What is a Psychiatrist?

Missouri City TX Psychiatrist

Psychiatrists, like Dr. Shannon Sniff, are medical doctors who have completed several years of education, including 4 years of college, 4 years of medical school, and at least 4 years of specialized training in a psychiatry residency. All medical doctors are educated on general medical principals during medical school and are required to then complete residency in a particular medical field prior to practicing medicine. Psychiatrists consider the biological as well as psychosocial aspects of a patient’s situation prior to making a recommendation. For example, financial difficulties, loss of a loved one, loss of a job, and divorce are all psychosocial factors that can contribute to psychiatric symptoms. Psychiatrists may use a combination of medication and therapy to treat their patients. Dr. Sniff recognizes that using medication is an individual choice that each patient must make.

Why should you see a psychiatrist instead of your primary care physician?

Many patients first receive mental health treatment by their family physician, obstetrician, internist, pediatrician or another provider before seeing a psychiatrist. Many doctors are willing to treat fairly simple depression, anxiety, ADHD, and other psychiatric conditions. However, if the treatment becomes more complicated, those providers often prefer to refer to a specialist, in other words, a psychiatrist. Because psychiatrists have spent at least 4 years in training specifically geared to psychiatric conditions, they have more expertise in that area than physicians who may have had very limited exposure to mental health during training in other specialties.

How should you choose a psychiatrist?

If you are searching for a psychiatrist in your area, such as Missouri City, there are a few qualities to keep in mind. If possible, it is best to see a psychiatrist who comes highly recommended by another physician or someone you trust. You should always seek out a psychiatrist who has completed an accredited psychiatry residency program. In addition, the gold standard for any specialty is board certification. Board Certified Psychiatrists, such as Dr. Shannon Sniff, have not only successfully completed a psychiatric residency program, but they have also completed a rigorous certification process. This certification process includes meeting high standards for patient interaction and interviewing skills, and passing a written test that covers a wide variety of topics in psychiatry and neurology. In order to maintain board certification status, the psychiatrist must complete ongoing continuing education requirements and stay abreast of the latest recommendations and developments in the field of psychiatry. Some psychiatrists, like Dr. Sniff, go beyond the general psychiatry training, and complete additional fellowship training to subspecialize in child psychiatry, forensic psychiatry, addiction psychiatry, or geriatric psychiatry. These subspecialists often practice general psychiatry in addition to their subspecialty. Dr. Sniff is a child psychiatrist in addition to being a general psychiatrist. At your appointment, it is important that you do not feel rushed. Dr. Sniff makes it a priority to listen to patients, allow enough time to discuss symptoms and concerns, and explain the treatment recommendations.