At Neuroscenter we believe it is very important to have a psychiatry unit in our center in order to offer our patients the best intervention from different approaches.
What is the difference between a psychiatrist and a psychologist?
Psychologists and psychiatrists can intervene on the same disorders, but they do so in different ways.
The main difference between these two types of mental health professionals concerns medication: a psychiatrist can prescribe drugs, while a psychologist cannot.
Psychiatrists have a medical degree, like any other physician, while psychologists have a degree in psychology.
This is why the way they approach mental health intervention is different.
What does a psychologist do?
Psychologists will evaluate patients and treat them through psychotherapy. Applying scientifically validated procedures, a psychologist will work with a patient to help identify and isolate a problem, recommend possible changes and determine the best way to deal with the situation.
The purpose of psychological therapy is to get to the root of the problem, to intervene on what is causing the psychological discomfort in order to improve the symptoms. It is assumed that if we do not get to the cause of the pain, it is not possible to move forward and thus improve.
Within the psychological intervention there are different techniques and procedures that can be used depending on the type of patient and the cause for which the patient is consulted. An example of a type of psychological therapy that we use at Neuroscenter with great success is EMDR.
EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. It is a treatment that was created by Shapiro and that facilitates access to traumatic memories and ingrained beliefs in order to reprocess them in a more adaptive way. This therapy relieves anxiety, reframes negative beliefs and reduces physiological activation.
What does a psychiatrist do?
As we have indicated above, psychiatrists use psychotropic drugs as a fundamental factor in dealing with psychopathology.
The use of psychotropic drugs to treat mental disorders is based on the fact that certain brain chemicals, the neurotransmitters, are dysregulated. By taking these drugs they will act by balancing the levels of these neurotransmitters and thus alleviating the symptomatology.
Because of his or her training in medicine, a psychiatrist can understand how the body interacts with the mind and, for example, rule out physical disorders as a cause of mental illness. It may also consider drug interactions, in cases where the patient is already taking medications for other health problems.
However, it is very important to be aware of the potential drawbacks of the use of psychotropic drugs:
- Dependency and tolerance. Certain psychotropic drugs such as Benzodiazepines, the most commonly prescribed anxiety pills, have a high potential to cause dependence and tolerance. Dependence refers to the need generated by the drug to continue taking it. Tolerance occurs when our body has adapted to the effects of the substance and, in order to obtain the same benefits as at the beginning, we need to take more of it.
- Side effects. In addition to those mentioned in the previous point, the consumption of drugs can generate different adverse reactions in our organism. Some examples are: sedation, confusion, sexual dysfunctions, alteration of cognitive functions, dizziness, weight changes, among others.
- They are not a solution. Psychopharmaceuticals may help to reduce the symptomatology, but they do not solve the problem or disorder, and in some cases may even negatively affect the progress of psychotherapy.
When should I see a psychiatrist?
There are certain cases in which the person is going through a crisis in which his emotional state will not allow him to benefit from therapy, the symptomatology has gotten out of control or is completely preventing him from being in a receptive state to face the root of the problem. In these cases, it is necessary for a psychiatrist to assess the patient’s individual situation and to indicate whether it is beneficial to start treatment with psychotropic drugs.
On the other hand, there are many people with psychological disorders who have been treated with psychotropic drugs for a long time and have developed tolerance and dependence. It is common to prescribe psychotropic drugs, such as benzodiazepines, to people who visit a psychiatrist for anxiety or insomnia. In these cases, the work that a psychiatrist can carry out in helping in the abandonment of psychotropic drugs is indispensable. He/she can indicate if it is advisable to change the medication to reduce the damage it is causing or even reduce or eliminate the medication. The psychiatrist can establish a plan to wean the patient off the drug in a manner that is safe for the patient.
Psychiatry unit at Neuroscenter
At Neuroscenter we believe that psychotropic drugs can be very useful or even indispensable in certain situations, although always in combination with some type of psychological intervention.
The psychiatrists we work with in our centers in Barcelona and Girona are also psychologists and have experience in therapy. In this way, his approach to disorders brings together knowledge from both psychological and psychiatric perspectives and we believe that this is the best way to work.
One of the most successful therapies we perform at Neuroscenter is Neurofeedback. This technique consists of training the brain to generate changes in neuronal activity. It will modify brain wave patterns and thus alleviate the patient’s symptoms. In many cases, patients are already taking medication and want to perform Neurofeedback because it is not having the effect they would like or because they want to stop taking it. In this type of situation it is essential to have a psychiatric professional who can tell us to what extent we should adapt the medication when it is being combined with Neurofeedback so that it does not interfere with the effectiveness of the latter or what guidelines we should follow in order to stop the consumption of psychotropic drugs.
At Neuroscenter we are committed to multidisciplinary work, in conjunction with psychologists and psychiatrists, in order to offer our patients the best care and ensure that they are receiving the best treatment.
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