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A physician who specializes in psychiatry, which is the branch of medicine that involves the diagnosis, prevention, study, and treatment of mental disorder, is known as a psychiatrist. A psychiatrist evaluates patients and determines if their symptoms are the result of a physical illness or mental illness or a combination of psychological and physical illness.
Psychiatrists tend to treat people suffering from severe depression, schizophrenia, OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder), bipolar disorder, and suicidal thoughts. They prescribe medicines, psychotherapy, and may also use electroconvulsive therapy (brain stimulation therapy). Psychotherapy is a form of talk therapy, which involves personal interaction between the psychiatrist and the patient. It includes psychoanalysis and psychodynamic therapies, behavior therapy, cognitive therapy, humanistic therapy, and holistic therapy. It improves the individual’s mental health and helps resolve troublesome compulsions, beliefs, thoughts, behaviors, and emotions.
The signs and symptoms of mental illness are feeling sad, reduced concentration, extreme fear, fatigue, paranoia, hallucinations, alcohol and drug abuse, suicidal thoughts, changes in libido, etc. If you notice such symptoms, that keep recurring and affects your day to day activities, consult a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist will assess your symptoms, and provide urgent care and advice on lifestyle changes. With the help of online healthcare platforms, you can ask questions to a psychiatrist online, by posting a question or through video and phone consultation.
Frequently Asked Questions
What happens at the first psychiatrist appointment?
Your first appointment might be the longest. You will have to answer a list of questions that the psychiatrist will ask you. These questions will help the doctor know you and understand what your problem is. You can take your friend or relative who you feel comfortable around. It is best to write all the problems and habits that you find troublesome, so you can tell them to your psychiatrist. Also prepare a list of questions that you can ask the doctor, which will help you know and trust your doctor.
Can a psychiatrist prescribe medicines?
Yes, they can! As psychiatrists are medical doctors, they can prescribe medicines to help you overcome your mental illness. The common medicines they prescribe are Sertraline, Alprazolam, Citalopram, Duloxetine, Venlafaxine, and Amitriptyline.
Do psychiatrists conduct a drug test on the first visit?
Some psychiatrists might tell you to take a drug test before they give a diagnosis and form a treatment plan. They might conduct a physical examination and send your urine to screen for drugs and alcohol.
How is a psychiatrist different from a psychologist?
Psychiatrists and psychologists are both trained to treat patients suffering from emotional and mental illness. A psychiatrist prescribes medication and usually takes care of the medication aspect of the treatment, and they are trained medical doctors. A psychologist is more focused on psychotherapy and other therapies for behavioral disorders.
Is a psychologist qualified to diagnose anxiety?
Yes, a psychologist is trained and experienced in identifying and diagnosing psychological conditions like anxiety and generalized anxiety disorder. They can also treat these conditions with the help of counseling and psychotherapy.
How is mental illness diagnosed?
A doctor will first perform a physical examination to rule out all physical conditions that can cause similar symptoms. They will conduct tests to check the thyroid function and screen for alcohol and drugs. The psychiatrist will also ask a series of questions, which will help diagnose your condition.
What are the most common mental disorders?
Depression, anxiety, bipolar disorders, schizophrenia, dementia, and psychosis are the most common mental disorders.
What conditions can a psychiatrist treat?
A psychiatrist can diagnose and treat mental conditions like:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
- Personality disorder.
- Eating disorders.
- Sleep problems.
Will all the information I share with a psychiatrist remain confidential?
All information shared with your psychiatrist during therapies is confidential. Your psychiatrist will not share the information that you shared with him or her during counseling sessions, and all your files and records are kept private.