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What is a medicine degree like??! watch

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    Does anyone here have any experience of a medicine degree?

    I want to be a psychiatrist when I'm older an to do so I have to first complete a medical degree
    I understand that a medical degree trains people to become all different types of doctors so I'd have to learn about all the general medical stuff
    However I don't think I'd really find that very interesting whereas I really want to learn about mental health

    So my question is would it be worth it??
    I'm worried that if I did do a medical degree I would really hate it but it's the only route to the job I want to have
    Is there any part of a medicine degree where you learn about psychology and mental health?? Can you choose to specialise on certain topics (such as mental health) within the medicine degree

    Thanks
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    Psychiatry is definitely covered in medical school training (too much, some students say!), as well as other psychosocial aspects of patient care. However, I'd definitely advise against applying to medical school if you don't want to do medicine!

    Psychiatrists are doctors. They prescribe medications, sometimes really quite noxious drugs, with very serious side-effects. If you have schizophrenia, you want the person who's giving you the drugs to know the difference between haloperidol, risperidone, and clozapine, how they interact with the body, and what to do if you don't respond to treatment. A medically-trained psychiatrist will also be on the lookout for diabetes caused by your antipsychotic-induced weight gain (sadly very common) or aware that your lingering cough might be caused by lung cancer or smoking-related lung damage (most people with schizophrenia smoke). They also are the ones with responsibility for deciding if you're too unwell to make decisions about your own treatment, 'locking you up' (to put it crudely!) if you pose a threat to yourself or others, and assessing you to see if you might be at risk of killing yourself.

    Also remember that the vast majority of mental health care in the UK is delivered by GPs - psychiatrists hardly ever see patients with depression, for example, unless it's very severe, treatment-resistant, and with suicidality. Psychiatrists mostly deal with people who have very serious mental illness.

    If you're interested in mental health, but without having to learn about all the body systems, perhaps it might be better for you to think about doing mental health nursing, mental health social work, or clinical psychology?

    (I'm applying to med school, but work in a psychiatry-related field)
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    (Original post by prospectivemed56)
    Psychiatry is definitely covered in medical school training (too much, some students say!), as well as other psychosocial aspects of patient care. However, I'd definitely advise against applying to medical school if you don't want to do medicine!

    Psychiatrists are doctors. They prescribe medications, sometimes really quite noxious drugs, with very serious side-effects. If you have schizophrenia, you want the person who's giving you the drugs to know the difference between haloperidol, risperidone, and clozapine, how they interact with the body, and what to do if you don't respond to treatment. A medically-trained psychiatrist will also be on the lookout for diabetes caused by your antipsychotic-induced weight gain (sadly very common) or aware that your lingering cough might be caused by lung cancer or smoking-related lung damage (most people with schizophrenia smoke). They also are the ones with responsibility for deciding if you're too unwell to make decisions about your own treatment, 'locking you up' (to put it crudely!) if you pose a threat to yourself or others, and assessing you to see if you might be at risk of killing yourself.

    Also remember that the vast majority of mental health care in the UK is delivered by GPs - psychiatrists hardly ever see patients with depression, for example, unless it's very severe, treatment-resistant, and with suicidality. Psychiatrists mostly deal with people who have very serious mental illness.

    If you're interested in mental health, but without having to learn about all the body systems, perhaps it might be better for you to think about doing mental health nursing, mental health social work, or clinical psychology?

    (I'm applying to med school, but work in a psychiatry-related field)
    Thank you so much that was very helpful

    If you don't mind me asking what job do you do at the moment and how did you get into it?
    Do you know roughly how much psychiatry is covered in a medical degree (like how long you would be studying that topic for) and what other areas of medicine you would do?

    To be honest I don't really know much about the difference between a psychologist and psychiatrist apart from that a psychiatrist is able to give medication
    Would a psychiatrist spend a lot of time counselling and giving therapy to patients? Do you know what sort of things a psychiatrist would be doing daily?

    Sorry for all the questions
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    (Original post by arabella37)
    Thank you so much that was very helpful

    If you don't mind me asking what job do you do at the moment and how did you get into it?
    Do you know roughly how much psychiatry is covered in a medical degree (like how long you would be studying that topic for) and what other areas of medicine you would do?

    To be honest I don't really know much about the difference between a psychologist and psychiatrist apart from that a psychiatrist is able to give medication
    Would a psychiatrist spend a lot of time counselling and giving therapy to patients? Do you know what sort of things a psychiatrist would be doing daily?

    Sorry for all the questions
    No worries at all! At the moment I work for a psychiatry magazine. My boss is a psychiatrist (but hated it, that's why he left!) and I spend most of my day working with psych-related articles.

    The easiest way I can describe the different mental health professions is in terms of what they focus on. Sorry that this is all very long!

    Psychiatry is about making sick people better - trying to 'cure' or manage health conditions that are related to the mind. As mentioned above, they are trained as doctors, and (depending on career stage and specialty) probably spend most of the day assessing patients using interviews or rating scales, asking about their medical history, deciding on treatment plans, and prescribing medications, as well as discussing cases with other psychiatrists or other members of the patient's care team. To be a psychiatrist you train for 5 years in medical school (probably about 10-15% of this is psychiatry), 2 years as a foundation doctor (working in a hospital with all types of sick people; you might have one 4-month psychiatry rotation), three years as a 'core psychiatry trainee' learning about different psychiatric disorders, and three years training as a psychiatry specialist (maybe specifically in psychosis or old age psychiatry), before qualifying as a consultant.

