Outpatient psychiatric services – the outpatient clinic is often the first point of contact for the client with psychiatric care. It provides diagnosis and treatment focused on the bio-psycho-social aspect of the patient’s health and illness (medication, psychotherapy). Comprehensive care is provided by a psychiatrist in collaboration with other professionals and services (e.g. clinical psychology).

Who they are suitable for?

A certain amount of stress and psychological discomfort is part of life. However, sometimes difficulties develop into serious problems that make it impossible to function normally in relationships and at work. At such times, it is helpful to begin to address psychological difficulties with a professional. Mental health difficulties are dealt with by psychologists and psychiatrists. Their methods differ – while psychologists treat by talking, psychiatrists may prescribe medication

What type of problem is treated by an outpatient psychiatrist: an outpatient psychiatrist treats problems such as long-term sleep disturbances, anxiety that may develop into panic attacks, mood swings, restlessness, explosiveness. Then depressive thoughts and suicidal thoughts, psychosomatic problems, self-harm and threats to life in general

What are the steps in the process?

The aim of the psychiatric evaluation is to detect a possible mental disorder and to suggest appropriate treatment to avoid further aggravation of the difficulties. A mental health examination may also be required in some specific cases, such as deciding whether to hold (or return) a driving or firearms licence, applying for a particular type of job, and is sometimes directly ordered by the court. The result of a psychiatric examination can often help to identify the cause of a variety of physical problems that doctors in other specialties are unable to deal with.

What are the criteria for successful treatment? 

At the same time, it is also very much up to us. You will have noticed that a doctor who is sympathetic to you will usually help you more than one who is not, for whatever reason. In such cases, the most important criterion for successful treatment is not the expertise of the doctor, but ourselves, i.e. how we can tune in to the treatment itself.

How long does the treatment take?

An individual session with a psychiatrist in an outpatient clinic usually lasts 30-50 minutes.

The first session is the first contact with the client and the psychiatrist. The psychiatrist asks a lot of information about the client’s life, i.e. current information, but also information from the client’s history. Areas such as: background information, reasons for the examination, the client’s personal history, family history, psychosocial development, somatic illness, social history, sexual and partner history, personality and self-assessment, substance use and addictive behaviour, psychiatric history, current illness, present psychological state, emotionality, attitude towards the examination.

Based on this information, the psychiatrist will design a treatment plan and a timeline for meeting with the client until improvement occurs – stabilization of problems, stabilization of medication.

Collaboration with other professionals such as clinical psychologist, psychotherapist is important, where the client has more time and opportunities to talk about the pain of his/her soul.

The process is usually long term from six months to a year, sometimes more.

If you or someone you know would be interested in a psychiatric consultation, contact Neo Centrum, an amazing English speaking clinic here in Prague that offers this and many other services for locals and foreigners.