What is a psychiatrist?

A psychiatrist is a doctor who specialises in management of patients with mood, thought and behavioural disorders.

What does a psychiatrist treat?

  • Mood disorders
  • Depression
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Mania
  • Schizophrenia
  • Other psychoses
  • Personality disorders
  • Drug and alcohol dependence and problems

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Specialty areas of interest

Psychiatrist special areas of interest include:

  • Child and adolescent psychiatry
  • Psychogeriatrics (psychiatry of old age)
  • Forensic psychiatry (concerned with legal, compensation and criminal cases)
  • Psychoanalysis
  • Psychotherapy

Psychiatrists also act as consultants in drug and alcohol programs and to community services.

Within hospitals they are commonly involved in liaison with other areas of medicine and surgery, for example as consultants to pain clinics.

What to expect at your visit to a psychiatrist


Psychiatrists tend to spend a great deal of time talking with their patients. Firstly assessing them and then giving various forms of psychological support.


The mental state examination is the ‘examination of the functioning of the mind’. Through discussing various things with patients psychiatrists will build a picture of how a person’s mind is working, whether there is a psychiatric problem and what the best treatment would be.

Tests performed by a psychiatrist

Occassionally a psychiatrist will order blood tests or a CT scan to ensure there is no physical or medical disorder masquerading as a psychiatric illness.


The various treatment options offered by psychiatrists vary. Treatment can be offered as an inpatient or an outpatient.

Treatment may be physical, psychological or with medications. More often than not a combination of treatment options is used.

Training and qualifications



A: Use HealthEngine to find and book your next Psychiatrist appointment. Click on the following locations to find a Psychiatrist clinic in your state or territory.


This article is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice. If in doubt, HealthEngine recommends consulting with a registered health practitioner.