Psychiatry Explained as Simple as Possible

Psychiatry Explained

Psychiatry focuses on preventing and treating any type of mental disorder you can imagine. From “small” things like light social anxiety to schizophrenia or clinical depression, psychiatrists have the power to diagnose and prescribe the appropriate treatment in accordance with each individual patient’s needs.

Psychiatrists are MDs who also specialize in substance use disorders, and they are qualified to assess both the mental and physical aspects pertaining to psychological problems. With that said, you might be wondering what’s the difference between them and psychologists. Let’s explore!

Psychiatry Versus Psychology

As mentioned earlier, psychiatrists are medical doctors, hence they can prescribe medication and conduct psychotherapy. Psychologists, on the other hand, treat mental disorders with psychotherapy but can’t prescribe  meds. 

With that said,  most often only treat conditions that don’t require medication. These types of conditions can include behavioral problems, learning difficulties, anxiety, and mild cases of depression. For grave situations, like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or severe depression, a psychiatrist is much more qualified.

What Treatments Do Psychiatrists Use?

Anyone looking to practice in one of the many dermatology jobs in Florida or psychiatry jobs in Illinois will be dealing with a multitude of patients who have a variety of symptoms and disorders. And it’s not limited to that state either, it was just an example of an area where psychiatrists are currently sought after a lot.

Anyway, without getting side-tracked, psychiatrists use various forms of psychotherapy, medications, psychosocial interventions, and other treatments (which include but are not limited to electroconvulsive therapy or ECT), depending on the needs of each patient. 

Psychotherapy comes in many forms, and it’s also practiced by psychologists. It involves growing a personal relationship with the patient to get to the bottom of certain mental disorders and emotional difficulties. 

Medications Prescribed By Psychiatrists

Psychiatrists often prescribe medications in combination with their psychotherapy sessions. Being MDs, they are authorized to do so, and this approach is, at least as of now, the only known method for getting rid of severe mental disorders, mental illnesses, or deep emotional troubles. Now let’s look at the types of medications that a psychiatrist might prescribe to their patients.


You’ve probably heard of these before, as they are used to treat some of the most common ailments afflicting humans in our modern society. The conditions that antidepressants can be used to treat include depression, panic disorder, PTSD, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, borderline personality disorder, and even eating disorders.

Antipsychotic Medications

These treat psychotic symptoms of all types, including those stemming from delusions and hallucinations), schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder.

Sedatives and Anxiolytics

Mainly used to treat anxiety and insomnia, these medications can greatly reduce panic attacks, exaggerated alertness, and plenty of other symptoms associated with these two common underlying conditions.

Mood Stabilizers

Mainly used for treating bipolar disorder, mood stabilizers affect, you guessed it, your mood. They work similarly to sedatives and anxiolytics in the sense that they calm you down and make you just a tiny bit happier.


These are used to treat ADHD and other similar conditions that might appear in schoolchildren most of the time.


They are used to induce and maintain sleep through the process of hypnotization in most cases.

Psychiatric Training Requirements

To become a psychiatrist, you need to finish med school and obtain a state license to practice medicine, after which you’ll have to complete four years of psychiatry residency. 

Some psychiatrists also complete additional specialized training after their four years of general psychiatry training. They may become certified in:

  • Child and adolescent psychiatry
  • Geriatric psychiatry
  • Forensic (legal) psychiatry
  • Addiction psychiatry
  • Pain medicine
  • Psychosomatic (mind and body) medicine
  • Sleep medicine

Some psychiatrists can also choose additional training in psychoanalysis or in psychiatric research.

Final Thoughts

Psychiatry is tricky and complicated. Psychiatrists deserve all the praise that they get for spending so much time devoted to solving mental illnesses – which seem to be more and more common in today’s society. Feel free to also leave us your opinion on this subject in the comments down below.

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