Advice on dealing with stress from Psychiatrist P. Gavrilakis
First of all, if your anxiety lasts more than a few weeks, creates a significant problem for you in your daily life or is particularly concerning for you, you should see a specialist. The only expert to see in this case is a psychiatrist. They can safely tell you if your anxiety is hiding a serious mental illness and, in all cases, not only provide a diagnosis but also recommend safe, effective and scientifically proven treatment . Another reason to visit a psychiatrist when you are suffering from anxiety is that anxiety can be a symptom of a physical illness, or the result of medication you are taking for another reason. Again, only a psychiatrist can direct you to the specialist appropriate doctor(s) so the diagnostic process can be completed.
Finally, a psychiatrist does not in any way "replace" the psychologist. The psychiatrist obliged to refer his patients to a psychologist for psychotherapy, or to another psychiatrist if for any reason he cannot treat them. The psychiatrist will, of course, recommend that the patient continues psychotherapy if the patient has already begun treatment with another mental health professional.
Now, as long as your anxiety is occasional or not too intense and does not bother you and/or make your daily life particularly difficult, the following tips can help you deal with it:
Don't do more than you can at work and at home!
We often take on more responsibilities, tasks or obligations than we can handle, something which results in us being "under pressure" mentally. This "mental strain" and "stress" almost always causes or worsens our anxiety. The solution is simple: we have to learn to say "NO" to some things - to see what we can actually manage to do with the energies and time we have at our disposal and not take on anything over and above that.
Find time for yourself and do what makes you happy!
Modern life is full of obligations and time pressures that often makes us forget ourselves. As the popular saying goes, "all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy", so if you spend all your time on work and obligations, it is not surprising if at some point you start to suffer from stress. It is a fact that even 1 hour a day spent on yourself doing something you enjoy will help you feel better.
Be careful with coffee and other stimulants!
While coffee can undoubtedly wake us up and has beneficial properties, when you are stressed drinking a lot of coffee will make it worse. In fact the same thing can happen you drink tea or other stimulant drinks (caffeinated soft drinks or energy drinks) in large quantities. Anxiety can often be a result of this "caffeine abuse". If you have anxiety, don't drink more than 1 coffee a day and replace the other drinks with green tea which also contains the amino acid L-Theanine which has a similar (but much milder) effect to anxiolytic drugs and can relieve anxiety.
Avoid drinking alcohol!
If you have anxiety, a small amount of alcohol can provide temporary relief, but drinking a large amount or drinking daily can not only worsen pre-existing anxiety, but can also create anxiety or even lead to a more serious anxiety disorder. Alcohol should not be used under any circumstances as an "anxiety reliever", not only because it doex not relieve anxiety, but because in addition to worsening anxiety, it will leave you with many other problems in your mental and physical health.
Apply progressive muscle relaxation!
Progressive muscle relaxation is a technique whereby all the muscles of the body are gradually tightened and then relaxed. You can apply this method starting from the head and ending at the feet or vice versa. Begin to tighten and then relax all the muscles of the body one by one, starting from the forehead, eye muscles, jaw, neck, shoulders, shoulder blades and continue down to the soles of the feet. Keep each muscle group tight for 5 seconds and relaxed for 10-15 seconds, repeating the exercise.
Practice controlled breathing!
This is another relaxation technique. Start by inhaling to a slow count of 4 and then slowly exhaling to a count of 4 again. Continue at this pace for 4 minutes and you will feel more relaxed!
Practice controlled breathing!
This is another relaxation technique. Start by inhaling for a slow count of 4 and then slowly exhaling for a count of 4. Continue this for 4 minutes and you will feel more relaxed!
This is another technique to relieve stress. What you need to do is to focus your attention on other activities or thoughts which are unrelated to the negative thoughts of anxiety that create negative emotions. The more attention you pay to distracting activities or thoughts, the less anxiety you will feel. One way to do this is to start counting down from 1000 by subtracting 7 or 3 each time: 1000, 993, 986, 979, 972…etc. Another way is to focus your attention on counting the red cars that go by.
Share your problems with your friends and family!
When we keep everything bottled up inside us, our mental burden is certain to be worse. Apart from the temporary relief we feel when we share our problems with our people, they may also be able to help us practically in solving them.
Addiction to psychiatric drugs - P. Gavrilakis – Psychiatrist
Addiction is only caused by a certain class of drugs called benzodiazepines which are well-known anti-stress medications. These include drugs such as lorazepam, bromazepam, alprazolam and others. For obvious reasons, the trade names are not mentioned in this article, but these are commonly used drugs and your your doctor will definitely know the trade names they are marketed under. Certain sleeping tablets, such as zolpidem and zopiclone, which act on the same receptors in the brain as the above drugs are also addictive and are also prescribed by doctors of various specialties. NO other psychiatric medication is addictive, but this does not mean, of course, that they can be stopped immediately and without medical supervision. It is important to emphasise, however, that even the "heaviest" psychiatric drugs do not cause addiction and can be easily stopped when this is deemed necessary by your doctor.
Now let's go back and have a look at anti-stress medication (benzodiazepines) and sleeping tablets...
These drugs should be prescribed for as short a time as possible, and certainly not for more than a few weeks, until the appropriate drugs needed to treat the specific mental illness can be prescribed, such as e.g. antidepressants. People on relative small doses can also become addicted to these sleeping tablets if taking them for around 2 months, but addiction usually requires large doses which, of course, is not a rare phenomenon.
