The human mind is a cauldron of chaotic emotions. Most of us can control our emotions and our reactions to stressful situations in life. Some others tend to get depressed or even violent when the situation is not in their favour. If this happens often, the rest of us begin to understand that that person has a mental health condition. This emotional imbalance or mental disorder needs medical treatment by a special healthcare professional called a psychiatrist.
Psychiatrists play a critical role in healthcare as they treat the mental health conditions of patients. If left untreated, these mental health issues might affect not only the patient but be a threat to others around him.
Most of us confuse the role of a psychiatrist with a clinical psychologist. It is crucial to understand the difference for only then will you be able to provide the right treatment and cure the patient.
The role of a psychiatrist as a healthcare professional
When a person’s emotional or mental problems affect his daily life and routine activities, he is often asked to consult a psychiatrist.
A psychiatrist is a qualified doctor with a medical degree like an M. D. (Doctor of Medicine) and additional training in mental health. These health professionals complete their graduate school in medicine with a doctoral degree in psychiatry. This medical training helps the psychiatrist to diagnose and treat psychiatric disorders, behavioural disorders, mood disorders, etc.
A psychiatrist is different from a psychologist. Clinical psychology provides psychological counselling with non-medical support. A psychiatrist is a qualified medical doctor who can treat psychiatric disorders with medication and other forms of treatment like deep brain stimulation using electrical currents, magnetic stimulation, etc.
Common mental health conditions treated by a psychiatrist
A psychiatrist has to treat a wide spectrum of psychiatric conditions like:
- Anxiety disorder
- Depressive disorder
- Bipolar disorder
- Panic disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Compulsive disorder
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
- Personality disorder
- Addiction and substance abuse disorder
Duties of a psychiatrist as a mental health professional
To treat the above-mentioned mental health conditions, a psychiatrist has to perform multiple duties like:
- Diagnosis and comprehensive evaluation of the condition of the patient- this may include physical examination along with psychological evaluations.
- Outlining a treatment plan which includes the use of medications in combination with therapy services.
- Prescribing antipsychotic medications.
- Employing other forms of treatment like Electroconvulsive therapy, light therapy, psychodynamic therapy, animal-assisted therapy, behavioural therapy, etc.
- Continuous patient care and periodic psychiatric evaluations.
- Medicine and therapy management for assessing the effects of medication and altering their dosage for best results. Similarly, a combination of therapies is used and changed according to the needs of the patient to improve his condition.
The daily routine of a psychiatrist as a critical health care professional
A psychiatrist has to work hand-in-glove with general physicians, licensed nurses, social workers in hospice programs, etc. in a variety of settings. Every day poses a different challenge to the psychiatrist.
A psychiatrist may work full-time at a psychiatric hospital or may have a private practice. In a hospital setting, the psychiatrist handles acute symptoms more frequently than in private practice. He may provide both inpatient and outpatient care at the hospital.
During the mornings, the doctor attends to critical cases like suicide attempts or violent maniac disorders. He also reviews the patients with ongoing treatment to assess the effects of medications.
If the hospital is a part of a medical school. the doctor spends a few hours teaching some academic programs in psychiatry.
In the evenings, the psychiatrist offers medication management and psychotherapy sessions for new and regular patients. Patients may choose to go to a psychologist for psychotherapy. They can also consult a psychiatrist if they want the benefit of both medications and psychotherapy techniques.
Speciality in Psychiatry
A psychiatrist can undertake specialized training in any of the following fields
- Child Psychiatry
- Adolescent Psychiatry
- Geriatric Psychiatry
- Social Psychiatry
- Military Psychiatry
- Liaison Psychiatry
- Addiction Psychiatry
- Forensic Psychiatry
- Emergency Psychiatry
The rewards of a career in psychiatry
As a psychiatrist, one cannot see an instant cure for a patient’s mental condition but there is great joy in a gradual and continuous improvement in the medical condition of the patient. This change brings a wholesome transformation in the everyday life of the patient.
Psychiatric consultation and treatment have a successful impact on the career, family, and quality of life of a patient. A reliable psychiatrist is a family doctor and a professional counsellor whom every patient can turn to for not just mental health treatment but even life lessons. Dr. Sagnik Mukherjee is experienced in the field of psychiatry and mental healthcare. Visit our clinic in Kolkata or give us a call if you require medical assistance.