How to become a Psychiatrist which requires a serious commitment
Becoming a psychiatrist requires a serious commitment to helping people as well as the education required to get there. Unlike Clinical Psychologists and other psychologists, Psychiatrists are medical doctors first. Becoming a psychiatrist involves not only the education required to become a physician, but also additional intensive training in psychiatry. The main job of a psychiatrist is to assess patients and evaluate whether their symptoms are a result of a mental disorder.
The psychiatrist job description can include many different possibilities, including research, brain imaging, and providing medical mental health services such as ECT. Some psychiatrists may also utilize psychotherapy or psychological techniques as a method of therapy, however, most psychiatrists today focus on prescribing and managing psychological medications.
Specialties within Psychiatry Although a Psychiatrist’s job description focuses on medical management of psychiatric patients, there are a variety of specialties within the field of psychiatry.
• Geriatric Psychiatry:
Geriatric psychiatrists focus on studying and treatment of mental disorders within the geriatric population. Geriatric psychiatrists work with patients who are suffering from mental illness such as depression, or those with mental and brain issues such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
• Addiction Psychiatry:
Psychiatrists who specialize in addiction focus on studying and treating those with addictions such as drug and alcohol abuse, sex addiction and addiction to gambling.
• Child and Adolescent Psychiatry:
Similar to geriatric psychiatrists, child and adolescent psychiatrists focus on the treatment of mental issues within the pediatric population. These psychiatrists can treat such issues as childhood depression and social anxiety as well as conditions such as autism.
• Emergency Psychiatry:
Emergency psychiatrists often work in hospitals where they focus on the treatment of patients within psychiatric inpatient settings, as well as those within the emergency room, providing acute care and psychiatric medications.
• Forensic Psychiatry:
Like forensic psychologists, forensic psychiatrists act as liaisons between psychiatric patients within the legal systems and the government and law enforcement. Psychiatrists may treat clients within the legal system, such as within prisons, and can also be used as consultants within the court system as expert witnesses.
• Community Psychiatry:
Community psychiatrists work in a variety of positions within the community health care system. They can be found working for mental health clinics providing medication management, or providing home treatment to those with serious disorders who may not be able to leave their home.
Becoming a Psychiatrist
Becoming a psychiatrist involves following a long process of schooling, training and residencies within the field, as well as testing and board certification. It is estimated that the total amount of time required to become a practicing psychiatrist is twelve years after high school. Becoming a psychiatrist requires a four year bachelor’s degree, another four years of medical school, followed by another four years of psychiatric training in assessment, diagnosis, psychopharmacology and psychotherapy.