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Studies & Degrees in Psychiatry

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Psychiatry Study Programs

Psychiatry is an intense discipline, extremely profound that only graduate of school offering the subject can understand and explain what really this bizarre study is. This branch of medicine specializing mental illnesses can psychiatric doctors diagnoses and treat the disorders. In order to accomplish treatment the doctor conducts thorough researches that understand and prevent the malady.

To become a psychiatrist, the practitioner should be a doctor of medicine with four years of postgraduate training in psychiatry. The doctor after his studies in psychiatry may have further training in psychoanalysis, child psychiatry, or other subspecialties. Whereas the psychiatrist has been doing deep researches on his patient, he has still in mind what school taught him.

The student (the studying doctor) learns in school that the domain of psychiatry is exceptionally large in scope so that specializing in this branch of the science sometimes complicates the research being done and the ongoing treatment on the patient. A confusing state or condition may affect the life of the patient, his behavior, emotions, physical activity, intuitive understanding and insight, sexuality, work, relationships with other people, and relaxation. Psychiatrists are officially recognized practitioner of medicine who takes care of people with problems of the mind.

There is a unique trail for the profession of the psychiatrist. To obtain the special subject of study in the sphere of medicine, the student must have a five-year medical degree followed by two years working in a hospital as a trainee to enhance what has been learned and acquired as a student of medicine which sometimes extend to six or up to eight years.

The student can choose any school he wants at home or abroad. Here are the top medical schools in the U.S. to study psychiatry: Harvard University, University of Pennsylvania, John Hopkins University; top Psychiatry Colleges are: Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburg; Department of Psychiatry, Thomas Detre Hall of the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, Penn Behavioral Health; and Yale University School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry.

Here are some of the universities in U.K. where a student could take psychiatry course: University of Bristol; University of Liverpool; University of Sheffield; King’s College London, University of London; University of Nottingham; Aston University; University of Dundee; University of Birmingham; and other universities throughout the world.

In the United States, in the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, and many parts of the world, a student before entering the Psychiatry course must have passed the complete medical degree. After graduation, student’s training in the UK and Ireland is notably longer (8-9 years) than in the US and Canada. In the Netherlands, a student must have completed a six-year university program and received the title doctorandus in de geneeskunde (master of medicine), after which he can be certified as medical practitioner or a doctor. He then goes a 4-5 years specialization (taking up Psychiatry).

The subjects of the course of study are the following topics: Psychology; Neuropsychology; Psychotherapy; Clinical Psychopharmacology ; Phenomenology ; Diagnosis; Interview Skills; OSCE Training; Mental Health Act; Psychotic Disorders; Affective Disorders; Anxiety Disorders; Personality Disorders; Substance Misuse; Eating, Obsessive Compulsive & Puerperal Disorders; Community Care; Learning Disability; Psychiatry of Old Age; Child and Adolescent Psychiatry; Neuroanatomy; Neurochemistry; Neuropathology; Neurology; Neuroimaging; Post-traumatic stress disorder; Genetics; Forensic Psychiatry; Liaison Psychiatry; Transcultural Psychiatry; Critical Appraisal; Epidemiology and Statistics; Sociology and Qualitative Research; Essay Skills; and Research Training.

A graduate in Psychiatry can pursue his career as: a Consultant, Clinical Assistant, Hospital Staff, Specialist Registrar, Associate Specialist, Career Grade Doctor, Registrar; can work in institutions or in private practice, teacher, researcher, or administrators in colleges, hospitals, or other establishments. Psychiatry course is a rewarding endeavor for the practitioners who have the heart and compassion to unfortunates.

