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What is a psychiatrist?

Psychiatry is a specific area of medicine that focuses on mental health conditions, from causes and diagnosis to prevention and treatment of a range of different conditions. One of the key distinctions between psychologists and psychiatrists is that psychiatrists will generally seek to identify a biological or physiological cause for certain mental health conditions or symptoms, aiming to treat these with medicines as well as psychological therapies, whereas psychologists generally focus on psychological therapies and psychological factors alone.This means that psychiatrists need a good knowledge of genetics, and other physical health issues that can affect mental health, blending physical medicine and mental health therapy to be able to diagnose and treat a wide range of conditions most effectively.

It is common for psychiatrists to specialize in areas such as;

  • Addiction
  • Child and adolescent psychiatry
  • Forensic psychiatry
  • Sleep disorders
  • Geriatric psychiatry

This gives psychiatrists a wide range of specialisms and routes to develop in their career, making it an interesting and varied role with plenty of opportunities for dedicated and hardworking individuals.

Who employs psychiatrists?

Psychiatrists are employed by all sorts of organizations, such as hospitals, clinics, universities, community agencies, courts, prisons, the military, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, and private practices.

These organizations tend to offer various treatments and therapies for patients suffering from mental health conditions that may have underlying or unknown physical causes. This means that psychiatrists can work with people of various ages and in all kinds of different institutions, both independently and in support of other therapies and clinicians or multi-disciplinary teams.

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How do you become a psychiatrist?

Becoming a psychiatrist takes a lot of work, and first requires a degree in medicine (M.O) or osteopathic medicine (D.O) followed by several years of practice as a psychiatric resident, which can go on for 4 years. This period of time is spent training in diagnosis, psychopharmacology, and various psychotherapies. Residents are required to finish four months of post-graduate training in internal medicine and at least two months of neurology. After all of this, a candidate will be eligible to take a specialty board examination to become a board-certified psychiatrist. From the end of high school, all of this training takes at least 12 years, which is an immense amount of time spent in development, and isn’t for the faint of heart.  Additional specialized training can make this period of time even longer, so it’s a very serious commitment that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Psychiatrist salary/earning potential

Psychiatrists have great earning potential, due in large part to the immense amount of time, effort, skill, and investment they take on to become fully certified psychiatrists. Not many people are able to complete the process, which naturally makes the number of psychiatrists quite small, as few people have all the necessary aptitudes and qualities required to sustain such a long period of work and study.

As such, psychiatrists are paid very well generally, with the average salary being over $200,000 a year. This can be affected by various factors such as experience, location, and the organization being worked for, but generally, psychiatrists are paid well above the average wage in the US and elsewhere, indicating the incredibly skilled and difficult work they undertake.

What does a psychiatrist do in their job?

Psychiatrists are somewhat similar to psychologists in that they are primarily responsible for researching and focusing on mental health issues, however, the difference is that psychiatrists are able to prescribe medicines and treatments that go beyond forms of talk therapy, and which look at finding and treating the underlying cause of mental health issues, be they related to things like depression, mood issues, sleep issues or psychosis.

Psychiatrists can be considered a sort of compromise between a traditional doctor or physician and a psychologist, able to understand mental health and its intricacies while being able to relate these issues to physical causes and finding suitable treatments.

Is psychiatry a dying field?

This is an interesting question, fraught with misinformation, gossip, and biases. There is often talk of psychiatry being pseudoscience and being obsolete. This is actually untrue, however, and psychiatrists are very highly trained and, as mentioned above, undergo rigorous training in various areas of medicine, and are often qualified to practice psychiatry as well as other forms of medicine due to their intensive years of training and study.

Issues with the image of psychiatry are due in part to its somewhat barbaric and immoral history, where a lack of understanding and other serious issues led to the barbaric treatment of patients in asylums, lobotomy, and other heinous practices.

Modern psychiatry has come a long way, however, as have approaches and opinions of mental health, and psychiatrists today work tirelessly to help treat and resolve serious mental illness.

It’s also true that demand has never been higher for both psychologists and psychiatrists, as mental health becomes better understood and more people seek help for these issues.

Is being a psychiatrist stressful?

It definitely can be, as psychiatrists often deal with patients who are seriously ill or have been through tragic situations and circumstances and aren’t always able to help or resolve these issues. While not all psychiatrists deal with psychopaths and severely mentally ill patients, it’s a high-stress job as it can be difficult to diagnose correctly, and comes under intense scrutiny to ensure patient safety, much like other medical doctors and professions.

