Psychiatry is a medical discipline that seeks the understanding of the mind, the mind-body connection, its disorders, and to provide scientific evidence-based treatments to restore it to a healthy balance.
Nowadays the notion that mental illness is caused by a combination of factors is accepted. Population explosion, urban lifestyle, family situations are pointed out, among others, as factors in interaction with components related to individual genetic endowment, temperament, or personality development.
Misconception persists that the psychiatrist only gives medication, and that psychotherapy can only be provided by a psychologist; nevertheless, this is a simplified view. The psychiatrist is the physician who has professional preparation in the management of psychiatric medications; however, the psychiatrist not only prescribes medications; but he is trained in the understanding of normality and abnormality of the mental apparatus, and is furthermore able to offer various forms of psychotherapy.
The specialist in child and adolescent psychiatry uses knowledge of biological, psychological, and social factors in working with patients. Initially, a comprehensive diagnostic examination is performed to evaluate the current problem with attention to its physical, genetic, developmental, emotional, cognitive, educational, family, peer, and social components. Then, a treatment plan is designed considering all the components, and the recommendations are discussed with the child or adolescent and his family.
There are psychiatrists who have postgraduate training in specific forms of psychotherapy (psychodynamic psychotherapy, cognitive psychotherapy, psychoanalysis, behavioural therapy, family therapy, etc.) Other psychiatrists have obtained master’s or doctoral degrees focused on psychological or psychopharmacological treatment.