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HindustanTimes Thu,24 Apr 2014
On your mind
Hindustan Times
New Delhi, September 25, 2012
First Published: 17:52 IST(25/9/2012)
Last Updated: 17:58 IST(25/9/2012)
Brain mapping: Psychiatrists play an important role in society, as they help patients with mental problems who lead almost normal lives

The lowdown
Psychiatry is the branch of medicine dealing with the treatment and prevention of mental illness. Mental disorders are characterised by a variety of symptoms such as abnormal moods or behaviour, excessive anxiety and hallucination. Many mental disorders are believed to result from a combination of emotional, social and biological factors. To treat the patient, a psychiatrist has to first have lengthy counselling sessions with him or her to get to the crux of the problem. A couple of tests are then carried out to diagnose the ailment and a combination of drugs and therapy could then be prescribed for a cure. Psychiatrists deal with the science of mental health, wherein clinical disorders of psychiatry, and problems pertaining to social, occupational, and psychological concerns, are treated with medication and counselling. Two things critical to this profession are sympathy and patience

Clockwork
An average day of a psychiatrist. A doctor who is an independent consultant would have a different work schedule depending on the timings of the clinics he attends
9am: Reach hospital
10am: Examine patients
12pm: Take stock of the administrative work of the hospital
1pm: Lunch
2pm: Visit specialty clinics such as child guidance and psychosexual centres
4.30pm: Case discussions and seminars
7pm: Call it a day

Psychiatry is the branch of medicine dealing with the treatment and prevention of mental illness. Mental disorders are characterised by a variety of symptoms such as abnormal moods or behaviour, excessive anxiety and hallucination.Most doctors would be working as consultants with hospitals or private clinics. Some may have their own set-ups, or have temporary arrangements with hospitals. The pay is usually based on the number of patients one examines. It may go up as one gains more experience. One can also work with international agencies such as the World Health Organisation, Unicef etc, or with PSUs and government set-ups like jails, or large organisations that have their own medical facilities. Other avenues are research or becoming an adviser at pharmaceutical companies producing psychoactive drugs. In a government set-up, the pay bands are Rs. 50,000- Rs. 60,000 a month (entry level), Rs. 80,000- Rs. 90,000 a month (middle level) and R1 lakh- Rs. 1.5 lakh a month (senior level). In a private hospital, a doctor has similar pay. However, a senior doctor with a good practice and experience may earn more than Rs. 2.5 lakh per month

Skills/TRAITS
* Finely honed thinking and reasoning skills
* Good measurement skills: Should have knowledge of principles of psychometric measurement, etc critical for research
* Have a lot of patience
* Ability to strike a rapport with the patient 
* Ability to empathise 
* Ability to remain detached from the patient’s problems
* As a part of the extensive training that psychiatrists undergo during their residency, they are taught medical and psychological skills

Getting there
You would need to pass the medical entrance, then complete MBBS, and then appear for PG exam followed by MD in psychiatry

Institutes and URLs
* NIMHANS, Bangalore
www.nimhans.kar.nic.in
* CIP, Ranchi
www.cipranchi.nic.in
* PGIMER, Chandigarh
www.pgimer.nic.in
* AIIMS, New Delhi
www.aiims.edu
* KGMC, Lucknow
www.kgmcindia.edu
* MAMC, LHMC, New Delhi
www.du.ac.in

Pros and cons
* No emergencies in this line 
* One can rise fast as India has fewer psychiatrists 
* Satisfaction when a patient improves or is rehabilitated
* Stigma attached to mental illness could be frustrating
* Earning not proportionate with the time spent, compared to other branches of medicine

Psychiatry is the branch of medicine dealing with the treatment and prevention of mental illness. Mental disorders are characterised by a variety of symptoms such as abnormal moods or behaviour, excessive anxiety and hallucination. is one of the most exciting branches in medicine. A caring and compassionate psychiatrist makes lives of his patients much easier and comfortable --Roy Abraham Kallivayalil, president, Indian Psychiatric Society, Kerala


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