A psychiatrist is a medically qualified doctor who deals with mental illness, as well as the interaction between physical and mental illness.
Psychiatrists look after patients with mental health problems such as depression, bipolar affective disorder, anxiety disorders, learning disabilities, eating disorders, schizophrenia, dementia, and drug and alcohol abuse.
Watch the video to hear from a range of psychiatrists about their career and the difference they make to people's lives:
Find out more about psychiatry by watching our video of Professor Simon Wessley, President of the Royal College of Psychatrists, talking about the advantages of a career in this area.
There are six specialties within psychiatry:
- general psychiatry - this is the largest group of psychiatrists and they look after psychiatric patients aged 18-65 in inpatient and outpatient settings
- child and adolescent psychiatry - these doctors specialise in managing psychiatric patients under the age of 18
- old age psychiatry - these are psychiatrists who deal with adults over the age of 65. Psychiatric problems are more common in this age group, especially depression and dementia
- psychiatry of intellectual disability - psychiatric illness is common in people that have a learning disability
- forensic psychiatry - these doctors provide psychiatric care to prison inmates and those in secure hospitals. They often act as expert witnesses in trials
- medical psychotherapy - this group of psychiatrists specialise in the diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric disorders through psychotherapy
Within general adult psychiatry, there is a sub-specialty, liaison psychiatry.
After completing foundation, doctors will study core psychiatry for three years (CT1 - CT3), before choosing one of the above six specialties within psychiatry.
Find out more from the person specifications. These list eligibility criteria for core psychiatry at ST1 and for the individual psychiatry specialties at ST4. They include the personal, academic and clinical criteria on which recruitment is based.