What does a Psychiatrist do?

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A psychiatrist is a qualified medical practitioner, with specialist training and skill in diagnosing, treating, and preventing mental illness and emotional problems/issues. This specialist training equips Psychiatrist with the wherewithal to view illness in a holistic and integrated manner by giving due considerations to the interrelationships that exist between body and mind.

How to Become a Psychiatrist

how to become a psychiatrist

Becoming a psychiatrist can take a number of years of training, residency, and fellowships. The average training period goes on for a minimum of five years. During this time, doctors work under close supervision in hospitals and general clinics with a wide variety of patients including children, families, adults, and the elderly on a full range of psychiatric issues.

In the United States, the journey to becoming a Psychiatrist begins as follows:

Obtain a Bachelor’s degree: You would want to gain a bachelor’s degree that offers courses in Chemistry, Physics, Biology, and Mathematics. While any Bachelor’s degree is often acceptable, the applicant’s chances of gaining admission into medical school are higher with a science discipline or pre-med school. Applicants are also advised to volunteer at clinic or hospital to gain practical experience to brighten their chances of entering medical school.

Attend Medical School: Upon the completion of your Bachelor’s degree, you would attend four years of medical school to earn a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) degree.

Residency Training: The next stop is undergoing a mandatory residency training program in a hospital or clinic. Residency programs span a period of four years. During this time, you will also undergo training in a number of disciplines, such as neurology, forensic psychology, and chemical dependency before paying close attention to electives and clinical experience in a particular area during your final year of residency. You’ll have the opportunity to treat a variety of issues, including anxiety, depression, sexual dysfunction, substance abuse, psychosis, and developmental disabilities.

Attaining membership and certification status: Certification by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN) covers practices such as general psychiatry as well as specializations in such areas as addictions, adolescent, and forensic psychiatry. The certification lasts for a decade and is renewable upon your good standing and evidence of practice/continuing self-development.

Training in psychiatry requires mandatory supervision/monitoring by experienced, qualified psychiatrists. Intensive examinations are conducted throughout the period of training during which experience, expertise, and competence are tested.

Job Description of a Psychiatrist

Psychiatry extends to recognizing and treating the effects emotional distortions on the human body as well as the contributions of physical conditions on the mind. Depending on individual cases, psychiatrists make use of a number of effective therapies in the management, treatment, and prevention of mental illness. These regimens can include the prescription of drugs, provision of specialized psychological interventions (such as cognitive behavioral therapy), as well as organizing special support services/assistance for patients and their families.

If you are a senior doctor or consultant, your rounds could start off with interacting with medical students, interns, and residents. Supervision will entail discussing these diagnosis and evaluation conclusions reached by these doctors with regard to the patients with various psychiatric complaints.

Article Citations

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Psychiatrists.

American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, Inc. Become Certified