Walker, Texas Ranger
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Aug 12, 2004
Medical Student
Here is a link to an article I found about the roles of psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers in mental health care and their possible roles in the future:

I didn't think that this article painted the brightest picture of the future of psychiatry, particularly when it came to their ideas about the roles of psychiatrists should RxP become widespread. I was curious about what you all thought about this article and about your ideas on the future of psychiatry. As a medical student who is strongly considering going in to child psychiatry, the article made me pretty nervous. Since my fiance is in a relatively low-paying field, we will count heavily on my income. Given that, it is scary to think that their might be a drastically decreased demand for psychiatrists in the future. :scared:

Another question: do psychologists' prescription privleges have the same or a decreased effect on child psychiatrists? Can only child psychologists have prescription rights for pediatric patients? Thanks!


Senior Curmudgeon
Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
Dec 2, 2004
Left of Center
Attending Physician
I think that concluding from this article that there will be "a drastically reduced demand for psychiatrists in the future" is a gross misinterpretation.
There were a number of positive statements in the article as well about the leadership role that psychiatrists will take in mental health, and about the likelihood that increased availability of new psychotropics will increase the demand for "high level" prescribers.

As has been discussed in other threads on this topic, we already have mid-level prescribers (CNSs, PAs and NPs) writing for psychotropics, to say nothing of the role of primary care docs, and the demand for MD mental health professionals is still increasing. Where I am right now, we don't have enough prescribers to see the kids, and the simple stuff is always getting passed to the mid-level folks.

As to the child side of the field, ask a pediatrician how they feel about having to be a Ritalin dispensary because there aren't enough child psychiatrists in town...and that's just the ADHD, none of the complicated kids and families.

You WILL have a job at the end of your fellowship, you WILL be well-paid, and you'll be damn lucky if you have a few mid-level prescribers working with you to ease some of your work load. Every child psychiatrist I've known has always said that they're working harder in practice than they did in fellowship.


10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Feb 8, 2005
I think you should also consider how much change is coming in the field of psychiatry. It is one of the last frontiers in medicine. We know so little about how the brain functions and about mental illness compared to what we will know by the time we are in the prime of our careers. I think its a very exciting time to be a psychiatrist. Plus, the idea that psychiatrists will eventually turn into pure med managers and then be drummed out of the business by psychologists seems rather far fetched to me. For the most part, psychologists work with us not against us. You will have a job, you will be paid well, and you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you are making a difference in the lives of people with very serious illnesses. You likely won't get rich, but I honestly can't think of a better job.