What is Psychiatry and its Approach?

By: Chris Anderson Psy.D.

Psychiatry is the branch of medicine that focuses on the assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental health issues and disorders. Approximately 20% of the US population is dealing with mental health issues at any given time. That means nearly 1 in 5 people are struggling, suffering, and being negatively affected by their mental health issues. These issues affect them emotionally, mentally, occupationally, and relationally. Psychiatrists and psychiatric nurse practitioners are professionals whose main objective is to meet with individuals and families and help provide relief from issues.  The field of psychiatry is operated by medical doctors (MD or DO) and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners (PMHNP) who have advanced and specialized skills and training in treating mental health issues. They are trained in the medical model and approach the assessment of mental health issues from a biological, genetic, and chemical perspective. They typically utilize pharmacological medications to address these issues.

What Does a Psychiatrist Treat the Most Often?

Psychiatrists treat dozens of possible mental health and substance abuse issues. The number one most common mental health issue that is treated is generalized anxiety disorder. This accounts for nearly 9% of all mental health issues. Depression is a close second. Given the expertise that psychiatrists bring to the table, they often find themselves treating more complex issues such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Although somewhat less common, 3% of Americans deal with bipolar disorder, and 1% deal with schizophrenia. The medications required to treat these disorders are quite specialized and almost exclusively managed and prescribed by psychiatrists. ADHD, autism, and substance abuse issues are also very common concerns that psychiatrists treat with great frequency. Psychiatric providers possess the skill to draw upon a much wider selection of medications and in some instances combine medications to produce the greatest results for clients dealing with these issues.

Where Do You Find Psychiatric Providers

Psychiatrists and psychiatric nurse practitioners are specialists not typically in primary care clinics. Like cardiologists and dermatologists, most specialists locate themselves in private practices. Generally, larger mental health clinics have psychiatric providers on staff in conjunction with psychologists, professional counselors, and marriage and family therapists. This often provides one-stop shopping for many people. A client may see a psychiatrist for medication management and a therapist to work on building skills to stabilize further and eliminate their mental health issues. These providers will refer to each other to provide the best treatment possible for the client.

If you are interested in having a psychiatric expert treat your mental health issues, feel free to contact IPC so you can schedule an appointment with one of our psychiatric providers for a more thorough assessment.  Please call us now at 763-416-4167, or request an appointment on our website: WWW.IPC-MN.COM so we can sit down with you and complete a thorough assessment and help you develop a plan of action that will work for you. Life is too short to be unhappy. Find the peace of mind you deserve.

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