Psychiatryis the medical specialty devoted to the study, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental disorders.
The Psychiatric Assessment is the initial appointment, at which the psychiatrist conducts a psychiatric assessment or evaluation of the patient, are typically sixty minutes in length. The goal of the psychiatric assessment is to determine if there is a mental health disorder, and to develop an individualized treatment plan for the patient. The treatment plan may include recommendations for psychoactive medication as well as referral for other services such as individual counseling, marital therapy, lab testing, or substance abuse evaluation if indicated. The patient is invited to collaborate in developing a workable treatment plan. Occasionally a referral for inpatient treatment may be recommended, depending on the severity of illness.
Outpatient treatmentinvolves periodic visits to a psychiatrist for consultation at the doctor's office. Follow-up appointments are scheduled for thirty minutes. The time is used to focus on medication management, for example, reviewing the effect of medication on the patient's overall functioning. In addition the psychiatrist takes time to assess the interplay of important psychosocial factors in the patient's recovery. The psychiatrist may provide supportive or insight-oriented psychotherapy, as well as education about the patient's illness and medications. Follow-up appointments occur more frequently in the beginning of treatment, varying from weekly to month while working toward improvement and stability. Once the patient is doing well, maintenance visits are scheduled every three months, or more often depending on what the clinician and patient decide would be best.
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