Career Profile: Psychiatrist

Career Profile: Psychiatrist

by Michelle Osei-Bonsu
Jobs People Do | JobsPeopleDo.com

Do you consider yourself a good listener? Do your friends usually come to you when there’s something troubling them? Do you really enjoy helping people and making a difference in their lives? If you’ve answered yes to most of these questions, then you might want to consider a career as a psychiatrist!

A psychiatrist is a type of doctor that deals with people suffering from mental and emotional disorders. They are responsible for diagnosing and treating patients who suffer from a wide variety of problems. Some of these problems include schizophrenia, paranoia, hallucinations, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. When diagnosing these disorders, psychiatrists can utilize their medical background to consider biological factors. Some psychological disorders are associated with chemical imbalances in the brain. Medical backgrounds give psychiatrists the authorization to prescribe drugs to their patients. If necessary, psychiatrists can recommend hospitalization for certain patients as well.

Psychiatrists spend a great deal of time with their patients, attempting to find the source of their issues. During therapy sessions, they try to get their patients to understand their problems by talking about their thoughts, experiences and feelings. Often psychiatrists will find that many of their patients’ problems stem from unresolved grief issues. In such a case, they could direct their patient to a grief counselor or address the issue during some therapy sessions. Psychiatrists also help people to gain control of harmful behaviors and bad habits. Depending on the issue at hand, psychiatrists may schedule therapy sessions for a patient once a week or once a month if the problem is less severe. The length of psychiatric evaluations varies from patient to patient. Regular sessions may be as long as one hour while follow-up visits may be as short as 20 minutes. These sessions may occur individually but group sessions are not uncommon. Psychiatrists are responsible for tracking their patients’ progress by keeping detailed reports of their sessions. After years of experience psychiatrists can choose to specialize in specific fields such as forensic psychiatry or child psychiatry. They may also go into private practices or partnerships which would usually result in a significant increase in their salary.

There are many other factors that determine the salary of a psychiatrist. Their experience, place of work and specialization can have a major impact on the amount of money they receive annually. In 2004, the average salary for psychiatrists was $180,000 a year. The salaries for psychiatrists escalate rapidly as they gain more experience in the field. Eventually, they can earn up to $300,000 a year.

It’s important to take note of the physical, emotional and mental disadvantages to working in the field. Psychiatrists work long hours and can be called at moment’s notice to evaluate a patient. This can become physically draining, especially if you’re constantly being called away at odd hours of the night. Also, the stress of dealing with troubled individuals who suffer from a wide variety of problems can be emotionally taxing. It is difficult to not become emotionally attached to patients and to remain unbiased when listening to their thoughts and feelings.

Although it takes a great deal of schooling and training to become a psychiatrist, the job can be incredibly rewarding. Having a career that allows you to help people on a daily basis can be incredibly worthwhile.

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