The history of mental disorders goes way back to the prehistoric times, ancient civilizations, middle ages, the early modern period, the enlightenment and the modern times. Evolutionary psychology proposes that the underlying genetic dispositions, psychological mechanisms and socials needs were in existence although some of the mental disorders may have developed from a mismatch between the prehistoric environments and the modern conditions. In the history of Egypt and Mesopotamia, documents describe the mental illness states in thinking and attention as well as emotional distresses in the heart or mind. In India, fictional descriptions of depression and anxiety were contained in the Hindu scriptures known as Ramayana and Mahabharata. Chinese primarily treated mental disorders with traditional Chinese Medicine by herbs, acupuncture and emotional therapy. Hebrews and Israelites on the other hand considered mental disorders are problems that existed between human and God. Middle Ages in Europe suggested that the conception of madness was a mixture of the divine, diabolical, magical and transcendental.

Because mental health is such a challenge, more and more individuals are interested in studying it. A psychiatrist is a medical physician who specializes in the field of psychiatry through the utilization of the biomedical approach and is certified to treat mental illnesses. They are all trained in diagnostic evaluation and psychotherapy. Psychiatrists can also prescribe psychiatric medications, conduct physical examinations, order and interpret laboratory test results and electroencephalograms and can also order brain imaging studies such as computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging and positron emission tomography scanning.

Several psychiatric practitioners specialize in particular age groups. Child and adolescent psychiatrists address the psychological problems of children and teenagers; geriatric psychiatrists work with the elderly; and those that practice psychiatry in the workplace are called organizational and occupational psychiatrists. There are also psychiatrists who work in the courtroom and report to the judge and jury for both criminal and civil court cases also known as forensic psychiatrists.

The requirements for Psychiatry vary from country to country. In the United States of America and Canada, an individual must first complete a Bachelor’s Degree. The students are free to choose any major however they are required to enroll in specific courses that are outlined in a pre-medical program. The student must then apply and attend four years of medical school to earn their M.D. or D.O and complete their medical education. The student must then practice as a psychiatric resident for four years duration in the United States and in Canada, five years. This extended schooling allows a comprehensive training that includes diagnosis, psychopharmacology, medical care issues and the latest psychotherapies. In the United States, all accredited psychiatry residencies require a proficiency in cognitive-behavioral therapies, brief psychodynamic and supportive therapies. They are also often required to complete at least a four post-graduate months of internal medicine or pediatrics and another two months for neurology on the first year. After the completion, psychiatrists are to take a written and oral board examination. It takes approximately 8 years to complete the required post-baccalaureate work in the field of Psychiatry in the United States.

Job positions for Psychiatry:


The medical specialty that is committed to making understanding of brain-behavior relationships better and to care for individuals with neurologically-based cognitive, emotional and behavioral disturbances is known as Neuropsychiatry. A medical physician with an M.D. or D.O. is qualified to practice neuropsychiatry by virtue of (1) a primary training in either psychiatry or neurology followed by a period of more or less one year of fellowship training in neuropsychiatry or behavioral neurology; and (2) a training of formal residency in both psychiatry and neurology. Neuropsychiatrists with a lot of years of extensive clinical, educational, and scientific experience in the field of neuropsychiatry can also make use of specialty designations. Among the patients that are being treated by Neuro-Psychiatrists are neurologic illness and cognitive, emotional, or behavioral problems; individuals with combined psychiatric illnesses and neurologic conditions; and individuals with atypical or refractory primary psychiatric disorders in which the concerns are all about the underlying neurological conditions that are causing the psychiatric symptoms.

To fully conceptualize what a Neuropsychiatrist is in the 21st century, one needs to center on the neurologic structure, chemistry and other dysfunctions involving the brain of the traditional psychiatric illnesses and also find within one’s scope of practice any and all behavioral manifestations from any other disease process as well. Neuro-Psychiatrists need to be aware of many diagnostic processes involving the different types of disease process. In order to remember all of them one needs to make use of the AEIOU TIPS mnemonic.

