1st TRUTH: The pathological mental state is NOT a synonym of insanity. When we refer to insanity usually we have in mind a state where people have exaggerated thoughts, can see visions and exhibit weird and hyperbolic behavior. Usually, these are the core symptoms of psychosis. These, by no account, mean that everyone suffering from psychosis demonstrate behavior with the above mentioned characteristics.
Additionally, the chapter of psychotic disorders in psychiatry constitute only a small portion of the overall psychopathological disorders.
2nd TRUTH: A psychiatrist is a mental health specialist that has undergone a long training course of 5 years in order to be acknowledged as a specialist. During this course he specializes in the diagnostics and treatment of a whole range of mental health disorders, psychoses comprising only a small fraction of the whole context of mental pathology.
3rd TRUTH: Commonly with the phrase “nerve breakdown” it is meant psychological distress and tension which both constitute core symptoms of mental disorders. Try to distinguish symptoms originating in the psychic sphere from somatic ones relating to somatic disorders. Neurology is the medical specialty dealing with the pathology of the structure of the Nervous System, neuropathies, myopathies, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease, Strokes being the most common entities. Whereas anxiety, distress, depression, disorganized thoughts and behavior comprise the most common fields in PSYCHIATRY.
4th TRUTH: Many people fearing the “stigma” following a psychiatric diagnosis and under estimating the intensity of their mental health problem would rather visit a psychologist instead of a psychiatrist. The truth is that when someone feels being in a deadlock and starts being dysfunctional in the personal, familial and occupational domains, usually his/her psychological pathology has escalated to a level of at least moderate intensity. That means that sometimes the introduction of a psychiatric drug is imperative for the subjective symptoms to abate. This resolution of high tension can promote a constructive therapeautical alliance between the sufferer and his therapist. On the other hand sometimes the absence of a pharmacological intervention, on the basis that it is needed, equates with the prolongation of mental health disorder itself. Finally, your visit to a psychiatrist’s office does not necessarily end up to a pharmacological prescription. Overall the unbiased cooperation between psychiatrists-psychologists is imperative for the common purpose.
5th TRUTH: The truth is that the psychiatrist is the medical doctor who has specialized in the diagnosis and treatment of psychological disorders. The psychologist is a scientist who studies phenomena and mechanisms relating to the psychic sphere and structure through which humans function. The psychiatrist as a medical doctor can make medical diagnoses and prescribe drugs as needed whereas the psychologist can not. Some psychologists have been specialized in clinical psychology and a form of psychotherapy. All specialist psychiatrists are obliged to undergo training courses for clinical diagnosis of psychological disorders and treatments both of psychotherapeutic and psychopharmacological nature. Many psychological disorders are being demonstrated through somatic symptoms or they can be caused by organic disorders. The psychiatrist as a doctor-as opposed to the psychologist who is not entitled- should screen and diagnose any organic pathology is related to the psychological state. Ideally psychiatrists and psychologists should cooperate for a more complete approach of mental health pathology.
6th TRUTH: psychotherapy is a systematic psychological, cognitive and emotional procedure held between a therapist and a client aiming at the recognition of the dysfunctional patterns and attitudes through which the client interacts with himself and the rest of the people. There are many types of psychotherapies with behavioral, cognitive, analytical, group therapy etc comprising some of the most renowned. The training in psychotherapy is a long, painful and expensive procedure. Psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, psychiatric nurses are the most common groups of practitioners being involved in this type of training. As far as the psychiatrists are concerned, their exposure in training in psychotherapies constitute a fundamental and obligatory fraction of their whole training in psychiatry. For the rest of the mental health professionals this training is not compulsory and it depends on their orientation. In Greece till now, the criteria for someone to be acknowledged as a psychotherapist have not been strictly defined. It is important to take advantage of a reference made by an acquaintance of yours, especially if he happened to experience a positive exposure in psychotherapy. You should visit 2-3 psychotherapists prior to your “signing” a long term psycho therapeautical contract with the one you feel that you can trust him/her. Ask him/her for the techniques and the relative duration and the scope of the suggested psychotherapy.
7th TRUTH: it is quite usual for someone having symptoms such as distress, difficulty falling asleep, tachycardia, sweetening, bloating in the belly and numbness to visit their family doctor seeking for relief. The general doctor having in mind the high prevalence of the anxiety disorders, without excluding thoroughly any organic underlying cause is hurry to offer instant relief by prescribing anxiolytics, the most common of them being lexotanil, tavor, xanax, stedon. The truth is that these agents are extraordinary in succeeding instantly relief from anxiety and sleep restoration. But in the long term they can cause dependency issues meaning that the more someone uses them the more dosage is needed for the same effect to be produced. Through this practice the real underlying psychic conflict is not encountered. Instead, the general doctor by not referring his patient to the psychiatrist specialist offers only a superficial solution which can end up to dependency problems. So it is highly recommended not to search instant and miraculous solutions but try to address the psychological cause of the problem and refer to the specialist.
“Για την ψυχή που νοσεί φάρμακο είναι ο λόγος”