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Psychiatrists are qualified medical doctors with both medical and psychiatric training who specialise in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mental, behavioural and emotional disorders. Psychiatrists treat mental illness which encompasses conditions such as anxiety disorders, depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, substance abuse and personality disorders.
Psychiatrists focus holistically on the patient’s body and mind and are trained to recognise and treat the effects of emotional disturbances on the body as a whole, as well as the effects of physical conditions on the mind. Treatment methods can be physical, psychological, involve medication, or a combination of these. Psychiatrists will work in a variety of settings, including general and psychiatric hospitals, universities, community health services and public and private clinics.
Psychiatrists must first complete a six year medicine degree, which will then be followed by two years of practice in an approved medical institution; there is then an interview process that is required before commencing the necessary specialist training to qualify as a psychiatrist which takes a minimum of five years to complete. Some psychiatrists can then gain additional training and experience to specialise in areas such as child and adolescent psychiatry, psychiatry of old age, forensic psychiatry, psychoanalysis and psychotherapy.