By: Chris Anderson Psy.D.

Where most people are content to see their family doctor because they can get it right away, you may be sacrificing some important things for a timely and quick appointment. Family doctors are generalists and by nature and design they know a little bit about a lot of things. What they lack is specialization in the best ways to treat the subtle differences in conditions or simply have very little experience in those conditions that do not present routinely in their office. Psychiatrists are medical doctors who specialize in assessing and treating all mental health conditions. If expertise is what you want, it may be worth waiting a few weeks to get it.

What Specialized Skills & Training Does a Psychiatrist Possess?

  • Medical Education: Psychiatrists, like family doctors, earned their medical degrees but had a focused concentration on a specialized field, in this case, the study and treatment of mental health conditions. Rather than just introductory courses on mental health disorders, psychiatrists take advanced and in-depth coursework specific to this area of study.
  • Residency Training:  Beyond medical school psychiatrists undertake an additional four-year program that involves intense clinical training under the direction and supervision of experienced psychiatrists in very specific settings. They learn the subtleties and intricacies of assessing, diagnosing, and treating mental health issues.
  • Psychopharmacology: Unlike regular pharmacology coursework intended to educate doctors about all medications, psychiatrists have a specific concentration and focus on medications designed to treat psychological issues. They possess much more refined skills in the action and mechanism of medications, side effects, and drug interactions than most doctors would have.
  • Psychotherapy: Even psychiatrists have some limited experience and practice in performing psychotherapy. They can recognize environmental stressors that may be the underlying cause or driver of a person’s mental health problems and appropriately guide and help them with these issues.
  • Assessment and Diagnosis: Psychiatrists have a thorough clinical assessment that rivals that of a family doctor which is intended to pinpoint the issue going on in great detail and specificity.
  • Crisis Intervention: Psychiatrists can assess the severity and risks that are sometimes associated with mental health issues. This could be determining if someone needs to be hospitalized due to suicidality, may have drug-induced disorders necessitating detox protocols, or medical conditions presenting as mental health that may need immediate attention.
  • Research and Evidenced-Based Practice: Psychiatrists stay abreast of the latest research findings and best practices to ensure patients are getting the most effective treatments possible for their issues. Psychiatrists also maintain their expertise through continuing education requirements as part of their licensure to ensure they are staying apprised of all developments in the field.
  • Collaboration: Psychiatrists often work with a team of providers to treat the whole person. They may have a marriage and family therapist address relationship issues, an alcohol and drug counselor assess possible addiction, a psychologist perform ADHD testing, or counselors who can provide ongoing therapy.

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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