General psychiatry involves detailed knowledge of anatomy, psychology, physiology, and pharmacology. The social factors that contribute to mental wellbeing and mental ill-health are also important when treating mental and emotional disorders.
Mental disorders can have a negative impact on a person’s life. Psychiatric consultation is recommended as early as possible in the evolution of the illness. It prevents the development of a mental disorder and starts the healing process.
In the United Kingdom, about 150.000 people are admitted to hospital each year due to alcohol-related accidents and mental illnesses.
Dealing with mental disorders can result in decreased productivity at work. Even if an employee does not take sick leave, mental health problems cause a substantial reduction in the usual level of activity and performance. This can affect a person’s social life as well.
The management and treatment of negative emotions are important factors for the recovery of adults with mental health problems. General psychiatrists are the medically qualified doctors who contribute to adult patients regaining a healthy lifestyle through therapy and medication.
In some cases, both medication and psychological interventions are necessary. Cognitive behaviour therapy and other talking therapies can be helpful for a patient dealing with mental disorders. During therapy sessions, the patient learns coping techniques and healthy thinking patterns.
- mood disorders, such as depression and bipolar disorder
- psychoses including schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, and bipolar disorder with psychotic symptoms
- drug and alcohol abuse, including psychosis in association with substance use
- post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- organic disorders such as dementia
- eating disorders
- anxiety disorders and phobias
- obsessive-compulsive disorder
- personality disorders
What are the most common treatments used in psychiatry?
General psychiatrists use a wide range of treatments, including talking treatments and psychiatric medication. They also use arts and creative therapies and complementary and alternative therapies.
Talking treatments provide for each patient a regular time and space for them to reveal their thoughts and to talk about their experiences while exploring difficult feelings with a trained specialist. It could help with:
- dealing with a specific problem
- improving personal relationships
- developing more helpful ways of living
- coping with upsetting memories or experiences
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
CBT is a short-term treatment which helps with identifying connections between thoughts, feelings and behaviours. It can help a patient develop practical skills to manage negative patterns.
Psychiatric medication is the most common type of treatment available. Medications do not cure mental health problems, but they can ease some of the symptoms. Here are a few types of prescription drugs used in treating mental problems:
● Sleeping pills and minor tranquillisers
● Mood stabilisers (including lithium)
Arts and creative therapies
Arts and creative therapies (painting, drawing, music, dance or drama) are used to help the patient express and understand themselves while supported by a trained therapist, in a therapeutic environment. This is really helpful if the patient finds it difficult to talk about personal problems and feelings.
Complementary and alternative therapies
Complementary and alternative therapies help patients to manage stress and negative emotions. These therapies can include aromatherapy, hypnotherapy, yoga, meditation, herbal remedies and acupuncture.
Why go to a psychiatrist?
Emotional suffering or behaviour problems do not “hurt” like a physical condition, but they do require attention and care as any other illness. Unlike other health problems, emotional problems can lead to catastrophizing and self-stigma behaviour. Emotional and mental problems can occur during painful events in a person’s life. These issues can manifest temporarily and be treated like any other condition.
A person who suffers from anxiety, depression, phobias or even begins to have a distorted perception of reality might need special treatment and support. Even if they are not so obvious, mental disorders are real, and they can affect a person’s life and prevent them from functioning normally.
When a person goes to a psychiatrist they might want to ask about:
- their diagnosis (if any)
- how the psychiatrist has made sense of their situation
- how best to sort out their problems
- their care plan
- what to do in an emergency, or even just if their situation changes
- information about their diagnosis, treatment or recovery (this might include websites, books or leaflets)
- local self-help groups
When is it necessary to consult a specialist?
Both children and adults may face special problems less noticeable, but when the symptoms cannot be attributed to fatigue, stress, age or somatic diseases, they should seek professional help. The most important thing is to recognise the symptoms and seek treatment before other unpleasant consequences appear. Here are the symptoms:
- related to mental functioning: insomnia, permanently increased irritability, fear without reason, systematic avoidance of natural life situations (phobic behaviour), deep sadness that does not pass after a few days, permanent fatigue, memory and concentration disorders, low tolerance for frustration, anger and uncontrollable aggression;
- related to family and/or professional relationships: permanent suspicion, hostility, increased need for isolation, unjustified guilt, low self-confidence, negative expectations;
- behavioural disorders: eating disorders, alcoholism, illicit substances use, inactivity or hyperactivity;
- related to the physical body – various somatisations, permanent health concerns.
How can I find support in my community?
If you or a loved one is struggling with mental or behavioural disorders, on Guide to Rehab you can find a wide range of treatment options. Guide to Rehab specialists offer appropriate treatment for each patient, carefully evaluating the important aspects of the patient’s life. The team of psychiatrists is ready to offer anyone support and treatment for several disorders:
- affective disorders (bipolar affective disorder, depression)
- overcoming sadness
- support for those who have suffered physical or emotional abuse
- behavioural disorders: aggression, abuse, domestic violence
- post-traumatic stress syndrome
- panic attacks
- personality disorder (paranoid, schizoid, schizotypal, borderline, histrionic, narcissistic, avoidant)
- obsessive-compulsive disorder
- phobic disorder (Phobias)
- acute stress disorder
- bulimia nervosa
- anorexia nervosa
- eating disorders
- dysthymic disorder
- dissociative disorders (amnesia, depersonalisation, derealisation)
- sleep disorders, insomnia, migraines
- sexual dynamics disorders: vaginismus, premature ejaculation, stress
- support for those facing an illness
- adaptation disorders
- conversive disorders
- drug testing (marijuana, cocaine)
How can I help a friend or family member who is suffering from a mental illness?
Learn more about their illness and never tell them to “get over it.” Keep in mind that their illness is not your fault and remember to take care of yourself. Help your friend or relative to seek a specialist.
Both chronic disorders and difficult emotional episodes are associated with suicide risk. Even the slightest risk of suicide requires immediate psychiatric evaluation and appropriate treatment.