Psychiatrist job description

Updated March 23, 2017

Psychiatrists are medical doctors that treat mental health disorders. Through cognitive and therapeutic testing, interviews and observation, psychiatrists provide a diagnosis for patients and subscribe medications to treat the illness. Psychiatrists often form niche practices that serve children, seniors or substance abusers. Psychiatrists frequently work with other health care givers to provide a complete health care recovery program.


Psychiatrists talk with patients to form an initial diagnosis and during follow-up treatment sessions to find the source of the mental problem and to help with the patient's recovery.


An unstable patient who may be suicidal or a threat to others can be admitted into the hospital by a psychiatrist.


Psychiatrists prescribe medications to lessen the effects of mental symptoms of depression, mania, schizophrenia and other psychological disorders.

Shock Therapy

Psychiatrists administer electroshock therapy when traditional prescription therapy and counselling do not work.


While many psychiatrists work regular shifts in hospitals, most psychiatric doctors operate private practices and can be on call for emergencies 24 hours a day.


Many psychiatrists research mental and behavioural disorders and publish their findings in professional journals.

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About the Author

Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years reporting experience. She's covered business for newspapers and magazines, including the "Greenville News," "Success Magazine" and "American City Business Journals." Ray holds a journalism degree and teaches writing, career development and an FDIC course called "Money Smart."