What does a Psychiatrist do?
Psychiatry is a medical branch involving the study, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental, emotional, and behavioural disorders. Mental health is driven by a combination of factors, both specific to the individual as well as society.
Often mental health is perceived as a weakness that a person can simply overcome. However, just like any other disease that afflicts the body, mental health issues cannot be resolved without help and they don’t go away on their own. Mental health issues can stem from hormonal issues, neurochemical issues and a range of other factors. Unless they are addressed by medication or therapy, they can be highly problematic and affect normal life.
A Psychiatrist is a medical doctor, who practices psychiatry to cure mental health issues. Psychiatrists are medically qualified to assess both the mental and physical aspects and effects of psychological problems. They are also known as psychiatry doctors.
Psychiatric doctors assess and treat the mental and also physical repercussions of the psychological troubles of the patient.
In this article, we will learn all about psychiatrists and why and when we should consult a psychiatrist..
Psychologist vs Psychiatrist: What's the difference?
People often do not understand the difference between psychologist and psychiatrist.. There are vital differences in their education and approach towards providing psychiatric help for depression.
With regards to education and training:.
Psychologists have a doctoral degree in the area of psychology which is the study of mind and human behaviour. The difference between psychologist and psychiatrist is that the psychologist does not have a medical degree like a consultant psychiatrist that allows them to prescribe medication and treatments other than therapy.
A psychologist can have a PhD in philosophy or a degree in counselling psychology. They typically do 1 to 2 years of internship before commencing their practice.
Psychiatrists are medical doctors graduating from medical school and have completed years of medical internship in the assessment and treatment of mental health diseases.
With regards to approach: - The approach of treatment is also different between the two professions. While the psychologist would look more closely at the mood and behavioural patterns of the patient like eating, sleeping, and public activities to get to the cause of the mental condition, the psychiatrists are more likely to work towards excluding any physical illnesses that might be causing the disorders. They are also highly likely to prescribe medications once they rightly diagnose mental illness.
While choosing between a psychologist or psychiatry doctors for depression, anxiety or any other mental illness remember the following difference between psychology and psychiatry:
- Unlike psychiatrists, psychologists are trained to conduct psychological tests like IQ tests or personality tests.
- Because of medical training, psychiatrists can prescribe medication but psychologists cannot. This is the most crucial difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist.
- In certain cases, if psychologists have a degree in psychopharmacology, then they are authorized to prescribe medications. But this differs from a case-to-case basis, so when making a choice between a psychologist or psychiatrist for depression, you’ll have to consider whether you are looking at a medication regime to help with your mental illness.
With regards to when they are consulted:
The title may sound similar, but they are trained to diagnose and treat patients in a different manner. A psychiatrist and psychologist are not the same, each professional has a different background, training, and treatment processes.
A consulting psychiatrist will have a medical degree along with advanced qualifications from residency and specialty programs. They make use of talk therapy, medication, and another treatment plan to help patients with various mental health disorders.
On the other hand, psychologists will have an advanced degree like a Ph.D., and they will commonly use talk therapy as a treatment plan to help with mental health conditions. They will also act as consultants along with other healthcare providers.
Psychiatrist doctors in Bangalore can work in any of the settings mentioned below:
- Private practices
- Psychiatric hospitals
- University medical centers
- Nursing homes
- Rehabilitation programs
- Hospice programs
They will treat mental health issues that require medication, like:
- Anxiety disorders
- Bipolar disorder
- Major depression
The psychologist also treats their patients in similar settings used by a consulting psychiatrist:
- Nursing homes
- Hospice programs
They will commonly treat their patients with talk therapy, this treatment involves sitting with a counsellor and talking through our issues. The therapy sessions include:
- One on one with the therapy
- Family therapy
- Group therapy
Conditions that Psychiatrists treat
Patients who exhibit symptoms of mental health disorders that are affecting their quality of life and relationships should pay a visit to a Psychiatrist or a Psychiatric counsellor. Psychiatrists are equipped to diagnose and treat a range of mental health conditions such as:
- Bipolar disorder
- Mood or anxiety disorders
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Borderline personality disorder
- Dissociative disorders
- Eating disorders
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD
Post-diagnosis, the psychiatrist lets the patient and their family know the causes of the disease with proper insights. Usually, when patients need psychiatric help for depression or other mental health conditions the underlying causes can be:
- Biological: Hormonal disturbances, nutritional and lifestyle choices, inherited condition from family members and relatives, illnesses or chronic conditions.
