A psychiatrist is someone who specializes in psychiatric disorder, the field of medical science devoted to the study, diagnosis, and treatment of psychological illnesses. Every person has some level of abnormality in his or her brain that may be studied in a laboratory. The information gathered may be used to determine what causes the abnormality and, therefore, to develop effective treatments. Some of the disorders diagnosed are schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, manic depressive disorder, social phobia, schizophrenia and other psychoses, schizoaffective disorder, substance abuse, and eating disorders. A psychiatrist can specialize in any of these or many other areas.
Depression is a serious mental illness with symptoms such as sadness and/or hopelessness, sleep disturbances, fatigue, irritability, and thoughts about death and suicide. If left untreated, it can progress to full-blown depression. A psychiatrist who treats depression will treat both the physical aspect and the mental aspect of the disease. The psychiatrist will teach patients to deal with their depression through exercise, therapy, and drug therapy. He will help them understand the causes of their depression, learn to deal with the symptoms of the disease, and help them build coping mechanisms for their future.
Social phobia is characterized by excessive feelings of self-consciousness and fear in social situations. This condition usually requires a long course of medication in order to control it. Several conditions diagnosed by psychologists require specific interventions in order to improve their quality of life. Two conditions that require such interventions are schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. In general, psychiatrists are required to complete a four year degree, obtain at least one year of practice in their chosen specialization, pass an extensive written test, and participate in one or more clinical hours each year. Some states require that a psychiatrist be licensed before they can practice in that state.