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A Description of Psychiatrist Profession


Medicine is a broad field with many specialized areas. Psychiatry is one field a person can major in in the fellowship program. Contemporary studies indicate an increase in behavioral and mental health issues. Moreover, research conducted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention shows an increase in suicide cases among Americans due to trauma and mental health disorder. Therefore, it is essential for individuals to understand that the mind should be treated the same way as any other body party. Psychiatric is an important field since it touches the core of humanity during treatment. Also, the profession offers a variety of specializations such as forensic psychiatrists to a person pursuing the profession. The paper aims to illustrate the psychiatrist profession and the issue relating to it.


The paper review the training, work setting, and the issues that relate to a psychiatrist as a mental health professional. First, the paper highlights a brief description and the training required to be a psychiatrist. It recognizes a psychiatrist as a specialist that assesses the physical and mental aspects of psychological problems. In training, a student must earn a bachelor’s degree which takes four years. The student will enroll in a medical school for another four years to attain a degree in Doctor of Medicine (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) for him/her to be a mental health physician. The student will later enroll in psychiatric residency training that takes a minimum of four years. Then the student may undergo another two-year training called fellowship to specialize in a subfield of psychiatry. A psychiatrist can work in different settings such as mental health institutions, military settings, university medical centers, and in hospice programs. Additionally, the paper has highlighted types of counseling issues in psychiatry such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and mental illness. Lastly, the essay explores assessment and intervention in psychiatry. Example of assessment and intervention is the physical examination and electroconvulsive therapy respectively.

Description of the psychiatrist profession

A medical doctor who treats, diagnoses, and prevents mental illness is called a psychiatrist. They are qualified to assess the physical and mental aspects of psychological problems. An individual will have to specialize in psychiatry after qualifying as a general practitioner. Psychiatry is a specialty area in medicine that deals with the prevention, diagnosis as well as treatment of behavioral, emotional, and mental disorders. The psychiatrist can understand a patient’s mental and physical state by engaging in discussion with a patient and carrying out various psychological and medical laboratory tests. Their clinical and educational training enables them to evaluate psychological and medical data, diagnose, and develop treatment plans through understanding how the medical illness relates to emotions and the relationship between specific diseases and genes in a family.

Psychiatry training

Students aspiring to become psychiatrists must first earn a bachelor’s degree. A degree from a variety of fields is accepted. Training in a pre-med program at a university or college is optional but makes the students fulfill the necessary prerequisites to gain entry into a medical school. The undergraduate studies expose students to training on how the mind works. The students may go for an internship in a hospital to gain experience that enhances their medical school application. It is mandatory for prospective medical students to pass the Medical College Admission Test, maintain a good GPA, and be proficient in essay writing. Most medical schools consider the Medical College Admission Test score during the admission process.

The students aspiring to be psychiatrists are required to complete four-year training in medical schools to earn a degree in Doctor of Medicine (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) for them to be mental health physicians. The psychiatrists undergo similar training as other doctors which focuses on processes of the mind, disease treatment, and body functions. The initial two years of the training include coursework in biochemistry, psychology, pathology, physiology, and anatomy to build a solid foundation in all medical areas. The last two years involve clinical rotations in clinics and hospitals for the students to gain hands-on experience. The seasoned staff trains the students on how to care during the rotations. After completion, the students go for psychiatric residency for additional training.

Psychiatric residency allows the physician to develop their skills in addressing the mental health needs of patients and learn how to interact with patients. The training takes a minimum of four years and relates to emotional illness diagnosis and treatment. The training usually takes place in a hospital and is often paid training to shape the experience and education of a psychiatrist. The practice exposes the psychiatrist to patients with different medical issues as well as treatment and diagnosis of mental health cases in various medical settings such as hospitals and psychiatric wards. The psychiatrist gains experience with different treatment methods such as deep brain stimulation and psychotherapy. The doctor becomes certified after passing the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology examination after the residency.

The psychiatrists undergo another two-year training called fellowship to specialize in a subfield of psychiatry. The psychiatrist can concentrate on specific fields such as neuropsychiatry, forensics, addiction, adolescents, children, and personality disorders. Becoming a specialty in psychiatry increases employment opportunities, for instance, the criminal justice system usually hires a forensic psychiatrist.

Work setting for the psychiatrist

Psychiatrist work in different settings such as mental health institutions, military settings, university medical centers, and hospice programs. In the United States, approximately half the population of psychiatrists operate in their private offices. Also, they are employed in rehabilitation centers, psychiatric institutions, and prisons since they have relevant skills in mental illness and behavioral disorders. Psychiatrists do not work in emergency and primary care units since the psychological disorder is not part of the emergency. Nevertheless, patients are transferred to the psychiatric clinic, or the psychiatrist is requested to an emergency department.

