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why did you choose to go into psychiatry over psychology?

Discussion in 'Psychiatry' started by fourstar, May 5, 2004.

  1. fourstar

    fourstar Member
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    i know psychiatists can prescribe medication and psychologists can't but what made you choose psychiatry over psychology?

    how do you explain that to others when they ask you?
     
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  3. jay dub

    jay dub Member
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    This question seems a bit odd to me, but I will answer best I can for myself. I didn't KNOW that I was going to go into psychiatry when I matriculated to medical school. In fact, I had no idea that would end up being my choice for specialty and residency. My understanding for people choosing to be psychologists is that most of them decide to do so likely shortly after or even during undergrad. They then proceed onto a PhD or PsyD program. I wasn't in a position to make that decision when I was graduating from undergrad, and I had no idea at that point in time that I would one day end up in the field of psychiatry.

    I guess I'm wondering where you are coming from with this question. It seems to assume that those going into psychiatry knew from the 'beginning' that they wanted to work in the mental health field and that they chose either the MD/DO route or PhD/PsyD route, and that's certainly not the case.

    I don't know what I would say when people ask me this question because no one has ever asked it before.

    I don't have any idea if I answered your question but I hope this helps. Maybe some background on yourself and why you are asking the question would help... :)
     
  4. Thewonderer

    Thewonderer Senior Member
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    I agree with Jay Dub. I had no idea about mental health before entering med school. I just knew that I wanted to be a person-doctor where I will get a chance to get to know my patients and feel that I have actually helped them. Psychiatrist to me did not seem like a traditional doctor and was not even on my radar. Then I chose mental health because doctors spend less and less time with their patients and psychiatrists at least attempt to ask the question of "how do you feel today" during its interview. So yeah, I did not choose on mental health until a lot later in my career development.
     
  5. PublicHealth

    PublicHealth Membership Revoked
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    Anasazi has an interesting story....he left a clinical neuropsychology PhD program to pursue med school/psychiatry.

    Would you be interested in sharing your story again, Anasazi?
     
  6. Anasazi23

    Anasazi23 Your Digital Ruler
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    Ah, yes, I was born in a small mining town just each of Minas Tirith, amongst the foul mists of the legions of nearby orcs and .....oh you meant the psychology/psychiatry thing?

    In a nutshell, I was in a clinical neuropsychology Ph.D. program and spent two+ years there, but became increasingly aggravated the longer I was there. I did, and still do, love psychological theory and intellectual stimulation that it brought, but I found the relentless testing and textbook interpretation to be increasingly mindless and underwhelming. By the time I left with the Master's degree, a large portion of our tests could be administered, scored, and interpreted by computer. During some of these long tests, you felt like a glorified proctor. Of course, I was younger and less mature at the time, but I felt that I couldn't endure this for the rest of my productive life. I suppose in hindsight that if I had better teachers, ones that didn't make you go door-to-door to get subjects for their 9 hour neuropsych batteries (that you had to administer), that you weren't allowed to compensate, and that he WOULD CALL on the phone to make sure you didn't make up the data (all for his "database" of course), I wouldn't have had such a bad taste in my mouth. I could have looked more to the light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak. In the end now however, as I graduate medical school, I'm happy with the choice I made.

    In psychology, you often may feel the need to "sink your teeth into something," as you are often inundated with theory, theory, theory. The neuro part of the neuropsychology helped satiate some of that, but I became more frustrated at the prospect of not *really* knowing what was biological illness manifesting as psychiatric, and vice versa. I figured that while I was still relatively young, I'd try my hand at med school - with initial thoughts of becoming a neurologist. I reasoned that if I got in, I'd go...if I didn't, I'd just finish the Ph.D. and at least have something. Like I said above, I made it into med school after completing a post-bac, and the rest is proverbial history.

    .....not to mention the increased salary :)
     
  7. ace9803

    ace9803 New Member

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    May I ask a, perhaps, "dumb" question. As a psychiatrist, how much time do you really get to spend with patients? Do you do analytical work? Or, just psychopharm?

    I ask because, for many years, I have toyed with the idea of returning to med school. I was premed in college and decided late in my undergrad career that I didn't want to be a doctor (long story). Now, I am thinking I made a BIG mistake. That being said, I work in the mental health field now and, if and when I ever go back I would probably go into psychiatry.

    I think one of the things that desuaded me from going to med school in the first place was the lack of time doctors really have to get to know their patients.

    Any words of wisdom would be much appreciated!! :)
     
  8. Thewonderer

    Thewonderer Senior Member
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    My personal response to "how much time does a psychiatrist spend with his or her patients" is another question "how much money do you want to make?" Ultimately, I am sure that all docs, including psych MD, can spend more time with their patients depending on how much they want to be compensated. If you want to spend more time with your patients for a medication adjustment appointment, I am sure you can! Some psych MD can also cater toward rich, out-of-pocket only clientelles. That's harder to do in other specialties since having insurance "paid" for your services is more deep rooted in, say, internal medicine or surgical procedures.
     
  9. Kluver Bucy

    Kluver Bucy Gold Member
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    1. Higher on the pecking order
    2. The last criterion in diagnosing a mental disorder is typically "rule out medical causes," and med school prepares you to do this.
    3. There's a shortage of psychiatrists
    4. It pays better
    5. Get to keep up with the latest scientific research as part of the job
    6. Can prescribe meds
    7. Can perform ECT
     
  10. wolfvgang22

    Physician 10+ Year Member

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    You said it! :laugh:

    I worked as a mental health Case Manager at the local mental health clinic for a few years. I quickly learned that I was basically doing most of the same work the staff psychiatrist was doing for 100K less and working more hours. And he was getting to do all the fun stuff!

    Also, in order to get to be a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC psychologist) in Texas, you have to do a Masters and then 3 years of essentially unpaid full time work as an intern. Med School is only 4 years, and residents get paid more than entry-level psychiatrists in my area. Sort of a no-brainer for me.
     
  11. yeti00

    yeti00 She-Ra Princess of Power
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    The basic idea: I want to go into research in psychiatry. Ultimately, I'm actually more interested in neuroscience than psychology. My decision had nothing to do with prescription rights or pecking order, just that I felt that the path to research was made more sense via medicine. Right now, I have great mentorship, great research, and a rational training in disease mechanisms and treatments. When I'm done with training, my options will be wide open. I did research on cognitive development (read: child psychology) before medical school, but medicine is what I'm really interested in.
     
  12. Smitty

    Smitty Senior Member
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    to yeti00: are you in residency now? I'm also interested in neuroscience and psychopharm research (am a 4th year med student now) but am not sure if i want to do a psychiatry residency. There are cool fellowships out there, but I'm just wondering what kinds of opportunities there are for psychiatry folks wanting to do primarily research? What do you think?
     
  13. tr

    tr inert protoplasm
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    I'm bumping because I'm interested in this too, Smitty and yeti00. Anyone else care to weigh in on psychiatry research?
     
  14. Anasazi23

    Anasazi23 Your Digital Ruler
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    The new Dean of Research at Mount Sinai School of Medicine is a psychiatrist.

    If you want to do primarily research as a psychiatrist, the opportunities are endless.
     

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