When you start researching mental healthcare, you start running into a lot of confusing terms. You may see people talking about psychiatrists and psychologists, but what’s the difference, and which one do you need? How do you know when it’s time to seek out help from a psychiatrist, and what is psychiatry in the first place?
Insdurdinary is here to help you navigate the topic of psychiatry and help you decide if seeing a psychiatrist may be your best course of action. Read on to learn about this field and whether you need to see a psychiatrist.
What Is Psychiatry?
Psychiatry is a mental health profession that uses a combination of both therapy and medication. Psychiatrists are medical doctors who specialize in mental illnesses.
It’s important to note that psychiatry is a broad topic of study covering a wide scope of conditions. This means that it’s not easy to nail down one clear definition of the practice.
One of the primary benefits of going to see a psychiatrist is that they’re qualified to examine you from both a physical and a mental standpoint. You may have a physical problem affecting your mental health, or vice versa. A psychiatrist can evaluate all of these factors and help you to find a treatment plan that fits your needs.
What Is the Difference Between a Psychiatrist and a Psychologist?
Many people have trouble telling the difference between a psychiatrist and a psychologist. And while both professions treat mental disorders, the way they do so can be very different. In particular, a psychiatrist may be able to offer a broader range of treatments than a psychologist can.
Psychiatrists are medical doctors who have chosen to specialize in mental health disorders. Just as a cardiologist focuses on heart health or a podiatrist focuses on foot health, a psychiatrist focuses on keeping your mind healthy. They complete the full range of medical training and earn their MD or DO degree before going on to specialize in psychiatry.
Another major difference is that psychiatrists can prescribe medicine for their patients. This can be very important for patients who need help managing their brain chemistry to control their mental disorder. You can also learn more about psychiatrists and how they differ from psychologists on our website.
A psychologist is a mental healthcare professional who helps people learn to manage their mental disorders.
Unlike psychiatrists, they do not have a medical degree and cannot prescribe medications. Instead, if they feel a patient needs medical treatment, they can recommend that your primary care physician write a prescription. They may also choose to refer the patient to a psychiatrist.
Instead, psychologists use behavioural interventions to manage mental disorders and personal challenges. This can include teaching patients better coping mechanisms, coaching them in communication skills, and helping them to establish healthier patterns in their lives. They may also work with groups of people, including families and couples, to help them build better relationships.
What Will Your Psychiatry Appointment Look Like?
Going to see a psychiatrist for the first time can be intimidating, especially if you don’t know what to expect. In general, your first psychiatry appointment will likely be something like a doctor’s appointment. There will be an assessment, potentially a diagnosis, and the beginning stages of a treatment plan.
One of the first things your psychiatrist will ask you to do when you show up for your appointment is to write down a complete medical history. This is a record of any major illnesses, injuries, or procedures you’ve had, as well as any medications you’re taking. It may also include a family medical history to help your psychiatrist nail down your exact condition.
It’s a good idea to write down your medical history at home before you go to your psychiatry appointment. It can be difficult to remember everything on the spot, and you may need to look up records to see who performed what procedure and so on. Be sure to include any diagnoses you’ve gotten in the past, both mental and physical.
Once your psychiatrist has reviewed your medical history, they’ll sit down with you and begin asking questions. This portion of the exam will help them to understand both your symptoms and your background. From there, they may be able to provide a diagnosis right away or order tests to start ruling out potential causes.
This questionnaire will delve into your lifestyle, your personal history, and your medical history. The psychiatrist may ask you about your diet, your daily routine, your sexual habits, and so on. They may also want to delve into your childhood, your relationships, and other issues that can have an impact on your mental health.
More than likely, your psychiatrist will need to order some tests before they can provide you with one specific diagnosis. But in some cases, they may be able to diagnose your condition immediately. Once you have a diagnosis, you and your psychiatrist can work together to develop a treatment plan.
In many cases, treatment plans include psychotherapy. Your psychiatrist may also want to prescribe you a medication that can help to balance your brain chemistry. They may also use some psychosocial interventions that can help you to change unhealthy patterns of behaviour.
What Treatments Do Psychiatrists Use?
Treatment plans vary widely depending on your specific condition, lifestyle, and needs. However, in general, psychiatrists will use a combination of three treatment types: psychotherapy, medications, and psychosocial interventions. Different techniques can work better for different conditions and lifestyles.
