General Psychiatry



We all have the right to the best possible clinical care to treat mental illness and its symptoms. Knowing what services are available, and understanding the roles of the different mental health professionals, helps to make sure you get the best possible service from the health system. The earlier you receive treatment, the easier it is for health professionals to help you to manage symptoms.




  • When you or someone you know starts to feel mentally unwell, the first step in obtaining treatment is to see a doctor for a diagnosis, just as with any other medical condition. 
  • A diagnosis simply means the identification of an illness. After a thorough assessment, a doctor will make a diagnosis based on a particular pattern of symptoms. This then helps with the decision on the best treatment for these symptoms and their underlying causes.
  • When thinking about a psychiatric diagnosis, it is very important to understand that A Diagnosis Describes An Illness It Doesn’t Describe A Person.
  • Just because someone has a particular diagnosis doesn’t mean they must have all of the symptoms associated with it, and doesn’t mean they will have these symptoms all of the time.
  • Rather than focusing on the diagnosis, it is more useful to identify what the symptoms are, and then what can be done to deal with them – so that you are able to get on with life again.
  • It is not unusual for a diagnosis to alter. This may be because symptoms have changed, or other information has become known.
  • It’s important that the diagnosis doesn’t become a label. The focus should be that symptoms are clearly understood by the doctor, so that the most helpful treatment can be selected.
Types of Treatment Used for Mental Health Disorders

Treatments for mental health issues are generally very effective, when people receive optimal treatment. Unfortunately, not enough people receive this optimal, ‘best possible’ service because of a range of issues: under-resourced mental health services, difficulties in access, the challenge of providing services in rural and remote areas, and the high numbers of people not receiving treatment, as well as those who choose not to receive treatment because of their symptoms.

Treatment is not a one size fits all approach. Where you go for mental health treatment depends on your situation and recovery needs. Knowing where to look and what to expect can help reduce confusion and stress.

Most medications are used by psychiatrists in much the same way that medications are used to treat high blood pressure or diabetes.


After completing thorough evaluations, psychiatrists can prescribe medications to help treat mental disorders. 

Medical research shows that many mental illnesses are associated with changes in our brain chemistry. Medications help the brain to restore its usual chemical balance, so that the symptoms are reduced or even eliminated.

The doctor should explain the benefits and possible side-effects of a medication before it is prescribed.

Some people are helped by taking medication for a while; others may need it on an ongoing basis. Patients on long-term medication treatment will need to meet with their psychiatrist periodically to monitor the effectiveness of the medication and any potential side effects.

Common Classes of Medications:

  • Antidepressants
  • Antipsychotics
  • Sedatives & Anxiolytics
  • Hypnotics 
  • Mood stabilizers

Psychotherapy, sometimes called talk therapy, is a treatment that involves a therapeutic relationship between a therapist and patient. It can be used to treat a broad variety of mental disorders and emotional difficulties. 

Psychotherapy is a generic label for a large and growing number of interventions, which share certain and defining characteristics, such as being intended to be therapeutic, being based on psychological principles and their derivative treatment methods, and being delivered by trained professionals.

There are many forms of psychotherapy. Psychotherapy can be done individually, as a couple, with a family, or in a group. Specific psychotherapies include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Interpersonal Therapy (IPT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) , Dynamic Psychotherapy and others.

The goal of psychotherapy is to eliminate or control disabling or troubling symptoms so the patient can function better. 

Psychotherapy can help patients change their behaviors or thought patterns, or explore the effect of past relationships and experiences on present behaviors.

Psychotherapy can be tailored to help solve other problems in specific ways.

Other Treatments Used

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a medical treatment that involves applying electrical currents to the brain, is used most often to treat severe depression that has not responded to other treatments.

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS), Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS) are a few of the newer therapies being used to treat some mental disorders.