Medical professionals who treat mental illness using a biomedical technique towards mental disorders and also make use of medications are called psychiatrists. A psychiatrist is a physician who deals in diagnosis, prevention and treatment of mental illness, emotional disorders and addictions. The condition includes anxiety, neurosis, developmental disabilities, depression and substance abuse. Psychiatry has various subspecialties like child psychiatry, adult psychiatry; behavioral medicine etc and psychiatrists have to undergo special training to undertake this task.
Psychiatrists are specialists in mental health and thus
- Study, prevent, make a diagnosis and treat psychological, emotional and behavioral disorders.
- They study the physical condition of the patient and adapt the necessary medical actions.
- They recommend diagnostic and laboratory tests for the patient depending on the severity of the case.
- Psychiatrists give treatments such as psychotherapy, psychoanalysis, cognitive behavior therapy depending on the patient requirement.
- Psychiatrists can also prescribe medicines for the patients.
Qualification to be a psychiatrist
- The person has to be a graduate from college and from a medical school.
- Should complete four years of residency in the field of psychiatry.
- To further specialize in fields such as child psychiatrist, there is additional training.
- After completion of this entire course, a psychiatrist will be addressed to as a mental health professional and physician. He/she will clearly differentiate between physical and psychological causes and relate both physical and mental distress.
- A board certification is a must to practice psychiatry.
Choosing the right psychiatrist speaks a lot in getting your treatment right. Given below is the guide to choose the right psychiatrist:
- Speak about your prevailing condition to your family physician and if he/she feels you need the help of a psychiatrist then ask for recommendation. Take a copy of your latest medical records if you have one, this will help your psychiatrist on deciding on the drugs for you.
- To cross check on any psychiatrist you can get in touch with the nearest psychiatric society or community medical health center. They can help you with information on the qualification of the psychiatrist you have chosen.
- A good psychiatrist should always discuss your problem in detail and discuss on why he has chosen any particular treatment for you. There are various therapies available for curing psychiatric problems and so the doctor should educate the patient on them and explain why he has chosen any particular treatment.
- Ensure that you provide complete true information about yourself and your condition to the psychiatrist as he/she is also a physician and can choose the right treatment for you depending on your medical background.
- Finally check if your insurance covers the entire cost of the treatment or make the necessary arrangements for your course of treatment.
Forensic psychiatry is a sub specialty of psychiatry and specialists of forensic psychiatry undergo special training in psychiatry and later in forensic psychiatry and relate psychiatric facts to queries raised by the legal constitution. Forensic psychiatrists put together medicinal experience, medical know how, mental health and neuroscience and structure free opinions. This opinion formulated is used as a principal advice in court room testimony. Forensic psychiatrists can practice in hospitals too. Forensic psychiatrists are specialists in diagnosing and treating mental illness or strain:
- Forensic psychiatrist attend to people who are disturbed mentally while in custody and treat conditions called Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). They can understand the in-depth personality of a person and can easily differentiate between original and false trauma.
- They are trained professionals in the area of psychological autopsy to establish the reason of the death.
- They handle patients who complain of sexual harassment by their health provider and handle cases of medical malpractice too.
- They can certify criminals who are truly mentally unstable and help the court in approaching a conclusion on sentence of the criminal. They also help in determining whether any criminal is falsely claiming a crime that he has not committed at all.
- Forensic psychiatrists are good in witness assessment, managing client, choosing adjudicators, training a witness, and finally in witness trustworthiness.
A forensic psychiatrist has to undergo specialized qualifications apart from the qualifications of being a psychiatrist.
- Should complete medical school and hold a degree.
- Should complete four years of specialized training in the field of psychiatry.
- Apart from this, a forensic psychiatrist should hold additional qualification in forensic psychiatry.
- Should hold a valid license and should be certified by a certified board.
Choose the right forensic psychiatrist
Forensic psychiatrists are generally found to be associated with the law and its associates. They do not practice in clinics like other specialists do. When the law is looking for forensic psychiatrists to work with the criminals and accused, they have to ensure
- The person chosen is a certified forensic psychiatrist and has the ability to assess the criminal/accused and relate it in the terms of the law.
- The psychiatrist should hold a valid license.
- The psychiatrist should be a member of a recognized and certified board.
- The person should have additional qualifications in clinical issues to handle sexual harassment cases, child custody cases etc.
In few cases, a child's behavior needs to be corrected only through professional help. These child issues are best dealt by child psychiatrists. A Doctor in Medicine or a Doctor in osteopathy, who has a specialization in general psychiatry and has further, qualified in child and adolescence psychiatry is the right specialist. He can address the mental and emotional problems faced by children and in turn by their families. He studies, diagnoses and treats the disturbances faced by the child.
Qualification to be a child psychiatrist
A child psychiatrist undergoes training for two years in the field of child and adolescence psychiatry after completing 3 or 4 years of general psychiatry training. These psychiatrists are specially trained to handle common psychiatric problems faced by children such as ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), misbehavior, learning disabilities, pervasive development disorder, depression and anxiety disorder.