While challenging, it is a very rewarding job at the very frontline of trying to help people deal with mental illnesses and find solutions to some of the most tragic and disturbing illnesses and afflictions that exist.

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Position Company Location Posted
Team Psychiatrist Ellenhorn Arlington, Massachusetts US 05/15/2022
Position Summary: This is a 20 hours per week position. The position is a 20 hour per week position. Competitive salary. A full-time office is provided, which the psychiatrist is welcome to use for private practice. Other benefits provided include a 70% Individual/60% Family contribution to Blue Cross Blue Shield Medical Insurance for the HMO Plan; for our BCBS PPO Plan, the employer contribution level is 60% Individual/50% Family. 50% contribution towards Blue Cross ... More
Outpatient Psychiatrist (Child or Adult) LifeStance Health Woburn, Massachusetts US 05/15/2022
At LifeStance Health, we strive to help individuals, families, and communities with their mental health needs. Everywhere. Every day. It is a lofty goal; we know. But we make it happen with the best team in mental healthcare.Thank you for taking the time to explore a career with us. As the fastest growing mental health practice group in the country, now is the perfect time to join our clinical team!LifeStance is immediately hiring two full-time or part-time Psychiatrists. We ... More
Adult Psychiatrist - Generous Signing Bonus Offered Kaiser Permanente - Washington Permanente Medical Group (WPMG) Everett, Washington US 05/15/2022
About Us Washington Permanente Medical Group (WPMG) is a clinician-led, self-governed and independent multi-specialty group practice, providing care to the more than 700,000 Kaiser Permanente patients in Washington state. We work unencumbered by traditional health care obstacles and without silos; prioritizing people over profits, collaboration over ego, and driven by a singular goal: our patients' health. At WPMG, we take care of the whole person, with a team to address ... More
FR Law Enforcement Officer Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago Dallas, Texas US 05/15/2022
Company Federal Reserve Bank of DallasA requirement of this position is that you must be fully vaccinated against Covid19.Location: #LI-OnsiteWe are dedicated to serving the public by promoting a strong financial system and a healthy economy for all. These efforts take a team of dedicated individuals doing many different jobs. Together were creating a workplace where talented people can thrive, and we welcome your unique background and perspective to ... More
FR Law Enforcement Officer - Houston Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago Houston, Texas US 05/15/2022
Company Federal Reserve Bank of DallasA requirement of this position is that you must be fully vaccinated against Covid19.Location: #LI-OnsiteWe are dedicated to serving the public by promoting a strong financial system and a healthy economy for all. These efforts take a team of dedicated individuals doing many different jobs. Together were creating a workplace where talented people can thrive, and we welcome your unique background and perspective to ... More
West Texas Psychiatry | Choice of OP or IP | No Call | Potential 80th Percentile Jackson Physician Search Texas US 05/15/2022
MHMR system offering primarily OP with some Telemedicine. Paid IP and Paid Call only if desired. Seeking an Adult Psychiatrist to relocate to this metro city of 300,000+ population. This client is extending great flexibility in setting up this provider to have a good work-life balance. THE PRACTICE Outpatient Psychiatry offering a schedule of either 8-5 M-F or four 10-hour days. Join Psychiatrists and multiple Psych NP and PA's who handle the rounds and call General ... More
Outpatient Child-Adolescent Psychiatry | Nashville, TN | Option for Part-Time Jackson Physician Search Tennessee US 05/15/2022
One of the nation's largest not-for-profit providers of community-based behavioral health care is seeking a BE/BC Outpatient Psychiatrist to join their growing team. The Opportunity: -Outpatient practice model offering flexible scheduling with the option for telehealth -Opening for a part-time or full-time employed with a flexible hybrid model that includes in person and telepsychiatry consults -Four locations across the Nashville area offer you the option to focus on a ... More
Staff Psychiatrist (Statewide) California Correctional Health Care Services California US 05/14/2022
Staff Psychiatrist (Statewide) $280,344- $336,864 annual salary (Board Certified)$273,156- $327,360 annual salary (Board Eligible)(Depending on Experience) California Correctional Health Care Services (CCHCS) is seeking proactive, knowledgeable psychiatrists to join our multidisciplinary mental health teams. Within the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitations adult correctional ... More
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