Psychiatrists provide specialist diagnosis and treatment for a range of mental health concerns. Psychiatrists are medical doctors with an in-depth understanding of both physical and mental health. Psychiatrists have a minimum of 10 years of training, which includes a medical degree and extensive specialist experience. Psychiatrists can prescribe medication, including a range of psychiatric medications to manage mental and behavioural concerns.
As part of their work, psychiatrists provide both urgent care for mental health crises and ongoing care to help people manage their mental health condition long term. A psychiatrist can work with you individually, or with you and your partner, family or carers. Psychiatrists often provide second opinions and advice to other doctors and health professionals. They are also able to refer you to other health professionals and arrange admission to the hospital if required.
It may be particularly beneficial to seek help from a psychiatrist if your mental health condition is complex or difficult to diagnose, severe or happens suddenly, involves risk of harm to yourself or others, requires medication or isn’t improving with standard treatment through your GP.
Common reasons why someone might see a psychiatrist include:
- Problems adjusting after major life stressors
- Excessive anxiety, worry or fear
- Depressed or low mood that doesn’t go away
- Constant negative or obsessive thoughts
- Thoughts of suicide or hurting other people
- Self-harm, emotional outbursts or other risky behaviour
- Addictive behaviours, including drug and alcohol use and gambling
- Agitation, feeling on edge or unable to wind down
- Hyperactivity, poor concentration and attention
- Sleep disturbance
- Eating and body image concerns
- Seeing or hearing things that aren’t really there (hallucinations) or fixed beliefs with no basis in reality (delusions)