When should I see a psychiatrist?

Substance abuse for symptom relief (drugs, alcohol) Suicidal thoughts or self-harm. Persistent or frequent anger (for more than six months) Excessive anxiety and/or worry.

Updated on March 12, 2023

When do I see a psychiatrist?

A psychiatrist is a doctor who specializes in the assessment, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of mental, behavioral, and emotional disorders. It takes about 10 to 12 years of training to become a psychiatrist. It is an intensive pathway that requires a university education, medical school, residency, and MD exams. Specializing in certain fields, such as child and adolescent psychiatry, addiction medicine, geriatrics, and forensic psychiatry, requires additional years of specialty training.

The psychiatrist is qualified not only to make an accurate psychiatric diagnosis, but also to evaluate physical aspects that may be causing the patient's psychological problems. Another important role of the psychiatrist is that he can prescribe medication to treat mental illness. Note that this is the main difference between a psychiatrist and a clinical psychologist. Medications for mental illness are usually taken in conjunction with appropriate therapy to alleviate symptoms and/or change negative emotions, unrealistic thinking or subsequent behavior. Research has proven that a combination of medication and therapy leads to much more effective, long-lasting, and beneficial results than either treatment alone.

Some people find it difficult to know when to see a psychiatrist. Determining if you are overwhelmed and just need a mental health break, or if something deeper is going on, can seem like a daunting task.

"It's never too late to take care of yourself. Don't wait, don't delay, and don't ignore anything that can improve your mental well-being."

Therapist Dr. Muhammad Munir

If you're wondering, "Do I need a psychiatrist?" considering some of the key indicators below will help you decide. Each of these signs is a signal that it may be time to seek help. Mental health disorders are not a sign of failure in your personal life. Rather, they can be directly related to several factors that may be environmental or lifestyle related. Some of the main reasons people may decide to seek help from a psychiatrist or mental health professional include:

  • Genetics (heredity)
  • Environmental stressors
  • Chemical imbalance in the brain
  • Undiagnosed brain injury or brain infection
  • Alcohol and/or drug abuse
  • Prenatal or fetal brain damage during birth
  • Postpartum depression
  • Poor nutrition
  • Exposure to toxins

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