Choosing your specialty: Psychiatry
Psychiatry is a specialty that focuses around treating patients with mental illnesses, as well as dealing with the interaction between physical and mental health problems. A Psychiatrist is still a medically qualified doctor, and will require six years of specialist training before you can qualify.
You may be called upon to treat patients with the following conditions:
- Bipolar affective disorder
- Anxiety disorders
- Learning disabilities
- Eating disorders
- Drug and alcohol abuse
Most psychiatric diagnoses are made on the basis of a full history, with information on the mental state of the patient, as well as a physical examination.
Managing mental illnesses could involve a combination of methods, including:
- Psychological counselling
- Improving home environments and social networks
- Physical treatment (such as electroconvulsive therapy)
Psychiatrists work in a number of different settings including both psychiatric and general hospitals, in the community, residential centres, nursing homes and in prisons. Psychiatrists also work with a number of different professionals as part of a team that might include clinical psychologists, social workers, psychiatric nurses, and occupational therapists.
Psychiatry specialities include:
- Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
- Forensic Psychiatry
- General Adult Psychiatry (including Addictions Psychiatry, Liaison Psychiatry and Rehabilitation Psychiatry)
- Medical Psychotherapy
- Old Age Psychiatry
- Psychiatry of Learning Disability