If any person around us exhibits weird or unusual behaviour, we say that he/she should see a psychiatrist. Who exactly is a psychiatrist and what kind of treatment does a psychiatrist provide? Allow expert Kolkata psychiatrist Dr Sagnik Mukherjee to explain.
What is a psychiatrist?
A psychiatrist is a medical expert who diagnoses and treats mental illnesses. Psychiatrists are physicians who have undertaken specialised training in psychiatry to tackle mental disorders. They possess sufficient knowledge of psychiatry to offer treatment for mental health problems. These medical doctors handle a wide range of mental health conditions from simple eating disorders to complex cases of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. Psychiatrists apply a variety of clinical techniques to cure these mental health issues.
What are the types of treatment offered by a psychiatrist?
A psychiatrist uses a combination of clinical techniques to evaluate and treat the patient. These techniques include the following:
Psychotherapy is often called “talk therapy”. Here, the patient discusses his feelings and problems with the mental health provider.
There are different types of psychotherapy that mental health professionals use like the ones below.
Forms of Psychotherapy
Behavioural therapy involves changing what people do to solve their mental health issues. This form of therapy is widely used in Adolescent Psychiatry to treat children with disruptive behaviours.
Here, the psychiatrist tries to change the person’s behaviour to rectify the mental health condition. He does this by finding the underlying cause or stimulus for that behaviour.
In cognitive therapy, the psychiatrist focuses on what the patient thinks. The doctor tries to change the thinking of the patient to correct his behaviour and condition.
Cognitive behavioural therapy
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a type of mental illness treatment that addresses both the thinking and behaviour of the patient. It is found to be highly effective in treating patients with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and panic attacks.
Dialectical Behaviour Therapy
Dialectical behaviour therapy is a modified version of CBT. Here, the psychiatrist guides the patient to live in the moment and enjoy life by reducing stress. He teaches them to control their emotions to improve their relationships in daily life. This form of psychotherapy is used to treat patients with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).
In this therapy, the mental health counsellors try to find the pattern of behaviour in the family that cause this mental illness in the patient. He acts as a Family Therapist by helping the family understand that a change in their behaviour would help the patient. This type of family counselling requires numerous therapy sessions with individual or group members.
Here the mental care provider helps a person to identify and solve his mental health issues. Here, the therapist works on a one-to-one basis with the patient.
This type of psychotherapy is ideal for married couples with problems in their relationship. Here, the doctor helps the couple to understand the nature of their relationship and resolve its conflicts.
Light therapy is used to treat depression and Seasonal Affective Disorders. A psychiatrist uses light to alter the mood of the patient. Here, the lightbox produces a light that simulates sunlight during the winter months. This helps the patient overcome even severe depression by boosting his serotonin levels.
During animal-assisted therapy, mental health specialists use animals like dogs to help the patient to cope with this illness. Animals help mental patients to cope with anxiety disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Electroconvulsive therapy is one of the main forms of therapy used to treat severe mental illnesses like mania, and schizophrenia. Here, the doctor uses a small electrical impulse to stimulate the brain to rebalance the chemicals that cause the illness.
Treatment using medication
The traditional therapy for mental illnesses is the use of medication. Mental health professionals prescribe a wide range of psychiatric medications depending on the type of disorder. These include mood stabilizers, antipsychotic medications, antidepressants, and sedatives.
A psychiatrist uses these types of therapy alongside conventional psychiatric methods. These include the use of alternative medicine like homoeopathy and acupuncture along with yoga and meditation. These types of therapy help curb eating and sleeping disorders that form a part of geriatric psychiatry. They are also used to treat patients of substance abuse or drug abuse.
A psychiatrist has to offer holistic treatment to cure psychiatric disorders. To do this, he employs a combination of the treatment methods listed above to get the best result. Mere medical training will not suffice as child and adult psychiatry needs clinical experience to derive results.
Mental illness is not a choice, but recovery is. Poor mental wellbeing is just a state of mind that can be cured with the right psychological counselling and psychiatric intervention. Always approach a seasoned mental health professional to address your mental issue or issues.
Dr Sagnik Mukherjee is a professional psychiatrist who runs a psychiatry clinic in Kolkata If you are suffering from mental illness, call us, fill out our form, or visit our clinic to get the effective treatment you deserve.