Psychiatry

Newcastle, Lake Macquarie & Hunter Psychiatrists.

What is a Psychiatrist?

Psychiatrists are medical doctors who are experts in mental health. They specialise in diagnosing treating, and prevention of mental, emotional and behavioural disorders.

People seek psychiatric help for many reasons. The problems can be sudden, such as a panic attacks, frightening visual or auditory hallucinations, thoughts of suicide, or they may be more long-term, such as feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or anxiousness that never seem to lift or problems functioning, causing everyday life to feel distorted or out of control.

psychiatry-newcastle
What is a psychiatrist?

 

Psychiatrists are medical doctors who are experts in mental health. They specialise in diagnosing treating, and prevention of mental, emotional and behavioural disorders.

People seek psychiatric help for many reasons. The problems can be sudden, such as a panic attacks, frightening visual or auditory hallucinations, thoughts of suicide, or they may be more long-term, such as feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or anxiousness that never seem to lift or problems functioning, causing everyday life to feel distorted or out of control.

Which conditions can psychiatrists help with?

 

Psychiatrists diagnose and treat conditions such as:

  • depression
  • eating disorders (e.g. anorexia and bulimia)
  • bipolar disorders
  • schizophrenia
  • alcohol, drug and gambling addictions
  • anxiety disorders (e.g. panic attacks and phobias)
  • Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia
  • attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • personality disorders
  • post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
How do psychiatrists treat people with mental illness?

 

Mental illness can happen because of a combination of factors. These factors can be biological (the way your brain works), psychological (how you think and behave), or social (your relationships with other people). The different psychiatric treatments available tackle these different factors.

Psychiatrists use a range of treatments, including:

  • psychotherapy (also called talking therapy or psychological treatment)
  • medications
  • practical advice about lifestyle and behaviour.

Psychiatrists recommend the best treatment or treatments for each person. They will only recommend treatments that have been proven to be safe and effective. In some cases, a stay in hospital might also be recommended.

Psychotherapy - the aim is to eliminate or control disabling or troubling symptoms so the patient can function better. Depending on the extent of the problem, treatment may take just a few sessions over a week or two or may take many sessions over a period of years. Psychotherapy can be done individually, as a couple, with a family, or in a group.

Medications

  • Antidepressants – used to treat depression, panic disorder, PTSD, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, borderline personality disorder and eating disorders.
  • Antipsychotic medications – used to treat psychotic symptoms (delusions and hallucinations), schizophrenia, bipolar disorder.
  • Sedatives and anxiolytics – used to treat anxiety and insomnia.
  • Hypnotics – used to induce and maintain sleep.
  • Mood stabilisers – used to treat bipolar disorder.
  • Stimulants – used to treat ADHD.

Psychiatrists often prescribe medications in combination with psychotherapy.

Any treatment recommended by your psychiatrist will be aimed at improving your symptoms. The psychiatrist's goal is to help you improve your quality of life – that means improving your symptoms and helping you to have a fulfilling and healthy lifestyle, with a feeling of optimism for the future. This could include looking at home life, relationships, work, etc.

Your psychiatrist at ATUNE is part of an interdisciplinary team that works together with you to improve your mental health. Other members of the team might include GPs, psychologists, mental health nurses, counsellors, social workers, dietician and exercise physiologists.

What's the difference between psychiatrists and psychologists?

 

Many people are confused about the differences between psychiatrists and psychologists because the two work together extremely well. At ATUNE we understand that both therapies are complimentary to each other in their function and our team will work together with you were appropriate.

Psychiatrists are qualified medical doctors who have trained to become specialists in mental health. Psychologists have qualifications in psychology. Both can provide psychotherapy for mental disorders. However, psychiatrists, as medically trained doctors, can also provide medical care, prescribe medications, and admit people to the hospital, if needed.

What will happen when I see a psychiatrist?

 

The first time you meet with a psychiatrist, the appointment will usually last for up to an hour. The psychiatrist will need to do a full assessment. They will be trying to get a picture of the difficulties you are facing, how they affect your life, and what might be the causes and triggers of your problems.

This means they will listen to you talk about your concerns and symptoms, and ask you questions about your health in general and your family history. They might do a physical examination or ask you to fill out a questionnaire. They might also ask your permission to talk to other health professionals you've seen or members of your family.

After getting all the information they need, they will tell you what they think your diagnosis is, and work out a treatment plan with you.

After the first visit, appointments will focus on checking your progress and adjusting treatments.

If you would like to have a family member or a friend with you in your appointments, you can discuss this with your psychiatrist.

How should I get ready for my first appointment?

 

It may be helpful to prepare for your first appointment by thinking about a few things:

  • What symptoms do I have?
  • Are there any particular stresses in my life that might be relevant?
  • What other medical conditions do I have? (both current and previous)
  • What medications, vitamins and supplements am I taking?
  • What has helped/not helped in the past?
  • What supports do I have in my life? (family, friends, colleagues, groups, etc.)

It might also help to think about questions you'd like the psychiatrist to answer.

What about confidentiality?

 

Anything you talk about with your psychiatrist is confidential. You should feel that you can tell your psychiatrist anything.

Sometimes your psychiatrist may need to share some of your private information with other health-care professionals so they can assist with your treatment.

Your psychiatrist might suggest involving family members in your assessment but will discuss this with you first.

Under very rare circumstances, a psychiatrist may be required to share a person’s private information with others. Generally, your psychiatrist will tell you if they need to do this.

What is the cost of therapy?

 

  • Standard appointment: $90 per session (55 minutes)
  • Couples: $110 per session (55 minutes)
  • Short appointment: $70 per session (30 minutes)