What Can An Adult Psychiatrist Do for You?

Updated January 03, 2020

Medically Reviewed By: Lauren Guilbeault

If you're in a poor state of mind, or just want to improve your overall mental health, it's worth it to see an adult psychiatrist. They can help you improve your life and get you back to living in full mental health.

What Is An Adult Psychiatrist?

To figure out an adult psychiatrist's definition, we should first look at what the general definition of a psychiatrist. A psychiatrist is someone who works in psychiatry. Well, what is psychiatry? Psychiatry is the field of medicine that evaluates, diagnoses, and treats people with mental disorders. A psychiatrist differs from a psychologist in that psychiatrists can prescribe medicine, and they're used more for severe mental cases.

So an adult psychiatrist is simply a psychiatrist who works with people in the adult range, which is typically the period after adolescence and before older adulthood. Adulthood is a time where we are faced with many obstacles and challenges, and these all can affect your mental well-being. Many mental disorders can develop in adulthood, and this can make it challenging to live a full life. A psychiatrist can help you sort out your life by treating you.

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How They Help

An adult psychiatrist can help their patients out in many ways, and to help, they use four steps.

  • Evaluate. The patient will come in for an evaluation. They will explain their symptoms, and a psychiatrist may use different tests to figure out if they have a disorder. They may look at the patient's genetic history or run some cognitive tests to help find a match.
  • Diagnosis. The psychiatrist will diagnose someone based on if they meet the criteria required in the DSM-V. More on that in a minute.
  • Treatment. The psychiatrist will then treat the mental illness through many different methods.
  • Follow-up. A patient should follow up with their psychiatrist to make sure they're doing well and ask about any questions or concerns they may have.

The DSM-5: The Tool For Diagnosing

An adult psychiatrist doesn't guess the patient's mental illness. They need to consult the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, also known as the DSM. As the Book is on its fifth edition, it is known as the DSM-5. Most mental disorders have specific criteria that a patient must meet to be diagnosed. This is to help avoid misdiagnosing a patient. Even then, it is possible to misdiagnose, but the DSM is always correcting itself and allowing to make more accurate diagnoses.

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How A Psychiatrist Treats People

A psychiatrist will treat a person in many different ways. There are many misconceptions concerning how an adult psychiatrist will treat someone. They may believe that a psychiatrist only prescribes medication, but this is simply not the case. Here is a list of ways a psychiatrist can help a person.

Talk Therapy

Talk therapy is also known as psychotherapy. This is where a psychiatrist will listen to what the patient has to say to help the person treat their condition. Sometimes, a psychiatrist can let the person speak and allow them to come up with their solutions. Other times, therapy may be implemented through cognitive behavioral therapy. This is when someone uses positive thinking to change how they process thoughts. For instance, anxious thoughts can be discarded for thoughts that are more calming. S


Medication may be used instead of, or along with, talk therapy. Many mental disorders have symptoms that can be treated with medication. A psychiatrist will prescribe medication to treat various ailments such as PTSD, depression, bipolar disorder, and more. They may prescribe antipsychotics to help with schizophrenia. Sedatives can help with anxiety and insomnia. A hypnotic can treat insomnia as well.

Medication use should be monitored to make sure there are no negative side effects, and you should consult your doctor if you want to quit the medication.

Electroconvulsive Therapy

Some mental disorders do not respond well to medication or talk therapy. In cases like these, a psychiatrist should be able to recommend electroconvulsive therapy. This is therapy where parts of your brain are stimulated in hopes of reducing your symptoms. For instance, by stimulating a part of the brain associated with happiness, this may help with depression.

In order to help you, a psychiatrist should use every tool possible to treat you. They won't just prescribe medication and move on.

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Finding The Best Adult Psychiatrist For The Job

To find the best psychiatrist, it requires a little bit of digging. In some cases, a good psychiatrist is hard to find. This can be because of where you live. For instance, living in a rural area gives you limited nearby options, and traveling an hour to see one can make it harder to be consistent. Consistently visiting your psychiatrist is key to solving your problem.

Also, there is a shortage of good psychiatrists. This happens for many reasons. Some people have a stigma against psychiatry, and this means that people in the medical field may not want to be a psychiatrist. Psychiatrists are seen as pill pushers or people who want to experiment on their clients. This stems from popular media as well as misconceptions about the field. Some psychiatrists care less about their patients, but bad apples will happen in any field.

So how can you find an adult psychiatrist for the job? Here are a few ways you can do so.

Get A Referral

Referrals can connect you with a psychiatrist that can help you. A referral can come from a friend, a family member, or anyone else who has been in a similar situation as you. Your general practitioner can also be a person who refers you.

Of course, not everyone who went to a psychiatrist saw one who is a good fit for you. However, finding referrals can be a good place for you to start.

Your Insurance Can Help

If you have insurance, talk to your provider and see what psychiatrists nearby accept your insurance. This can allow you to see a psychiatrist at little financial risk. If you don't like them, you can find someone else.

Find A Local Service

There may be a community clinic that can help you with your situation. For example, you may be able to find a state-run clinic that is affordable. You can also look for benefits if you are a veteran.

Just Look It Up

Searching online for psychiatrists nearby is perhaps the best way you can find one. You can read reviews and see how other clients found the experience to be. Of course, not all reviews will be helpful, but some will provide helpful criticism or commentary.

Interview The Psychiatrist

Whenever you find a good adult psychiatrist, don't feel bad asking them some questions. It's good to learn what a psychiatrist's qualifications are and what they can do for you. Here are some questions you can ask.

  • What are your qualifications? Where were you educated? How much experience do you have in treating patients?
  • How long are your sessions? Will you have enough time to listen to me, or will I feel rushed? If your sessions are short, will you make up for it through more sessions?
  • What is your treatment philosophy? Will you treat me in the safest possible manner?
  • What about emergencies? If something goes wrong, will you be there?
  • When it comes to therapy, do you provide it? If not, can you recommend me a therapist?

Don't feel like these questions are pushy. Instead, they are designed to make sure you and the psychiatrist are a good fit. You need to find a psychiatrist who can serve all your needs. If they can't, and it feels like they dodge your questions, you may want to look somewhere else. A psychiatrist should be thanked, however, if they are a good sport with answering your questions.

Keep Searching!

If the experience with your psychiatrist just doesn't fit you, don't fret. There are many different psychiatrists with different styles. Sometimes, a good psychiatrist just may not fit you, and you shouldn't blame them. Not everyone is going to connect. The brain operates differently for everyone, too.

If you do decide to leave a psychiatrist, provide some feedback. Give the psychiatrist some helpful hints, and perhaps ask if they know someone who can do the job better in your case. The psychiatrist should understand. They probably have to go through a journey to get the best fit for their problems. Psychiatrists are human too, and they understand they can't treat everyone.

In Conclusion

An adult psychiatrist can help you in many different ways. They can help treat the mental disorders and turmoils that come with adulthood and help you live a mentally fulfilling life. If you want to seek help, don't feel bad talking to a therapist or a psychiatrist to help you obtain the best mental care possible.

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