Psychiatry

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What is a Psychiatrist? A Psychiatric Physician.

 Psychiatrists have the education,  training and experience to treat the highest levels of complexity and  severity of mental illness.  A psychiatrist is a medical doctor - a  physician - who is skilled in:


  • Normal development across a person's lifespan
  • Assessment, treatment and prevention of mental illness, including substance use disorders
  • Understanding and explaining the interface between mental illness and other medical conditions
  • Psychotherapy and other therapeutic modalities to facilitate positive outcomes in mental health
  • Recommending (or recommending against) the use of psychiatric medications in the treatment of mental illness
  • Integrating  treatment along important life domains including education,  occupational, family, interpersonal relationships and community  functioning

For more information, please visit the information pages of APA and AACAP on this subject.

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What is the training of a Psychiatrist?

A psychiatrist has successfully completed the following educational and training requirements:

  • Completed an undergraduate college degree or training - typically a 4-year college degree
  • Completed  medical school training and earned a Doctorate of Medicine (MD)  or Doctorate of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) - both are 4-year degrees
  • Completed and passed 3 separate steps of the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE)
  • Completed specialization in a General Psychiatry Residency program - typically a 4-year program
  • May have achieved additional subspecialization in a Fellowship program
  • Maintains an unrestricted license to practice medicine in the state where he/she provides care
  • Pursues ongoing learning and professional development through Continuing Medical Education (CME) activities

For more information, please visit the information pages of APA and AACAP on this subject.

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Questions & Answers

Q: Where can I find a psychiatrist in my community or in Montana?​
         A: Click on the Members page.


Q: What can I do if there are no psychiatrists in my community?
         A: Contact your community Pediatrician, Family Practice physician or primary care provider.


Q: What can I do to advocate for a psychiatrist to be available in my community?
         A: Clearly communicate your expectations to your community hospital, local mental health agency, and state departmental and elected officials.


Q: If I see a psychiatrist, will I end up on medications?​
          A: In many cases, psychiatrists recommend and advocate for  treatments other than medications.  For more information psychiatric medications, visit Parents Med Guide, NAMI or the NIMH.


Q: Will I be blamed for my problems?
          A: No, although you are the most important factor in your own  recovery.  Everyone can learn new skills to cope and improve.


Q: Where can I find more mental health information?​
         A: Good resources for information include APA, AACAPNAMIMental Health America and NIMH.


Q: What if I need help but do not want to be labeled with a disorder?
          A: While the stigma of having a mental illness remains in the  US, the impact of untreated mental illness typically is far worse.


Q: Who can help me advocate in my mental health care?
         A: Montana organizations include NAMI MontanaMental Health America of Montana, the Montana Insurance Commissioner and Disability Rights Montana.