About Psychologist Speciality
A psychologist is a trained medical professional who studies mental processes and human behaviour by observing, interpreting, and recording how people relate to one another and the environment. Stress and anxiety, depression, phobias, family & relationship issues, addictions, eating disorders, stress management, sleeping problems, performance enhancement, mental clarity, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder are some of the medical conditions that a psychologist provides treatment for.
In order to become a certified psychologist, one must complete graduation from a medical college followed by two year full time Master of Psychology or Doctor of Psychology postgraduate degree.
Different types of psychologists
Clinical psychologists: They assess, diagnose, and treat mental, emotional, and behavioural disorders.
Health psychologists: They interrogate how psychological and behavioural factors interact with health and illness.
Neuropsychologists: They study the effects of brain injuries, brain disease, developmental disorders or mental health conditions on behaviour and thinking.
Counselling psychologists: They help patients deal with and understand problems, including issues at home, at the workplace etc.
Developmental psychologists: They study the psychological progress and development that take place throughout life.
Forensic psychologists: They assist judges, lawyers, and other legal specialists with psychological principles in the legal and criminal justice system.
Industrial psychologists: They apply psychology to the workplace by using psychological principles and research methods to solve problems.
School psychologists: They use psychological principles and techniques to education and developmental disorders.
Social psychologists: They study how people’s mindsets and behaviour are shaped by social interactions.
Some of the duties performed by a psychologist
- Conduct studies to study behaviour and brain function
- Collect information through observations, interviews, surveys, tests, and other methods
- Discover patterns that will help them understand and predict behaviour
- Use their skills to increase understanding among individuals
- Adhering to the psychological issues at schools and workplaces
- Work with individuals, couples, and families to help them make behavioural changes
- Identify and diagnose mental, behavioural, or emotional disorders
- Some psychologists work privately, do independent research, consult clients or counsel patients. Others may work as part of a healthcare team, coordinate with doctors, social workers to treat mental disorders and promote overall wellness.
Medical conditions treated by a psychologist
Schizophrenia is a severe mental disorder which interferes with a person's ability to think clearly, manage emotions, make decisions and relate to others. A psychologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of schizophrenia.
Symptoms of Schizophrenia
Symptoms include trouble controlling impulses, odd emotional responses to situations, a lack of emotion or expressions, social isolation, trouble experiencing pleasure, etc.
Treatment of Schizophrenia
A psychologist may prescribe antipsychotics including aripiprazole, asenapine, brexpiprazole, cariprazine, clozapine, iloperidone, lurasidone, olanzapine, paliperidone, quetiapine, risperidone and ziprasidone along with individual therapy, social skills training, family therapy and vocational rehabilitation and supported employment.
Bipolar disorder, often called manic depression, is a mental health condition which causes severe mood swings that include emotional highs and lows. A psychologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of bipolar disorder.
Symptoms of bipolar disorder
Symptoms include deep sadness, hopelessness, loss of energy, lack of interest in activities, periods of too little or too much sleep, suicidal thoughts.
Treatment of bipolar disorder
A psychologist may prescribe mood stabilizers, such as lithium antipsychotics, such as olanzapine antidepressant-antipsychotics, such as fluoxetine-olanzapine and benzodiazepines, a type of anti-anxiety medication. He may also recommend cognitive behavioural therapy, psychoeducation and interpersonal and social rhythm therapy.
Stress refers to our body’s response to any kind of demand. When people become stressed, their bodies release chemicals into the blood. A psychologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of stress.
Symptoms of stress
Symptoms include headache, muscle tension, chest pain, fatigue, change in sex drive, stomach upset, sleep problems, anxiety, restlessness, feeling overwhelmed, irritability or anger, depression, overeating or under-eating, angry outbursts, social withdrawal etc.
Treatment of stress
A psychologist may suggest regular physical activity, relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation, yoga, tai chi or getting a massage, socializing with family and friends, setting aside time for hobbies, such as reading a book or listening to music to eliminate stress.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental disorder which occurs when people are caught between obsessions and compulsions. These can interfere with daily activities and cause significant distress. A psychologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder
Symptoms include fear of being contaminated by touching objects others have touched, doubts that you've locked the door or turned off the stove, intense stress when objects aren't orderly, images of hurting yourself, avoidance of situations that can trigger obsessions, counting in certain patterns, checking doors repeatedly to make sure they're locked etc.
Treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder
A psychologist may suggest cognitive behavioural therapy along with certain antidepressants such as clomipramine, fluoxetine, fluvoxamine, paroxetine and sertraline.
Psychosis is a mental disorder which causes people to see and perceive things differently from those around them. Psychotic people may have either hallucinations or delusions. A psychologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of psychosis.