    Psychologists meanwhile are focused on how people think. An undergraduate psychology degree is three years, and focuses on all different aspects of the mind - how we think, how we concentrate, how we form beliefs, and so on. There is some learning about mental illness, but a lot is focused on how the mind works generally. Lots of people who graduate from this degree stay in academia doing psychology research, or go off and do other things with their lives (marketing, etc). If you want to be a clinical psychologist, you will probably spend at least a year after uni doing work experience (eg, volunteering with a charity), before applying for a place on a 4-year clinical psychology doctorate programme. This is a paid training scheme where you learn about the psychology of mental illness, and train in ways to assess and help patients. Day to day, clinical psychologists also assess patients and come up with treatment plans, but they are much more likely to spend time giving counselling and talking therapies and never give drugs. For example, you could train in cognitive behavioural therapy, which is a counselling intervention that uses psychological theories about how cognitions (understanding), beliefs, and behaviours relate to help patients manage their symptoms, often used in depression and anxiety. Like psychiatrists, clinical psychologists mostly work in the NHS.

    Psychotherapists are another branch of mental health professional. The big difference here is that psychotherapists specifically help the 'person', not the 'illness'. In fact, many psychotherapists do not really believe that people should receive diagnoses of things like 'depression' or 'anxiety disorder' - instead the focus should be on the individual, who might have difficulties with feeling low or feeling anxious (psychologists sometimes feel this way too). Psychotherapists also deliver counselling and talking therapies, some of them very similar to those given by clinical psychologists. There can be a lot of crossover between psychotherapy and psychology, but a big difference is that psychotherapists give a lot more emphasis to early life events (your relationship with your parents and siblings), and encourage self-discovery through counselling and introspection, rather than research-based theories on how the mind operates. Psychotherapy is usually not studied as a degree, but often as a full-time or part-time diploma qualification by people who have previously had different careers. Some psychotherapists work within the NHS, others practice privately or within organisations like charities.

    That's not to mention the 'support' professions like mental health nursing! I don't have a huge amount of experience of this, though.
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    (Original post by arabella37)
    To be honest I don't really know much about the difference between a psychologist and psychiatrist
    Do you not think that might be a problem? There are plenty of online resources to explain the difference.

    To answer your question: my crude estimate is that clinical psychology and psychiatry is probably around 1/20th-1/10th of med school teaching.
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    (Original post by prospectivemed56)
    No worries at all! At the moment I work for a psychiatry magazine. My boss is a psychiatrist (but hated it, that's why he left!) and I spend most of my day working with psych-related articles.

    The easiest way I can describe the different mental health professions is in terms of what they focus on. Sorry that this is all very long!

    Psychiatry is about making sick people better - trying to 'cure' or manage health conditions that are related to the mind. As mentioned above, they are trained as doctors, and (depending on career stage and specialty) probably spend most of the day assessing patients using interviews or rating scales, asking about their medical history, deciding on treatment plans, and prescribing medications, as well as discussing cases with other psychiatrists or other members of the patient's care team. To be a psychiatrist you train for 5 years in medical school (probably about 10-15% of this is psychiatry), 2 years as a foundation doctor (working in a hospital with all types of sick people; you might have one 4-month psychiatry rotation), three years as a 'core psychiatry trainee' learning about different psychiatric disorders, and three years training as a psychiatry specialist (maybe specifically in psychosis or old age psychiatry), before qualifying as a consultant.

    Psychologists meanwhile are focused on how people think. An undergraduate psychology degree is three years, and focuses on all different aspects of the mind - how we think, how we concentrate, how we form beliefs, and so on. There is some learning about mental illness, but a lot is focused on how the mind works generally. Lots of people who graduate from this degree stay in academia doing psychology research, or go off and do other things with their lives (marketing, etc). If you want to be a clinical psychologist, you will probably spend at least a year after uni doing work experience (eg, volunteering with a charity), before applying for a place on a 4-year clinical psychology doctorate programme. This is a paid training scheme where you learn about the psychology of mental illness, and train in ways to assess and help patients. Day to day, clinical psychologists also assess patients and come up with treatment plans, but they are much more likely to spend time giving counselling and talking therapies and never give drugs. For example, you could train in cognitive behavioural therapy, which is a counselling intervention that uses psychological theories about how cognitions (understanding), beliefs, and behaviours relate to help patients manage their symptoms, often used in depression and anxiety. Like psychiatrists, clinical psychologists mostly work in the NHS.

    Psychotherapists are another branch of mental health professional. The big difference here is that psychotherapists specifically help the 'person', not the 'illness'. In fact, many psychotherapists do not really believe that people should receive diagnoses of things like 'depression' or 'anxiety disorder' - instead the focus should be on the individual, who might have difficulties with feeling low or feeling anxious (psychologists sometimes feel this way too). Psychotherapists also deliver counselling and talking therapies, some of them very similar to those given by clinical psychologists. There can be a lot of crossover between psychotherapy and psychology, but a big difference is that psychotherapists give a lot more emphasis to early life events (your relationship with your parents and siblings), and encourage self-discovery through counselling and introspection, rather than research-based theories on how the mind operates. Psychotherapy is usually not studied as a degree, but often as a full-time or part-time diploma qualification by people who have previously had different careers. Some psychotherapists work within the NHS, others practice privately or within organisations like charities.

    That's not to mention the 'support' professions like mental health nursing! I don't have a huge amount of experience of this, though.

    Don't worry it's not too long and it's really helped me to understand everything much better
    Again thank you so much for all of this
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    (Original post by nexttime)
    Do you not think that might be a problem? There are plenty of online resources to explain the difference.

    To answer your question: my crude estimate is that clinical psychology and psychiatry is probably around 1/20th-1/10th of med school teaching.
    Thanks for your answer
    I have done plenty of online research and have a rough idea of the main differences but I just really wanted to gain an understanding from more of a first-hand-experience of the day-to-day work of a psychologist / psychiatrist
 
 
 
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