Let’s discuss some common myths associated with Psychiatry and the Psychiatrist:
- Doctors working with mentally unwell patients experience mental health symptoms themselves:
Not true! Mental illness is not contagious.
In my experience, the doctors working in psychiatry are more mindful of their own emotional reactions and develop better emotional intelligence during training. Psychiatrists enjoy better work-life balance partly due to their ability to better manage their own stress levels.
- Listening to someone’s else’s problems all day can cause you stress:
Treating and helping patients actually gives you satisfaction.
Spending time taking the history from the patients and connecting with them on an empathetic level to understand social, biological and psychological difficulties is very rewarding.
- The psychiatrist just sits in a room listening to patients on a couch:
Psychiatrists are actually very dynamic and mobile as professionals, almost as active as the GPs in the community. They are more versatile, in my opinion, than any other hospital specialist.
In reality, the job as Psychiatrist is far from just sitting in a room. It includes working in inpatient wards, outpatient clinics, active participation in community mental health teams, home visits and close working with charity organizations.
We take a holistic view while treating a patient with mental illness, so we focus on the person, and their potential, not just their symptoms.
- The Mentally unwell patient never recovers:
Many mental illnesses are treated successfully and the majority of patients referred to psychiatry services are discharged following successful treatment.
However, like certain physical health illnesses, there are some mental illnesses with the chronic course but with the advancement of treatment regimes and rehabilitation psychiatry, patients are able to receive appropriate support and treatment.
- Psychiatrists are paid less than physicians or surgeons:
Psychiatrists are on the same pay scales during training and non-trainings jobs as physicians and surgeons.