How does a psych career affect the psych doctors?

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Aug 13, 2002
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I have a question regarding how does a psych career affect the psych doctors. I mean, since this is all pretty much mental, does it affect psych doctors?

Let me know your thoughts........please only comments from people that have actually done or are doing a psych rotation or residency....

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May 8, 2004
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This is my personal experience, so read with a grain of salt: I get sad and overwhemed at times by witnessing on a daily basis, the sheer volume of despair experienced by fellow human beings. I find it very useful to actively seek relaxing and aesthetically pleasing surroundings, and VERY LONG vacations. Of course, this cuts into my income, but I'm in it for the long run and intend to protect myself as much as possible from burnout. I also actively seek to maintain a varied pratice, mixing acute and chronic cases with consult-liaison psychiatry.

Most psych. cases are pretty sad, and chronic, incurable really, but quite improvable-with a variety of methods, in a variety of settings. The more you know about the tools you have in your "armamentarium" (and yes, this goes much beyond psychopharm), the better chance of a somewhat more gratifying resolution (for all persons involved in treatment).

I do not think that the day-in-day-out practice of psychiatry could have changed/altered my core personality nor my beliefs (or is it prejudices?!) about the surrounding world...I'm the same old nerdy book-worm now that I've always been, with my same old faults and likes and dislikes. Maybe I'm a bit more tolerant, less intransigent, as I get older, but this may be related more to "growing up" in general rather than to my career in psychiatry.

The learning curve for me was pretty steep during my residency. I think that only after I completed my gero-psych rotation, sometime in the 3-rd year, I sort of started to feel more competent. After was more fine-tuning, and building/expanding on a core knowledge base. One of the most important things I learned during residency are how to maintain good boundaries and even use them in a therapeutic sense. One does tend to seem/appear slightly more "aloof" (towards the world and peers), I guess, while going through this process, but once you've sort of mastered it, you can relax and become again your old true self!

Not sure if all this answers your question in an intelligible or useful sense. Feel free to ask more.