• ‘A’ mnemonic stands for the word Accidents such as closed head injuries and traumatic brain injuries. This includes psychosis, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorders, irritability, profound personality changes, aggression and dysfunctions in memory. It is the responsibility of the Neuropsychiatrist to utilize of a higher cortical function in addition to physical examination giving a greater understanding of any deficits involving the dominant as well as the non-dominant, frontal and pre-frontal regions of the brains, the cerebellum and the motor tracts. The Neuropsychiatrists needs to know the prognostic signs of the injury.

• ‘E’ is for Endocrine. Neuropsychiatrist should request for thyroid function and assay after the start or prior to the start of an anti-depressant medication prescription.

• ‘I’ is for infection such as meningitis, encephalitis, pneumonias and or urinary tract infections. HIV diseases as well as other opportunistic infections also need to be considered in this category.

• ‘O’ means oxygenation. Pulmonary dysfunctions sometimes result in problems of memory and agitation.

• ‘U’ is for uremia and other metabolic disorders. Liver disease like kidney disease causes a significant mental status change as well as changes in metabolism of medications that the patients take.

• ‘T’ stands for tumors. Neuropsychiatrists should be aware and comfortable of the CT scan readings, MRI scans that are essential for the final diagnosis and initiation of treatments.

• ‘I’ is for infarctions and strokes because these two conditions cause an almost identical idiopathic syndrome that can generally be treated by the Neuropsychiatrist.

• ‘P’ stands for Parkinsonism and other movement disorders.

• ‘S’ is for seizures.

By identifying each of the illness processes and categories, a Neuropsychiatrist needs to be able to perform not just physical examinations with an excellent degree of expertise, but must also be knowledgeable on how to evaluate the patients who are suffering from the different types of disorders. He or she must be able to know how to treat each of the disorders within the specialty appropriately or get consultations but primarily to be able to treat the behavioral manifestations.

Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist

Child and Adolescent Psychiatry is the branch of Psychiatry that specializes in the study, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of psychopathological disorders among children, adolescents and their families. This branch of Psychiatry encompasses the clinical investigation of phenomenology, biological factors, psychosocial, genetic, demographic, environmental factors, history and the reply to interventions of child and adolescent psychiatric disorders. An important predecessor to the child psychiatry specialty is the social recognition of childhood as a special phase of life with its corresponding developmental stages that starts from the neonatal period until adolescence.

The Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist utilizes the knowledge on biological, psychological and social factors in dealing with the patients. Primarily, a comprehensive diagnostic examination is done to evaluate the existing problem with emphasis to the physical, genetic, developmental, emotional, cognitive, educational, family, peers and social factors.

The diagnosis and diagnostic formulation devised by the Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist is discussed with the patient and his or her family. It is then the responsibility of the Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist to design a treatment plan which takes into consideration all the components and discusses these recommendations with the family of the child or adolescent. An integrated approach makes use of the involvement of the individual, group or family psychotherapy, medications and/or consultations with other medical physicians or professionals from different schools, juvenile courts, social agencies or other organizations of the community. It is also expected from the Child Psychiatrist to act as an advocate for the best interests of the child or adolescent. They also perform consultations in various settings such as schools, juvenile courts or social agencies.

It takes a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist to train for four years in medical school, at least three years of approved residency in medicine, neurology, and general psychiatry with adults and two years of extra specialized training work with children, adolescents as well as their support systems in an accredited residency in children and adolescents. After successfully passing the certification examination in general psychiatry which is given by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist will be eligible to take additional certification examinations other subspecialty. ABPM examinations are not required for practice by they are an assurance that the Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist is expected to diagnose and treat all psychiatric conditions in patients of any age competently if they have these certifications.

A Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist need to be skilled in biological sciences especially in math. They also need to possess excellent communication skills for them to successfully work with patients and their significant others, learn to show empathy while still maintaining professional distance from the patients.

In the year 2004, the median compensation for Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists with less than two years of experience and practice was $ 173, 922 as reported by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. Because of the shortages of Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, the job outlook is extremely favorable for this area.