Symptoms of psychosis
Symptoms include difficulty concentrating, depressed mood, sleeping too much or not enough, anxiety, suspiciousness, withdrawal from family and friends, delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech, depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts.
Treatment of psychosis
A psychologist may suggest rapid tranquilisation to calm people down along with medications called antipsychotics and cognitive behavioural therapy.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is a mental disorder which includes a combination of frequent problems such as difficulty paying attention, hyperactivity and impetuous behaviour. A psychologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
Symptoms include impulsiveness, disorganization and problems prioritizing, poor time management skills, problems focusing on a task, trouble multitasking, excessive activity or restlessness, poor planning, low frustration tolerance, frequent mood swings, problems following through and completing tasks, hot temper, trouble coping with stress.
Treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
A psychologist may prescribe stimulants such as methylphenidate or amphetamine along with non-stimulant atomoxetine and certain antidepressants such as bupropion. He may also suggest cognitive behavioural therapy and marital counselling and family therapy.
Post-traumatic stress disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a mental health disorder which can develop in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event. A psychologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of post-traumatic stress disorder.
Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder
Symptoms include recurrent memories of the traumatic event, flashbacks of the traumatic event, nightmares about the traumatic event, severe emotional distress, trying to avoid thinking or talking about the traumatic event, memory problems, difficulty maintaining close relationships, trouble sleeping or concentrating, overwhelming guilt etc.
Treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder
A psychologist may suggest several types of psychotherapy including cognitive behavioural therapy, exposure behavioural therapy and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing. In addition, he may prescribe anti-anxiety medications, antidepressants and prazosin drug for insomnia with recurrent nightmares.
Personality disorders are a group of mental illnesses where people differ from other individuals in terms of how they think, perceive, feel or relate to others. A psychologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of personality disorders.
Symptoms of personality disorders
Symptoms include being overwhelmed by negative feelings such as distress, anxiety, worthlessness or anger, avoiding other people and feeling empty and emotionally disconnected, difficulty managing negative feelings without self-harming, difficulty maintaining stable and close relationships, periods of losing contact with reality.
Treatment of personality disorders
A psychologist may suggest psychodynamic psychotherapy, cognitive behavioural therapy and interpersonal therapy for the treatment of various symptoms associated with personality disorders.
Anxiety disorder is a form of mental illness which can cause extreme levels of distress which in turn interferes with a normal healthy life. A psychologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of anxiety disorder.
Symptoms of anxiety disorder
Symptoms include feelings of panic, fear, and uneasiness, trouble sleeping, sweaty hands or feet, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, not being able to be still and calm, dry mouth, tingling in the hands or feet, nausea, muscle tension, etc.
Treatment of anxiety disorder
A psychologist may prescribe antidepressants, certain anticonvulsant medicines and low-dose antipsychotics along with psychotherapy, cognitive behavioural therapy and relaxation therapy.
Eating disorders can be described as an abnormal attitude towards food that causes someone to change their eating habits and behaviour. A psychologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of eating disorders.
Symptoms of eating disorders
Symptoms include rapid weight loss, frequent changes in weight sensitivity to the cold, disturbance of menstrual periods, signs of frequent vomiting, dizziness, always feeling tired, intense fear of gaining weight, negative body image, distorted body image, moodiness or irritability, low self-esteem.
Treatment of eating disorders
A psychologist may prescribe antidepressants along with cognitive behavioural therapy, interpersonal psychotherapy, dietary counselling, cognitive analytic therapy and family therapy.
Depression is a serious mood disorder which causes frequent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. It is also known as major depressive disorder or clinical depression. Depression often interferes with normal day-to-day activities. A psychologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of depression.
Symptoms of depression
Symptoms include sadness, tearfulness, emptiness or hopelessness, angry outbursts, irritability or frustration, loss of interest or pleasure in most or all normal activities, insomnia or sleeping too much, changes in appetite, agitation or restlessness, slowed thinking, trouble thinking, concentrating, etc.
Treatment of depression
Medications and psychological counselling are usually effective for people suffering from depression. A psychologist may prescribe selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIS), serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIS), norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitors (NDRIS), atypical antidepressants, tricyclic antidepressants, and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIS).
A mood disorder refers to an emotional state which is distorted or inconsistent with your circumstances. Major depression, dysthymia, bipolar disorder, disruptive mood dysregulation disorder are some major mood disorders. A psychologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of mood disorders.
Symptoms of mood disorders
Symptoms include feeling hopeless or helpless, low self-esteem, feeling inadequate, excessive guilt, loss of interest in usual activities, suicidal thoughts, relationship problems, sleeping too much, changes in appetite, decreased energy, trouble concentrating, irritability, hostility, or aggression.
