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Psychiatry FAQ’s

Ask A Private Psychiatrist London

Does depression run in the family?

Depression can run in families along with anxiety and other disorders.

What happens during an initial assessment meeting?

It’s always important to have a thorough assessment initially so that you can be clear about what the diagnosis is and then plan the treatment that’s going to be right for you. So for some people, it’s going to be very important that they take medication. And for most people, there’s going to be a very important process of having psychological help to help them manage and come to terms of their difficulties.

How do I choose a treatment that’s right for me?

The key thing when choosing a treatment is to have a clear understanding of what the diagnosis is and go through the options so that you know what’s going to suit you. Often it isn’t a one-size-fits-all type of approach, but actually, it’s very important for your individual situation to be taken fully into account.

Do I need a psychologist or a psychiatrist?

When you come for your assessment at the Chelsea Psychology Clinic, we’ll help you choose which is the right treatment for you, and this may be a form of psychological treatment, or that might be combined with a medical treatment.

How do you decide on a treatment plan?

When you’re coming for assessment, it’s often helpful to see a psychiatrist in the first place to have a full diagnostic assessment. And then you can develop a treatment plan together, which might well include a combination of psychiatric treatment, meaning medication, and psychological treatment, which should be a talking treatment delivered by a psychologist in the clinic.

How do you prescribe antidepressants?

The antidepressants that we prescribe have very few side effects. Should you develop any difficulties with them, we will of course think with you about how to manage those, or whether to change medication.

How many sessions does a psychiatric assessment take?

Psychiatric consultation may require one or two sessions to produce a thorough diagnosis and formulation of your difficulties so that we can then draw up a treatment plan for you.

Tom Pennybacker background

As I work with adults with a wide range of psychiatric disorders, I’ve got a particular specialism in working with personality disorder, and I like to combine medication with psychotherapeutic approaches.

What are antidepressants?

Antidepressants are medications used to treat depression. They should help your mood to lift. You should normally take them for at least six weeks to see if they’re having a helpful effect, and you won’t become addicted to them.

What are psychosexual issues?

Psychosexual issues are difficulties that people have having a good sex life because of psychological problems. A lot of people might have difficulties because of physical ill health, and it’s always important to have this checked out by your GP first.

What are the common causes of bipolar disorder?

Bipolar disorder is thought to have a large inherited component to it, or if you like, a genetic cause to it. But there are also factors in people’s experiences in life that can predispose them to developing bipolar disorder.

How do I choose a psychologist or psychiatrist?

The things to bear in mind when choosing whether to see a psychiatrist or psychologist are whether you’re likely to need medication or not. If you will need medication, then it’s very important to be assessed and treated by a psychiatrist, though you may also need to see a psychologist for talking treatment as well.

What are the treatment options for substance misuse?

Different treatment options for substance misuse are medical, where you can take a medication to help you manage withdrawal and addiction effects, and psychological, to help you both cope with the cravings and also make the changes in your life and the underlying causes that have led you to substance misuse in the first place.

What are the treatment options for mood disorders?

Options for bipolar disorder are mood-stabilising medications, which people would take consistently to try and stop their mood from going high or low. And then, these are usually supplemented by psychological treatments which help the person manage their disorder.

What are the treatments for psychosexual issues?

Once you’ve ruled out any physical cause for sexual difficulties, then we would recommend a course of psychological treatment to help manage your psychosexual difficulties.

What happens if psychosexual issues are left untreated?

If somebody doesn’t seek treatment for their psychosexual issues, the risk is that they’ll have ongoing difficulties with their sex lives for many years, and this can dramatically interfere with their ability to have a good relationship.

What are the long term implications of ADHD?

ADHD tends to improve over time through adult life, but it can have a significant impact on people’s ability to work and hold down a relationship. So it’s always important, if you think that you’re having difficulties with this, to come and seek assessment and treatment.

What are the long term implications of depression?

Depression is a condition which can come back repeatedly through people’s lives. If that’s happening, then it’s very important to both optimise the medication that you’re taking and seek a psychological treatment which can get to the root causes of it and stop it becoming so debilitating over somebody’s life.

What are the long term implications of substance misuse?

Some implications of untreated substance misuse are poor physical health, and sometimes people become extremely unwell or die when they haven’t had treatment for substance misuse. But also a major impact on your ability to function in the world to hold down a job and to maintain a relationship.

