Psychiatry specializes in the study of the origin and course of abnormal processes and phenomena in the human psyche, and a psychiatrist is a doctor who diagnoses, treats and prevents mental health abnormalities in patients. In the literal sense, the word "psychiatrist" has the translation "healer of the soul", which characterizes this profession in the best possible way.
The essence of the work of a psychiatrist
The main recognized criterion by which a patient is charged with a mental disorder is the occurrence of morbidity of the soul, which can be expressed in thoughts, feelings and will of a person. This is a very thin line that everyone can sometimes cross, which is why it is important to understand and feel the need to contact specialists in time.
A psychiatrist must necessarily understand the specifics of psychology and neurology related to psychiatry. At the same time, a neurologist deals with the treatment of disorders of the central nervous system, and a psychologist helps his patients to understand the emerging life troubles without drug therapy.
Psychotherapists may occasionally use mild sedative medications in their practice, but their area of expertise does not include standard drug therapy.
But a psychiatrist, on the contrary, should be able to apply various specialized methods for eliminating mental abnormalities in his own practice, combining complex treatment with various special medications.
Improving the mental health of a person is a very delicate, fine work that requires a high level of professional training, human participation and the ability to empathize with one's own patients.
If there is the slightest suspicion of a change in a stable picture of the psyche, a person urgently needs to consult a psychiatrist who will help, during a preliminary appointment, establish all the existing problems of a person and offer to undergo additional examinations or analyzes to clarify the picture of the course of the disease.
Reasons for visiting a psychiatrist
Both sick and healthy people can come to a psychiatrist for a consultation. In each case, the psychiatrist, first of all, assesses the viability of the human psyche for later life, and only after that can help him solve the patient's concerns. For the effectiveness of treatment, psychiatrists often involve other doctors, such as therapists or nutritionists, for example.
An important social function of psychiatrists is to determine the danger of a person to their own health and life or to the health of other people. If there are signs of danger, the patient must be urgently hospitalized in order to isolate from the outside world and establish observation of his reactions and actions in relation to himself. In the absence of danger from the patient to the outside world, his treatment can be performed on an outpatient basis. Most often, along with therapeutic methods, psychiatrists also use special drugs.
The main reasons for consulting psychiatrists are:
- sudden mood swings that can be observed in a patient over a long period of time;
- suicidal – talking, thinking or physically attempting to commit suicide;
- emerging episodes of paranoid behavior;
- occurrence of hallucinations;
- prolonged disruption of sleep - insomnia;
- various anxiety states without special reasons and other similar signs.
A psychiatrist diagnoses a history of mental health problems, prescribes the correct therapy and regular follow-up visits. At the same time, treatment by psychiatrists is confidential, in which all data received from the patient during diagnosis and therapy, psychiatrists guarantee not to disclose.
What diseases does a psychiatrist work with
Psychiatrists can consult both sick and healthy patients, and the process of examination of mental health in determining the capacity or level of mental instability is also within their competence.
All psychiatry is divided into several areas, in each of which doctors work, most often dealing with specific mental specifics of human health: organizational, age-related, forensic psychiatry, narcology, psychopharmacology, social psychiatry.
It is impossible to name all the diseases that a psychiatrist can cure, because their list is very long, and it is constantly expanding with emerging new forms of psychiatric anomalies. In addition to the above reasons for referring to psychiatrists, there are several other classic psychiatric diseases that are within the competence of this medical specialist:
- Alzheimer's disease;
- delirium tremens;
- various types of phobias, severe depression;
- unreasonable prolonged psychosis, frequent hysterical seizures, schizophrenic states;
- mental disorders arising in post-traumatic stress syndrome;
- various forms of irresistible addictions (alcoholism, for example);
- bulimia and anorexia.
Only a good psychiatrist can put an end to the final diagnosis of people suffering from the above and many other diseases, all subsequent treatment with medication and therapeutic agents should be coordinated with him.
Diagnostic methods and tests
When contacting a psychiatrist, the patient will need to undergo some research so that the specialist can correctly diagnose and prescribe treatment appropriate to the state of health.
