General Practice 2022

Psychiatrist: what he does and when to consult

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Psychiatrist: what he does and when to consult
Psychiatrist: what he does and when to consult

The psychiatrist is the doctor who specializes in preventing, diagnosing and treating mental, emotional and behavioral disorders, such as depression, post-traumatic stress, anxiety, schizophrenia and anorexia.

To diagnose psychiatric disorders, the psychiatrist usually performs some physical exams, evaluates the person's family and he alth history, and medication use, in addition to ordering tests to help complete the diagnosis, such as a blood test and psychological tests, for example.

The psychiatrist can be consulted when the person has sudden problems, such as panic attacks, hallucinations and suicidal thoughts, for example. However, the psychiatrist can also be consulted in long-term situations, such as feelings of sadness, discouragement or anxiety that do not go away and that can interfere with day-to-day tasks.

What a psychiatrist does

The psychiatrist helps to treat:

  • Mood disorders, such as depression and bipolar affective disorder;
  • Psychotic disorders, such as schizophrenia, brief psychotic disorder, and substance- or medication-induced psychotic disorder;
  • Anxious disorders, such as anxiety, social phobia, agoraphobia, acute stress disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder;
  • Disorders in children, such as autism spectrum disorder and ADHD;
  • Eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia, binge eating and pica syndrome;
  • Personality disorders, such as paranoid personality, narcissism, borderline syndrome, and obsessive compulsive disorder;
  • Sleep disorders, such as insomnia, narcolepsy, sleepwalking, and bruxism.

In addition, the psychiatrist also helps to identify and treat sexual dysfunctions, such as loss of sexual desire, premature ejaculation, excessive sexual appetite and anorgasmia, which is the difficulty or inability to reach orgasm. Learn more about anorgasmia.

The treatment indicated by the psychiatrist varies according to the type of disorder and may include the use of medication, such as antipsychotics, antidepressants and mood stabilizers; therapies such as electroconvulsive therapy, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (CME), psychotherapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy; and surgeries.

Psychiatrists can work in private practices, hospitals and basic he alth units, being responsible for preventing, diagnosing and treating mental, emotional and behavioral disorders, also helping in the person's social rehabilitation.

Difference between psychologist and psychiatrist

The psychologist is a professional who can act alone or in a multidisciplinary team, to carry out the assessment, diagnosis, prevention and treatment of people with disorders.However, psychologists can only use psychotherapy to treat mental, emotional and behavioral disorders.

The psychiatrist is a professional who has completed a medical course and specialized in psychiatry, being able to request laboratory and imaging tests to complement the diagnosis of disorders, for example, being able to use not only psychotherapy in treatments, but also the use of medication when necessary.

When to make an appointment

It is important to look for a psychiatrist when there are signs that may indicate an emotional or behavioral disorder, such as sadness, anxiety, frequent mood swings, difficulty sleeping and decreased appetite, for example.

Furthermore, it is recommended to immediately seek the help of a psychiatrist whenever emergency signs arise, such as mental confusion, hallucinations, suicidal thoughts, and psychotic disorders related to medication and drug use, for example.

In the case of children and adolescents, it is advisable to consult a psychiatrist whenever behavioral changes are observed that may indicate situations such as autism, ADHD and oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), such as difficulty paying attention in school activities, in participating of silent activities, aggression, frequent disobedience and teasing, and difficulty maintaining poor eye contact.

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