Key Factors of Mental Illness 

Key Factors of Mental Illness


Psychiatry is a branch of medicine that focuses on the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mental, emotional and behavioral disorders.  However, Psychologists can treat a range of issues through counselling, from relationship problems to mental illness. 

What is the role of a Psychologist?  

  • A psychologist usually holds a doctoral degree, such as a Ph.D.  
  • Psychologists can’t prescribe medication in most states. They work in places like private offices, hospitals, or schools.   

What is the role of a Psychiatrist?  

Psychiatrists mainly diagnose, treat, and help to prevent mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders. Psychiatrists are qualified to assess mental illness and physical aspects of psychological problems. A psychiatrist is a doctor with either a doctor of medicine (MD) degree or a doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO) degree. 

Psychiatric help in areas, such as a panic attack, hallucinations, thoughts of suicide, or hearing “voices.” They also help in some long-term problems such as, feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or anxiousness that never seem to go away, causing everyday life to feel distorted or out of control.   

Psychiatrists will perform psychological tests along with discussions with the patients, which can help to understand the patient’s physical and mental state. Their education and clinical training has equipped them to understand the complex relationship between emotional and other mental illness.   

Specific diagnoses are based on criteria established in APA’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), which contains descriptions, symptoms and other criteria for diagnosing mental illness. Psychiatrists’ specialties can include:  

  • children and adolescents 
  • forensic psychiatry 
  • learning disabilities  

Psychiatrists can work in any of these settings:  

  • private practices 
  • hospitals 
  • psychiatric hospitals 
  • university medical canters 
  • nursing homes 
  • prisons 
  • rehabilitation programs 
  • hospice programs  

They often treat people with a mental illness that requires medication, such as:  

  • anxiety disorders 
  • attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) 
  • bipolar disorder 
  • major depression 
  • post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) 
  • Schizophrenia  

Psychiatrists diagnose these and other mental health conditions using:  

  • psychological tests 
  • one-on-one evaluations 
  • lab tests to rule out any physical causes of symptoms  

Once they’ve made a diagnosis, psychiatrists may refer you to a psychotherapist for therapy or prescribe medication. Some of the medication’s psychiatrists prescribe include:  

  • antidepressants 
  • antipsychotic medications 
  • mood stabilizers 
  • stimulants 
  • sedatives   

After prescribing medication to someone, a psychiatrist will closely monitor them for signs of improvement and any side effects. Based on this information, they might make changes to the dosage or type of medication. Psychiatrists can also prescribe other types of treatments, including:  

  • Electroconvulsive therapy. Electroconvulsive therapy involves applying electrical currents to the brain. This treatment is usually reserved for cases of severe depression that don’t respond to any other types of treatment. 
  • Light therapy. This involves using artificial light to treat seasonal depression, especially in places that don’t get a lot of sunlight.   

When treating children, psychiatrists will begin with a comprehensive mental health examination. This helps them evaluate the many components underlying a child’s mental health issues, including emotional, cognitive, educational, familial, and genetic. A psychiatrist’s treatment plan for children may involve:  

  • individual, group, or family talk therapy 
  • medication 
  • Consultation with other doctors or professionals at schools, social agencies, or community organizations.  

A psychiatrist may be a better choice if you have a more complex mental health issue that requires medication, such as:  

  • severe depression 
  • bipolar disorder 
  • Schizophrenia  

If you want to work on better understanding your thoughts and behaviors’, a psychologist may be a better option.   

If you’re a parent looking into treatment for your child, a psychologist may be able to provide different types of therapy options, such as play therapy. A psychiatrist may be a better choice if your child has a more complex mental issue that requires medication.   

Keep in mind that many common mental health conditions, including depression and anxiety, are often treated with a combination of medication and talk therapy.  

In these cases, it’s often helpful to see both a psychiatrist and a psychologist. The psychologist does regular therapy sessions, while the psychiatrist manages medications. Whichever specialist you choose to see, make sure they have:  

  • experience treating your type of mental health condition 
  • an approach and manner that makes you feel comfortable 
  • enough open appointments so you don’t have to wait to be seen   

What Is the Difference Between Psychiatrist and Psychologist?  

A psychiatrist has done special training in psychiatry. A psychiatrist conducts psychotherapy and prescribes medication and other medical treatments. 

A psychologist has an advanced degree in clinical psychology, and often has extensive training in research or clinical practice. Psychologists treat mental disorders with psychotherapy.  

Psychiatrists and psychologists are two types of mental health professionals. While they have several similarities, they play different roles in healthcare settings.  

Both treat a variety of mental health conditions, but in different ways. While psychiatrists use a mix of therapy and medication, psychologists focuses on providing therapy.   

What is Mental Disorder? 

Mental disorder can be defined as a significant dysfunction in a person’s thinking, emotional control, and behavior. This condition disrupts a person’s ability to relate to others and to deal with the demands of life. Depression is the largest contributor to worldwide disability. Schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are the most severe and disabling disorders. 

According to World Health Organization (WHO), many people with mental illness refrain from seeking treatment because of the stigma associated with it. Foods such as sugar, wheat, milk, and lead, as well as vitamin deficiencies are the causes of emotional disturbances.  

The symptoms can vary and intensity depending on the individual and the particular ailment and circumstances. It affects people of any gender, age, culture, race, or educational and income level. Mental health disorders do not result from personal weakness or character flaw. Through appropriate medical care, individuals can be treated.  

Where are we today in Psychiatry?  

Genetic research has gained traction in some areas of psychiatric illnesses such as schizophrenia. Currently the genes showing a somewhat positive association with schizophrenia are COMT, Dysbindin, NRG1, RGS4, G72/DAAO, PRODH, DISC1, GRM3, AKT1 and CHRNA7. Neuropsychiatric illnesses are complex genetic disorders, analogous to heart disease, diabetes and obesity. Family studies indicate that simple Mendelian genetics with one gene–one phenotype are not applicable to psychiatric illnesses; rather, complex genetic models suggest that gene effects may be environmentally triggered, detrimental only in critical contexts. Neuropsychiatric illnesses are complex genetic disorders, analogous to heart disease, diabetes and obesity. Family studies indicate that simple Mendelian genetics with one gene–one phenotype are not applicable to psychiatric illnesses; rather, complex genetic models suggest that gene effects may be environmentally triggered, detrimental only in critical contexts.  

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