Psychiatrists are medical doctors who have specialized in psychiatry by completing an additional four years of training in the specialty of psychiatry. Psychiatrists can undertake additional training and become subspecialists.
General Adult Psychiatrists
A general adult psychiatrist is a medical doctor who has completed four years of training in psychiatry. General psychiatrists are trained to treat the entire spectrum of psychiatric problems, from mild distress in high-functioning people to chronic and severe mental illness.
Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists
Child and adolescent psychiatrists have completed a two-year fellowship in child and adolescent psychiatry, in addition to their training in general adult psychiatry. They are trained to treat psychiatric problems in all age groups but usually prefer to concentrate on children and adolescents.
Addiction psychiatrists specialize in the treatment of patients with addiction to drugs and alcohol.
Forensic psychiatrists work in prisons and in forensic state hospitals. They also perform evaluations of suspects of crimes to determine if their actions were a result of an underlying mental illness.
Consult Liaison Psychiatrists
Consult liaison psychiatrists, also known as specialists in psychosomatic medicine, work in general medical hospitals as consultants to the treating physician. They assess and treat psychiatric problems in patients who are in a general medical hospital for treatment of a non-psychiatric condition.
Geriatric psychiatrists specialize in treatment of the geriatric population. In addition to treating psychiatric problems in this advanced age group, they assess and treat patients with dementia.
Psychiatrists, like most physicians, often work long hours. Some psychiatrists take emergency calls, which can disrupt their schedules or require that they spend an entire day in the hospital. They may have to travel between an office and a hospital. A clinical psychiatrist spends a great deal of time sitting when working with patients, while a psychiatrist in an experimental lab may spend long hours standing.