A variety of reasons and situations make people turn to a psychiatrist: fears and anxieties, mood changes, behavior changes, regression in children, sleeping difficulties, eating disorders, chronic tiredness, muscle aches, addictions, attention and concentration disorders, difficulties in functioning, continued tension, trauma and so on.
Whether by doctor referral or personal decision, choosing a psychiatrist is an embarrassing and complex task.
The decision is not simple: the desire to be discrete, lack of knowledge about this discipline, fears and uncertainties: "Is this the right professional for me?"
A psychiatrist is an expert doctor who has studied medicine for seven years and then practiced five years in the field of mental health.
Psychiatric practice is divided into two: practice involving children and youth (up to the age of 18) and practice involving adults. Some psychiatrists practice in both fields.
Psychiatric treatment is divided into two major stages: diagnosis and treatment.
The first meetings with the psychiatrist are devoted to diagnosing the problem and to explaining the results of the diagnosis in a simple and clear way without using medical terms.
According to the diagnostic results, the psychiatrist will suggest the most appropriate treatment method for your problem, which takes into consideration the patient's wishes as well.
During the psychiatrist's long training, he is exposed to a wide variety of treatment methods: psychological treatment, medical treatment, play therapy, art therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, biofeedback, dyadic treatment, dynamic treatment, parental instruction, couple's and family therapy, addiction treatment, psychodrama, neurofeedback, hypnosis, and more.
Some psychiatrists have specialized in one of the methods and deliver the treatment themselves; others will recommend a suitable professional.
A psychiatrist can deliver mental therapy, similarly to a psychologist; there are, however, essential differences between the two disciplines.
First, the psychiatrist is also a doctor and is therefore allowed to write prescriptions (some mental symptoms originate from physical illnesses).
Second, since the psychiatrist is familiar with a wide variety of treatments, he is capable of suggesting the most suitable treatment for the patient's distress.
Therefore, it would be a mistake to think that "a psychiatrist gives medicines while the psychologist listens" or that "the psychiatrist treats mental disorders while the psychologist treats daily distresses."
Résumé: The psychiatrist's résumé can teach us about his experience: the places where he worked, the roles he fulfilled, the training he had and the expertise in which he has qualified; it is also possible to find out whether he is an expert in the type of problem from which you suffer and what his experience in this area is.
For example, in the case of mental problems, such as depression, anxiety and tension, it is recommended to find out whether the psychiatrist has worked in a senior role in a private clinic or in a sick fund clinic that specializes in these areas.
Place of treatment: One has to find out where the psychiatrist meets his patients. Is he working in a multidisciplinary center, in a sick fund clinic, or in a private clinic? There is an advantage to a multidisciplinary center or any other clinic in which professionals from different areas can treat a wide variety of problems; this also ensures backup in case one of them is absent.
Office services: Seemingly unrelated to therapy, but very important to the patient. The psychiatrist is not available during the work day, but it is possible to contact him through the office on any subject: urgent distress, updating a prescription, changing an appointment and so on.
Price: Even if the psychiatrist is working in a private clinic, the sick fund could participate financially, and it is recommended that you find out. Also, it is important to find out what cancelation policy is in effect, that is, how long before the appointment can the patient cancel the meeting without charge.
Decision after meeting: A vital condition for the success of therapy is personal contact between the patient and the therapist. Therefore, the final decision should be made only after a face-to-face meeting. Even if all the conditions have been met, there is not always a 'click'. Only in your meeting will you be able to evaluate to what extent you connect with the psychiatrist and whether you feel comfortable in his company.