The psychiatrist’s choice of a particular treatment is based on its proven effectiveness in treating the symptom or illness. Psychiatric treatments are tested and researched in the same rigorous way that other medical treatments are scrutinized. Treatment methods can be physical, psychological or involve medication, or may be a combination of these approaches. In some cases, an admission to hospital is required for investigation and treatment.
Medical psychotherapy is an important method of treatment in which the psychiatrist and patient discuss problems during regularly scheduled sessions. The psychiatrist assists the patient to understand the basis of his or her problems and works with the patient to find a solution. Depending on the extent of the problem, such treatment may take a few sessions over several weeks or many sessions over a longer period of time. Psychotherapy, which means talking treatment, may be conducted with an individual patient, a group of patients or a family, and may be aimed at behavioral change or the gaining of emotional understanding.
A wide range of medications is now available for use in psychiatric illnesses. Medications can now effectively remove symptoms, alter the course of illnesses and commonly return patients to a normal life. In some instances, medications can be life saving, for example, in a case of a severe depressive illness. Psychiatrists are highly experienced in prescribing and monitoring these medications.