A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating mental health conditions. Psychiatrists are trained to understand the biological and psychological factors that contribute to mental health conditions. They use this knowledge to treat patients through medication, therapy, or a combination of both.
It’s important to understand the difference between psychiatrists and psychologists before seeking mental health treatment. Both psychiatrists and psychologists are mental health professionals who are trained in diagnosing and treating mental health conditions. However, there are key differences in their training, qualifications, and practice. Before making an appointment, it’s good to know what kind of assistance you’ll need.
Psychiatrists are medical doctors who have completed a four-year medical degree and a residency in psychiatry. Because they are medical doctors, psychiatrists can prescribe medication. Psychologists have a master’s or doctoral degree in psychology, which is a five to seven-year program. While psychologists cannot prescribe medication, they can provide psychotherapy.
Psychiatrists use a variety of techniques to help their patients, including psychological treatment, prescribing medication, and doing other procedures or practices that can help patients work through symptoms. These will be detailed below.
Psychological treatment involves talking with a patient about their thoughts and feelings. This can help the person to understand and manage their emotions better. This is often called psychotherapy or talk therapy.
Psychiatrists will often prescribe medications for a person to help to stabilize a person’s mood and alleviate certain symptoms of mental illness.
There are certain procedures, such as brain stimulation therapies, that a psychiatrist can prescribe and administer to help treat some mental health conditions
Brain stimulation therapies are a group of treatments that aim to modulate brain activity to alleviate certain conditions or symptoms. These therapies make use of electrical or magnetic stimulation to target specific areas of the brain and have been found to be effective in treating a range of conditions such as depression, anxiety, Parkinson’s disease, and chronic pain.
Antidepressants are often prescribed to help treat depression. Some of the most common types of antidepressants include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). Each type of antidepressant works in a slightly different way, and the psychiatrist will work with the patient to determine which type and dosage is most likely to be effective.
Stimulants can help to increase alertness, focus, and energy levels. They are often used to treat conditions such as ADHD and narcolepsy.
These drugs can be helpful in treating conditions like insomnia, panic disorders, and anxiety disorders. However, sedatives and anxiolytics can be easily abused, and they can be addictive. When used inappropriately, these drugs can cause serious side effects.
Antipsychotic medications are a type of medication used to treat psychosis, which is a condition characterized by disruptions in a person’s thoughts, emotions, and perceptions. Common symptoms of psychosis include hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that are not there), delusions (false beliefs), and disordered thinking. Antipsychotics work by modulating the levels of certain chemicals in the brain, which helps to reduce the symptoms of psychosis.
Hypnotics are a class of drugs that are used to induce sleep. They work by slowing down the nervous system, making it easier for you to fall asleep and stay asleep. Common hypnotic drugs include benzodiazepines such as lorazepam (Ativan) and diazepam (Valium), barbiturates such as phenobarbital, and non-barbiturate sedatives such as zolpidem (Ambien).1
Psychiatrists can provide a wide range of services, including psychological counseling, medication management, and other forms of therapy. Some of the most common conditions that psychiatrists treat include anxiety disorders, depression, eating disorders, substance abuse disorders, schizophrenia, ADHD, PTSD, bipolar disorder, OCD, and other conditions.2
There are many different types of substances that can lead to a substance use disorder, including alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drugs. Substance use disorders can range from mild to severe and can have a profound impact on an individual’s life.
Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that affects a person’s ability to think, feel, and behave. Symptoms include hallucinations, delusions, and disorganized thinking. People with schizophrenia may also have problems with concentration, motivation, and socializing. The condition can make it difficult for affected individuals to go through daily life.3
PTSD is a serious condition that can develop after a person experiences or witnesses a traumatic event. Symptoms of PTSD can include flashbacks, nightmares, and severe anxiety.
Bipolar disorder is a mental disorder that causes extreme mood swings, from manic highs to depressive lows. The condition can be very debilitating, and people with bipolar disorder often have difficulty functioning in day-to-day life.
Whatever mental illness you may be experiencing, there is hope and help available. Please contact Boardwalk Recovery for more information.
If you have any questions about what to expect from a psychiatrist, be sure to ask them during your appointment or contact us at Boardwalk Recovery. We’re here to help every step of the way.