and experience hopelessness
  • You are experiencing extreme phobia and fear that is affecting your daily life
  • You have been a victim of physical, sexual, and, or, mental abuse
  • You are addicted to a substance and/or alcohol

Psychiatric treatment at SCPC TMS

SCPC TMS is a well-known name in San Diego for treating various types of mental health conditions. The Psychiatrist treats Depressive Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, Psychosis, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, Anxiety,  Autism, ADHD, and many more. 

SCPC TMS is the most popular for treating depression with the help of an advanced treatment named Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, also called TMS. This state-of-the-art procedure uses MRI technology to restore the limited neuronal activity of a depressed brain. TMS is mostly a side-effect-free intervention. This FDA-approved treatment is accepted by insurance providers making it an affordable option for treatment

June 15th, 2021
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