mental health treatment

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What is the difference between a psychiatrist and a psychologist?

A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who is authorized to prescribe medicines, if needed. It is not necessary that medicines are prescribed always. A psychiatrist has degrees like MBBS and MD. A psychiatrist can also do psychotherapy if trained. A psychologist is an arts graduate, typically with degrees like MA, M Phil and PhD. They do not prescribe medicines but do psychological testing and psychotherapy.

How common are psychiatric problems?

Mental health issues are extremely common. It is important to identify them at the earliest and treat them properly. This is the smart thing to do. Denial of the problem will only result in the problem getting worser. Seemingly normal regular people often suffer from, and also routinely consult a psychiatrist these days. The stigma associated with mental health problems needs to end.

How expensive is mental health treatment?

The cost of psychiatric treatment is miniscule compared to the cost of the damages that result if not treated. It is just that losses are not so obvious. It is therefore that mental disorders are called invisible disabilities.

What determines whether a medicine is prescribed or not?

Mental health issues arise from some combination of the following four domains: Biological, psychological, social and spiritual. If the problem is primarily biological, it is best treated with a medicine. In other cases, psychotherapy may be better. In many cases, a combination of medicine and psychotherapy works best. Based on his training, the psychiatrist will decide the extent of contribution from these various domains and the correct line of treatment.

Are psychiatric medicines safe?

The safety of any medicine depends on the particular medicine in question, the dose and duration; besides patient factors like age, sex, diagnosis, associated conditions and so on. Psychiatric medications are no different. When used properly, they are completely safe and can change the entire trajectory of a person’s life in a positive way.

Are psychiatric medicines addictive?

It is a common misconception that psychiatric medicines are addictive and once taken, will need to be taken for a lifetime. The reality is that except for certain medicines, psychiatric medications are not addictive. In many persons, it is possible to wean off the medicines after proper course of treatment has been completed.

Besides medicines and psychotherapy, what other treatment options exist for mental health issues?

Exercise, yoga and meditation are some of the natural options that are effective in minor cases. rTMS, ECT, tDCS and vagal nerve stimulation are certain kinds of nervous system stimulatory methods using electric or magnetic stimulation. Bright light therapy works for certain kinds of mood problems. Music therapy, art therapy, drama therapy, bibliotherapy and many other options also exist.

What does one do if one cannot afford even the basic treatment?

Free mental health camps are organized by us from time to time. Persons who cant afford, may avail this facility. However, very often, the lack of affordability is a matter of perception and arises from the lack of understanding of the importance and impact of mental health issues.

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