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What is a psychiatrist?

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.

What is a psychologist?

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.

What is best, medication or psychological therapy?

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.

Does treatment work?

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.

Will I be ‘dependent’ on medication?

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.

Can I self refer or do I need a letter from my GP?

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.

What happens at the initial assessment?

The initial assessment is in fact comprised of two separate appointments lasting one hour each. This focuses on clarifying the different components of the clinical picture and looking at all the relevant aspects of the background history. The aim is to arrive at a clear understanding of a person’s difficulties and a working diagnosis, in order to identify appropriate treatment options. A detailed assessment report is then produced, which the patient is advised to reflect on prior to further discussion on its recommendations.

What happens at follow up appointments?

These give the opportunity for further discussion around the diagnosis and treatment options, so that a patient can make an informed decision and agree a treatment plan. Further appointments 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. Please note we operate a strict 48 hour notice policy for cancellations and changes to appointments by patients. This means that where you notify us that you wish to cancel or re-arrange an appointment with less than 48 hours’ notice before the relevant appointment time and we are unable to fill your reserved appointment slot with another patient, then you will be charged the full fee for that appointment.

Dr. Dimitriou is recognised by the following health insurance companies:

  • Allianz
  • Aviva
  • Bupa*
  • Cigna
  • Vitality Health
  • WPA

*we are no longer taking on new Bupa-insured patients

You can compare independent information about the quality of private treatment offered at hospitals and other private healthcare providers from the Private Healthcare Information Network (PHIN) website: www.phin.org.uk.


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