Psychiatry 101: A Comprehensive Guide to Psychiatric Treatment Methods

clock 7 Min Read

Brencia Daphne

23rd September 2022

Therapy. We hear of it often, and it’s such a wonderful way to heal. With people’s awareness of mental health rising, more people are starting to take care of their well-being. But therapy may not always be enough on its own. It is not enough to reach out to the inner mechanisms of our patterns and change them from the root. Depending on the severity, intensity, and reappearance of symptoms, our minds might need medical intervention or a combination of counselling techniques and medications. In this case, your counselling psychologist can refer you to a psychiatrist, or you are free to consult one on your own if you feel you need more support. This is where psychiatry steps in.

Psychiatry is a branch of medical science that deals with the study, diagnosis, and treatment of mental health. Psychiatrists are medical professionals trained to prescribe medical treatments for mental health disorders and provide psychotherapy. They complete their bachelor's degree in MBBS, following which a postgraduate degree (MD, DNB, or DPM) in psychiatry certifies them. Psychiatrists work in various settings, including hospitals, private practices or clinics, community agencies, rehabilitation programmes, etc.

Psychiatrists aim to expertly dive deep into the connection between mental and physical problems. They observe and analyse the way certain medical illnesses are related to genetics as well. Like physicians, they can order or perform a full range of medical laboratory and psychological tests that help provide a balanced picture of one’s physical and mental state. Unlike their portrayal in the media, psychiatrists are understanding, empathetic, and patient, just like Heart It Out’s psychiatrists are! 💛

Reportedly, the figure of people living with mental health conditions in India is a staggering 197.3 million. There is a strong need for quality mental health care that can be available to all. India has a mere 0.75 psychiatrists as opposed to the desired number of 3 or more for easy accessibility. Imagine how many people in need of mental health care could actually receive treatment!

A staggering 77% national deficit paints a bleak picture of the future of mental health in our country. We can bridge this gap with some awareness and collective efforts. Like the sunshine after a fierce storm, there is hope with every step mental health advocates take to ensure that people who need help can seek it.

A Peak Into Psychiatric Treatments

Psychiatric sessions are an essential step for long-term solutions. Psychiatrists use specific treatment methods after conducting in-depth analysis and diagnosis of the client’s condition. We’ve listed some popular methods of treatment used by psychiatrists. Learning about these methods can help you understand their importance in a client’s recovery process. So without further ado, let’s get into the crevices of psychiatric intervention.


Medications are an essential part of treatment in psychiatry. Therefore, they are commonly used for most psychiatric disorders, but they are not the only option. Usually, medications accelerate the healing process when combined with other treatment methods such as psychotherapy or rehabilitation programmes.


Psychotherapy is the better-known approach. It involves counselling and psychological treatment for patients with mental, emotional, and behavioural disorders. Psychotherapy helps patients understand themselves better, develop new coping skills, and change their behaviour. It can be conducted in both individual and group sessions depending on the individual’s needs.

Electro-Convulsive Therapy

Popularly known as shock therapy or ECT, it involves passing a small amount of current through the brain to trigger a seizure. The idea behind ECT is that the seizure will reset the brain and help relieve symptoms of mental illness.

Although it sounds daunting, ETA is among the safest and most effective treatments available. Generally done under anaesthesia and with muscle relaxants, the patient does not feel anything during the procedure. ECT is helpful for rapid relief of symptoms, especially when the patient is becoming a threat to themselves or when time is of the essence.

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)

TMS is a safe, non-invasive way to stimulate the brain. It uses magnetic fields to create an electric current in the brain that can help improve mood, movement, and thinking. It has been used to treat depression, Parkinson's, chronic pain, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, and psychosis.

Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS)

tDCS is a technique that uses a low-voltage direct current to stimulate the brain. This increases the activity of neurons in the part of the brain that is stimulated and can improve cognitive function, increase alertness, and reduce symptoms of depression. tDCS is a non-invasive, painless, and harmless technique.

Some facts about these treatment methods-

  • Psychotherapies help reduce the duration of medication intake for patients with anxiety disorders and other neurotic conditions. Taking medication only for a limited period is advisable to rule out the possibility of dependence and side effects. On the contrary, psychotic conditions like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and recurrent depression require an extended period of medication. A friendly reminder that the medication would be prescribed by your psychiatrist and your recovery would be observed.
  • Non-invasive methods (or methods that don’t require medication intake) such as ECT, TMS, and tDCS, though essential to reduce the symptom burden, often do require medications to maintain the improvement of symptoms.
  • Involuntary treatment is necessary only when patients don't have an insight into their symptoms and their impact on their lives.

In order to provide the best care for their patients, psychiatrists need an understanding of all the factors that may influence the treatment methods they need to focus on. These include everything from their client’s current condition, past experiences, medical history, and even family history.

It is important to remember that effective treatment of mental health issues is a collaborative process between the client and the psychiatrist. Through communication, willpower, and commitment, clients will certainly see an improvement in their conditions.

Recovery Starts With the Willpower to Heal

When was the last time you asked yourself, "How am I feeling right now?"? Mental illnesses drastically reduce the quality of life. Some even reduce your lifespan and lead to unnatural deaths. On the bright side, a range of psychological and psychiatric treatments are available. You just have to recognise your symptoms and seek help. So, check in with yourself. Let your curiosity yield a better understanding of yourself.

At Heart It Out, we provide both medical and psychotherapy for a wide range of mental illnesses. Psychiatrists at Heart It Out are dedicated to making sure clients receive the best treatments possible, with life-changing long-term solutions. We also offer a diverse range of assessment tests for their diagnosis.

Our mental health experts specialise in treating patients with mood disorders, mental illnesses with comorbid medical conditions, neuro-psychiatric conditions, substance use disorders or addictions, elderly disorders like dementia, and child and adolescent psychiatry.

We tap into the diverse faculty of psychotherapy and combine it with the science of psychiatry to create a holistic experience of care for you 🙂

“Sometimes the people around you won’t understand your journey. They don’t need to, it’s not for them.” — Joubert Botha

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