An Introduction To Psychiatry

Health & Medical Blog

Psychiatry is a medical specialty that revolves around the diagnosis, treatment, and even prevention of mental and behavioral disorders. A psychiatrist is a specialist who understands the complexity of psychiatry and is trained to treat mental health conditions. A psychiatrist should not be confused with a therapist. You can learn more about psychiatry and how a psychiatrist may be able to help you in this article. 

The difference between a psychiatrist and a therapist

While a psychiatrist and a therapist are both mental health professionals, there are significant differences between the two. A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who specializes in psychiatry. They have a medical degree that allows them to diagnose and treat patients using a wide range of treatments, including prescribing medication. Psychiatrists usually work with patients who have more complex conditions and/or need medication management. 

Therapists often have advanced degrees in psychology or social work. However, depending on the state requirements, some therapists may not have any advanced education. They often focus more on certain areas of psychology, such as eating disorders or addiction. Therapists can use a variety of treatment methods. However, the therapist can't prescribe medication. 

Types of mental illnesses 

Mental illnesses are complex for many reasons. Oftentimes, mental disorders run in the family. A few examples of these types of disorders include bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and depression. 

Some mental disorders are caused by traumatic events a person has endured. A couple of examples of these include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and anxiety. 

There are also mental disorders that are the result of someone misusing a substance, often over a long period of time. Drug use can trigger some mental disorders that may not have otherwise become symptomatic. 

Some drugs can alter the brain in a way that causes mental disorders. For example, some people can experience mental disorders or deficiencies after using LSD or other psychotropic drugs. A psychotropic drug affects how the brain works and causes changes in mood, feelings, behavior, and thinking patterns. 

The challenges of treating mental disorders

Psychiatrists are far more advanced in their knowledge and understanding of the brain and human behavior. Something that makes it so difficult to diagnose a disorder is that many of the disorders share many symptoms. 

For example, someone with PTSD can also experience panic attacks, OCD symptoms, and even tics, which are often seen in patients with Tourette's syndrome. A psychiatrist must go through all the patient's symptoms and medical and mental records and observe them to determine what the main issue is that's causing the other symptoms. 

With proper treatment and maintenance of a patient's condition, they can go on to live happy and productive lives. If you feel you may be at risk, or may already be suffering from a mental disorder, you should see a psychiatrist so you can start working toward improved mental health.


17 May 2023

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