The definition of a psychiatrist from psychiatry.org is as follows: “A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who specializes in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mental health, including substance use disorders. Psychiatrists are qualified to assess both the mental and physical aspects of psychological disturbance.” And even with that clear definition, there are many myths and misconceptions about what a psychiatrist in NYC or other cities actually does and about psychiatry in general.
Here are three of the more common misconceptions about psychiatry:
People do not know that psychiatrists are doctors
Some of the general public doesn’t realize that psychiatrists are medical doctors and that they have attended medical school. In order to get a degree in psychiatry, doctors must go through the same medical training program that all doctors go through. So not only are they learning about how the mind works will be learning about the body as well. This means they will know how to treat all kinds of illnesses. Psychiatrists have to pass courses in internal medicine, surgery, neurology, obstetrics, emergency medicine, family practice, and pediatrics. This means that if you see a psychiatrist in NYC, they will able to diagnose a disorder and prescribe medicine to help treat that disorder, whatever it may be.
Entertainment portrays psychiatrists in an unrealistic way
Movies and TV shows like to depict psychiatry in a way that isn’t very realistic and sometimes this will make people not want to visit with a psychiatrist. It is important to know that in most cases, your visit will not mirror what you see on TV or in the movies. In many scenes, the psychiatrist is often seen sitting behind the patient, taking notes while the patient speaks about what’s happening in their life. There is often no interaction and it looks cold and impersonal. Psychiatrists will usually sit with their patients either in front of their desk or sometimes will have the patient sit on a couch they’re in a chair across from them. And yes, they do take notes as you speak to them but they often will look at how you are speaking, will ask how you are and will determine how you are doing.
People think psychiatrists are only for people with severe issues
Many people believe that psychiatrists only treat people who are deemed “crazy.” This is another common misconception that hinders the work that psychiatrists do. A psychiatrist in NYC often treats people with many disorders. Everything from panic disorders to depression to social anxiety and schizophrenia are treated. It is important to know that many people see psychiatrists and that is not uncommon at all. In fact, it is likely that you know people who see psychiatrists regularly.
To know more about psychiatry and its misconceptions, go to the website of Dr. Wendy Wolfson.
Stacey Gotsulias writes on a variety of topics.