What is a psychiatrist?
Psychiatrists are medical doctors who are experts in mental health. They specialise in diagnosing and treating people with mental illness.
Psychiatrists have a deep understanding of physical and mental health – and how they affect each other.
They help people with mental health conditions such as schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder, eating disorders and addiction.
What does a psychiatrist do?
Psychiatrists assess all of your mental and physical symptoms.
They make a diagnosis and work with you to develop a management plan for your treatment and recovery.
Psychiatrists provide psychological treatment, prescribe medications and do procedures such as electroconvulsive therapy.
As part of their work, a psychiatrist can:
- provide urgent care for a sudden mental illness
- help you to manage a long-term mental health condition
- provide advice about lifestyle changes
- work with you individually, or with you and your partner, family or carers
- provide second opinions and advice to other doctors and health professionals
- refer you to other health professionals
- admit you to hospital if required.
What can a psychiatrist help with?
A psychiatrist can be of particular help if your mental health condition:
- is complex or difficult to diagnose
- involves suicidal ideas or plans
- is severe or happens suddenly
- needs medication that only a psychiatrist can prescribe
- isn’t responding to standard treatment through your GP (family doctor).
Common reasons why someone might see a psychiatrist: