, medical expert
Last reviewed: 19.10.2021

All iLive content is medically reviewed or fact checked to ensure as much factual accuracy as possible.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only link to reputable media sites, academic research institutions and, whenever possible, medically peer reviewed studies. Note that the numbers in parentheses ([1], [2], etc.) are clickable links to these studies.

If you feel that any of our content is inaccurate, out-of-date, or otherwise questionable, please select it and press Ctrl + Enter.

Who is a psychiatrist and what is included in the concept of "psychiatry"? A psychiatrist is a doctor engaged in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mental illness.

The study of anomalous phenomena of the human psyche is also carried out by psychiatry, and the psychiatrist literally means "the healer of the soul". The main criterion of mental disorder is the appearance of painful soul phenomena (in thinking, feelings, will).

A psychiatrist must understand psychology, neurology, but he is not a psychotherapist or neurologist. The neurologist deals with the treatment of dysfunction of the nervous system, the psychologist helps to deal with life problems that have psychological roots, without using any medications. Psychotherapists can prescribe mild sedatives, but they do not engage in full-fledged conservative treatment. The psychiatrist is also engaged in the treatment of mental abnormalities of varying degrees and stages of neglect, using specific complex treatment with specific drugs.

If you have any doubts about mental health, you should consult a psychiatrist who, during a conversation with the patient and his relatives, can form a preliminary diagnosis and, if necessary, prescribe additional tests to confirm the disease.


What tests should I take when I go to a psychiatrist?

What tests should I take when I go to a psychiatrist and what kind of preparation is required of the patient? The psychiatrist, like another doctor, pays no less attention to the physiological condition of the patient, for this purpose the following are investigated: 

  1. The state of the thyroid gland, namely: 
    • the presence of antibodies to thyroid peroxidase; 
    • the presence of antibodies to thyroglobulin; 
    • test for the rate of absorption of thyroid hormones; 
    • thyroglobulin level; 
    • level of thyroxine free; 
    • level of thyroid-stimulating hormone; 
    • the level of triiodothyronine free. 
  2. The expanded formula of pituitary hormones: 
    • prolactin level; 
    • level of adrenocorticotropic hormone; 
    • level of follicle-stimulating hormone; 
    • the level of antidiuretic hormone; 
    • level of somatotropin; 
    • prolactin-fraction; 
    • level of luteinizing hormone; 
    • level of thyroid-stimulating hormone.
  3. Study of adrenal hormones:
    • androstenedione level; 
    • level of adrenaline; 
    • cortisol level; 
    • aldosterone level; 
    • the level of norepinephrine; 
    • level of dehydroepiandrosterone-sulfate; 
    • level of metanephrine.

In addition, to clarify the diagnosis, there may be a need for an additional neurophysiological study - encephalography, magnetic resonance imaging, angiogram of cerebral vessels, etc.

What methods of diagnosis does the psychiatrist use?

What methods of diagnosis does a psychiatrist use and what is their essence? Along with the material changes in the work of the brain, the psychiatrist is more concerned with studying the patient's mental health. That is why the clinical method is the most effective method of diagnosis in the diagnosis of mental illnesses.

The essence of the clinical method lies in the determination during the interview and observation of changes in the patient's mental state, which are related to the onset, course and symptoms of mental illness. During the conversation, the psychiatrist observes the patient - evaluates facial expressions, intonation, the patient's reaction when trying to establish contact with him. In rare cases, the final diagnosis is made by a group of specialists, is condemned at a medical consultation. 

  1. Interrogation of the patient and his relatives. The survey should be conducted separately, so that nothing affects the result of the survey. First, ask questions to clarify the age, occupation, marital status of the patient. It is during the interview, based on the complaints of the patient, you can get an idea of the nature of the disease, managing the conversation in a mild form, so as not to provoke the patient's isolation and complete denial of his condition.
  2. Patient survey objectives: 
    • to reveal the attitude of the patient to his illness; 
    • the patient's opinion about the causes of the illness; 
    • presence of symptoms and syndromes of mental illness; 
    • features of the patient's personality; 
    • nature of the course of the disease, features; 
    • patient's attitude to further treatment.
  3. The purpose of interviewing the patient's relatives: 
    • time of disease development; 
    • the definition of differences in the course of the disease, according to the patient and relatives; 
    • identify the patient's hidden symptoms of the disease; 
    • Identify the problems that triggered the development of the disease; 
    • determine the attitude of relatives to the patient and his illness, the desire to help and cooperate with doctors. 
  4. Observation of the patient. It is conducted by a doctor to determine the patient's condition, a description of facial expressions, gestures, intonation, actions, reactions. Identify the differences between what has been said and the true expression of the patient's emotions.
  5. Purpose of patient observation: 
    • the identification of topics and questions to which the patient responds as brightly as possible; 
    • degree of fitness for the environment, ability to care for themselves; 
    • the difference between what has been said and the patient's behavior; 
    • ordinary actions of the patient, interaction with society.

