Psychiatry Q & A
What is a Psychiatrist?
A psychiatrist is a doctor who specializes in the treatment and care of mental health issues and conditions in addition to behavioral and emotional conditions. These doctors understand the body’s functions and how they work together with the brain. There is a complex relationship between medical illnesses and emotional or mental illnesses. These physicians understand that relationship and how it can become taxed or dysfunctional. Mental health conditions include depression, anxiety, addiction, bipolar disorder, and many other very real, medical illnesses. These conditions affect 2.8% of the adult population in the United States, that is thousands of individuals.
How Are Diagnoses Made?
A psychiatrist will perform an in depth evaluation of the patient’s medical and family history as well as their psychological history. There are a large number of psychological tests which are used to determine which condition is affecting the person. Asking questions will be a large part of the psychological evaluation. These specific types of questions help the doctor to identify patterns of thought and behavior which can be signs of a mental health problem or suggest that the person is suffering from an acute or situational issue.
What Treatments Do Psychiatrists Use?
Commonly employed treatments include:
- Psychotherapy- this is a form of systematic treatment which utilizes regularly scheduled meetings between the psychiatrist and the patient where they discuss the problems which are occurring. This helps the person to understand what they are feeling and find ways to deal with or change it. These sessions are usually conducted over the course of years. Psychoanalysis is a special form of this therapy which allows the patient to examine events of the past.
- Medications- Medications have been used to help correct chemical imbalances in the brain which cause mental health problems. Often the conditions which employ the use of medications are not something that the patient can simply learn to overcome. These conditions cause physical dysfunction in brain chemistry.
- Hospitalization- psychiatric hospitalization is used in more severe cases and is a more focused, intense form of treatment.