Alprazolam is one of the most commonly prescribed sleeping tablets, but happens to be one of the most addictive. In addition, it is also one of the most powerful benzodiazepines, i.e. one of the heaviest drugs of its kind, and it also has a very short half-life (i.e. short action). This, in turn, means that tolerance is easly established that the patient continually needs larger and larger doses to to have the same effect and eventually becomes addicted. Another negative is that, because it has a short duration of action, anxiety can reappear in a worse form. This phenomenon is more likely to occur more intesely in those who receive larger doses for longer periods of time and is known as "rebound anxiety" the international literature. This, of course, can also make someone's need for alprazolam more intense to "cure" the anxiety that it exacerbated and thus contributes to their addiction.
It is very difficult to come off this medicaation, and doing so requires regular psychiatric monitoring. Looking at how alprazolam doses relate to doses of other drugs: 0.5 mg of alprazolam corresponds to 5-6 mg of bromazepam (a drug used intermittently by most of the population). That is, if someone is taking 2 mg of alprazolam per day that is like them taking a giant 20-24 mg dose of bromazepam per day! This knowledge about the doses of these drugs has been available since the late 1980s. In recent decades, in addition to looking at Psychiatry books, anyone can find the relevant table by doing a simple internet search.
The same holds true for the sleeping tablets mentioned above, which also cause dependence and tolerance, with the result that after some time either the patient needs a larger dose to achieve the same effect, or after stopping them, the insomnia reappears in a more severe form form - a phenomenon referred to in the international literature as "rebound insomnia", i.e. insomnia that returns more severely after stopping the drug.
Today there is no reason to prescribe addictive drugs for insomnia, as psychiatrists can prescribe completely safe, effective and non-addictive medicines.
Difference between psychologist and psychiatrist & the extent to which they work together - Gavrilakis Polydoros – Psychiatrist
In principle, the main difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist that a psychiatrist is a doctor, and indeed the only specialist in the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness. So the psychiatrist is the who can say with certainty, whether or not a psychological problem or particulat symptoms that a person is facing are part of a mental illness. A psychologist is a scientist who applies a psychological treatment, called psychotherapy. Postgraduate training in one or more types of psychotherapy is usually required because this training is not provided in the psychology faculty at the University. The psychiatrist, as part of his specialty, must also have been trained in psychotherapy, but after the specialty he may or may not work with psychotherapy. Both are mental health professionals who should work together for the good of the patient.
Therefore, a psychiatrist who is should strengthen the therapeutic relationship that a patient has with a psychologist and recommend that he continue treatment, recommend psychotherapy when it is indicated, and also refer his patients for psychotherapy. Even if he practices psychotherapy, he should refer his patients to another psychiatrist or psychologist, since he himself does not practice and is not sufficiently trained in the type of psychotherapy that would be best for them.
The σωστός psychologist should also refer the patient for a psychiatric evaluation to rule out a serious mental disorder, but also to get a diagnosis and a treatment plan. All patients, whether they suffer from a physical or mental illness or simply have some symptoms, have the right to a diagnosis and a scientifically documented treatment plan drawn up a qualified physician. In our case, the diagnosis may often be a mild mental illness, the main treatment for which may be psychotherapy. At this point the right psychiatrist recommend that the patient continues psychotherapy with the therapist they are already seeing, as long as the wish to do so.
Choosing a psychotherapist (psychologist or psychiatrist) is a personal matter and it certainly has to do with what suits the patient as an individual. There are many different "schools" of psychotherapy and it is not possible to say that one is better or worse than another, although in many cases individual patients will benefit more from a certain type of psychotherapy than from others.
A scientifically based psychiatric diagnosis and treatment plan is not a matter of personal choice or opinion. In these cases, when the psychiatrist is sufficiently informed and practices psychiatry according to the latest available scientific information, and always with the patient's best interests in mind, he must recommend the type of psychotherapy which is officially indicated internationally as therapy or adjunctive therapy for the mental illness from which his patients suffers, regardless of whether he practices it or not. In the event that this does not happen and either the patient has a mild mental illness or simply some psychological problems and there is no official indication for a specific type of psychotherapy, the psychiatrist must, as a doctor, recommend the type of psychotherapy that will help his patient the most, regardless of whether he or his partners provide that particular type of psychotherapy.
So, the conclusion is that when patient is referred by a psychiatrist to a psychologist or vice versa in the patient's best interest, and ONLY then, the mental health professional has nothing to fear. And, beyond the obvious benefit to the patient, this also works positively for the mental health professional as it strenghtens the patients' trust in him.
Should you always see a psychiatrist? - Gavrilakis Polydoros – Psychiatrist
The answer to this question is "no, it is not always necessesary to see a psychologist". Someone with a mild mental health or psychological problem who does not have a mental illness, and has not managed to solve the problem on thier own, can find a solution through psychotherapy with a psychologist, without ever to see a psychiatrist, just as someone with a simple cough can get well without seeing a doctor. But in both cases, a visit to a specialist will rule out a more serious illness, either physical or mental, and will provide the help needed to deal with any such illness.
A psychiatrist is the ONLY medical specialist who has the necessary knowledge and experience to diagnose whether a patient's symptoms or psychological problems are part of a mild or severe mental illness, and is also the ONLY specialist able to formulate a safe, personalised and scientifically based treatment plan for each patient.
Everything is a matter of choice - for the patient and also for the psychologist if the patient does have a mental health problem.
The patient makes choice concerning their health, which may turn out to be correct and as they did not need to go to a psychiatrist. Also, many times the patent may be correct to go to a psychologist as they did not need a doctor. Here it is all a matter of cost-benefit, and since the cost in time and money of a visiting a psychiatrist is insignificant compared to the benefit for the patient, patients have nothing to fear from visiting the doctor. Not only can a patient and his family prevent the worst by doing this, but the patient’s life can be saved with a timely visit to a psychiatrist. In the same way, a psychologist can also have peace of mind by "transferring" responsibility to the psychiatrist for on case anything goes "wrong".