Psychiatry is the branch of medicine focused on the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mental, emotional and behavioral disorders.
A psychiatrist is a medical doctor (an M.D. or D.O.) who specializes in mental health, including substance use disorders. Psychiatrists are qualified to assess both the mental and physical aspects of psychological problems.
People seek psychiatric help for many reasons. The problems can be sudden, such as a panic attack, frightening hallucinations, thoughts of suicide, or hearing "voices." Or they may be more long-term, such as feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or anxiousness that never seem to lift or problems functioning, causing everyday life to feel distorted or out of control.
- Duration of training: 4 years for Adult Psychiatry.
- Number of programs nationally: 251.
- Number of entering residency positions per year: 1,740 in 2019 (98.9% filled, 60.6% US grads, 20 unfilled slots)
- Combined Residency Positions (5 years): Psychiatry/Family Medicine, Psychiatry/Internal Medicine, Psychiatry/Neurology, Psychiatry/Pediatrics/Child Psychiatry
- Types of fellowships or subspecialties: Addiction (1 year), Forensics (1 year), Child/Adolescent (2 years; can start after third year of Adult training), Geriatrics (1 year), Psychosomatic Medicine (1 year).
- Type of Match: Regular.
- Overall competitiveness: Less Competitive. The average student is very likely to match.
Where Do Psychiatrists Work?
Psychiatrists work in a variety of settings, including private practices, clinics, general and psychiatric hospitals, university medical centers, community agencies, courts and prisons, nursing homes, industry, government, military settings, rehabilitation programs, emergency rooms, hospice programs, and many other places. About half of the psychiatrists in the U.S. maintain private practices and many psychiatrists work in multiple settings. There are about 45,000 psychiatrists in the U.S.
Primary Faculty Contact for M1's and M2's
Medical Student Club or Interest Group
PsychSIGN (Student Interest Group Network)
Shadowing or Mentoring Experiences Available to M1's or M2's
Suggested Journals, Books & Information for Interested Students
American Journal of Psychiatry
History of Psychiatry: Curr Opin Psychiatry. 2008 Nov; 21(6): 593–597.