A psychiatrist is a medical doctor specializing in mental health. They are licensed physicians and must be registered with the state to practice medicine. Psychiatrists work with people who have a wide range of mental health problems such as addiction, mood disorders (such as depression or bipolar disorder), anxiety disorders (including post traumatic stress disorder or obsessive compulsive disorder), eating disorders, and substance abuse.

Psychiatrists help patients improve their mental health through lifestyle and behavior changes, medications, therapy, and other kinds of treatment.

Key Things to Know About Psychiatrists

  • Psychiatrists can prescribe medication.
  • Psychiatrists treat complex conditions that require medical treatment.

Common Misconceptions About Psychiatrists

Medicines for treating psychiatric disorders are harmful.

Some people believe that psychiatric medications are harmful, which makes them reluctant to seek help when they need it. All medical treatments have some side effects; surgeries, medications, physical exercises. Psychiatry is no different, and your psychiatrist will explain the risks and benefits.

Psychiatrists make the diagnosis based on a checklist.

Psychiatrists make diagnoses based on solid interventions, examinations, interviews, and patient history. Sometimes psychiatrists reference the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), which is not a bible of psychiatry, but a rough guide that is constantly under revision.

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