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Introducing the importance of psychiatry in clinical medicine
Only in recent years, the importance of psychiatry in clinical medicine is getting acknowledged. WHO has added mental health as one of the many sustainable development goals. All over the world, depression is one of the primary causes of disability, and suicide among the age group of 15 to 29-year-olds is the second leading cause of death.
People suffering from mental health also die prematurely as much as two decades early because of the consequent physical conditions depression can lead to. According to a survey, one out of five people in the US suffers from a mental condition while only 40% of them asked for help and received treatment.
The biggest challenge for mental healthcare lies in the fact that people face enormous stigma and discrimination because of the lack of awareness. As taking good care of one’s mental health is as important as one’s body, psychiatry in clinical medicine is undoubtedly one of the most important chapters in the field of healthcare and medicine.
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What is a psychiatrist?
A psychiatrist is an expert in understanding people’s mental health and in diagnosing any mental illness. They are certified medical professionals who have a deeper understanding of how our mental health is directly linked to our physical health and that the two are not separate. Psychiatrists are not counselors or therapists. Many people confuse psychiatrists with psychologists but both are entirely different. Psychiatrists hold an MD and have attended medical school like any other doctors. Psychologists are not medical doctors but they can perform psychotherapy too.
They are doctors who can diagnose and treat mental conditions with medication or other scientific methods. Mental conditions such as schizophrenia, clinical depression, eating disorders, and bipolar disorder, etc.
What do psychiatrists do?
Psychiatrists access both the mental and physical symptoms of the patients to reach a diagnosis. Once diagnosed they work with their patients to come up with a management plan that not only provides treatment but also helps with recovery.
Besides prescribing medication, psychiatrists can also provide psychological treatment and conduct medical procedures like electroconvulsive therapy.
These medical professionals take a holistic approach to understand a patient’s conditions and provide them with urgent care. Psychiatry in clinical medicine can also suggest lifestyle changes, work with the individual as well as their families or partners to help patients on a long-term basis.
After careful observation, they either prescribe medication or follow other methods like psychotherapy or electroconvulsive therapy.
Why is mental health important?
Taking care of mental health is extremely crucial. It is that illness that cannot be seen and hence even more difficult to understand unless a person reaches out for help on their own. In a society full of bias, seeking help from a professional is an enormous challenge itself.
A lot of people do not even have access to get the required healthcare. If not treated, mental illness can lead to severe chronic physical conditions like chronic diabetes, insomnia, eating disorders, anxiety, stress, and clinical depression. In that case, they need psychiatry in clinical medicine.
What causes mental illness?
There is no single cause for a mental disorder. It can be anything from having:
- A genetic history
- Abusive and traumatic life experiences (PTSD etc.)
- Chemical imbalances in the brain
- A brain injury
One can also feel depressed when suffering from serious medical conditions like cancer and even from social isolation.
Mental health has nothing to do with a person’s character. It is not a sign of weakness or laziness. In reality, anyone can suffer from a mental condition. Therefore it is most important to address it.
In psychiatry in clinical medicine, there is no direct and tangible outcome as can be found in other fields of medicine. It is the mind that slowly starts reprocessing its own thoughts, and with the continuous efforts of both professionals and the patients, a person starts feeling better, improving their overall health profile.