The main types of tests in psychiatric treatment are:
- tests that determine the state of the thyroid gland: the presence of antibodies to peroxidase and thyroglobulin, the level of hormone, free thyroxin, free triiodothyronine, thyroglobulin;
- analysis of the detailed formula of pituitary hormones: prolactin, adrenocorticotropic hormone, thyroid stimulating hormone, somatotropin;
- analysis of adrenal hormones: androstenedione, epinephrine, cortisol, aldosterone, norepinephrine, metanephrine.
Often, psychiatrists also use neurophysiological studies, such as encephalography, angiogram of cerebral vessels, magnetic resonance imaging, and others, to clarify the details of the diagnosis. In addition to material changes in brain activity, psychiatrists in their work attach great importance to the state of mind of their patients. That is why the clinical diagnosis of psychiatric diseases is the most common and effective method in the work of psychiatrists.
The clinical diagnostic method in psychiatry is to interview the patient and observe changes in his mental states during this conversation. These changes perfectly characterize the occurrence, course and symptoms of mental illness. During this conversation, the psychiatrist pays attention to the patient's mimic changes, intonations with which he says certain things, the person's reaction to an attempt to establish contact with him.
Sometimes, for the diagnosis of a disease in psychiatry, a group discussion of the signs of the disease seen by a group of doctors at a consultation is used.
The essence of the clinical method for diagnosing psychiatric disorders is to interview the patient and his relatives. The survey of each person is conducted individually in order to understand how honest each of the interviewees is, and to exclude any influence on what was said during the conversation. The first part of the survey contains general introductory questions about age, marital status, and so on. Based on the complaints received, the psychiatrist during the interview process can identify the emerging disease. At the same time, he is obliged to very gently manage the existing conversation, so as not to cause isolation or hostility of the interlocutor.
During the interview, the doctor pursues the following goals: he reveals the attitude of the patient himself to his own disease, clarifies what, in the patient’s opinion, provoked the onset of his illness, determines the syndromes and symptoms of a mental disorder, finds out the characteristics of the patient’s personality, identifies the nature of the course of the disease, its features and the attitude of the patient to the upcoming treatment. When interviewing relatives of the patient, the psychiatrist can clarify for himself their vision of the time of the onset of the disease, determine what the patient himself can hide from him, what are the true causes of the onset of the disease, visible from the outside, how close relatives treat the patient and whether they are determined to help him in treatment.
Observation of the sick. The psychiatrist observes the patient to determine his degree of susceptibility to the alleged illness. At the same time, gestures, facial expressions, actions, intonations, reactions to all kinds of events are important. Also, the doctor can easily identify the differences between how a person presents himself in the description, and how he really is. The purpose of this observation is to identify topics and issues that acutely affect and interest the patient, determine his ability to take care of himself independently, identify and analyze his daily actions and interaction with society.
At the same time, it is important to understand that the correctness of the diagnosis and, as a result, the effectiveness of psychiatric therapy will largely depend on the diagnostic technique.
Recommendations of a psychiatrist
According to psychiatrists, it is possible to maintain one's own mental balance if one observes sleep hygiene. Long-term disorders of sleep and wakefulness patterns contribute to the emergence of somatic diseases, including psychiatric ones. To completely relax, prevent overwork and improve the quality of sleep, you must follow simple rules.
You can’t watch TV before going to bed, you must completely exclude any emotional stress, while the bed is recommended to be used exclusively for sleep and marital duties, and all other things must be done outside the bed, otherwise it will cease to be associated with a person with rest and sleep will be inconsistent. The bedroom should not have any irritants, including bright lights or high noise levels. In order not to stimulate the nervous system and prevent insomnia, you should not eat or drink liquids a couple of hours before bedtime.
During the daytime, you can sleep no more than 25 minutes, and do not smoke on the eve of sleep, because nicotine is a stimulant of the central nervous system, which leads to disturbed sleep and insomnia.
Caffeinated drugs and drinks are allowed no later than 6 hours before bedtime, since tea, coffee and some medications containing this substance also provoke the central nervous system and disturb sleep. Alcohol before bedtime is the most common cause of nightmares, interrupted sleep, since the process of alcohol breakdown and its removal from the body will occur exactly at the time when the body should completely rest. According to psychiatrists, it is sound and healthy sleep that can provide a person with full-fledged mental health, stability of the nervous system and protect everyone from nervous strain and mental problems.