Psychiatrist Job Description
A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who specializes in treating people with mental illnesses. Some common mental illnesses psychiatrists handle include depression, anxiety, phobias, mania, schizophrenia, learning disabilities, addiction disorders, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorders, mood disorders, dementia, and antisocial personality disorders.
Psychiatrists are similar to psychologists in that both study and research on human behavior and mental disorders, and practice psychotherapy, but the educational requirements for both disciplines and their approach to treatment differs, as psychiatrists are medical doctors and psychologists are not.
Pursue a career in psychiatry if you have good people skills and genuine concern for people suffering from mentally illnesses.
What does a Psychiatrist do?
Psychiatrists may do some or all of the following:
- study patients medical and psychiatric histories
- discus with patients and their families to diagnose conditions
- consult with other physicians, social workers, psychologists, and occupational therapists
- treat mental illnesses through a combination of psychotherapy, psychoanalysis, hospitalization, and medication
- manage and co-ordinate their patients rehabilitation and recovery programs
- give evidence in court case involving a patient
- research on mental disorders and their treatments
- teach medical students
Where does a Psychiatrist work?
Psychiatrists may work rotating shifts including evenings, weekends and public holidays, or be on call. They work in hospitals, mental health clinics, prisons, government offices, and schools. Their work may be stressful, as they often care for very distressed people.
What is Required to Become a Psychiatrist ?
To become a psychiatrist, It will take anywhere from 9-10 years of schooling to get the license, as you will need to obtain a bachelor’s degree from a medical school, complete an internship program, and then complete a residency program of up to 4 years in psychiatry.
A psychiatrist may specialize to become any of the following:
- Addiction psychiatrist – a psychiatrist who deals with people suffering from addiction and substance abuse issues
- General adult psychiatrist – a psychiatrist who deals with adults experiencing mental illness or psychological distress
- Adolescent and child psychiatrist – a psychiatrist who studies the psychopathological disorders in children and teens
- Forensic psychiatrist – a psychiatrist who specializes in forensic psychiatry
- Geropsychiatrist – a psychiatrist who deals the mental health and illnesses of older adult
- Neuropsychiatrist – a psychiatrist who studies the neurological aspects of psychiatric disorders
- Organizational psychiatrist – a psychiatrist who specializes in organizational psychiatry
Knowledge, Skills and Attributes
Psychiatrists need to have:
- self discipline
- common sense
- patience and perseverance
- integrity and dependability
- interest in helping people
- good attention to detail
- good listening and communication skills
- good organizational and time management skills
- good judgment and decision making skills
- analytical and problem-solving skills
- counseling skills
- the ability to work well under pressure
- the ability to relate to people from various cultures and lifestyles
- the ability to work well in a multi disciplinary team
- the ability to distinguish between physical and psychological causes of both mental and physical distress
- the ability to maintain patients confidentiality
- the ability to observe patients carefully
- the ability to cope with stress, both physical and emotional
- the ability to inspire confidence in others in critical situations
- the ability to show respect to human life
- knowledge of anatomy and how the human body works
- knowledge of medicines and treatments, and the effects these have on patients
- knowledge of different diseases and illnesses
- knowledge of medical ethics and law
- knowledge of medical terminologies
- knowledge of human behavior and psychiatric disorders
- knowledge of behavioral health
Should I be a Psychiatrist ?
Take our career test to find out if this career is ideal for you!
If this is your profession and you would like to add to or amend any of the information on this page, then please get in touch with us at mail[at]careersome[dot]com