- Psychological: Excessive stress or pressure, Unresolved childhood trauma
- Social: Personal relationship or work issues, economic or financial problems, substance abuse issues
Why would I need to see a Psychiatrist?
Mental health has always been a stigma in society. Many of us often think about visiting a psychiatrist but don’t have the exact knowledge on how to go about it.
The fear of social ostracization and consequences on relationships may also prevent us from getting help. However, putting off going to a psychiatrist can be detrimental as many mental health disorders may need early diagnosis and intervention to manage effectively.
A psychiatrist can help you understand the underlying diagnosis behind mental health symptoms and chart out the right treatment plan for you.
When to see a psychiatrist?
How to recognize the signs that you need psychiatric help? Here are some scenarios that may trigger the need of an appointment with psychiatry doctors
- Prolonged stress and anxiety
Be it a job interview, a personal relationship or family problems, stress and anxiety can originate due to any of these. Stress and anxiety, if not treated and diagnosed properly, it can lead to social isolation, depression, and various other problems.
With the help of a psychiatrist, patients can better manage stress and anxiety by finding the source or cause of your problems, as well as the correct ways to overcome them.
- Prolonged depression
People often confuse depression with general sadness. Feelings of helplessness or hopelessness often characterized depression. People cannot just snap out of depression and they need proper diagnosis and treatment.
If you or a loved one are stuck in constantly negative thought patterns that you find it hard to break out of, seek the help of a psychiatrist.
- Severe phobias
Psychiatric help for phobias is required when it makes the patient unable to carry out daily
tasks due to phobia. There are patients who suffer from the phobia of eating or
crowds or even socializing. In such cases, the doctors can help the patients
get to the root of the problem and find a solution.
- Unhealthy habits and addictions
Addiction is one of the main causes of mental illness. Alcohol, smoking or substance abuse can alter your brain chemistry leading to changes in the chemical makeup of the brain that finally causes mental illnesses.
When a person indulges in alcohol and drugs for a long period of time, they experience certain illusionary realities that make them indifferent to the happenings in the actual life. With the help of a psychiatrist doctor addiction and substance abuse problems can be warded off.
- Loss or the Death of a loved one
Most mental illnesses, especially in young people, can start with the death of close family members or friends. Even though it is a part of everyone’s life, it has been seen that people predisposed to mental illness often seem to alienate themselves and struggle to deal with the realities of the loss of a loved one. With the help of psychiatry doctors, the patient can work towards getting over the feelings of loss.
Different types of Psychiatry
There are several different sub-specialities psychiatrists may be trained in. These sub-specialities often require additional training, besides education and residency programs in general psychiatry. Few sub-specialities or types of psychiatry are
- Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists
- Geriatric Psychiatrists
- Addiction Psychiatrists
- Academic Psychiatrists
- Psychiatrists for Eating disorders
- Liaison Psychiatrists
- Perinatal Psychiatrists
- Rehabilitation & social Psychiatry
- Forensic Psychiatrists
- Psychosomatic medicine (physical diseases with a mental component)
- Organizational or Occupational Psychiatrist
- Muli-Specialty Psychiatrists
A psychiatric evaluation test designed to assess the mental health and condition of the patient. This evaluation generally looks at the patient's thinking, assessment, and cognitive capabilities.
The psychiatrist will also note the mood, behaviour, and daily activities of the patient. Diagnosing a mental health problem is not as easy as various subtleties involved in the process. The doctor needs to perform a series of evaluations to carefully pinpoint the exact condition of the affected individual.
