Psychiatrists are medical doctors (M.D.'s) who treat people suffering from mental and emotional illnesses that make it hard for them to cope with everyday living or to behave in socially acceptable ways. Psychiatrists treat problems ranging from being irritable and feeling frustrated to losing touch with reality. Some people, in addition to having a mental illness, may also engage in destructive behavior such as abusing alcohol or drugs or committing crimes. Others may have physical symptoms that spring from mental or emotional disorders. People with mental illness were once so misunderstood and stigmatized by society that they were kept, chained and shackled, in asylums. Today society recognizes that emotional or mental illnesses need to be diagnosed and treated just like any other medical problem.

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