What Can a Psychiatrist Help With?
To fully understand what do psychiatrists do, you need to first know what they can help patients with. Psychiatrists first assess symptoms and diagnose mental health conditions. Then, once diagnosed, they can treat a number of mental health conditions through various methods of medication and therapy.
Some psychiatrists also use different forms of talk therapy like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and psychodynamic therapy. However, a good portion of psychiatrists focus primarily on diagnosis and medication management, so make sure to clarify with your psychiatrist on whether they offer talk therapy. If they do not provide talk therapy, they might then refer someone to a therapist for ongoing psychotherapy treatment. If you’re having second thoughts on how to open up to your specialist, read our guide on how to talk to a psychiatrist.
Psychiatrists can diagnose and help manage conditions including:
Psychiatrists can help somebody with bipolar disorder address the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors they have as a result of a bipolar disorder diagnosis. Psychiatrists prescribe medications to help manage the symptoms of bipolar disorder.
Eating disorders like anorexia or bulimia
Psychiatric support in treating eating disorders like anorexia or bulimia can be beneficial. Ultimately, the treatment plan depends on the type of eating disorder that needs to be dealt with, but generally a combination of therapy, nutrition education, and potentially medication can be most effective.
Certain psychiatric conditions might result in hallucinations. A psychiatrist can offer treatment to manage hallucinations. Treatment often includes psychiatric medication.
Insomnia or other sleeping issues
If you’re struggling with insomnia or have any other sleep issues, a psychiatrist can help you through behavioral therapy or counseling, as well as in some cases, medication. Psychiatrists will also be able to identify any other mental health conditions they find that could potentially be contributing to your sleep issues.
Addiction to alcohol, drugs, gambling, or other behaviors
Psychiatrists can help people who struggle with addiction. One who specializes in alcohol and drug addiction will generally have a subspecialty training that covered addiction and substance abuse treatment options.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can be effectively treated by a psychiatrist who’s trained to offer coping techniques and management tools. They also might decide to prescribe psychiatric medication.
Psychiatrists know how to intervene if someone is having suicidal thoughts. They can determine the severity of someone’s mental state and decide the best course of action to help keep them safe from acting on their suicidal ideation.
Non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) is something psychiatrists can address through evaluation and treatment.
Psychiatrists can help people who have violent outbursts by using various forms of therapy, including psychodynamic therapy, which is an approach that teaches people how to use self-reflection to better understand the root of their anger or outbursts.
Psychiatrists can help people who experience obsessive thoughts by focusing on changing behaviors and thought patterns.
Feeling agitated or unable to calm down
Using techniques that help reduce stress or calm someone down are effective ways that psychiatrists help people who constantly feel agitated.
Negative thought patterns
Psychiatrists are trained to help their patients identify negative thought patterns so they can stop them before they become intrusive.
Inability to concentrate
For those with an inability to concentrate, certain techniques can be taught by a psychiatrist to allow their patients to maintain focus and improve concentration.
Body image issues
A psychiatrist can use an assessment to first determine where the negative body image is coming from and how it developed. Then they might use a form of therapy known as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to help address the issue. CBT helps people identify and then reverse negative self talk that can result in their body image issues.
For somebody with hyperactivity issues or who’s been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), psychiatrists might prescribe medication, offer psychotherapy treatments, or suggest both.
Psychiatrists working with patients who share delusions need to address those experiences carefully and respond in a way that won’t cause their patient to become defensive.
A psychiatrist can perform memory evaluations and then treat any psychiatric problems or symptoms related to things that cause memory problems such as Alzheimer’s disease.
To treat severe stress, psychiatrists will work with patients to create a treatment and management plan. Included in the psychological treatment for stress might be medication, therapy, and therapy procedures like electroconvulsive therapy.