For the best psychiatrist service in Bangalore, visit Cadabams. We have years of experience in dealing with the most complex mental health issues. We ensure that you are comfortable and able to open up about your issues and anxieties. We focus on purely listening to the problem at hand without being judgmental or adding our own biases into the picture. We look at mental health issues purely as an illness without attaching any stigma to it and treat our patients with dignity and empathy.
Role of a Psychiatric Counselor
A Psychiatric counselor treats people with a wide range of mental health issues. They treat patients struggling with depression, anxiety, behavioural and emotional disorders in children, paranoia, eating disorders, anger management difficulties etc. They might also treat patients dealing with post-traumatic stress issues, grief and troubled relationships. For example, a psychiatric counsellor might treat a patient who has been the victim of domestic abuse, and psychiatry doctors treat the abuser. In addition, a Psychiatric counselor might counsel individuals struggling with poor self-esteem.
What does a psychiatrist do for depression or mental health diagnosis?
For a mental health diagnosis, a psychiatrist usually observes your symptoms and case history to come up with probable diagnosis. Post the preliminary observations, the psychiatrist may refer you to a clinical psychologist for follow up tests.
A psychologist may prescribe different types of psychiatric tests such as:
- Psychological personality test
- Projective test
- Neuropsychological test
- Achievement and aptitude test
- Direct observation test
What do I do before my first Psychiatrist appointment?
The first psychiatrist appointment can be overwhelming and intimidating for the patient.To better prepare and family, here are some of the points to keep in mind:
- Fix an appointment
Now that you know for sure you want to visit a psychiatrist, call the respective clinic and book an appointment date before visiting.
Finding the right doctor that can help address your exact problems and symptoms can be tough. Most patients may need to visit several Psychiatric doctors to finally find the right onesuited to their needs.
Here are the things you should ask about on the call:
- The psychiatrist’s qualifications and the fees charged
- If the clinic has admission rights to any healthcare facility
- Which documents need to be brought
- Whether or not you need to bring any family member with you for the first appointment
- If there is a situation of changing psychiatrists, then whether or not a ‘transfer care letter’ is required
- Journal your symptoms
If you’re wondering about how to talk to a psychiatrist and initiate a conversation, it helps to have a journal of what you want to say. Mental issues are complex and for the patient to talk to a stranger about their personal problems may sound daunting.
To make the process simple, the patient should jot their symptoms as and when they come. Here are some of the issues that the patient can journal:
- The symptoms and the exact timing of their occurrence
- Whether there are any environmental factors that trigger the symptoms
- Any mental stresses that may be causing the symptoms
- Any kind of physical illness that can also be a cause of the occurrence of the symptoms
- Prepare your medical history
Mental health issues are very complicated and might arise from a number of factors. In many cases, the patient themselves may be unaware of the underlying causes that are leading to disease symptoms.
To rightly diagnose the disorder and help the patient with the best medications and treatment plan, the psychiatrist needs to have a detailed medical history of the patient.
This means the patient should have all his past prescriptions of both mental and physical ailments ready along with the list of medications, herbal and vitamin supplements they have been taking.
- Do your research
There are many questions that might come to mind during and before the first appointment with a psychiatrist. Such questions include:
- What will my psychiatrist ask me?
- How to talk to a psychiatrist?
- Do I need a psychiatrist?
- How can a psychiatrist help me?
It is very important to find the answers to all these questions before scheduling the first appointment. You can find various interesting articles on the internet that can help you with your research and subsequently with the entire treatment process.
- Prepare your questions
Before showing up at a psychiatrist appointment there are various questions that you may have in your mind. During the first appointment, it can be difficult to come up with questions impromptu for the psychiatrist as the session might get intimidating and personal.
To ensure that your queries are addressed, jot down all the questions that you want to ask your psychiatrist before the visit. Some of the questions may include:
- What type of mental illness might I have?
- Why can't I get over mental illness on my own?
- How do you treat my type of mental illness?
- Will any talk therapy help?
- Are there medications that might help?
- How long will treatment take?
- What can I do to help myself?
- How do I calm myself when the symptoms get severe?
What should I expect at my first appointment?
