What is a psychiatrist?

A psychiatrist is a doctor who specializes in preventing and diagnosing behavioral and mental health conditions and provides prescription medication to manage them. They also work closely with other mental health professionals including psychologists, therapists, counselors, and social workers, who provide talk therapy to help a patient process trauma or other issues.

“Medication can help patients manage their symptoms which improves their quality of life. It’s similar to someone taking medicine for high blood pressure, cholesterol, or diabetes,” said Dr. George Hneich, psychiatrist at Samaritan Healthcare. “And for most conditions, a combination of medication and therapy is likely to achieve remission faster.”

Some of the mental health conditions psychiatrists treat include:

  • Anxiety
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Depression
  • Eating disorders
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Schizophrenia
  • Substance disorders
When should you see a psychiatrist?

If you are experiencing mental health symptoms that make it hard to participate in day-to-day activities or to enjoy your life, you may want to see a psychiatrist for support. If you’re unsure, talk to you primary care provider if seeing a psychiatrist might be right for you.

Some reasons people see a psychiatrist include:

  • Anxiety or worry
  • Long-lasting depression
  • Changes in mood or uncontrollable emotions
  • Suicidal thoughts or thoughts of hurting yourself
  • Hallucinations or delusions
  • Substance use
  • Trauma
  • Changes in sleeping or eating habits

If you are in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800−273−TALK (8255), available 24/7.

What happens during an appointment with a psychiatrist?

Usually, your first visit is between 60 and 90 minutes long. During this time, the doctor will ask questions to get to know you, your medical history, and your symptoms. They may perform a physical exam, order labs, and complete mental health evaluations.

It may take more than one visit to find your diagnosis. Once you’ve been diagnosed, your psychiatrist will work with you on a treatment plan that may include prescribing medication such as antidepressants or mood stabilizers, or a referral to talk therapy with a licensed therapist. Medication may help manage your physical symptoms while talk therapy can help you learn to develop coping skills and handle stress.

“I refer some patients to therapy if they need to process trauma, such as PTSD,” said Dr. Hneich. “Medication may reduce flashbacks and nightmares, but therapy helps those suffering from PTSD to process the trauma they had experienced.”

About Dr. George Hneich
Dr. George Hneich

Dr. Hneich is a psychiatrist on Samaritan’s Behavioral and Mental Health team. He specializes in medical management of behavioral, mental, and emotional health disorders and coordinates care with Samaritan’s licensed counselors and social workers for counseling. Dr. Hneich is also a fluent Spanish speaker, which allows him to communicate more easily with patients whose primary language is not English.

Samaritan Behavioral and Mental Health is located at Samaritan Clinic on Pioneer, within the Family Medicine department. Dr. Hneich sees patients ages 18 and older. To schedule an appointment, call 509.793.9770.

Article Source: Samaritan Healthcare