How to become a Psychiatrist

Psychiatrists diagnose, treat and try to prevent human mental, emotional and behavioural disorders. Psychiatrists should not be confused with psychologists, whose training does not include a medical degree and who do not have the authority to prescribe medicines.

Personal requirements for a Psychiatrist

  • Interested in people and human behaviour
  • A high degree of motivation and self-discipline
  • Able to exercise high ethical standards
  • Compassionate towards others
  • Able to relate to people from different cultural backgrounds
  • Good oral and written communication skills
  • Patience and perceptiveness.

Duties & Tasks of a Psychiatrist

Psychiatrists may perform the following tasks:

  • Talk to patients about their mental, emotional or behavioural problems in order to work out the nature and extent of these disorders
  • Study patients' medical and mental histories
  • Assess patients to determine their general physical condition
  • Order laboratory tests, imaging, assessment tests and other diagnostic procedures
  • Examine the results of tests and examinations to work out the most appropriate forms of treatment
  • Prescribe and administer medication, psychotherapy or other treatment and rehabilitation programs
  • If necessary, arrange hospital admission
  • Consult and work with other health professionals.

Working conditions for a Psychiatrist

They usually work regular hours and indoors in comfortable conditions. However, overly-anxious or uncooperative clients can make the work stressful at times.


Specializations

Some psychiatrists choose to undertake further training, specialising in areas such as child and adolescent psychiatry, alcohol and drug consultation, psychiatry of old age, forensic psychiatry (legal and criminal cases) or psychotherapy and psychoanalysis.


Psychiatrist

Psychiatrists diagnose, treat and try to prevent human mental, emotional and behavioural disorders. Psychiatrists should not be confused with psychologists, whose training does not include a medical degree and who do not have the authority to prescribe medicines.

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