If you’re considering seeing a psychiatrist, you may be curious about what kinds there are. Like every field of medicine, some psychiatrists specialize in particular conditions or groups of people. It’s a good idea to understand the different types of psychiatrists and what they do before moving forward with finding one for your own needs.
What’s The Difference Between A Psychiatrist And A Psychologist?
Although they all treat mental health conditions, there are fundamental differences between psychiatrists, psychologists, and psychotherapists. A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who specializes in mental health. Within that field, there are deeper specialties that psychiatrists can train in. Psychiatrists may use a variety of means to treat mental health problems, including prescribing medication and other therapies, such as electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).
Psychologists differ from psychiatrists in that they are not medical doctors who can prescribe medication; instead, they treat people through psychotherapy.
In this article, you’ll learn more about what sets psychiatry apart from the other disciplines.
Most psychiatrists begin their careers with general psychiatry and move forward from there to specialize in certain areas, such as child and adolescent psychiatry, geriatric psychiatry, or addiction psychiatry, among others. A psychiatrist’s career begins with a residency program after medical school. Additional studies and residency programs may be required, depending on their specialty. Some psychiatrists decide to simply practice general psychiatry without specializing in a specific population or clinical issue.
What Do Psychiatrists Do?
Psychiatrists evaluate, diagnose, and treat mental health disorders and problems with medication. Some psychiatrists may also provide talk therapy, although it is more common for them to refer patients for this sort of treatment with a licensed therapist. Psychiatrists may also use biofeedback therapy, ECT, and other therapies.
Psychiatrists work in several different settings. Many psychiatrists have private practices, in addition to working in a hospital or clinical setting. They may work in inpatient hospitals, community mental health clinics that are outpatient settings, or in private practices.
Can A Psychiatrist Prescribe Medication?
Psychiatrists are medical doctors with medical training and residency, and they have a full understanding of what medications are helpful in treating mental illness. They’re also able to ensure that any prescribed drugs will not interact with other prescriptions you may be taking for other health conditions.
Types Of Psychiatrists
There are several different specialties psychiatrists may be trained in. These specialists undergo additional training beyond residency programs and education in general psychiatry. In order to practice in a specific area of psychiatry, further education, clinical hours, and residency are required.
A Day In The Life Of A Psychiatrist
A psychiatrist does much more than just see patients. Psychiatrists must continue their education and undergo professional development. New treatments, therapies, and medications are always becoming available, and it’s the job of the psychiatrist to stay up to date on all of this information. Certain laws in each state mandate a certain number of hours that psychiatrists must spend on continuing education.
Psychiatrists also must maintain patient records. They must make sure they’re making appropriate clinical notes in every patient’s file after their appointment. They also must spend time before these engagements to re-familiarize themselves with the patient’s case. Most psychiatrists have many patients, and it would be difficult for anyone to remember everything about every patient without refreshing their memory just before meetings.
BetterHelp Can Help
With only 44,000 psychiatrists nationwide, it can be challenging to find one near you that is able to assist with your unique needs. Local community mental health clinics are an option in many counties but may require wait times. If you live in a rural area, you may have to travel to a larger city to find a practicing psychiatrist. There are some psychiatry services available online, although not all of these will allow psychiatrists to prescribe medication based on video appointments.
Many people who are first finding that they have mental health concerns may visit with their family doctor or primary care physician, who can help them with referrals or beginning medications for some psychiatric conditions. Psychotherapy is a recommended treatment in many cases, and with sites like BetterHelp, it can be easy to find affordable and convenient counseling and psychotherapy online. BetterHelp provides access to thousands of licensed professional therapists.
Online therapy has been found to be just as effective as in-person therapy, and is quickly gaining steam as a valid and effective therapy option. For example, the Berkeley Well-Being Instituted found that 98% of BetterHelp users make significant progress on their mental health journeys, 96% prefer it to other therapy options, and 91% said that it provides help exactly when they need it. This is compared to 74%, 60%, and just 63% of in-person therapy users, respectively.
Consider the following reviews of BetterHelp therapists, from people seeking help with similar issues.
“Having Kim as my counselor so far has been amazing. This is the first time in my life I feel like someone understands me and respects me enough to allow me to open up. I have already noticed a huge improvement in my mental health in the few weeks we have worked together and cannot wait to see where this journey takes me. Thanks for all you do for us, Kim! I feel lucky that I found you through BetterHelp.”
“I never dreamed that I would see a day where the amount of emotional, and mental growth I have achieved would become possible. Dr. Butler has pushed me to become a person that I can be proud of. To me, he’s more of a coach cheering you on, on the sidelines reminding you to dig deep within yourself, and find those answers you have been seeking. I look forward to our sessions, and it feels like I’m catching up with an old friend these days. Thank you Dr. Butler.”
Finding a psychiatrist can be a valuable asset to your treatment plan, especially alongside psychotherapy. Hopefully, this article has taught you how psychiatry can be used in various capacities to help people struggling with mental disorders. No matter the challenge or issue you’re facing, you can move forward-with the right tools. Take the first step.