I Don’t Know What Psychiatrists Do

By | July 12, 2019

If you’ve never been to a psychiatrist, you may not know what it’s like to see one or what they do. Maybe you have a friend who sees a psychiatrist on a regular basis to treat their mental health condition, and you’re curious about what it’s like. If you don’t know what psychiatrists do, let’s talk about that, and we can learn about what this mental health provider does for those who live with mental illness. Let’s find out what psychiatrists do.

What is psychiatry?

Psychiatry is a type of medicine that’s particularly focused on diagnosing and treating mental and emotional disorders as well as behavioral disorders. A psychiatrist is actually a medical doctor, which means that they have an M.D. or a D.O. They can diagnose mental health conditions, including substance use disorders. They can administer assessments to determine psychological problems.

Why people see psychiatrists

An individual might see a psychiatrist for a variety of different reasons. Maybe, they’re experiencing chronic anxiety or panic attacks. Perhaps, they can’t drag themselves out of bed, and they’re experiencing depression. There are a multitude of reasons that one might seek medical attention from a psychiatrist. Your general doctor can only do so much when it comes to mental health, but a psychiatrist specializes in treating mental health disorders from diagnosis to helping with the treatment of symptoms.

The history of psychiatry

Psychiatric disorders or mental disorders date back to the late 19th century. It used to be a form of neurology, but during the late 19th century deviated from this branch of neurology and became its own discipline.

Psychotropic medication became popular during the 1950s, and that’s when psychiatrists started seeing patients and treating individuals for mental illness. Today, psychiatry is extremely common, and it’s the gold standard in treating people with chronic mental illnesses who need to take psychotropic medication.
Psychiatry isn’t just for prescribing medicine

Psychiatrists are doctors

Psychiatrists are medical doctors, but they don’t just administer pills. They need to understand what’s going on with a patient’s behavior, which includes their mind and body. They’re trained in medical school and then complete a psychiatric residency. They learn about complex psychiatric conditions, and they know about administering somatic types of therapy, which includes electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). Psychiatrists want to treat people on a holistic level. A good psychiatrist will not only look at their client’s symptoms, but they seek to improve the patients quality of life by looking at their mental health conditions as well as their lifestyle and might make referrals to other providers if need be.

Here are some basic facts about psychiatrists:

  • Psychiatrists are the only mental health providers that can give psychotropic drugs
  • There’s a deficit in the number of psychiatrists nationally in the United States
  • Because there’s a shortage of psychiatrists available to see, you might spend a long time on a waitlist to see a psychiatrist

The mental health system is frustrating for people who need care

Because the mental health system is so broken, you could wait months to see a competent psychiatrist, and that can frustrate people. It’s important that you see a psychiatrist rather than getting psychotropic medication from your general practitioner because psychiatric providers are well-versed in psychotropic drugs. If you feel that you need to explore medication for your mental illness, don’t be afraid to see a psychiatrist.

Online therapy

Believe it or not, there are online psychiatrists! If you see an online therapist, ask them about seeing an online psychiatrist if this is something that you’re interested in pursuing. Whether you’re working with a psychiatrist online or in your local area, it’s important that you take care of your mental health, so don’t be afraid to ask for what you need when you need it.

This is a featured post by site sponsor Better Help.

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