What is a Psychiatrist?
Monday, July 06, 2009
A psychiatrist is a medical physician specializing in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental illness, including substance abuses and addition. They are uniquely qualified to asses both the mental and physical aspects of psychological disturbance. Psychiatrist’s medical education has given them a full working knowledge of the many causes for the patients’ symptoms and feelings.

With this information, psychiatrists can make a complete, accurate diagnosis and then recommend or provide treatment To become a psychiatrist a person must complete their college degree before entering medical school. In general they have taken courses in biological and physical sciences as well as the liberal arts courses. Some also chose to study psychobiology, social and psychological sciences. In medical school students follow the standard curriculum. During the first two years in addition to chemistry, biochemistry, and physiology students study behavioral science, neuroscience, and psychiatry. The last two years have the medical students assigned to a medical specialty or “clerkship”. While completing their clerkship the students work with physicians in a minimum of five different specialties.

The psychiatry clerkship students take care of patients with mental illnesses in outpatient settings and hospitals. Although these students are learning to care for the severely mentally ill patients, due to the special emphases on the relationship between mind and body, students pay attention to the issues of stress and physical illness, and prevention and behavior changes.

After graduation the physicians take a written exam for the license to practice medicine. The doctors spend their first year of residency training in a hospital take care of patients with a wide variety of mental illness. The psychiatrist-in-training then spends at least three additional years in a psychiatric residency learning the diagnosis and treatment of mental illnesses, gaining valuable skills in various forms of psychotherapy and in the use of psychiatric medicines and other treatments.

Updated: 7/6/09