Psychiatrist: when and why consult a psychiatrist?
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Psychiatrist: when and why consult a psychiatrist?

The psychiatrist is interested in the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness. Psychiatric pathologies result from different factors and can have major consequences.

In this article, discover everything you need to know about the profession of a psychiatrist, its role, and when and why to consult it.

What is psychiatry?

Psychiatry is the medical specialty concerned with the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of mental illness.

In psychiatry, there are subspecialties, including:

  • geriatric psychiatry;
  • child psychiatry.

Mental illness

A mental illness is a set of disorders occurring at the level of thoughts, behavior, or emotions. It causes, for the individual who suffers from it, personal distress as well as difficulties in social or professional relationships.

When to go to the psychiatrist?

The disorders that fall within the field of psychiatry are numerous. These include:

  • depression;
  • attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD);
  • dementia;
  • schizophrenia (defined as a loss of contact with reality);
  • eating disorders (such as anorexia and bulimia);
  • autism;
  • autism spectrum disorders;
  • bipolar disorder;
  • anxiety disorders;
  • psychotic disorders;
  • personality disorders;
  • attention deficit disorders;
  • or neurocognitive disorders.

People at risk

Some people are more at risk for the development of mental illness. Some recognized risk factors include:

  • genetics;
  • toxic factors (such as cannabis, which increases the risk of developing schizophrenia);
  • social factors (poor working conditions, precariousness, etc.);
  • family factors (separation, abuse, etc.)

The Role of the Psychiatrist

The role of the psychiatrist is to establish a diagnosis based on a comprehensive assessment including:

  • a mental examination;
  • a physical examination;
  • laboratory tests;
  • medical imaging.

Depending on the diagnosis, the psychiatrist treats the mental illness himself or coordinates the treatment to be given to his patient. It can thus propose:

  • psychotherapy;
  • medications;
  • or different neurostimulation techniques.

Psychiatrists can work in private practice, but also within a multidisciplinary team (nurses, psychologists, social workers, etc.), in hospitals or specialized centers.

Difference Between Psychiatrist and Psychologist

The psychiatrist is not a psychologist.

The psychiatrist has medical training, which the psychologist does not have. Unlike the psychologist, the role of the psychiatrist is to work on the medical aspects of the patient’s situation.

What are the risks during the consultation?

Consultation with a psychiatrist does not involve any particular risks for the patient.

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