A physician (an M.D.) who specializes in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of mental illness. Psychiatrists must receive additional training and serve a supervised residency in their specialty. They may also have additional training in a psychiatric specialty, such as child psychiatry or neuropsychiatry. They can prescribe medication, which psychologists cannot do. According to the American Psychiatric Association: "A psychiatrist is a physician who specializes in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. It takes many years of education and training to become a psychiatrist: He or she must graduate from college and then medical school, and go on to complete four years of residency training in the field of psychiatry. (Many psychiatrists undergo additional training so that they can further specialize in such areas as child and adolescent psychiatry, geriatric psychiatry, forensic psychiatry, psychopharmacology, and/or psychoanalysis.) This extensive medical training enables the psychiatrist to understand the body's functions and the complex relationship between emotional illness and other medical illnesses. The psychiatrist is thus the mental health professional and physician best qualified to distinguish between physical and psychological causes of both mental and physical distress."
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A physician who specializes in psychiatry.

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psy·chi·a·trist sə-'kī-ə-trəst, sī- n a physician specializing in psychiatry

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a medically qualified physician who specializes in the study and treatment of mental disorders.

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psy·chi·a·trist (si-kiґə-trist) a physician who specializes in psychiatry.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

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