Every psychiatrist may have their own unique approach towards patients and hence it’s important to check whether you click with them personally.
At your first appointment, take your time to build a relationship with the psychiatrist and see if you are comfortable with sharing with them. You may have to visit more than one psychiatrist to find one that clicks for you.
- Be prepared for several personal questions from your doctor
- You might feel an upsurge of different emotions
- Both you and your psychiatrist will work towards creating a long-term plan for you
- You might be asked to take medications
- Your first psychiatrist might not be the right one for you
Cadabams Hospitals is the top psychiatric hospital in Bangalore for all kinds of mental health conditions including Anxiety, Depression, Schizophrenia, OCD amongst others. We have a stellar team of some of the top psychiatrists in Bangalore supported by specialist doctors, top therapists, registered mental health nurses and social workers. Psychotherapy is quite helpful when treating mental health problems, including:
- Anxiety disorders: Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders, panic disorder, phobias, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorders.
- Mood disorders- like depression and bipolar disorder
- Addictions- to substances like drug dependence, alcoholism, or compulsive gambling
- Eating disorders like bulimia and anorexia
- Personality disorders like dependent personality disorder and borderline personality disorder
- Psychotic disorders like schizophrenia that tend to cause detachment from reality.
If you do not like to socialize much and are not comfortable talking in person, or do not wish to step outside of your home, then you can also choose to have Online Psychotherapy session. To find a psychiatrist in your area, do call us and book an online appointment. Get in touch with your Psychotherapist and before the session, send your therapist a message from anywhere, at any time - on web or mobile.
You are ensured to have a therapy session all from the privacy of your device. Well not stepping out of your house in this pandemic and not worrying about extra commutes is another added advantage if you choose to have a psychotherapy online. To know about online psychotherapy fees, session timings, and availability of doctors, do get in touch with us.
Getting a Diagnosis and Treatment plan
Psychiatrist doctors are medical practitioners and hence they are authorized to order or perform a full set of laboratory and psychological tests. These tests, combined with discussions with patients about their symptoms and issues, help provide a detailed understanding of a patient's physical and mental state.
Their medical background and clinical training make them qualified to determine the complicated relationship between mental and other physical illnesses. Cadabam’s team has some of the best psychiatrists in India and they take every possible measure to ensure they plan well-suited treatment for you.
They can also draw the path of similarity and relationships with genetics and family history. This helps them evaluate medical and psychological data, to make the right diagnosis and hence, come up with treatment plans.
Based on the diagnosis the psychiatrist can prescribe the following types of treatments:
- Medications: There are several classes of medications that are administered to the patient who seeks psychiatric counseling for depression. The prescriptions are obviously different for every patient and it depends on their type and stage of mental illness. Here are some of the common ones:
- Antidepressants – These are essentially prescribed in cases of depression, panic disorder, PTSD, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder or OCD, borderline personality disorder, and eating disorders.
- Antipsychotic medications – These medications are for the patients who face episodes of psychosis. These are used to treat psychotic symptoms (delusions and hallucinations), schizophrenia, bipolar disorder.
- Sedatives and anxiolytics – These types of medicines are used to treat anxiety and insomnia.
- Hypnotics – For the people suffering from sleep disorders, hypnotics help to induce better sleep and treat insomnia.
- Mood stabilizers – People suffering from bipolar disorder often face very sudden shifts in their mood that can confuse them and lead to several involuntary actions. Mood stabilizers are prescribed to such patients who have frequent manic and depressive episodes. Sometimes these medications are also prescribed along with antidepressants to treat extremely low episodes.
- Stimulants – These are administered often by child psychiatrists for the cases related to ADHD or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
- Psychotherapy: For improving the mental well-being of the patient, psychotherapy may be advised. During this therapy process, the patient can learn about their condition, mood, behaviors and what makes them act in the way they do. By getting these insights, the patients are better suited to understand their recovery process and hence develop better stress management skills.
