A psychiatrist is a physician specializing in the diagnosing and treatment of nervous and mental disorders and illness. Psychiatrists are qualified to assess the physical and mental aspects of psychological problems. As they are medical doctors, a psychiatrist can perform a range of psychological and medical laboratory tests that they use in combination with discussion with patients to paint a picture of the patient's mental and physical state. Their clinical training and education help them understand the relationship between emotional and medical illness.
What does a Psychiatrist Do?
Unlike neurologists, a psychiatrist consultant doesn't treat structural or organic disorders like brain cancers, epilepsy, etc. A psychiatric doctor has a great understanding of the basic psychology and he/she possess psychotherapy skills to address the disorder. Psychiatric disorders such as anxiety and depression are effectively treated through psychotherapy. Psychiatrists provide care and treatment of mental disorders with patience and compassion and treat mild to chronic mental disorders.
Psychological disorders and their treatment
Some of the common psychological disorders are:
- Clinical depression
- Anxiety disorder
- Bipolar disorder
- Neurocognitive disorder
- Personality disorder
- Trauma-related disorder
A mental health consultant or mental specialist undertakes the treatment depending upon the type of mental illness. In the case of a mild mental illness, a treatment from one health care provider may be enough. However, in case of a severe illness such as schizophrenia, a team approach is essential.
In some cases, mental specialists prescribe medications. These medications can improve symptoms of illness. The most effective medication depends on the situation and the body’s response to it.
Causes of mental illness
Research has shown that mental illnesses are caused by a combination of environmental, biological and psychological factors. Some of these factors are:
- Brain injury
- Substance abuse
- Psychological trauma
- Low self-esteem
- Cultural or social expectations
Mental illnesses are treatable and it's always better to seek the help of a psychiatrist in case such disorder is felt so that it can be diagnosed and managed to help the patient.