William, a Psychiatrist who sees patients in his private practice and also treats veterans at the hospital who are suffering from post-traumatic stress, describes what he loves most about his job, its challenges, and the key decisions he's made to put him on this path. It's remarkable when you can help patients change their lives.
Psychiatrists are primary mental health physicians. They diagnose and treat mental illnesses through a combination of personal counseling (psychotherapy), psychoanalysis, hospitalization, and medication. Psychotherapy involves regular discussions with patients about their problems. The Psychiatrist helps them find solutions through changes in their behavioral patterns, exploring their past experiences, or group and family therapy sessions. Psychoanalysis involves long-term psychotherapy and counseling for patients. Psychiatrists may prescribe medications to correct chemical imbalances that cause some mental illnesses.
In order to become a Psychiatrist, a person must have either a M.D. or D.O. degree from an accredited school of medicine or osteopathy. In addition to this, a four-year residency must be completed with at least three of these years specifically in the practice of psychiatry. After completing this residency, prospective Psychiatrists must then pass a written and oral examination. Once the exam has been completed, the individual is then eligible to apply for board certification. This certification is granted through the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN), a member of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). Once a Psychiatrist has been granted board certification, he or she may practice legally anywhere in the United States. However, this certification must be renewed every ten years.
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