The Psychiatrist: Healing with Medicine

The Psychiatrist: Healing with Medicine


Previously we covered the Psychologist, which is a mental health professional who’s been trained to help their patients by analyzing their mental illnesses and coming up with a behavioral routine designed to affect positive changes. Now, we’ll discuss the Psychiatrist, which, while similar to Psychologists in their end goal, are quite different in the means by which they achieve their results. Psychiatrists, unlike Psychologists, are licensed doctors (MDs) who are capable of writing prescriptions for drugs and other treatments. This is the most obvious difference between the two, and something that is commonly asked by patients. Psychiatrists focus on creating regularity for their patients through the application of neuroreceptor regulating medicines and other psychopharmaceuticals. Their prescriptions are aimed at helping to balance out the chemical imbalances in a patient’s brain and blood that may be causing them distress. Through the precise application of certain chemical compounds, such as lithium, it’s possible to alleviate some or all of a patient’s symptoms. Psychiatrists and Psychologists often work together, because they can provide a more effective treatment when doing so. Some patients are too irregular and unstable to respond to a Psychologist without chemical assistance, and this is where the Psychiatrist steps in.


What is Psychiatry? Psychiatry is the study of abnormal behaviors, mental illnesses, and unstable emotions. Psychiatrists specialize in dealing with these abnormalities through the application of specific drugs that bring balance to a person's body chemistry. This can include Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SRIs), which seek to block excess amounts of Serotonin that can keep someone from experiencing their emotions correctly. Psychiatrists also deal with substance abuse as their training allows them to understand the abilities of various addictive substances and how best to counteract them.


Psychiatrists, as mentioned before, are fully-trained medical professionals who have gone through classical training before specializing into Psychiatry. All of our Psychiatrists at Columbia Wellness have spent years in schooling before attending rotations that gave them the real-world experience that allows them to provide a world-class level of care to our patients. Psychiatrists do diverge from other doctors in some ways however: A Urologist, who focuses on your kidneys, doesn’t need to understand societal and cultural norms to provide treatment. Psychiatrists on the other hand, must learn social and biological sciences on top of everything else they are required to know as medical professionals, because many mental illnesses stem from events that occur during someone’s adolescent years. Psychiatrists are capable of understanding and diagnosing various mental illnesses and can provide recommendations on different courses of treatment for their patients. While Psychiatrists do interview their patients and provide some counseling, that work is primarily left to the Psychologists who specialize in it. However, the work provided by Psychiatrists is invaluable and countless lives have been saved by their medical expertise and analysis skills.


Thinking about going into a career in Psychiatry, or looking to join our world-class team? Next, we’ll be going into the benefits of a career spent helping others.


Michelle Held