A doctor of psychiatry is a medical professional who focuses on diagnosing, prevention and treating patients with mental illness. In order to become a psychiatrist, a practitioner must go to a medical school following completion of undergraduate work at a four year university. He or she must then complete an internship and residency working with psychiatric patients. This health care practitioner is a full-fledged doctor and qualified to dispense prescription medications. This is the difference between a psychologist or therapist. A psychologist has a doctorate degree but did not attend medical school. He or she is therefore not certified to write prescriptions. A therapist may be a Masters Level counselor or social worker and is also unable to dispense drugs.
If a person needs the services of a psychiatrist for themselves or their family member, they should be careful to select a good one. There are arrays of subcategories even within this field. Specializations include those that focus on addiction, children’s issues, adolescents, adults, criminals, learning disabilities, and neuropsychiatry.
Some warning signs that it may be time to have an evaluation performed include extreme moodiness, extreme sadness, personality change, violent tendencies, delusions, high anxiety, insomnia or constant sleepiness, and drug or alcohol abuse. In order to find a good clinician:
– Get a referral from a primary care physician: Those in the medical world should be able to recommend a good mental health practitioner. Many docs have emergency availability that may come in handy.
– Ask friends, relatives or therapists for a recommendation: Word of mouth is always a wonderful way to find a savvy doctor. Therapists or counselors may likely know the best in the locale for their clients’ situations.
– Check with the insurance company: If an individual has medical insurance, it would be a good idea to get a list of names of providers that accept coverage. This is a good place to start the screening process.
– Initial consultation: A first appointment with a doctor will be one of the best ways to ascertain whether this professional relationship will indeed be a fit. The practitioner will want to see medical records, learn about an individual’s health history and family illnesses, as well. Psychiatric evaluations through checklists and testing may be utilized, also.
– Medication: During the evaluation, it will be determined whether prescription medications should be dispensed in order to regulate body chemistry. Many factors must be taken into consideration before making this decision. It may also be a trial and error process initially, in order to find out the correct prescriptive cocktail combination for each patient.
– Other treatments: Talk therapy and learning coping techniques may help many individuals. It will be determined during the course of treatment whether past relationships or thought patterns are contributing to the difficulties.
Physicians that focus on psychiatry can make a huge impact on those suffering from mental health diseases. These practitioners are highly trained and skilled in psychotherapy in order to determine helpful treatment plans for their patients.