What is a Psychiatrist?

A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who specializes in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mental illnesses, including substance use disorders. Psychiatrists are qualified to assess both the mental and physical aspects of psychological disturbance. A psychiatrist has completed medical school (is an M.D. or D. O.) and an additional four or more years of residency training in psychiatry. 

People seek psychiatric help for many reasons. The problems can be sudden, such as a panic attack, frightening hallucinations, thoughts of suicide, or hearing “voices.” Or they may be more long-term, such as feelings of sadness and hopelessness or anxious feelings that never seem to lift, causing everyday life to feel distorted or out of control.

For More Information:
What is a Psychiatrist – Let’s Talk Facts Brochure – .pdf

Choosing A Psychiatrist

You can begin with your own physician. Tell your doctor what you are feeling. If, after a thorough physical examination to check whether any other medical illnesses may be contributing to your symptoms, the doctor recommends psychiatric treatment, ask for the names of two or three psychiatrists. You should also request a copy of your medical records for the psychiatrist to examine.

Your local medical or psychiatric society, community mental health center, and medical school are also good sources for referrals to psychiatrists. Of course, you might also seek the advice of family, friends, colleagues, or members of your church.

For More Information:
Choosing A Psychiatrist – Let’s Talk Facts Brochure – .pdf