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A psychiatrist is a fully qualified medical practitioner who has gone on to specialise in the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric complaints.
As fully qualified doctors, psychiatrists can prescribe medication.
Traditionally, a psychiatrist caring for working age adults is most likely to be dealing with mood/anxiety disorders, psychotic disorders, drug & alcohol problems, personality difficulties and the psychiatric complications or medical disorders. Most psychiatrists identify the area of specialist interest that they concentrate their practice on.
Psychiatrists receive general training in psychological therapies in order to develop an understanding of the different treatment models, but rely on close collaboration with psychologists who deliver the psychological therapies. Some psychiatrists train in how to deliver specific psychological therapies.
Psychologists are qualified in the delivery of psychological therapies. Each psychologist has a working knowledge of the different therapy models, but is likely to specialise in the application of only some of them. Therefore, most psychologists tend to develop experience in dealing with specific presentations and helping specific patients groups.
Psychologists are not medically trained and are not licenced to prescribe medication.
This is a trick question. Appropriately combining the two is likely to give the best results, although there are situations where one or the other may be more relevant.
Sometimes patients or their carers may have strongly held views about one form of treatment or the other. My aim will always be to give the best information available, so that the patient can make their own informed and clinically appropriate choice.
In general terms it does and many patients go on to experience significant improvement in their overall quality of life, with additional benefit to those around them.
However, given the number of factors involved, it is not possible to guarantee how a specific individual will respond to treatment and monitoring by an experienced clinician is essential to maximise the chance of success.
Some patients are uncomfortable with the idea of long-term treatment with psychiatric medication and equate this to being ‘dependent’ on such medication.
It is by no means certain that a patient will need medication in the long-term or even need to take medication in the first place. In those situations however where there is a genuine need for medication to continue, the situation can best be compared to the way someone suffering from high blood pressure needs to carry on taking medication to help keep their blood pressure within normal limits.
The use of the word ‘dependence’ can cause some confusion. There are certain medicines that can cause someone to become both physically and psychologically dependent on them in the clinical sense. Such medicines are usually found in the treatment of drug & alcohol problems, ADHD and anxiety. The characteristics of such medicines will be discussed in detail with the patient, so that an informed choice can be made.
Yes you can self-refer or be referred by another person who may not be a doctor. It is of course advisable that you inform your GP about seeing a psychiatrist and it is customary that a clinic letter outlining progress will be sent to your GP after each consultation, this is however at your discretion.
This focuses on getting a full history in addition to clarifying what is the current situation that led to the referral. The aim is to arrive at a working diagnosis, inform the patient of the treatment options and agree a management plan.
This will depend on the agreed management plan. It will essentially revolve around assessing progress in the mental state and will take into account developments in relevant biological factors (medication, physical conditions etc.), psychological issues and social circumstances.
Full details of terms and conditions including the fee structure will be provided prior to the booking of an appointment.
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