Treatment of mood disorders
A psychologist may prescribe antidepressant and mood stabilizing medications along with cognitive behavioural therapy, interpersonal psychotherapy and family therapy.
Dissociative Identity Disorder (Multiple Personality Disorder)
Dissociative Identity Disorder, formerly known as multiple personality disorder is a group of dissociative disorders in which individuals develop one or more alternate personalities. A psychologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of dissociative identity disorder.
Symptoms of dissociative identity disorder
Symptoms include changing levels of functioning, severe headaches or pain in other parts of the body, feeling disconnected from one’s own thoughts, depression, mood swings, anxiety, eating and sleeping disturbances, problems with functioning sexuality, substance abuse, memory loss, hallucinations and suicide risk.
Treatment of dissociative identity disorder
A psychologist may suggest psychotherapy, cognitive-behavioural therapy, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, dialectic-behaviour therapy, family therapy, creative therapies, meditation and relaxation techniques, clinical hypnosis.
Borderline Personality Disorder
Borderline personality disorder is a mental health condition that affects the way you think and feel about yourself and other individuals causing problems in everyday life. A psychologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of borderline personality disorder.
Symptoms of borderline personality disorder
Symptoms include an intense fear of abandonment, a pattern of unstable intense relationships, rapid changes in self-identity and self-image, periods of stress-related paranoia, impulsive and risky behaviour, suicidal threats or behaviour or self-injury, mood swings, frequently losing your temper.
Treatment of borderline personality disorder
A psychologist may suggest different types of psychotherapy including dialectic-behaviour therapy, schema-focused therapy, mentalization-based therapy, systems training for emotional predictability and problem-solving, transference-focused psychotherapy and general psychiatric management.
Delusional disorder is a serious mental health condition in which a person cannot tell what is real from what is imagined. A psychologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of delusional disorder.
Symptoms of delusional disorder
Symptoms include an irritable, angry, or low mood, seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not really there.
Treatment of delusional disorder
A psychologist may suggest individual psychotherapy, cognitive-behavioural therapy and family therapy along with prescribing neuroleptics, atypical antipsychotics and antidepressants.
Intellectual Disability (Mental Retardation)
Intellectual disability, formerly known as mental retardation, is marked by below-average intelligence or mental ability and a lack of skills to perform daily functions. Intellectual disability can be mild or insightful. A psychologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of intellectual disability.
Symptoms of intellectual disability in children
Symptoms include rolling over, sitting up, crawling, or walking late, having trouble with talking, slow to master things like potty training, dressing, difficulty remembering things, inability to connect actions with consequences, difficulty with problem-solving etc.
Treatment of delusional disorder
Intellectual disability is an irreversible condition. A psychologist may suggest individual psychotherapy, cognitive-behavioural therapy and family therapy to improve the patient’s ability to live a full life.
Schizoaffective disorder is a mental health condition in which a person experiences a combination of hallucinations or delusions and depression or mania. A psychologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of schizoaffective disorder.
Symptoms of schizoaffective disorder
Symptoms include delusions, hallucinations, symptoms of depression, such as feeling empty, sad or worthless, periods of manic mood or a sudden increase in energy, impaired occupational, academic and social functioning and problems with managing personal care.
Treatment of schizoaffective disorder
A psychologist may prescribe antipsychotics, mood-stabilizing medications and antidepressants along with individual therapy and family or group therapy.
Conduct disorder is a group of behavioural and emotional problems in which children and adolescents face difficulties following the rules. They may portray aggressive, disparaging and deceiving behaviours. A psychologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of conduct disorder.
Symptoms of conduct disorder
Symptoms include bullying others, physically harming people, using a weapon, lying, breaking and entering, stealing, forgery, running away from home, drug and alcohol use, sexual behaviour at a very young age etc.
Treatment of conduct disorder
A psychologist may suggest behaviour therapy or talk therapy to help children and adolescents learn how to express or control their emotions suitably.
Adjustment disorders are a group of mental conditions in which you find it difficult to cope with stressful situations. These can include death of a loved one, family problems, loss of job etc. A psychologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of adjustment disorders.
Symptoms of adjustment disorders
Symptoms include acting impulsive, acting anxious, feeling sad, hopeless, crying, withdrawn attitude, lack of concentration, loss of self esteem, suicidal thoughts, insomnia, muscle twitches or trembling, fatigue, body pain or indigestion.
Treatment of adjustment disorders
A psychologist may suggest behaviour therapy or talk therapy, family therapy, cognitive-behavioural therapy along with medications such as benzodiazepines, nonbenzodiazepine anxiolytic, SSRI or SNRI.