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General Questions

New around here ? Start With the Basics

Who treats psychological problems?

Psychological problems are taken care of by the following mental health professionals-Psychiatrist, psychologists, psychiatry social workers and counselors. A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who after his or her MBBS training, gets specialized in treating people with mental health problem. They can treat patients with both medications and psychotherapy (talk therapy). A psychologist is a mental health professional who has done their graduation in psychology and specialization in clinical psychology .They are able to provide various therapies and they are trained to do certain testings. They are not able to prescribe medications and treat physical illnesses.

Can normal people consult Psychiatrist?

A Psychiatrist is experienced in assessing your personality characteristics, and can help you to improve your coping strategies. You can consult a psychiatrist for even minor issues which troubles you and get suitable advice.

All medications given by psychiatrists are to be used lifelong?

Psychiatrist is the only mental health professionals who can prescribe medications for psychological problems. Not all medications given are lifelong. In fact majority of the patient treated for psychiatry problems, stop their medications with the permission of treating doctors. Some patients may have to take medications for a relatively long period of time. It depends mostly on the nature of illness.

All medications given by Psychiatrists are addicting?

Majority of the medications given are not addicting and can easily be stopped. The medications which cause addiction belong to a group of medications called benzodiazepine which are used by psychiatrists for treating anxiety problems, disturbed sleep, aggression etc. But the most common cause for the prolonged use of such drugs is the underlying Psychiatric problem itself and not addiction to the drug.

How to get help for patients who do not want to seek help?

There is no particular way to address the issue and many approaches can be used . Here are a few suggestions.
1). Get a person whom the patient trust to speak to the patient
2) Get the patient to a doctor with someone who can volunteer as a patient( which will help to shift the focus from the patients problem).For eg: When someone shows symptoms of mental illness, his or her spouse can request for a marital counselling and shift the focus of attention from the patient to him or her.
3) Start on the issue the patient is willing to work and not on the issues he does not want to
eg:  he might want to consult for his sleep related issues and not for his or her behavioral problems.
4) Tell patient to consider one appointment with the psychiatrist and then give him the option to decide if he wants to go again or not.
5) Patient feeling he has no problem, itself can be a symptom of the illness (no insight) so do not spend time trying to convince the patient he has an illness
6) If all methods fail and the patient are seriously ill, you can seek help from the Indian mental health act were a patient can be admitted against his will to the hospital.
Always use the least restrictive method first.
Remember there is no single method to seek help but always focus on how to get the patient to the doctor and not on the problems you will face in the process. If you feel another method will work you can always try but consider safety of the patient, yourself and  the family.

What are the usual reasons for hospitalization?

Majority of the patients suffering from psychiatry problems can be treated on an outpatient basis if they have good family support. However there are times when hospitalization is warranted.
⦁ If patient is suicidal and has active plans to do so
⦁ If patient has thoughts to harm others and has been violent
⦁ The symptoms of the illness are such that it is difficult to contain the patient at home and he is wandering from place to place.
⦁ He continues in the same harmful behavior eg: taking alcohol and drugs in spite of having received treatment.
⦁ When Patient  has a very poor support
⦁ To stabilize on new medications
⦁ Adjust to new symptoms
⦁ Get the help they need.

Is Psychotherapy useful ?

There are many kinds of therapies  like dialectical behavior therapy, brief dynamic therapy, cognitive behavior therapy, marital therapy etc. All therapies are good when used by trained therapists.

For therapies to work, the patient must be willing to follow the instructions given by the therapist and be regular.

Medications given by psychiatrist have side effects?

Psychiatry medications have some side effects, but every patient on treatment, need not get them. The newer psychiatry medication have a very different side effect profile than the older ones and considered to be more safe than the older group.  Most of the side effects are insignificant and will go with time. Doctor will monitor for the side effects carefully when you are on such medications and will manage the side effects if you develop any.

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