WHAT IS A PSYCHIATRIST?
A psychiatrist is first and foremost a fully trained doctor of medicine. In order to become a Consultant Psychiatrist, the doctor will undertake specialist post graduate training and higher examinations in psychiatry. All Royal College Psychiatrists should have the letters ‘M.R.C.Psych.’ (Member of the Royal College of Psychiatry) after their name. This is the basic post graduate degree in the field. This training takes approximately five years of post graduate training after qualifying in medicine and embraces the whole field of normal and abnormal psychology.
WHAT IS AN FRCPSYCH?
A certain number of psychiatrists, with long experience and recognised expertise are elected to the Royal College of Psychiatry as Fellows. Dr. Woolfson is a Fellow.
HOW WOULD MY TREATMENT WORK?
In an initial diagnostic consultation, Dr. Woolfson would assess your symptoms. Dr. Woolfson would take a very detailed case history – which is really just a conversation about your life experience, physical health and your emotional issues as you see them. Dr. Woolfson aims to give a diagnosis as soon as possible, most often after the first interview. At this point he discusses treatment options, with the majority of patients being treated on an outpatient basis. This is usually followed by regular therapeutic meetings over the course of several weeks or months, depending on the nature and severity of the issues.
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE BEFORE I RECEIVE A DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT PLAN?
After an initial diagnostic interview Dr. Woolfson would rapidly reach a view which he will pass onto the patient, frequently in the first interview.
WILL I HAVE TO TAKE MEDICATION TO GET BETTER ?
Most patients respond very well to psychotherapy which would be planned according to their specific need. Some patients, who are more acutely ill, might require some form of medication in the short or medium term. Modern drug therapy is frequently very effective when prescribed appropriately and is tailored according to individual requirement. Dr. Woolfson will discuss any program of medication in detail before treatment and can address concerns you might have.
CAN DRUG OR ALCOHOL ADDICTION BE TREATED EFFECTIVELY?
The answer is yes. Some patients, who are heavily dependent on alcohol or drugs, might require hospital admission for a period of detoxification. This combined with appropriate psychotherapy can produce very successful results. A large percentage of patients respond to outpatient management and may find group therapy useful.
WHAT ABOUT EATING DISORDERS?
People with mild to moderate eating disorders can be treated effectively either on an outpatient basis or as day hospital patients. More severe cases might require admission to hospital for a period of time.
CAN YOU SAVE A MARRIAGE OR A RELATIONSHIP?
The answer to this is often “yes“ and Dr. Woolfson has frequently done so.
DOES PSYCHIATRIC TREATMENT REALLY WORK?
Most psychological illnesses do respond to treatment. However, many are accompanied by high levels of anxiety, tension and depression. Those symptoms, if effectively recognised, also respond to psychotherapy and/or medication. Complex personality problems with features such as anti-social behaviour, insecurity and low self esteem, do respond but may require longer periods of psychotherapy. More severe problems, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorders can be helped tremendously by social management, psychotherapy, appropriate medication and prevention of relapses by one to one support.
WILL MY INFORMATION REMAIN CONFIDENTIAL?
All discussions are entirely confidential and no information will be given to a patient’s general practitioner or anyone else without the patient’s permission.