- Brain stimulation: These are only performed when medicines and psychotherapy have not worked with the patients. These treatments include electroconvulsive therapy, repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation, deep brain stimulation and vagus nerve stimulation. It is important for the patient and their family to understand the risks of these treatment procedures before going ahead with them.
- Substance abuse treatment: Problems with substance abuse often co occur along with mental illnesses. Substance abuse and alcohol consumption can lead to the slowing down of treatment for the mental illness and interfere with the medications. if the patient themselves cannot stop the problem, then the psychiatrist can mediate and help solve the issues.
- Hospital and residential treatment programs: Sometimes very serious mental illnesses require the patients to go to a hospital or enrol themselves as residential treatment programs. This is only advised when the patient is found acting in a very volatile way and if the psychiatrist thinks that he can cause harm to himself or to the people around him. This step is only taken when the patient is not in control of their own actions anymore.
Should I bring a parent or loved one?
Whether or not the patient should bring a parent or a loved one completely depends on their discretion. They can bring someone with them and let them wait outside the door during the session with the psychiatrist. Conversely, they can also ask them to sit with them at the session.
It is also understandable if the patient does not want to bring anyone and chooses to do this alone given the sensitive nature of the consultation. It is advised to have someone along just for comfort and not feeling overwhelmed.
Will the records be confidential?
Anything the patient shares with the psychiatrist is always confidential and protected under patient doctor privilege. They might need to share personal medical information with other healthcare professionals who may be involved in the care of the patient.
In certain cases, the psychiatrist may also need to speak to a family member but in this case consent of, the patient will be taken. However, the psychiatrist is also bound by law to speak up if the patient talks about harming themselves or others.
Cadabam’s has a team of the best psychiatrists in Bangalore, they will ensure that you and your family go through a smooth treatment during the course of psychiatric treatment with adequate care given to keep things confidential.
The prognosis for mental illness
To cope with mental illness when diagnosed, the patient needs to bring about certain lifestyle changes in order to live a full and happy life. The following lifestyle changes are essential to leading a more functional life when suffering from mental
- Stick to the treatment plan and medications prescribed by the psychiatrist
- Do not make important decisions when the symptoms of the illness are severe
- Quit smoking or consuming alcohol
- Take up new hobbies or restart old ones
- Stay active, exercise and meditate
- Eat nutritional food and stay away from junk
- Learn stress management skills to cope with pressure
Seeking help for mental health
Mental health is as critical as your physical health. Seeking psychiatric counseling help is important if you want to lead a functional life. If you’re feeling mentally distressed and need to go for a psychiatrist consultation, then you will have to talk to your family doctor for a referral. They will be able to guide you to the best Mental Health Rehab or mental health facility near you.
If you have a loved one who needs psychiatric help, here are some pointers on persuading them to get professional help:
- Let your loved one know that you want to have a vital conversation with them. This will help them focus their attention and help them take the situation seriously.
- Avoid talking during a family gathering or when you’re fighting. You have to pick the proper time and place.
- Try not to get defensive, and be prepared for emotional outbursts
- Inform them about Residential Treatment Centers and Rehab Centers and how they can help.
- Ensure that you provide them with positive affirmations that don’t make them feel isolated through the process.
Cadabams is leading Mental Health Rehab for mental illnesses with the top psychiatrist in Bangalore. If you need a psychiatrist appointment, visit our residential treatment facility to schedule a one on one session with our certified psychiatrists
How can families help?
Families influence patient health in a lot of ways and can help identify the history of a patient's problems, and pave the ground for success by eradicating potential future obstacles to treating several psychiatric conditions like ADHD,
If you know someone reluctant to visit a mental health professional due to poor relationship satisfaction, interpersonal conflicts, etc. then paying a visit to the psychiatrist as a family member or loved one is your best bet.
You can do so in the absence of the patient and discuss one-to-one about the patient’s functioning at home allowing the psychiatrist to better understand the situation this is called a proxy consultation.
Your face-to-face meetings can further allow the psychiatrist to make an accurate diagnosis and plan a treatment strategy for the patient. It will also encourage a healthy conversation between the patient and the health care provider building a strong relationship between the two.