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Regardless of their specialty, mental health professionals are here to help you. The question is this: when is a psychiatrist the professional you need on your team?

Many people who struggle with mental illness don’t know when they should consider consulting with a psychiatrist, whether due to a lack of information or stigma surrounding medical treatment for mental health.

At the Cognitive Behavior Institute, we seek to eliminate stigma and provide the information our patients need to get the care they deserve. Our psychiatric care services are designed to cater to the specific needs of individuals who require medical treatment for mental health concerns.

Here are some of the most important things to know about psychiatric care, including when it might be right for you:

What Is a Psychiatrist?

Psychiatrists specialize in investigating, diagnosing, and treating mental health conditions. Becoming a psychiatrist requires obtaining a medical degree followed by specialized training in psychiatry while in medical school. Once completed, many psychiatrists choose to become board-certified through the American Psychiatric Association.

Psychiatrists are trained in various evaluation and treatment procedures, including talk therapy, medication management, and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). As mental health experts, they work to understand not only the symptoms but also the root causes of mental health conditions. Their goal is to offer treatment and support that helps their patients restore balance in their lives and improve their overall well-being.

While a primary care physician might address some mental health concerns, psychiatrists are the go-to professionals for more complex or persistent mental health issues. They have the expertise to diagnose and treat with precision, and they work to develop personalized treatment plans catered to the needs of each patient. By working closely with their patients, psychiatrists can ensure they receive the help they need and deserve to manage their mental health successfully.

Psychiatry vs Psychology

Many people often use psychiatry and psychology interchangeably, but they are each unique branches of the mental health field. The primary difference between psychiatry and psychology is the level of medical expertise required.

Psychiatrists are medical doctors who specialize in mental health and are trained to diagnose mental health disorders, prescribe medication, and provide talk therapy. On the other hand, psychologists and clinical psychologists may possess doctoral degrees in psychology, but they cannot prescribe medications. Instead, they focus primarily on various forms of behavioral therapy, which aims to help individuals manage their mental health challenges by changing thought patterns or behaviors.

Psychiatrists often work in conjunction with other mental health professionals to ensure their patients receive the most comprehensive treatment possible. They may collaborate with psychologists, social workers, or therapists to create a tailored approach to support their patient's unique needs. Through a combination of medication management, psychotherapy, and other treatment methods, psychiatrists can help individuals manage their mental health concerns successfully.

What Does a Psychiatrist Treat?

Psychiatrists are medical professionals who diagnose and treat a wide range of psychiatric disorders that affect a person's mental health. These disorders can include but are not limited to: 

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Schizophrenia

A crucial part of a psychiatrist's job is to identify the underlying causes of these conditions and develop personalized treatment plans for their patients. They may prescribe medication to help manage symptoms or provide talk therapy to help patients learn coping strategies and develop positive thinking patterns.

In addition to treating adults, psychiatrists may specialize in adolescent psychiatry, working with young people struggling with behavioral disorders such as ADHD, oppositional defiant disorder, and conduct disorder. They may also work in conjunction with other medical professionals, such as primary care physicians or neurologists, to provide comprehensive care to their patients.

So, When Do I Need a Psychiatrist?

Psychiatric care usually becomes necessary when someone is experiencing mental health issues that are impacting their daily life. If you're having difficulty managing symptoms on your own, or if the problem persists despite using various self-care methods, seeking professional help can be extremely beneficial. A psychiatrist can help you identify the underlying causes of your mental health struggles and create a comprehensive treatment plan to help you manage your symptoms.

Visit the Best Psychiatrist Near You

If you think that psychiatric care may be beneficial for you, the Cognitive Behavior Institute in Pittsburgh, PA is here to provide the support and services you need. We have trained psychiatrists and a range of other mental health professionals who are dedicated to helping our patients improve their quality of life.

To learn more about our psychiatric services, contact us here. If you'd like to see more articles on psychiatric care from our team, check out our other blogs!