Guest Blog: The Importance of Psychiatrists in Making Medical Decisions – A Balanced Perspective

Guest Blog: The Importance of Psychiatrists in Making Medical Decisions – A Balanced Perspective

*This piece is republished from Insight Matters, Ohio Psychiatric Physicians Association’s Quarterly Newsletter, Volume 48 Number 3, Fall 2023.

As part of our ongoing commitment to behavioral health, PRMS is pleased to feature as a guest blogger this month Dr. Alyse Stolting, Ohio Psychiatric Physicians Association President, Co-Founder of RB Residency Coaches, and Staff Psychiatrist at The Zepf Center. In the realm of mental health, medical decisions carry significant weight in determining the well-being of individuals, and while lawmakers play an essential role in crafting policies, it is crucial to recognize the expertise and specialized knowledge that psychiatrists possess in making informed medical decisions, especially about mental illness. Dr. Stolting sheds light on the importance of entrusting psychiatrists with this responsibility to make critical decisions regarding mental health treatment.

Psychiatrists undergo rigorous education and training to acquire a deep understanding of mental health disorders, their causes, and the complexities involved in their diagnosis and treatment. Their expertise is grounded in years of medical school, followed by specialized training in psychiatry. With their comprehensive knowledge of mental health conditions and the nuances of human behavior, psychiatrists are uniquely qualified to make well-informed medical decisions that prioritize the mental well-being of their patients.

Mental health treatment necessitates an individualized approach that takes into account the unique circumstances, symptoms, and needs of each patient, including co-occurring medical conditions. Psychiatrists possess the necessary skills to evaluate a patient’s mental health holistically, considering factors such as medical history, environment, and social dynamics. By considering this comprehensive picture, psychiatrists can tailor treatment plans that address the specific needs and goals of their patients, ultimately leading to improved outcomes. As physicians, psychiatrists will consider medical symptoms to rule out medical conditions (i.e., infection, cancer, visual hallucinations, recent memory loss, disturbance of gait, balance, or both, etc.).

Psychiatric medications also play a vital role in the treatment of mental health disorders. Psychiatrists have extensive knowledge of psychopharmacology, which enables them to make informed decisions regarding medication selection, dosage, and potential interactions. They remain up-to-date with the latest research and advancements in the field, allowing them to navigate the complex landscape of psychiatric medications effectively. As physicians, psychiatrists recognize that at least 50 percent of patients who could benefit with psychotropic medications have serious medical conditions requiring medication – medications which can and do interact (sometimes dangerously) psychotropic medications.

Additionally, psychiatrists serve as advocates for their patients’ mental health needs. They engage in open and empathetic communication, creating a safe and non-judgmental environment that encourages patients to express their concerns and goals. Psychiatrists work collaboratively with patients, involving them in the decision-making process, and respecting their autonomy and preferences. This patient-centered approach ensures that medical decisions align with the individual needs and values of each patient.

Psychiatric treatment often involves complex ethical and legal considerations, such as involuntary hospitalization, patient confidentiality, and the delicate balance between individual rights and public safety. Psychiatrists receive training in medical ethics and legal frameworks, equipping them with the knowledge to navigate these complex issues. Their expertise enables them to make sound decisions while adhering to ethical guidelines and legal regulations, ensuring the well-being and rights of both patients and the broader community.

While lawmakers play a crucial role in shaping mental health policies, it is essential to recognize the specialized training, expertise, and patient-centered approach that psychiatrists bring to the table. Entrusting psychiatrists with the responsibility of making medical decisions regarding mental health treatment allows for individualized, evidence-based care that addresses the complexities of mental health disorders. By working collaboratively with lawmakers and other stakeholders, psychiatrists can contribute to the development of effective mental health policies that prioritize the well-being of individuals and the community at large.


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Categories: PRMS Blog, Psychiatrist

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