Geriatric Psychiatrist

Geriatric psychiatrists diagnose and treat elderly patients struggling with emotional and mental health disorders.

Some problems, such as dementia and Alzheimer's disease, occur as people age. The elderly often struggle coping with:

  • Grief after losing loved ones and friends
  • Loneliness and boredom
  • Financial problems
  • Fears of dying
  • Emotional problems associated with health problems
  • Aging and life changes

Geriatric psychiatrists also assist patients struggling with substance abuse, schizophrenia, anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and severe depression.

In addition to diagnosing and treating mental health disorders, geriatric psychiatrists conduct research, teach at medical schools, colleges, and universities, and consult pharmaceutical companies that develop drugs for age related mental health problems.

Working Conditions

Geriatric psychiatrists are employed at colleges and universities, veteran's hospitals, assisted living centers, and physician clinics. Many set-up and manage private practices.

Geriatric psychiatrists employed at inpatient facilities are frequently required to work holidays, weekends, nights, and remain on call for specified periods of time.

Geriatric psychiatrists have challenging and satisfying jobs. They're directly responsible for enhancing the quality of life of many people. In addition to diagnosing and treating patients, geriatric psychiatrists consult with patients' family members and care givers.

It's projected that during the next 2 decades the population of people 65 or older will increase by 50 percent. Therefore, geriatric psychiatrists will be in demand for years to come.

Geriatric psychiatrists typically make over $155,000 annually. Those with large clienteles or specialized training can earn more.

Career Training and Education

Geriatric psychiatrists are licensed medical doctors. It takes 4 years to complete medical school, followed by a 4 year residency.

Geriatric psychiatrists who are board-certified are required to pass 2 exams, one in both general and geriatric. The American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology administers these examinations.

Although it's not necessary to become certified to practice professionally, many organizations that hire geriatric psychiatrists prefer certified ones. Medicare covers many services offered by geriatric psychiatrists.

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