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What Is Psychiatry & What Does a Psychiatrist Do?

May 02, 2022
What Is Psychiatry & What Does a Psychiatrist Do?
Did you know that over 50 million people suffer from a mental illness in the United States every single year? What about the fact that over 14 million people suffer from a serious mental illness?

Did you know that over 50 million people suffer from a mental illness in the United States every single year? What about the fact that over 14 million people suffer from a serious mental illness? That doesn’t include all the Americans that haven’t been diagnosed yet or are misdiagnosed.

What’s even more devastating is that only 46% of Americans with a mental illness actually received treatment for their illness and only 65% of those with a serious mental illness received treatment. That means there are millions of people out there not getting the treatment they need.

With mental health awareness at an all-time high, millions of people all around the world are interested – now more than ever – in improving their quality of life through various treatments, techniques, and methods. For those that are suffering, a psychiatrist might be worth a visit.

What Is Psychiatry & What Does a Psychiatrist Do?

WHAT IS PSYCHIATRY?

Psychiatry is a branch of medicine that’s involved in detecting, diagnosing, treating, preventing, and monitoring mental illness. Psychiatrists are mental health professionals that practices psychiatry. They are specialist medical doctors that have medical training and a keen understanding of mental health.

If your primary care doctor suspects you have mental health problems and wants a deeper, more in-depth analysis or evaluation, they will refer you to a psychiatrist. From there, they’ll evaluate your current mental health state and work with your primary doctor to find an effective solution.

Not only do psychiatrists have a deep understanding of mental health, but they understand and assess how your mental health affects your physical, emotional, social, behavioral, and spiritual health. With your cooperation, they can help you take better control of your day-to-day life.

What Is Psychiatry & What Does a Psychiatrist Do?

WHAT MENTAL DISORDERS DO PSYCHIATRISTS SPECIALIZE IN?

According to The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), there are more than 300 classified forms of mental health conditions today. Psychiatrists are tasked with detecting, diagnosing, and treating each of them. Let’s take a look at some of the most common psychiatric disorders:

  • Psychotic disorders (schizophrenia)
  • Bipolar and personality disorders
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Depressive disorders (depression)
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Eating disorders
  • Sleep disorders
  • Sexual disorders
  • Gender dysphoria
  • Substance abuse disorders and addiction
  • Elimination disorders
  • Behavioral disorders
  • Trauma- and stressor-related disorders

If you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health, time is of the essence. Don’t hesitate to reach out for help – there are thousands of psychiatrists in the United States that are ready and willing to diagnose and treat your illness. All you need to do is reach out for help.

What Is Psychiatry & What Does a Psychiatrist Do?

HOW DO PSYCHIATRISTS DIAGNOSE PATIENTS?

In most cases, the psychiatrist isn’t the first doctor to evaluate the patient – this is usually done by the primary care doctor, who performs a number of physical exams and lab tests (blood work). All of the information learned from the primary doctor is then sent to the psychiatrist.

A psychiatrist, just like your primary care doctor, has the power to order a wide range of tests and exams to better evaluate a patient. In addition to what the primary doctor learned, the psychiatrist will sit down with the patient and ask them a series of formal and informal questions to get a sense of their medical history.

Based on the patient’s answers, the psychiatrist will resort to their training, knowledge, and experience – as well as the DSM-5, in most cases – to narrow the patient’s symptoms down to one or multiple mental health issues. They might order some tests to confirm the diagnosis.

What Is Psychiatry & What Does a Psychiatrist Do?

HOW DO PSYCHIATRISTS TREAT MENTAL DISORDERS?

Once a mental illness is diagnosed, the psychiatrist will formulate a customized, tailored, and proven treatment plan designed to fit the unique needs of the individual patient. Treatment will generally consist of a combination of medication, therapy, and various behavioral changes.

There are dozens of different types of therapy that might be used when treating a mental illness, but talk therapy is most common. Determining which one is best suited for the patient will heavily depend on what condition they’re diagnosed with, the severity of the symptoms, and how they respond to other treatment options.

As far as medication is concerned, the most common types include antidepressants, sedatives, anxiolytics, hypnotics, antipsychotic medications, mood stabilizers, and stimulants. Since not everyone responds similarly to the same medication, it might take a little bit of trial-and-error.

What Is Psychiatry & What Does a Psychiatrist Do?

PSYCHIATRIST VS. PSYCHOLOGIST VS. THERAPIST

For those that have never been diagnosed with a mental disorder or have never been evaluated for one, you might think a psychiatrist, psychologist, and therapist are the same person. While they’re all involved in the same line of work, they have different responsibilities.

As we discussed above, a psychiatrist detects mental illnesses with an evaluation, diagnoses them with various exams and tests, and treats them with medication and therapy. On the other hand, a psychologist isn’t technically a medical doctor – though they do study mental illnesses.

The main difference between a psychologist and psychiatrist is that the former (psychologist) can’t prescribe medications, while the latter (psychiatrist) can. A therapist is someone who performs and administers therapy – like a psychologist, they can’t prescribe medications.

What Is Psychiatry & What Does a Psychiatrist Do?

QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR PSYCHIATRIST

You should consider scheduling a mental health evaluation with your local psychiatrist if you feel overly anxious, worried, depressed, suicidal, obsessed, irritated, or angry. If you feel like you’re unhappy with the way your life is going or that you can’t live a quality life, a psychiatrist can help.

Here are some questions to ask your psychiatrist during your initial evaluation:

  • Is what I’m feeling normal?
  • Can my mental illness be treated? If so, how?
  • Are there any side effects to the medication you’re prescribing me?
  • What should I expect from therapy?
  • How common is my mental illness and what’s the success rate of treatment?
  • Are there any lifestyle changes I can make today to improve my quality of life?
  • What should I do if I miss a dose of medication or a therapy session?
  • How long will it take for treatment to show desirable results?

Are you struggling with your mental health? Do you feel like you could be getting more out of life? Does your primary doctor suspect you might be suffering from a mental illness? If so, don’t hesitate to contact a psychiatrist for a professional mental evaluation – medical treatment is available!

Feel free to contact our team at Colorado Recovery Solutions to schedule your first visit – we can’t wait to help you regain control of your life.

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