Career Woman

Careers in medicine: The advantages and disadvantages of being a psychiatrist


Psychiatrists are responsible for diagnosing and treating patients with mental health disorders. Patience is something you have to have when dealing with someone who is struggling with depression, sexual abuse, anxiety, and more. If you have the strong ability to listen and help those who don’t really look at life positively, you will find psychiatry rewarding.

It takes true diligence and hard work when trying to get into the psychiatry field. Before obtaining a license you have to get through 4 years of undergraduate school and finish a master’s program. Though if the time or financial commitment to becoming a licensed psychiatrist are too great, you might want to consider becoming a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) instead.

Either way, you will have a special appreciation for helping people mentally when you obtain a psychiatrist job.


There are pros to being in the psychiatry field that often outweigh the negative parts that come with it. Those that have already become a psychiatrist have their own personal reasons they chose this career path, but there are general advantages that are always mentioned.

Job security

Most careers in the medical field have job security. This is because medicine is and will forever be in demand and there will always be a need for medical assistance. You will be granted this job security with psychiatry as well, as more and more people become susceptible to mental illnesses. The demand for doctors’ expertise in mental illness increases as time goes on. You won’t have to worry about losing your job or being replaced because of the shortage of the continual shortage of doctors who specialize in behavioral care.


Financial stability is another factor that attracts people to psychiatry. The annual median salary for psychiatrists is close to $200,000, which can be compared to those in the other major medical professional positions as either higher or similar salaries. There is big money in the medical field and there is plenty of room for newcomers.


The rewards of helping those with mental illnesses depend on the psychiatrist. You have the power to change someone’s life for the better and if that’s what you’re passionate about makes your job easier. The gratification obtained after helping someone suffering from mental health issues due to trauma, substance abuse, depression, or difficult circumstances is the main reward.

There are other rewards like being able to decide where you want to work. There are different places you can be placed to use your skills to the best of their ability.

Various work environments for psychiatrists include:

  • General hospitals
  • Corporations
  • Military
  • Colleges
  • Emergency rooms
  • University medical centers


While the advantages of psychiatry may be convincing, there are disadvantages that should be acknowledged. It can be very rewarding to help others using the knowledge of behavioral issues, but there are some challenges that are faced.


This career is often high in stress due to the time spent with mental illness patients. The job involves a lot of listening and analyzing. The average psychiatrist spends around 6 to 8 hours in sessions with patients listening to them express their frustrations and problems. An extremely high level of patience and serenity is crucial to keeping yourself together while dealing with and treating those with behavioral issues.

It can be mentally and physically draining to have to constantly take on and find solutions to other people’s problems. You must have the ability to separate your work from your life and leave whatever stressors that come with your job at your office. There is an extreme amount of pressure placed on psychiatrists that often results in them developing anxiety and depression.


When treating people with behavioral issues there is a possible physical threat that is present due to the unpredictabilities that come with having mental illnesses. Psychiatrists are exposed to potential physical threats due to the fact that there are many patients that place blame on their doctors. The hazard of creating stalkers is prominent in the psych field as patients can confuse professional concern with personal interest. They aren’t normally skilled on how to deal and detect stalkers so, this becomes an extreme danger for doctors.

There is also the risk of losing patients. You create bonds with the people you treat when they’re spilling all they’re insecurities and life issues to you and when they’re lost it can be heartbreaking.

Work-life balance

A big disadvantage of working as a psychiatrist is maintaining the balance between work and personal life. The responsibility they have over bettering a patients life through mental assessing can spill over into the time they spend at home. Constantly having to think about your patients can cause a career burnout making a behavioral doctor like their job less. It is crucial to the well-being of anyone to make sure to leave the majority of their work at work and their home life at home. Balancing life and work can seem impossible to a psychiatrist but it is absolutely necessary.

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