What are the typical steps in a psychiatric consultation?

Typical kind of psychiatric treatment would be to meet for consultation and then start to medication that you’ve agreed between us, and then I would review you a few weeks down the line to see how you are responding to that.

What can be done to improve outcome for psychiatric therapy?

Best outcomes are achieved when you have someone treating you that you have confidence in. And at The Chelsea Psychology Clinic, we think it’s very important that you work with a clinician who you have faith in.

What can patients do to self manage bipolar disorder?

One of the key things at managing bipolar disorder is to structure your life in a very consistent way so that you minimise the stresses and you make things very predictable. A good example would be having regular sleep and exercise, watching your diet. But sleep is a particularly important factor in maintaining good health when you have bipolar diagnosis.

What is attention deficit hyperactivity disorder?

ADHD is a condition where you have marked impulsivity, real difficulty concentrating, and in children what you see is a lot of restlessness. In adults, that usually isn’t so prominent and it might appear more as a lot of risk taking behaviour.

What is bipolar disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a condition that affects people’s mood, so that they go into periods of very high mood and periods of very low mood. Now, these can last several weeks or months even and leave the person very unwell during those periods.

What is depression?

Depression is a disorder of people’s mood where they develop both very low mood which is what you think of with depression, but also there are a range of other symptoms that go along with it. For example, feeling hopeless, sometimes feeling suicidal, and also having biological symptoms, such as loss of appetite, difficulty sleeping, and the loss of libido.

What is involved in a psychiatric consultation?

A psychiatric consultation is a meeting to look into the symptoms that you’re having to see how long you’ve been suffering from them and what might have led to them coming on. We would also spend some time thinking about your development and what the rest of your life has been like, the different factors which might impact on how you are today.

How long does a psychiatric consultation take?

A psychiatric consultation is an interview which lasts typically around an hour. And during that time, we would talk about all the different factors, which could have led to the psychiatric difficulties that you’re having now.

What is substance misuse?

Substance misuse is the name given to using any kind of mind-altering substance usually to manage an underlying psychological difficulty, such as anxiety or depression.

How do psychologists differ from psychiatrists?

A psychologist has specialist training in giving people talking treatments or psychological therapies. A psychiatrist is primarily trained to prescribe medications and diagnose psychiatric disorders, although some psychiatrists can also offer psychological therapies as well.

How do I know if psychiatric treatment has worked?

Successful treatment will mean that you don’t suffer the symptoms anymore and that you don’t need to take medication anymore. That’s our goal with everybody that we assess and treat.

When are antidepressants required?

If we prescribe a medication for you at the Chelsea Psychology Clinic, we’ll think carefully with you about which one is going to be suitable and we’ll check that you’re responding to it appropriately. If you develop any problems with it, we can always then decide if it’s necessary to change.

When is medication required for psychiatric disorders?

Medication can be very helpful for a wide range of psychiatric disorders. And one of the best known examples would be clinical depression. But there are a wide range of disorders including bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, ADHD, where people can get a great deal of benefit from psychiatric medications.

When is psychiatric medication required?

Psychiatric medication is suited to people with anxiety, depression, ADHD, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia. These are the main areas that we treat with medication.

When should people seek help for substance misuse?

People should seek help for their substance misuse when it’s starting to really interfere with their life. For example, they’re devoting a lot of energy to seeking or taking the substance, be it drugs or alcohol, and it’s starting to impact on their relationships and their job.

When should people seek treatment for ADHD?

Often people will have had their ADHD picked up in childhood, but sometimes that’s not the case. And then it’s very important if they feel that they’ve got these kind of symptoms, which are really impacting their lives and it can be quite a devastating disorder, then they should come and seek assessment and treatment.

When should people seek treatment for bipolar disorder?

Somebody is experiencing extreme difficulties with their mood, where they might find that they’ve got a very high mood, what we call hypomania or mania, and they’re losing control, or if they notice that that alternates with periods of severe depression and it’s having a major impact on their life, then it would be very important to seek help.

When should someone seek treatment for depression?

It’s very important to seek treatment for depression if somebody has a sustained period of low mood and they’re not feeling able to manage it in a normal day-to-day way that we do.