3 Ways to Become a Psychiatrist

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3 Ways to Become a Psychiatrist
3 Ways to Become a Psychiatrist

Psychiatry is an area of ​​medicine that deals with the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness, and this treatment is almost always done through the prescription of anxiolytics, antidepressants and mood stabilizers or through a combination of medications and psychotherapies. To become a psychiatrist, after completing basic medical training, an individual must choose to do residency in psychiatry. If you are thinking about becoming a psychiatrist, this article has all the information you need to know about this profession.


Method 1 of 3: Obtain a General Practitioner's Degree

Become a Psychiatrist Step 1

Step 1. Before you can be a psychiatrist, you need to get a degree in general medicine

  • Currently in Brazil, a medical student completes his course in less than six years of study. However, a proposal from the federal government aims to extend this time to at least eight years of study and practice for students, matching this new curriculum to the curriculum in countries like the United States and South Africa.
  • According to Guia do Estudante, the best public universities that offer the medical course are in the states of Minas Gerais, Ceará, Paraná, Rio de Janeiro, Paraná, São Paulo, among others. The medical curriculum is extensive, full-time, and the medical student must attend seminars, conduct research, and do hospital shifts.

Method 2 of 3: Taking Residency in Psychiatry

Become a Psychiatrist Step 3

Step 1. Once you have decided to go into psychiatry, you will need to do a residency (two years) or a specialization in that field

  • The medical residency in psychiatry is aimed at training a doctor with a general practitioner title in a doctor specializing in psychiatry. Typically, the residency lasts for three years, but if the professional decides to pursue a specialization within psychiatry, then he will need to spend another year or two within this subcategory.
  • To complete the residency program in psychiatry, the resident must complete a workload and training of at least 60 hours per week in an institution certified by the Ministry of Education.
  • During the residency, the resident physician works in hospitals in the outpatient and nursing sectors. The activities carried out in the clinic are aimed at training in general psychiatry, but also in specific diseases, which gives the resident the opportunity to deepen the diagnosis and treatment of the most prevalent psychiatric disorders, such as anxiety, mood, psychotics and the disorders developed by drug abuse.
  • All activities performed by the resident are supervised by medical professionals with high ethical and professional qualifications.
  • After completing the residency in psychiatry, the psychiatrist must take a test performed by the Brazilian Association of Psychiatry to receive the title of specialist. Only after being approved by the ABP, the professional can apply for his RQE (Registration of Specialist Qualification) with the Regional Council of Medicine.

Method 3 of 3: Choosing Subspecialties in Psychiatry

Become a Psychiatrist Step 5

Step 1. Psychiatrists are specialized doctors who treat mental illnesses and disorders that alter the behavior and functioning of a person's body

Illnesses such as depression, bipolar disorder, phobias, somatization, schizophrenia and anxiety disorders are some of the illnesses treated by this specialist.

Step 2. Some subspecialties of psychiatry include:

  • Child psychiatry (a field of psychiatry specializing in children and adolescents).
  • Gerontopsychiatry (specialized in psychiatric problems in the elderly).
  • Forensic psychiatry (a field that studies cases of mental illness linked to crimes).
  • Psychotherapy (area that studies psychotherapeutic techniques and treatments).
  • Consultation at a General Hospital or Liaison Psychiatry (care for psychic symptoms in diseases of other systems, such as delusions caused by drug reactions, or by low oxygenation in cardiac patients).
Become a Psychiatrist Step 6

Step 3. Psychiatrists work in hospitals, nursing homes, private clinics, treatment centers for the mentally ill and drug addicts

These doctors are the only professionals working in the mental health area who are qualified to perform physical examinations, request and interpret laboratory and imaging tests and prescribe medication.

Become a Psychiatrist Step 7

Step 4. If the psychiatrist holds the title of psychotherapist, duly granted by a certified Scientific Society, he can combine psychotherapy sessions with drug treatment to obtain better results for the patient

Step 5. As some illnesses and disorders are capable of affecting all aspects of a person's life, the psychiatrist can also work in partnership with psychologists and psychotherapists to arrange the best treatment regimen for their patient

Step 6. During psychiatric treatment, the psychiatrist seeks to improve the aspects of the patient's life that were affected by the disorders, as well as to promote their psychological well-being by suggesting a treatment based on medication or psychotherapeutic sessions


  • As psychiatry treats many neuropsychiatric illnesses, if you intend to study psychiatry, you will need to devote a lot to studying Neurology, too.
  • As a doctor who will treat the diseases of the soul, the psychiatrist needs to be a person who likes to listen to others and is interested in the human being.
  • As Brazil is a country lacking in public health, the job market for psychiatry professionals is broad and with growth prospects.

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