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    Psychiatry Related Questions

    1. . Who treats psychological problems?

    In India psychological problems are treated by the following mental health professional. Psychiatrist, psychologists, psychiatry social workers and counselors.

    2. Consulting a psychiatrist means that I must be MAD?

    A psychiatrist treats various psychological problems like anxiety disorders, depression, phobias, panic disorders, anger issues, alcohol and tobacco dependence, academic issues and various other issues. In fact majority of the problems treated by psychiatrists the patient is in complete control of himself/herself and are holding successful and responsible jobs. The common stereotypical psychiatry patient depicted in movies and in the media form only a very minute percentage of patients seen by psychiatrists. You can consult a psychiatrist for even minor issues which might be troubling you and get suitable advice.

    3. Will other specialty doctors treat psychiatry problems?

    In India other specialty doctors give medications for psychological problems but please remember that the exposure for psychiatry in MBBS and post graduation is very inadequate in India often the exposure is only 1-2 months during their whole period of specialization. A psychiatrist has a minimum of 2-5 yrs training experience in handling psychological problems before he independently address the patient problems.

    If you have a problem with your electrical issues you do not consult a plumber.

    4. All medications given by psychiatrists are to be used lifelong and are addicting?

    Psychiatrist is the only mental health professionals who can prescribe medications for psychological problems. Not all medications given are life long, in fact majority of the patient treated for psychiatry problems get off their medications in due course of time or are off medications when they are fine. Some patients may have to take medications for considerable period of time and even lifelong but they form a smaller portion of the patients seen by psychiatrists.

    Remember that many physical illnesses too need medication for lifelong like diabetes, hypertension.

    Additional Questions

    1. What are antidepressants?

    Antidepressants are medications used to treat depression. They should help your mood to lift. You should normally take them for at least six weeks to see if they’re having a helpful effect, and you won’t become addicted to them.

    2. How do I choose a psychologist or psychiatrist?

    The things to bear in mind when choosing whether to see a psychiatrist or psychologist are whether you’re likely to need medication or not. If you will need medication, then it’s very important to be assessed and treated by a psychiatrist, though you may also need to see a psychologist for talking treatment as well.

    3. What are the treatment options for substance misuse?

    Different treatment options for substance misuse are medical, where you can take a medication to help you manage withdrawal and addiction effects, and psychological, to help you both cope with the cravings and also make the changes in your life and the underlying causes that have led you to substance misuse in the first place.

    Medication Frequently Asked Questions

    1. What are the long-term effects of taking medication for mental illness? Will the medicine damage my brain, liver, kidney or other organs?

    Medications for mental illness are generally safe and effective when used as prescribed.   As with any medication, however, side effects may occur. Research shows that medications like antipsychotics, lithium and antidepressants can actually protect brain cells from damage caused by brain illnesses like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.  This improves overall functioning.

    2. Will I become addicted to the medication?

    This is a commonly asked question. Addiction involves taking more and more of a drug and craving it, despite having negative consequences from taking it. For some people who are addicted, much time is spent making sure that there is always an available supply of the drug. Common addictions are for drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine. Addicted individuals may crave these drugs but sometimes taking them makes them feel paranoid and even hallucinate. 

    Most medications for severe brain disorders like schizophrenia or bipolar illness do not pose a risk of addiction. These medications alleviate symptoms and improve your health but there is no craving and the outcome of use is positive. 

    3. I was told by my doctor that I need to take the medication for the rest of my life. Is it absolutely true that I will have to take the medication for the rest of my life?

    There are a few things to consider when thinking about long-term treatment of mental illness. Similar to the treatment of high blood pressure and diabetes, a person can be on medications for many years, even a lifetime. The reason for this is that they are prescribed by doctors to help relieve symptoms or put disorders in remission but not be a cure in most cases.

    Most important, medication treatment needs to be tailored to the person depending on the type of symptoms and response to treatment. Tailored medication treatments are decisions that are made between the person and doctor.

    There is some evidence that the longer a person has suffered with a mental illness the longer the person may need to stay on the medications. A person is more likely to need medications for a longer period of time if:  1) you have been suffering with a mental illness continuously for 2 years or longer; 2) you have had repeated relapses of the illness; 3) you need combinations of medications to control your symptoms.

    The good news is some exciting evidence that the sooner a person is treated for a mental illness the better the response will be. Also, the longer the person remains symptom free while taking the medication the better the chances that the doctor may later consider lowering the dose of the medication and possibly stopping the medication. Remember, there are always exceptions to the rule depending on the person and the type of illness. Even in the best-case scenario, a person will need to be re-evaluated on a regular basis for the need for ongoing medications. Please always consult with your doctor if you are thinking of stopping your medication or are concerned about how long to take your medication.