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FAQs about Psychiatry

What is a psychiatrist?

A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who specializes in mental health. We treat such conditions as generalized anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), major depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. Our treatment modalities generally consist of medications and psychotherapy, also known as therapy or counseling. While most psychiatrists have training in both, most psychiatrists focus on medication management only, while a smaller percentage of psychiatrists focus on psychotherapy only or combination of psychotherapy and medication management.

What is the training of a psychiatrist?

Our training in the US consists of completion of undergraduate work, medical school, and a 4-year residency program. After the completion of this program, many psychiatrists take an exam to become board certified. A board certification signifies competency by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. While it is not required to practice psychiatry, most psychiatrists have this board certification.

How is a psychiatrist similar to a psychologist?

Both psychiatrists and psychologists have doctorate level of training and specialize in mental health concerns. Both also have training in psychotherapy.

How is a psychiatrist different from a psychologist?

The nature of the psychotherapy training (such as therapy modality and theory) varies. In addition, many psychologists have training in psychological testing and can perform and interpret testing related to such topics as IQ, personality, and cognition.

Psychiatry training has a significant emphasis on the medical model of mental illness. Our training, both in medical school and residency include training in medical specialities that can overlap with mental illness including internal medicine and neurology.

Who would benefit from seeing a psychiatrist?

Patients who are considering medications to be part of their treatment plan would benefit from seeing a psychiatrist. In addition, patients with who have medical comorbidities or are concerned about the contribution their medical issues have on their mental health would also benefit from psychiatric consultation.

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