On the 16th of February, two of ZwavelStream Clinic’s psychiatrists featured in an interview hosted by “Die Groot Ontbyt” a show hosted by Kyknet South Africa. In this discussion on mental health, Dr Melissa Janse van Rensburg & Dr Louis Roos spoke about the role of psychiatry and how today’s environment impacts our mental health.
Before we tell you more about this fantastic interview, let’s take the time to introduce them properly
Dr Melissa Janse van Rensburg is a medical doctor specialising in psychiatry. She has a particular interest in pregnancy and post-natal Psychiatry, anxiety disorders and dementia, and a keen interest in women’s mental health and wellness, which plays an integral part in the recovery and treatment process of patients struggling with mental health conditions.
Dr Louis Roos is a specialist psychiatrist. His experience includes managing a wide range of psychiatric conditions. Still, it has special interests in schizophrenia and the potential neuropsychiatric applications and consequences of cannabinoids. Dr Roos follows a patient-centred multidisciplinary approach to treating his patients and believes that patients should be involved in every aspect of their treatment process.
Watch the in-depth discussion on how today’s environment impacts everyone’s mental health
What’s the role of a psychiatrist?
Dr Melissa answered:
According to our definition, mental health involves our emotional, psychological and social wellbeing. Let’s look at how it affects us. We know it affects how we think, how we feel and how we deal with certain factors in our life such as our interpersonal relationships and how we function at work. It also determines how we manage everyday stress. Mental health disorders can also affect our emotional wellbeing, behaviour, and thoughts, directly affecting our relationships with other people in and outside of a work environment. It also affects how a person functions within a work context.
What’s the role of psychiatrists, and what makes ZwavelStream Clinic’s psychiatrists different?
Dr Louis answered:
The role of the psychiatrist is to evaluate a person who shows the symptoms of a mental health disorder and diagnose them accordingly. A psychiatrist is also responsible for creating a treatment plan for the patient. The psychiatrist considers psychological and social factors that may or may not impact the patient during this process. Typically, the psychiatrist will prescribe medication to treat the diagnosed symptoms or refer the patient to other mental health practitioners such as social workers.
A psychiatrist is a medical doctor that specialises in psychiatry which is a four-year process. During this time, the psychiatrist will receive training in psychology and therapy. Therapy forms part of a psychiatrist’s practice, depending on the psychiatrist. A psychologist has a master’s degree in psychology and offers to counsel patients. They work with a clinical psychologist to provide treatment or therapy for psychiatric conditions.
How does economic uncertainty, Covid, crime and general factors impact an individual’s psychology?
Dr Louis: Covid is a perfect example. At ZwavelStream, we see an increase in patients battling mental health linked to Covid and the fallout thereof. Covid can directly impact the brain, leading to several problems with concentration, memory, fatigue, and headaches. These symptoms can present themselves during the infection and after the patient has had Covid-19.
Many elements associated with Covid can also be traumatic such as being booked into ICU or during the isolation period for both young and old. Another traumatic factor we see that takes its toll is when someone is bereaved in the death of a loved one. Another factor that we see played a role in the last two years was an overall financial strain, which increased stress.
How long does it take to diagnose a patient?
Typically, a patient will spend a minimum of an hour with a psychologist at the ZwavelStream clinic before a diagnosis can be made. Depending on the severity of the mental health concern, of course. A general practitioner will refer a patient to a psychologist or psychiatrist depending on the signs and symptoms shown by the patient. After the initial shock, many patients are relieved after receiving a diagnosis because they are now aware of why they feel the way they do. At ZwavelStream, we serve as a support system for people receiving an unexpected diagnosis.