First of all, I would like to ask those who are reading this article to share their knowledge, or their opinion where there is a lack of knowledge. I myself am a student of medicine in the second year – really far off from knowing anything significant. But I would like to explore an idea.
The idea is that paying a psychologist, and sometimes a psychiatrist, to see you and help you is like buying a self-development book, and reading it with a friend.
Psychologists attempt to understand the role of mental functions in individual and social behavior, while also exploring the physiological and biological processes that underlie cognitive functions and behaviors
Psychiatry is the medical specialty devoted to the diagnosis, prevention, study, and treatment of mental disorders. These include various abnormalities related to mood, behaviour, cognition, and perceptions.
A psychiatrist is a medical doctor (an M.D. or D.O.) who specializes in mental health, including substance use disorders. Psychiatrists are qualified to assess both the mental and physical aspects of psychological problems.
Psychologists try to take care of the problems before a psychiatrist is needed. Also it is only psychiatrist that are allowed to prescribe medicine.
I have started with the definition of psychiatry given by both Wikipedia and the American Institute for Psychiatry for us to have a common starting point. I am going to explore more of the world of mental disorders, and sometimes I will bring psychology into discussion.
Broadly, Psychiatry has two approaches over a condition.
- Physical – per oralis, injectables and physical interventions
- Psychological – cognitive therapy, in group or not, examinations at the psychiatrist etc. (all those types of therapy that try to help a person by talking)
The two approaches are used according to necessity, obviously. I consider that it’s best they are not used interchangeably, but rather at the same time.
Why? A mental disorder is hard to explain. A person looks normal, C.T. may be normal, and the anatomy may be normal.
A mental disorder, also called a mental illness or psychiatric disorder, is a diagnosis by a mental health professional of a behavioral or mental pattern that may cause suffering or a poor ability to function in life.
The causes of mental disorders are often unclear. Theories may incorporate findings from a range of fields. Mental disorders are usually defined by a combination of how a person behaves, feels, perceives, or thinks. This may be associated with particular regions or functions of the brain, often in a social context.
Histologically(down to the cell level) speaking, the explanation for mental illness that pop up right away is that the neurons fire in a way that they shouldn’t. The brain has established communications between areas that should not communicate, or it delivers wrong information, or it may have reinforced some connections that promote (in the cases of Anorexia or Bulimia). But perhaps there are other reasons.
I am not going to discuss heavily debated topics. You can read more about them all over the internet. I would like to turn your attention to the treatments, and answer one question I asked myself.
“Would it be best for both types of therapies to be used simultaneously?” The borderline, regarding how far to go with the therapy, shall be drawn by the ethics of the community.
– The short answer is that this is because both therapies cannot be used independently of each other. It’s true that cognitive therapy has shown significant results, but it takes time. It takes cooperation 100% of the time. It takes caring people. Family, or friends. It takes a person that desires to change what it is that they want to. In time, many of the favourable factors that may be present at the beginning may disappear, and the person loses what it’s most important for their recovery. Their will.
I believe that medicine may provide more time, and it may relieve some of the symptoms. My friend doctor, Nawar Kbibou, said that medicine bring the people to a level at which they could be talked to.
But medicine does not cure a mental disorder. The brain is a piece of play-doh, and drugs can’t rewire the brain for good(at least for now).
Physical therapies such as electroconvulsive therapies may help to rewire some connections, especially those involved with the reward system. But they are horrific. Horrific to watch and horrific to horrific to undergo.
Such therapies are performed by both psychiatrists and psychologists. It seems that proposed therapies take time and effort from both sides, but they are more likely to succeed if the patient does not stray from the program.
The following study has discovered that the risk of relapse in case a person undergoes Cognitive Therapy is 39%, the lowest risk resulting from any of the therapies.
Back to the main idea of this article: “paying a psychologist, and sometimes a psychiatrist, to see you and help you is like buying a self-development book, and reading it with a friend. “
I am using only one metaphor in this quote, the self-development book. By that I mean the set of decisions that you need to take in order to get better.
It seems that the doctor is actually your best friend for the time being. He is listening to you, and guiding you through the steps. He is exploring the set of option that you have with you.
In the case of group therapies it’s the same story all over again.
Is it disclosing some of our most intimate thoughts, and debating over it, what relieves the mental illnesses? Is it being social? Is it respecting the opinion of somebody you trust more than your own?
Whatever it is, it’s a way to go.
Destruction and Reconstruction is not a treatment. Nothing is salvaged, and when nothing is salvaged medicine has lost track.