Psychiatrists are first and foremost medical doctors who have undergone further training and obtained specialised qualifications in the diagnosis and treatment of acute mental illnesses. Many psychiatric disorders are accompanied by physical symptoms, and thanks to the combination of clinical and psychological expertise, psychiatrists can approach mental issues from both angles and devise a treatment which will integrate both aspects.
Psychiatrists are often associated with hospitals, whether they offer general care or are specialised psychiatric units, and they can also work as consultants in local mental health services, or set up private clinics, which tends to be the most common case.
What Does a Psychiatrist’s Training Consist of?
Psychiatrists are highly skilled health professionals who will have dedicated at least a dozen years of their life to acquiring their qualifications.
As they have the power to potentially prescribe powerful drugs, it is no surprise that they should first qualify as doctors, so as to be fully aware of the characteristics of the medications they may use, their physical effects and side effects as well as any interactions with other medicines.
While some basic teaching and experience in psychiatry is included in becoming a doctor, those who wish to specialise as psychiatrists must attend the RANZCP, the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists. To be successful in their application, they are interviewed by a panel of psychiatrists and must provide extensive references regarding their past work experience and their performance, and show their suitability to the programme.
It takes a minimum of 5 years to complete it and it involves working with members of the community in local clinics and hospitals, under the tutelage of an experienced psychiatrist, where they are exposed to a wide range of psychiatric problems. All throughout their training, they must pass further examinations, and it is only at the end of this stringent process that doctors can be elected as Fellows of The RANZCP and are fully qualified psychiatrists.
How Do Psychiatrists Work?
Although psychiatrists are medical doctors, psychotherapy is an essential component of their treatments. Through weekly or bi-weekly sessions, patients discuss their problems and are guided towards a deeper understanding of the cause of their struggles and how to find and apply strategies to cope with them.
Medication can also play an important role, especially if it is felt that the condition hinders the patients’ progress and has a significant impact on their ability to manage their lives. A psychiatrist will only use drugs that are proven to be effective and have been tested with the same rigour as any other medical treatment.
With one in five of us being affected by some sort of psychological difficulties at some point in our lives, many medications have been developed to alleviate symptoms and restore patients to a more manageable condition and only in the most severe cases is an admission to a psychiatric facility required.
If you are looking for a psychiatrist in Auckland, New Zealand, please email us or call us on 09 973 5950 to discuss whether this would be a suitable option for you.