A healthy mind is a pre-requisite to a healthy and happy life. The importance of mental health takes utmost priority in any healthcare system. The entire world is realising this change and so the older stigma attached to Mental health interventions and Psychiatry is slowly vanishing. The world health organisation (WHO) and various government and other health establishments are taking proactive measures to address mental health issues in the population( as is evident by the recent mental health pandemic which was precipitated by the Covid19 spread). The concept has changed from treating the "mentally ill" to that of identifying,preventing and managing mental health issues and to promote positive mental health.
Psychiatry is the branch of medicine focused on the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mental, emotional and behavioral disorders. It literally means the 'medical treatment of the soul' (psych- 'soul' from Ancient Greek psykhē 'soul'; -iatry 'medical treatment' )
A psychiatrist is a medical doctor (an M.D.) who specializes in mental health.Psychiatrists can therefore diagnose psychological issues, counsel patients, prescribe medication, order laboratory tests, order neuroimaging, and conduct physical examinations as deemed required.
Psychological issues are seen across all ages and presents in various ways (including,but not restricted to the following):
- Adjustment disorders
- anxiety disorders/OCD/Panic attacks
- Mood disorders-depression,Bipolar disorder
- Psychotic illness,Schizophrenia
- Personality disorders
- Physical complaints/illness (medically unexplained symptoms)
When does one need to consult a Psychiatrist?
Seeing a Psychiatrist does not mean you are insane.
You may seek consultation if
- inabilty to function (work/studies/being active) like before due to stress.
- decressed self confidence, feeling excessively sad,depressed and that doesn't change with time
- feeling anxious, having repetitive thoughts/fears, panic attacks
- mood swings,inability to control ones emotions and behaviour (self-harm threats/tendencies,impulsive behaviour, body image disturbance in adolescents and young adults)
- having decreased energy and motivation or excessive energy and increased activities/excessive talk/spending of money etc.
- inability to focus/concentrate on tasks/academics, memory disturbances etc
- changes in sleep habits/eating patterns -increase or decrease, in appetite,eating disorders
- decreased interests in sex, performance anxiety, painful intercourse and other sex related problems (after medical causes have been ruled out).
- longstanding medical complaints and repeated hospital visits and tests are inconclusive (includes disorders like Functional gastro disorders like IBS, functional dyspepsia- excess gas/bloated feeling in abdomen,cyclical vomiting)
- longstanding pain complaints and tiredness (like Fibromyalgia,chronic fatigue etc).
- psychological issues associated with chronic illness like SLE, epilepsy, stroke, thyroid dysfunction, cancer etc.
- psychological issues during pregnancy and after childbirth (post partum), and related to periods (premenstrual syndrome/dysphoria)
- behavioral changes in children including anger, hostility, school refusal, bedwetting etc.
- excess use of electronic media/internet/mobiles/gaming (a type of behavioural addiction)
- addiction to substances (tobacco,alcohol)
- problems in elderly like memory disturbance/forgetfulness/dementia
- changes in behaviour, which may be appreciated by others rather than self like suspiciousness, decreased interactions,talking to self etc
Treatments & Procedures:
- Based on History, Mental status examination and other tests, a treatment plan will be discussed.
- All treatments are individually tailored and may include psychotherapy (counselling) and medications (if required) based on established treatment protocols and guidelines.
- Some of the conditions might require multiple visits and regular follow-ups.
- A holistic approach in treating the person as a whole including consultation liaison with other speciality departments( if need arises) and offering a comprehensive treatment plan for people having comorbid illness.