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Mental Health: Psychiatrists and Psychiatry

In the realm of mental health, psychotherapy and everything closely related to the scientific field of psychology, a psychiatrist may very well serve as the end all, be all. A psychiatrist, in the simplest terms, is a physician specializing in psychiatry, who is licensed and legally certified to treat mental disorders and illness. Most people differentiate psychiatry and psychology as being the same profession, yet a psychiatrist possessing a medical degree. While there are certain similarities, the fields are actually quite different, focused on different areas of study, practical applications and treatment.

What do Psychiatrists do?

There is really no limit as to what a psychiatrist can do within the realm of the mental health profession, however, their focus is most often fixated on the biological functions of the brain and mind, and the subsequent mental illnesses that are common among certain groups. For example, a psychiatrist, upon finishing medical school, will begin a focused study specializing in psychiatry, just as a cardiologist, ears, nose and throat specialist or neurosurgeon would continue their medical studies through specialization.

For a physician going into the field of psychiatry there are additional subfields in which they frequently specialize: Addiction psychiatry, Forensic psychiatry, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Adult Psychiatry – the list goes on. In the very least, a qualified psychiatrist possesses an impressive amount of education and an applicable skill set.

When is it Necessary to See a Psychiatrist?

Psychiatric medicine isn't something that is necessary for everyone who feels they have "deep rooted issues," or needs to talk about problems, thoughts or feelings. In fact, it is quite rare for most individuals to need the care, analysis and prescribed treatment of a psychiatrist. Generally, a Licensed Professional Counselor, Marriage and Family Counselor or a specializing psychologist serve as the best individuals to seek when looking for professional psychotherapy, especially talk therapy. There are times, however, after analysis by these professionals, it may be recommended to consult with a psychiatrist.

What Can a Psychiatrist do for Their Patients?

For starters, a psychiatrist will be able to talk to and listen to their patients as might be experienced with other mental health professionals. However, psychiatrists will also administer certain types of tests, including a psychoanalysis, to potentially find the root of any problems that are born in the mind, or might be a direct result of unbalanced brain chemistry. It is important for someone who feels they suffer from mental illness to see a psychiatrist for proper and thorough treatment. While other mental health professionals are able to recommend quality courses of action, it is the psychiatrist who is most adept at understanding biological function, and the effects of certain treatments.

When certain symptoms and conditions are discovered, a psychiatrist also possesses the professional and legal authority to diagnose mental illness, as well as prescribe a variety of treatments from talk therapy and counseling to prescription drugs. In the most severe cases, a psychiatrist can also admit a patient for constant supervision under the care of psychiatric facility.