Psychiatry – Farrer Park Hospital
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What is Psychiatry?
Psychiatry is a specialty that deals with the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of conditions related to emotional health, stress, sleep, mood, behavior and memory. Contrary to what many people believe, psychiatrist do not only treat people who are insane. They work with people who face different challenges in their various life stages. 

Psychiatrists are specialist doctors involved in the evaluation, diagnosis and treatment of mental health conditions. Treatment involves not only medication, but also psychological therapy and social intervention. Psychiatrist are not the same as psychologists. Psychiatrist are trained medical doctors who diagnose and can prescribe medications together with other modalities of treatment, such as psychotherapy (“talk therapy”). 

Conditions
Mental health conditions are wide-ranging, and can include mild forms of stress-related disorders and insomnia. Other conditions include obsessive compulsive disorder and dementia. These conditions might affect your sleep, appetite, concentration as well as your work and social life. There may also be behavioral or personality changes, unusual beliefs or experiences. Many of the mental health conditions can be effectively treated, resulting in full recovery and subsequent return to work and good social function. 

Mood disorders 
This encompasses a wide range of conditions, which includes milder forms of stress-related emotional distress, major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder. Common symptoms include episodes of persistent low mood, insomnia, appetite changes, low energy and motivation, negative or suicidal thoughts and self-blame. 

Anxiety disorders 
Anxiety disorders are some of the most common mental health problems in Singapore. They range from phobias, stress-related anxiety, to more severe forms of anxiety that can negatively impact on a person’s social, family and work life. 

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) 
People with OCD may spend a substantial amount of time going through fixed rituals, often with recurrent thoughts and anxiety symptoms. The most common symptoms relate to fears of contamination with hand washing or cleaning rituals, but other forms can also include a preoccupation with symmetry, religious themes and checking. OCD can be effectively treated, with the best outcomes from a combination of medication and psychotherapy. 

Psychosis 
Symptoms of psychosis may include hallucinations (hearing/seeing/feeling things that are not there), unusual beliefs or change in behavior such as confusion or social withdrawal. Symptoms of psychosis may result from a wide variety of other causes and disease conditions such as thyroid problems or infections, and further investigations and consultations may be required to identify and treat these conditions. 

Memory problems and Dementia 
Dementia is the progressive and irreversible loss of memory, with the resultant loss of abilities and function. The most common (and well-known) is Alzheimer’s Dementia, but may also be associated with diseases such as Parkinson’s Disease, strokes and risk factors such as high blood pressure and diabetes. Dementia is frequently associated with behavioral and psychological symptoms such as depressed mood, agitation, repetitive behaviors, sleep disturbances and behavioral changes. Early diagnosis and treatment is crucial to slow down its progression and treat these psychological symptoms. 

Treatments

After a thorough history taking, physical and mental state examination, your psychiatrist may carry out some investigations such as blood tests or scans to rule out reversible or contributory medical conditions. Your psychiatrist will recommend an individualised treatment after his thorough assessment.

Medication is only one of the arms of treatment. Contrary to widespread beliefs, the majority of the patients do not need lifelong medication. To speed up recovery, medications are prescribed together with psychological treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy.​

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