Type of counseling issues in psychiatry

Mental illness: The term usually refers to a variety of diseases that deter the functioning of the mind. Mental illnesses can be characterized as mild, moderate, and server. There are two leading groups of mental illnesses. The first group is called the non-psychotic illness. Its symptoms include difficulties in coping with life and an overwhelming feeling of anxiety and sadness. Anxiety and depression disorders such as phobia is an examples of non-psychotic illnesses. The second group is the psychotic illness whose symptoms are a distorted view of reality, hallucination, and delusions. For instance, psychotic diseases are bipolar disorders and schizophrenia. The psychiatrist diagnoses and treats the mental illnesses.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: It is an anxiety disorder that develops when one is exposed to a terrifying ordeal or event which involves the occurrence of grave physical harm. The victim’s family members can also develop the disorder. The disorder can occur in individuals of any age. Statistics show that more women experience the disorder than men after exposure to trauma. Anxiety and depressive symptom constitute the disorder. People with the disorder usually avoid situations that remind them of the accident. The representative attorney of a physically injured individual should determine if his or her client suffers from the disorder through a psychiatric evaluation. The range of vision of injuries the patients obtained is broadened as a result of Post-Trauma Stress Disorder.

Type of assessments and interventions used

Assessments: Assessment refers to a situation where a psychiatrist evaluates the likelihood of an individual having a mental disorder and later determine an appropriate treatment protocol. Filling out the questionnaire, physical test, and, answering verbal questions are examples of the activities a person undergoes during the assessment. First, a psychiatrist carries out a physical examination since there are other diseases with the same symptoms as mental illness. It is essential because neurological problems or thyroid disorders can be the cause of the observed symptoms. Secondly, the psychiatrist will conduct lab tests during the assessment to rule out physical conditions. Example of the tests carried out is a brain scan and a urine test. Thirdly, the doctor will evaluate the personal and mental health history. The questions will revolve around the family history and lifestyle. Moreover, the psychiatrist will want to understand the patient occupation and the source of stress an individual experiences. Mental and cognitive evaluation is the last stage of assessment.

In the mental evaluation, the psychiatrist asks questions that revolve around behaviors, feelings, and thoughts. The psychiatrist will also ask questions to find out if the patient is shy, aggressive, or irritable. Assessment of the ability of the patient to utilize rational reasoning, recall more straightforward information, and think clearly or logically is carried out during cognitive evaluation. Example of a task carried out by the patient includes providing the solution for simple math problems, recognizing common colors, memorizing the shortlist, and focusing attention.

Interventions used: Intervention refers to the modification of a specific state of the affair through the use of an influencing act or force. Electroconvulsive therapy, psychosocial interventions, and psychotherapy medications are the standard interventions used by the psychiatrist. The first intervention that treats a wide range of emotional difficulties and mental disorders is psychotherapy. Psychotherapy helps the patient to regain his or her normal function by controlling or eliminating the symptoms. The period required to treat the mental disorder using this intervention depends on the extent of the problem. The treatment can take days, weeks, or even months. This intervention can be performed by an individual, a group, or an event for couples. There are different types of psychotherapy. There are available psychotherapies that help an individual solve problems distinctly, evaluate the effect of the experience on the current behavior, and assist individuals to change their past behavior. Conversely, the type of therapy that aims to solve a specific problem is called cognitive behavior therapy.

Mental disorders and depression that do not respond to other types of intervention are treated best treated by electroconvulsive therapy. It involves the concentration of a regulated electric shock series to a definite portion of the brain. Despite being controversial, it has been efficient for a specific group of individuals. Electroconvulsive therapy has side effects; thus it requires a well-trained psychiatrist to conduct the procedure.

Psychosocial treatments assist individuals to recover from severe trauma through intertwining medication and talk therapy. Also, there is an inclusion of vocational and social training during the treatment. However, the psychosocial intervention also comprises education on the approaches the family can use to take care of the patient and how to manage severe symptoms of the patient.

The medications used to treat diabetic or high blood pressure patient is the same as the one used by psychiatrists. A psychiatrist gives medical prescriptions for specific mental disorders after completing an assessment and evaluation. Psychiatric medicine aims to restore the normal brain chemistry of an individual. The patient undergoing the medication should often consult the psychiatrist to minimize potential side effects.

Professional issues in psychiatry

The increase in legal actions is increasing the concerns on accountability for mental care. Serious errors in care are prevented when the physicians take the responsibility of understanding and knowing the patients who are ethnocultural diverse. Physicians are held accountable for errors in medication, treatment, assessment, and diagnosis more so when the patients suffer harmful and painful consequences. It is important to work with culture consultants if there is limited knowledge of the patient’s culture. Most early career psychiatrists do not have adequate knowledge of traditional medications that are effective. For instance, most of them are not trained adequately on treatment using lithium. Therefore, they usually do not use lithium for initial treatment but instead, tend to use an antiepileptic as the initial treatment for new bipolar patients.

The transcultural psychiatrist should view society as the patient. Mental services are usually provided to individual patients, and an intra-psychic level is used to locate problems and provide interventions. The transcultural psychiatrist should be in the position of identifying that the patient is also a victim of societal circumstances like marginalization, persecution, oppression, racism, and prejudice victims. There is an ignoring of the social-political determinant as a result of the circumstances being unacknowledged. The individual finds themselves as a victim who is unable to address the same life contexts that are responsible for their conflicts and problems. Therefore, the instance shows that society is the patient that needs treatment. Mental health professionals use social activism to influence and change government officials and policymakers.


An individual requires a minimum of 11 years to become a psychiatrist in the United States. The profession is an integral aspect of various institutions such as prisons, rehabilitation centers, and hospitals. Despite the usefulness of the profession, only a few medical students are willing to specialize in psychiatry. There is a close relationship between the psychologist and the psychiatrist. However, a psychiatrist can diagnose a patient while a psychologist cannot.



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