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Monday, 05 Aug 2019

How do I Know When I Need to See A Psychiatrist?

By Dr Becky Spelman
Do I Need To See A Psychiatrist? | Private Therapy Clinic

Medical dramas on TV often like to portray Psychiatrists as the first port of call if you’re feeling down, or experiencing emotional difficulties. And although there is much good that can come from seeing a Psychiatrist, it isn’t always the best avenue to explore. There are many types of mental health professionals, all of them with their own area of expertise. Who you seek out depends on symptoms and what your suspected condition might be.

Psychiatrists are known for treating severe mental health issues that require medication to reduce and manage symptoms. They’re fully trained medical doctors who’ve chosen to specialise in the area of medicine as it relates to mental health. Some may also choose to offer talk therapies in addition to specialising in medicine, although this isn’t always the case.

Seeing a Psychologist or Counsellor first is the more conventional route, given that medication isn’t generally regarded as the first line of treatment, especially in the case of behavioural issues.

In instances where you are already suffering from a mental health issue, you may be referred to a Psychiatrist for one of several reasons, which include:

  • Your condition being complex or difficult to diagnose properly.
  • You have been experiencing suicidal thoughts.
  • You experience the sudden onset of a host of severe symptoms.
  • You aren’t responding to other treatments such as talk therapies.
  • You’re aware you’re in need a specific medication only available from a psychiatrist.

These are just a few of the reasons that might necessitate visiting a Psychiatrist. Although it isn’t uncommon for both Psychiatrists and Psychologists to work in tandem, so even if you do seek psychiatric help, you may be advised to continue with any current talk therapies you’re currently engaged in. The function of medication isn’t to cure you, but is often used to improve quality of life and to enable you to build the capacity to create new methods of self-management without their use in future.

A psychiatric approach is most commonly turned to in cases of serious mood disorders such as Bipolar, and personality disorders such as paranoid, schizoid and borderline personality disorder amongst others. Below is a more complete list of the conditions you might see a Psychiatrist for:

Addiction and Substance Abuse


Anxiety Disorders

Autism Spectrum Disorders

Bipolar Disorders


Eating Disorders

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Postpartum Depression

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Personality Disorders


Sleep Disorders

Should you not have a history of mental health, but find yourself experiencing the sudden onset of any of the following symptoms with no logical explanation, it could be worth exploring whether you may require psychiatric assistance.

Some of the warning signs you may need psychiatric help include:

Sleep or Appetite Changes – Significant and uncharacteristic changes in appetite or regard for personal care.

Mood Changes – A sudden shifts in moods, which could include both extreme elation, depression, or a combination of both.

Withdrawal – Increasingly rejecting the oppurtunity to spend time with others as well disregarding your responsibilities.

A Decrease in Performance – A sudden decline in productivity either at school or work, as well as difficulty performing familiar tasks.

Cognitive Impairment – Experiencing problems with thinking, concentration and speech.

Heightened Senses – An increase in sensitivity to sights, sounds, smell or touch, coupled with a desire to actively avoid situations where you may be exposed to them.

Apathy – A loss of desire for activities that you to excite you.

Feeling Disconnected – A prolonged feeling of not being fully connected with either yourself or the world at large.

Irrational Thinking – This can take the form of fantasy, delusions of grandeur and paranoia.

Nervousness – A strong fear and suspicion of others and their motives.

Uncharacteristic Behaviour – Any kind of odd behaviour that contradicts your regular character.

*** If you think you might be in need of a professional opinion on the state of your mental health, we offer a FREE 15-MINUTE CONSULTATION for you to gain a better understanding of where you might need assistance. You can book yours here.


Your Health In Mind. (2018). What’s a Psychiatrist?. Retrieved on 19th July, 2019 from,


NHS UK. (20th July 2018). Psychiatry. Retrieved on 19th July, 2019 from,


APA. (20th July 2018). Warning Signs of Mental Illness. Retrieved on 19th July, 2019 from, https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/warning-signs-of-mental-illness

WebMD. (20th July 2018). Types of Mental Illness. Retrieved on 19th July, 2019 from, https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/mental-health-types-illness#1

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