Two professions which commonly overlap are psychiatry and psychology, often being combined in order to help people deal with some of the health problems they might be facing. Together, the two disciplines can prevent, diagnose and treat countless forms of medical conditions, especially if these are related to the mental well-being of a person.
Nevertheless, psychology and psychiatry are two different disciplines and, furthermore, these two are not the only ones you can turn to for help when experiencing mental health problems. So, read the lines below and learn more about psychiatric illnesses and the ways through which people who suffer from them can find help and relief.
What are Psychiatric Illnesses?
A psychiatric illness can vary in symptoms, ranging from mild to severely debilitating. Therefore, depending on the problems you might be facing, your psychiatric therapy may result in a fast and effective decrease and, subsequently, removal of the symptoms of your condition or require more time and effort in order for progress and recovery to take place.
First of all, at any signs of these illnesses, people are advised to seek medical assistance. Once they do, their doctors will search for the presence of the symptoms. If these are found, he/she will ask the patient about the time of the onset of the symptoms, the intensity and frequency of them and many other characteristics of the condition the patient is suffering from. Depending on the information he/she gathers, the doctor will then diagnose the condition and send the patient to a qualified mental health professional who will determine the best possible therapy for him/her.
The patient can be treated by either a psychologist or a psychiatrist. Both of these experts can help the patient, providing different approaches to the mental health problems. For example, while psychiatrists may use medications combined with psychotherapy, psychologists may concentrate solely on the therapy and counseling part of the treatment. Moreover, often, the two experts will work together, helping the patient even more this way.
Either way, these two professions are usually in charge of helping people who suffer from many forms of behavioral, affective, cognitive or perceptual abnormalities. A psychiatrist may use various methods to find the exact psychiatric illness his/her patient is suffering from, using the diagnostic manuals such as the International Classification of Diseases or the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Also, he/she might use neuroimaging or some neurophysiological techniques for the process of diagnosis and treatment.
How Can Psychiatric Therapy Help?
Approaches for dealing with mental health problems have changed during the last decades and are bound to continue to evolve and improve. Therefore, today, patients of this type can be treated through various methods. In the past, any mental illness required inpatient care lasting for at least six months. However, today, patients who are treated inside a mental health facility are often considered to be similar to outpatients, spending only the least amount of time hospitalized. So, inpatients are commonly held in a mental health facility for about two weeks, not longer, unless the conditions prevent this, requiring longer treatment of this type.
There are psychiatric patients who are not voluntarily brought to an institution of this type. The conditions under which this might happen vary from one state to another. Nevertheless, in order for a person to be involuntarily admitted into a psychiatric institution, he/she needs to be proven dangerous both for his/her own safety and the safety of other people who spend time near him/her.
The patients who are hospitalized can be secured so that they do not harm anybody or open and the facilities they undergo treatment in may be mixed or separated in terms of sexes of the people inside.
However, this form of psychiatric treatment is considered to be less and less popular these days, with the growth of community care, which does its best to offer a different approach. Also, lack of funding and resources necessary for creating fully-functional and adequate mental health treatment facilities has resulted in a massive reduction of the number of psychiatric beds.
On the other hand, the patient may need to undergo outpatient treatment, where he/she needs to pay his clinician a 30 minute visit from time to time, where his/her progress will be assessed and his/her therapy changed if necessary. Again, funding and lack of health insurance is preventing psychiatrists from spending more time on the counseling-based part of treatment. Rather, more and more experts of this type focus solely on prescribing medications and conducting psychiatric therapies this way.
All in all, there are two major types of psychiatric treatments, being carried out inside a mental care facility or through visits the patient pay to his/her psychiatrist at a scheduled time. The treatment itself varies, depending on the diagnosed condition and the reactions of the patient to the therapy. Yet, the improvements in this medical branch have resulted in more effective treatments and approaches that those which were used in the past.