What it Takes to Become a Psychiatrist

Published: 10th July 2009
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Psychiatrists are some of the busiest doctors in the medical industry; and they have more stress than any other doctors. There are several functions of a psychiatrist and they have to go through some pretty intense training before they are officially recognized and licensed as a psychiatrist. What are psychiatrists? I usually get them mixed up with psychologist, what's the difference? You are not alone with these questions; many people have often thought the same questions. Let me explain the answers. Psychologists are professionals who are able to apply their psychological ideas and findings to problems and questions and they specialize in fields such as counseling and science. A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who specializes in mental illnesses.

Psychiatrists are often thought of as "loony people doctors" which is of course a stereotype for what psychiatrists do. Schooling to become a psychiatrist consists of a total of 12 years of medical training; in just the US. Other parts of the world, like Europe and Canada, it's 10 years. These figures include 4 years to obtain a BA in a medical program or field, then another 4 years to get an MD and an DO, then lastly, 4 more years to complete a residency program at a required or licensed facility.

Once a psychiatrist has finished their residency and taken the board exam, they are then certified psychiatrists. They have the rights to order and give tests a lot of other doctors don't have the clearance to give, such as; electroencephalogram, brain imaging studies like; computed tomography, magnetic tomography and other studies. These studies are often times crucial to a psychiatrist's diagnosis and the studies help them to see how a person's brain waves are functioning in order to prescribe any medication.

There are several different fields that psychiatrists specialize in and each specialty brings about new challenges and titles for a psychiatrist. Depending on the age group a psychiatrist decided to work with or focus on working with, depends on the kind of specialty training a psychiatrist needs to learn and study, along with keeping up with current and or updated treatments for said age group. Specialties can range from; child and adolescent, adult, geriatric, neuropsychiatry to; learning disabilities, behavioral medicine, consultation, liaison, cross cultural, emergency and addiction specialties, but also, forensic, neurodevelopmental, psychosomatic medicine, psychotherapy and pain medicines. Each specialty gives the psychiatrist slight advantages and disadvantages apart from other more general practicing psychiatrists.

But apart from specialized psychiatrists, there are also categories psychiatrists fit into. These categories can separate many psychiatrists apart from others in the way of not only title and specialization, but overall field and expertise. Organizational and occupational psychiatrists work in offices and offer services to the general public. They often help counsel, coach and medicate their clients so they can live healthier and more fulfilling lives. Forensic psychiatrists work in courtrooms and on criminal and civil cases to determine a person's sanity, help solve cases and other aspects of cases. Forensic psychiatrists tend to have expertise in areas that occupational psychiatrists don't and while in school focus mainly on the forensic side of things.

Each field is crucial and now days as peoples stress levels are on a rise, the pharmaceutical companies are seeing an increase in psychiatric medicines. It's been figured in statistics that in the next ten years more than half the population in the world will be on some sort of anti-depressant.

To learn more about careers in psychiatry visit the psychiatrist jobs page for more information and how to apply for a job.

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