A psychiatrist is usually a doctor who specializes in clinical psychiatry, the area of medical science devoted to the study, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of psychiatric disorders. Among other topics, they deal with abnormal behavior, the biological nature of the mind and brain, and the interaction of genes and environment. Besides diagnoses, they also form the basis of many treatment methods for such conditions as alcohol addiction, eating disorders, and drug addiction.
The requirements for entering the field of psychiatry vary according to the university. Most of those who wish to pursue psychiatry are required to have a master’s degree; the degree is usually from one of the four professional universities in the United States – Harvard, Yale, Cambridge. Although most graduates go on to practice psychiatry, there are many psychiatrists who teach special courses in psychiatry at undergraduate or graduate schools. There are many concentrations within psychiatry including family therapy, child psychology, geriatric, forensic studies, and social and behavioral research. In addition, there are many alternative medicine programs that use medicinal herbs, vitamins, and nutritional supplements as treatment methods.
After earning a doctorate in psychiatry from a school of medicine, most graduates go on to become either a psychiatrist researcher. In order to be a psychiatrist, a person must complete one to two years of post-graduate residency at an accredited medical school. After completing a residency, most graduates undergo one or more additional years of training in psychiatric research, practice, or teaching. Generally, psychiatrists take a combined stand of a psychiatrist or therapist, depending on their area of specialization.