A psychiatrist is a medical professional, who has done his basic medical degree (MBBS) with a post-graduation in Psychiatry (also known as Psychological Medicine in some universities), either in the form of a Diploma (DPM), Master’s Degree (MD) or equivalent (MNAMS or DNB).
A Psychiatrist is the most important of all mental health professionals, and ideally should be the first person to be consulted in the event of mental health issues arising out of the following reasons:
Quite a few mental illnesses are of biological origin, arising out of disturbances in the operations of the brain. E.g. Schizophrenia and Depression are caused due to chemical, electrophysiological neuro-hormonal imbalances in the brain. A person with a valid medical degree is the best option to treat these disorders.
Quite a few mental illnesses are caused by complications of primary medical illnesses. For example, depression can be caused by hormonal imbalances, which can be caused by hypothyroidism or symptoms similar to that of schizophrenia may develop after a brain tumor.
Thus, only qualified medical practitioners should be consulted to diagnose and manage these disorders.
More often than not, to manage and treat such mental health issues, Drug Therapy and electroconvulsive therapy is required.
Even cases where counselling helps are benefited by treatment with psychotropic drugs. For such evaluations and treatments, a person with a valid medical degree is required to assess and prescribe remedial treatments and drugs.
Also read | The Characteristics of Social Problems.
Once a Psychiatrist has evaluated a patient and has put an illness management schedule, other mental health professionals can be actively involved to manage the treatment.
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