Psychotherapy is one of the most common treatment forms for both psychiatrists and psychologists. In general, psychotherapy takes the form of talk therapy. During these sessions, you talk to your psychiatrist about your thoughts, feelings, and behaviours.
Most people meet with a therapist, counsellor, or psychiatrist one hour per week.
Psychotherapy can also involve your psychiatrist teaching you. They can show you how to better communicate with those around you, how to monitor your mood, and how to respond to different situations. You may learn about your condition and how it impacts your mental health.
Oftentimes, mental illness can be the result of brain chemistry that has become imbalanced. In particular, depression and bipolar disorder can cause your normal hormones to veer wildly out of balance. The right medications can help you to improve your brain health so you can start living a more normal life.
Medications can also be helpful for anxiety disorders, including anxiety and OCD, as well as ADHD and other conditions. Your psychiatrist will talk with you about the potential benefits of these medications, as well as the possible side effects. Keep in mind that it may take a few tries to find a medication regimen that works well for you.
Depending on your condition at the time you go see your psychiatrist, they may want to use some psychosocial interventions with you. These techniques are based on what we understand about the brain and how different patterns of behaviour impact us. Psychosocial interventions aim to “hack” your brain so you can better manage your mental illness.
Some of the most common psychosocial interventions can include cognitive behavioural therapy, motivational enhancement, and relapse prevention, among others. These treatments are usually used when patients can’t interact normally in society or with their loved ones. Your psychiatrist may want you to enroll in an inpatient or intensive outpatient program at the beginning of treatment.
Warning Signs that You May Need a Psychiatrist
In general, it’s never a bad idea to seek out mental healthcare at any point in your life. Counselling can help anyone, even people who are just seeking to better understand their feelings. But there are a few times that you may need to seek out a psychiatrist as soon as possible.
Signs of a Mental Breakdown
If you’re on the verge of a mental breakdown, it’s important that you reach out for help from a qualified professional.
One of the biggest signs that you might be about to have a mental breakdown is an intense period of negative emotions. You may feel worthless, hopeless, terrified, guilty, paranoid, on edge, or you may feel absolutely nothing at all. While we all have bad days from time to time, if those bad days go on for weeks or more, it may be time to seek help.
If you begin to seriously consider harming yourself or someone else, seek out a psychiatrist immediately. You may also find it hard to perform normal daily tasks, such as showering, brushing your teeth, cleaning your house, or going to work.
Oftentimes, people on the edge of a mental breakdown will start to isolate themselves. You may also have trouble sleeping, experience nightmares, or even hallucinate.
Self Care for Mental Health
In recent years, we’ve all become more aware of the importance of self-care. Self-care is the practice of taking time to relax, take note of your mental state, and address your needs. Although this can seem difficult in our fast-paced world, it’s critical if you plan to stay healthy and productive.
Meditation is one of the most valuable self-care practices you can establish for your mental health. Take a few minutes a day to sit quietly, focus on your breath, and be present here at this moment. Even one conscious breath in and out can be a meditation; just set aside time to check in with yourself and breathe.
Establishing a gratitude practice is another great way to improve your outlook and overall mental health. Take time at the beginning or end of the day to write down things you’re grateful for in your life. Focusing on the amazing things you have can help to ease the “need” mindset so many of us live in.
Positive affirmations can be a great way to fight negative self-talk and low self-esteem. Identify the things you feel insecure about and write down some positive phrases that reflect your beauty and power. Repeat these to yourself, even if you don’t always believe them, whenever you’re feeling insecure.
Having a Support System
Of course, having a good support system is one of the most important parts of mental health. Many people rely on their family, both blood and found, as a support system, although you can find these systems anywhere you need. Your support system may include your friends, coworkers, partner, or even a mentor or sponsor.
Finding the Right Insurance Coverage
Psychiatry is a subset of medicine that focuses on helping people to manage their mental disorders and find the best treatment plan for them. If you think you may have a mental illness or you feel on the verge of a mental breakdown, it may be a good idea to seek out a psychiatrist. You can also care for your mental health by focusing on self-care and finding a good support system.
If you need a health insurance plan that will cover your psychiatric treatment, check out the rest of our site at Insurindary. The caring and compassionate folks at our company will help you find the insurance coverage you need. Get quotes today and start getting everything you want out of your insurance at the lowest rate.