Dr. Akmal Makhdum Explains How to Know When it is Time to Seek Help from a Psychiatrist
When seeking mental and emotional assistance, Dr. Akmal Makhdum desires to see all patients feel empowered to be happy and successful in life. But life being what it is — often full of hardship, misunderstanding, and tragedy — can lead to symptoms that only a mental health professional should address.
In some cases, all one needs to do is process difficult thoughts and emotions in talk therapy. Other times, a patient needs a diagnosis in order to receive more in-depth treatment. Here is Dr. Akmal Makhdum’s guide to knowing when the best time is to seek help from a psychiatrist.
Difference Between Psychologist and Psychiatrist
Both professionals are specially trained to help patients with mental and emotional problems. However, these two titles are not one and the same. A psychologist is generally going to work with patients on a conversational level. They often assist those that need to process difficult things in their past, or they may refer a patient to a psychiatrist.
Psychiatrists are medical doctors that received their psychiatric credentials after completing medical school. As such, psychiatrists can diagnose a mental health condition and prescribe medication while psychologists can do neither.
Not all psychiatrists must choose to prescribe medication if they and/or the patient prefers different forms of treatment, such as psychotherapy or biofeedback. Dr. Akmal Makhdum states that it is not uncommon for psychiatrists or psychologists to become qualified in these additional treatment methods.
Common Symptoms or Diagnoses for Which One Should See a Psychiatrist
How do you know when you should see a psychiatrist? First, one should seek the help of a psychiatrist if their primary physician or therapist recommends it. If one has not been referred to a psychiatrist, they may still need to see one if they are experiencing unusual thoughts and feelings. Here are a few symptoms that Dr. Akmal Makhdum notes merit a visit with a psychiatrist.
- Extreme Anxiety Leading to Restless Sleep and Interpersonal Problems
Sometimes, people can be unnecessarily on edge. They experience intrusive thoughts and become irritable and fearful. This can lead to poor or no sleep, as well as major relationship and interpersonal problems. A psychiatrist can find out if there is a neurological imbalance or the kind of hyper vigilance often found in PTSD patients that may require medication treat.
2. Major Mood Swings
Several mental health conditions result in major mood swings. These mood swings do not have to occur within the space of a day. In fact, many conditions cause the patient to suffer from extreme highs (mania) for a period, followed by extreme lows (depression). Regardless, it seems as that there are no “in between” emotions indicating a healthy balance.
3. Ongoing Listlessness and Lack of Joy or Satisfaction in Life
There are many mental health disorders that prey upon one’s desire to be productive. However, Dr. Akmal Makhdum notes that not all laziness or lack of desire is the result of a disorder. Talking to a psychiatrist can help you differentiate and understand if your problems are an illness or if they stem from another problem in your life. Some forms of depression result from exhaustion, but one should confirm with a psychiatrist.
4. Physical or Emotional Flashbacks to Traumatic Moments
These are frequent symptoms for those suffering from PTSD. They will be just fine and then out of nowhere, they feel overwhelmed with adrenaline or overpowering emotions. Certain places, sounds, colours, or other sensory inputs can cause the individual to flash back to an unresolved traumatic moment in their life. Psychiatrists can diagnose issues such as PTSD and prescribe medication that could help with these problems and allow the person to lead a normal life.
Dr. Akmal Makhdum is a psychiatrist and author who worked in the United Kingdom. Born and raised in Pakistan, he graduated from King Edward Medical College and trained in Cambridge University and is a distinguished member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists. Akmal is highly experienced in treating patients and organizing psychiatric practices in both Pakistan and the UK.