The accuracy of the diagnosis and the further trusting relationship between the patient, the doctor and the patient's relatives depend on the diagnostic methods used by the psychiatrist, which is the key to effective treatment.

What does a psychiatrist do?

What does a psychiatrist do and what is the competence of this doctor? Many people ask this question, especially when a question arises - which doctor should you contact: a psychiatrist, a psychotherapist, a psychologist or a neurologist?

A psychiatrist is a doctor who deals with mental health problems of a person, and also has a special medical education and appropriate training in the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders. The psychiatrist has deep knowledge in psychiatry, psychology, psychotherapy, social sciences. A certain knowledge base helps in studying the problems of mental health in the case of a specific person, as well as in determining the relationship of the mental state to physical health. This will be the key to correct diagnosis and the correct choice of treatment of the disease. The psychiatrist is engaged in a specific medication treatment of mental disorders, combined with a special psychotherapeutic approach - psychological support, establishing contact with the patient, explaining the essence of the disease, treatment regimens.

You can get help from a psychiatrist in the MHP at your place of residence, in your psychiatric and psychotherapeutic care office at a multidisciplinary polyclinic, at the departmental polyclinic. When referring to a psychiatrist, the patient is guaranteed professional assistance, as well as, if necessary, the assistance of a clinical psychologist, social workers.

What diseases does the psychiatrist cure?

What diseases are treated by a psychiatrist and how are they classified? First and foremost, the psychiatrist's task is to study the mechanism of the appearance of a mental disorder, to carry out diagnosis and prescribe a treatment. In the competence of the doctor, consultation of healthy and sick people, examination of the mental state of patients to determine the degree of mental instability and capacity.

Modern psychiatry has several specific areas: 

  • Organizational psychiatry. 
  • Forensic psychiatry. 
  • Psychopharmacology. 
  • Social psychiatry. 
  • Age psychiatry. 
  • Narcology.

List all the diseases that the psychiatrist can not cure - there are a lot of diseases, besides, the list is constantly increasing. The main reasons for applying to a psychiatrist are: 

  • attempted suicide. 
  • paranoid ideas, delusions and hallucinations; 
  • various phobias; 
  • depression; 
  • prolonged insomnia; 
  • strong unreasonable anxiety, psychoses and other cases of mental disorders; 
  • epilepsy; 
  • schizophrenic conditions; 
  • mental disorders caused by the post-traumatic state; 
  • alcoholism, insurmountable dependencies of various types; 
  • delirium tremens; 
  • frequent hysterical fits; 
  • senile dementia (Alzheimer's disease); 
  • bulimia and anorexia. 
  • alcoholism.

With any of the above pathologies, the final diagnosis can be made only by a doctor a psychiatrist, in whose competence there is no doubt.

Advices of a psychiatrist

The advice of a psychiatrist's doctor is aimed at maintaining mental balance, the best way to achieve this is by observing the hygiene of sleep. With prolonged sleep disturbances, the likelihood of developing somatic diseases, as well as mental diseases, is high. To relax, avoid overwork and improve the quality of sleep, you need to adhere to the following rules: 

  1. Refusal to watch TV before going to bed, refusal from intense emotional stress, it is especially important to use the bed only as a place for sleeping and conjugal duties, otherwise the type of bed will adjust to anything except sleep. 
  2. In the room for sleep should be the optimal temperature, low noise and light threshold - the absence of irritants is the guarantee of healthy sleep. 
  3. 2-3 hours before going to bed, you must stop eating food and liquids - this stimulates the nervous system of the body and can manifest as insomnia. 
  4. Refusal of a short sleep during the day. In extreme cases, sleep should last no more than 25 minutes. 
  5. You can not smoke before bedtime - nicotine stimulates the CNS, and it can also cause restless unstable sleep or insomnia. 
  6. Caffeine is also a stimulant, but it is not only contained in coffee, tea, drinks, but also certain medications, so you can take caffeine-containing medications no less than 6 hours before bedtime. 
  7. The use of large doses of alcohol before bedtime also provokes a frequent half-waking awakening, nightmares. The reason for this - the process of decay and the withdrawal of alcohol from the body. 8. Refuse from intense physical activity before bedtime.

Strong healthy sleep is a pledge of good physical and mental health, vitality and health. With prolonged sleep disturbances, insomnia accompanied by anxiety, anxiety, you need to seek advice from a psychiatrist.


Translation Disclaimer: The original language of this article is Russian. For the convenience of users of the iLive portal who do not speak Russian, this article has been translated into the current language, but has not yet been verified by a native speaker who has the necessary qualifications for this. In this regard, we warn you that the translation of this article may be incorrect, may contain lexical, syntactic and grammatical errors.

You are reporting a typo in the following text:
Simply click the "Send typo report" button to complete the report. You can also include a comment.