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How to Become a Psychiatrist


How to Become a Psychiatrist

A psychiatrist is a physician that focuses on mental health and mental disorders. Some people mistaken psychiatrist for psychologists. Although these careers have some similarities, they are certain distinctions that separate the two. A career in psychiatry requires an individual to hold a medical degree; thus, they are licensed to prescribe drugs in treating psychological problems. Just like any doctor, psychiatrists treat their patients by conducting medical examinations and requesting diagnostic assessments.

What is a Psychiatrist?

The main responsibility of psychiatrists is to treat mental disorders. They perform assessments of the client’s symptom, determine its cause, and arrive at a fitting diagnosis. They communicate with their patients to understand their condition and to establish ways of addressing it. In order to treat their patients, psychiatrists prescribe medication and/ or therapy. It’s also their task to determine if these treatments are effective and if they are used properly.

There are a variety of specialty areas for psychiatrists. For instance, adult psychiatrist deals with adults who have mental disorders or are experiencing psychological concerns. Adolescent and child psychiatrists focus on treating children and teens. A geriatric psychiatrist practices psychiatry with the elderly. Another specialty area includes addiction psychiatry which attends to individuals with addiction or problems with substance abuse. Forensic psychiatry focuses on mentally-ill patients in the criminal justice system and courts. Neuropsychiatrists deal with mental illness related to problems in the nervous system. Organizational psychiatrists apply their practice in occupation-related mental disorders.

If you are interested in a career in psychiatry, then remember that it is always important to respect patients. They may have mental problems but they still deserve to be treated with dignity. There’s no need to be afraid of mentally ill patients. Mental illness isn’t contagious. This career may be emotionally stressful so don’t forget to laugh.

How to Become a Psychiatrist

First and foremost, any individual considering a career in psychiatry needs to attend undergraduate school. This allows an individual to be eligible for medical schools. A recommended course to take is psychology; however, they aren’t any certain majors specified. The undergraduate curriculum should include courses such Biology, Physics, Chemistry and even Humanities, English and Math.

Individuals who want to be a psychiatrist should then apply to medical school, which is completed in a period of four years. Students will be learning how to render medical examinations as well as how to give a proper diagnosis. The courses for psychiatry include anatomy, physiology, pharmacology and pathology.

As soon as one earns their medical degree, they will undergo residency training for a minimum of four years. Novice psychiatrists are offered compensated medical practice in health institutions. Their residencies include rotations in family medicine, internal medicine, neurology, pediatrics and emergency medicine. According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), psychiatrist must be able to pass a licensure examination before legally beginning their practice. Requirements for licensure and measures to maintain it may differ depending on the state. Reciprocity between states may be permitted in certain licenses. Registration with the Drug Enforcement Administration and a license in federal narcotics is also needed for psychiatrists to be able to prescribe drugs. An alternative for psychiatrists is to train in subspecialties such as neuropsychiatry or addiction psychiatry.

Majority of psychiatrists are employed in mental health clinics, hospitals, universities and government offices. There are also some that are self-employed. Around 60% of a psychiatrist’s time is spent on dealing with their patients. Other responsibilities of a psychiatrist involve consultation, teaching, administration and research. Due to increasing mental health awareness, it is expected that the demand for psychiatrists will increase mainly in subspecialty areas. The most popular subspecialties include geriatric psychiatry and child psychiatry. Since psychiatry is quite competitive, it is essential for students to attain high grades.

Psychiatrist Salary

The average annual salary of psychiatrist amounts to about $163,660. An average annual salary of $190,340 is made by psychiatrists who practice in outpatient centers. Those who work in offices get an average annual salary of $154,650. This is expected since education and training of psychiatrists require around ten years to be completed.