What is a Psychiatrist? All About This Exciting Occupation

Psychiatrists are medical doctors who diagnose and treat mental illness and disorders. It is one of the most important occupations in the mental health field. Psychiatrists are able to make a difference in their patients’ lives and watch them transform as they work towards overcoming depression, anxiety, addiction, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, and many other psychological conditions. 

What Does A Psychiatrist Do?

Psychiatrists are medical doctors who assess their patients from a holistic point of view. Much like therapists, they listen to their patients and help address psychological conditions through talk and skills-based approaches. However, unlike therapists, psychiatrists are able to diagnose psychological conditions and prescribe medication to treat these conditions. 

Typically a patient is referred to a psychiatrist by their primary care doctor or therapist. They can operate in outpatient offices, hospitals, addiction treatment centers, and more. 

How Does Someone Become a Psychiatrist?

To have the occupation of psychiatrist, a person will undertake extensive training. After high school, a psychiatrist will typically train for 11-12 years. They must complete an undergraduate degree and medical school. Following that is a 4-year residency and a minimum of four months in internal medicine experience. After the training period, they must pass an examination before the Board of Psychiatry in order to be certified. 

How Do Psychiatrists Support Mental Health?

As people in recovery will agree, the first step in addressing a problem is acknowledging it. A psychiatrist’s job is to identify mental health problems in order to determine adequate treatment options. They examine a patient’s mental and physical health, as well as the connections between the two, in order to make a diagnosis and treat the mental health condition.

In treating mental health conditions, medication management plays a vital role. It is the psychiatrists job to prescribe medications such as mood stabilizers, antidepressants, and anxiety medications to reduce the intensity of their patient’s symptoms. They then monitor their patient’s progress, side effects, and experience. In some cases they may need to alter the dose or change the medication altogether in order to find the best fit for the patient. 

By helping a patient to manage and reduce their difficult psychiatric symptoms, the psychiatrist helps them to live fuller, more productive lives. Patients on successful treatment plans typically report an improvement in their quality of life. They are able to do things they couldn’t before, such as hold steady jobs, do everyday tasks, and spend time with family and friends. Furthermore, in some cases the psychiatrist’s treatment can be life saving by lessening suicidal thoughts and preventing attempts. 

Psychiatry in Addiction Treatment

Addiction treatment provides one example of the benefits of psychiatric care. Substance Use Disorder (SUD) and addiction often co-occur with other psychological conditions. Often people become addicts after using substances to self-medicate the symptoms of their mental health condition. In many cases, these individuals do not know they have an underlying condition and it goes undiagnosed until the individual seeks addiction treatment. 

A psychiatrist can help support people struggling with SUD or addiction. They are able to help patients uncover and manage any underlying psychological conditions they may be experiencing. They are able to help addicts learn to cope with any Co-occuring Disorders they may have through prescription medication, therapy, and healthy strategies. In doing so, psychiatrists are able to help their patients with Co-occurring Disorders reduce the urge to use substances and overcome their addiction or SUD. 

Becoming a psychiatrist requires extensive training, but it is a highly rewarding and impactful occupation. If you are considering the psychiatrist occupation, more information about the requirements can be found here. At Harmony Recovery Group we are immensely grateful to our team of Addiction Medicine specialists and Psychiatrists for helping our patients thrive in their recovery. 

Getting Help

If you or a loved one are struggling with SUD, addiction, and/or Co-occurring Disorders, please don’t hesitate to reach out and get the help you need. Our specialist team of kind and caring advisors are here to talk. They can help discuss treatment options in order to help you live the life you deserve. Contact us today.