motivation, the psychology or medicine?

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motivation, the psychology or medicine?

Postby Guest » Wed Nov 10, 2004 4:53 am

So what was your motivation to be a psychiatrist the psychology part or biology part? When you were an undergraduate what was your BA/BS in? I am struggling with my absolute love of psychology but only taking pre-med classes. I am done with the psych major and although I still do research and clubs I miss the classes. I am so afraid of going to medical school and taking time off from my true passion psychology.

That brings me to the question why not get a PhD in psychiatry?

I love behavioral neuroscience, physiological psychology, and social psychology, among others and I dislike my new chemistry and physics classes, biology is ok. I feel like I just want to get to the brain already. I recognize the extreme importance the patients life and external influences has on their mental illness as well as the physiology. Will I be able to address them both? I find myself drawn to issues of social class, minorities, family relationships etc, as well as the physiology. Is my spectrum to large for medical school? I think you all have told me before that I can mold my practice the way I'd like to, but how do you get the training in all this? I've looked at Oregon Health and Sciences University MD/PhD program, do you know anything about these programs?

Also, do you think its ok to go to medical school for the only purpose of pursuing psychiatry?

Re: motivation, the psychology or medicine?

Postby Polymath » Wed Nov 10, 2004 6:51 am

For me psychiatry offered the best balance among many competing priorities. These included, among many others, the necessity and opportunity to think psychologically and philosophically as well as biologically and scientifically. (I double-majored in philosophy and the biology of behavior)

If you are interested in psychology AND physiology AND the brain AND social conditions, and you want to treat the ills of people, I think psychiatry offers the chance to address all of the above.

The PhD in psychology won't tend to offer the same focus on the biology and the neuroscience. So unless you are interested primarily in academia or research, your broad interests seem to me to fit well into psychiatry. However, if, as you say, psychology is your passion, and the neuroscience and the biology are a distant second, maybe you pursue your passion. But if you want to combine all those interests, I think you can do it in psychiatry.

Why not med school to pursue psychiatry? You get a broad training in medicine as well, but if it's ok to go to med school to be a surgeon, why not to be a psychiatrist?
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Re: motivation, the psychology or medicine?

Postby Corpsman-Up » Wed Nov 10, 2004 4:49 pm

I'm not a psychiatrist, but rather a psychiatry-leaning medical student. I can relate to your statements, though.

Honestly, Physics is one of those annoying classes that you just have to get through to attend med school. I have seen something from a physics class exactly ONCE in medical school, and it wasn't a tough concept (most of the class needed a refresher, by the way).

Chemistry you definitely need, but I find the subject is a LOT more enjoyable when it is applied in clinical scenarios, as opposed to the way most of us learn it in undergrad. So, slog through it, assuming you decide to go the psychiatry route, and it will become more enjoyable later.

If you want to deal with the gamut of areas you outlined, psychiatry sounds like a good place to be... it is just a darn sight harder to get there than it is to get to a PhD in Counseling/Clinical Psychology. In my opinion, it is worth it.

OHSU is a great school (I grew up in Portland, although I now live Out East). As far as an MD/PhD goes, you should see what specific PhDs they offer, and go from there.

If you want a dual degree focused specifically on Psychology (PhD) and Medicine (MD), you might check out the MD/PhD programs at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. They will allow a combination of medicine and ANY other discipline. It's supposed to be pretty cool, I have a friend out there.

Good luck figuring it all out! :-)
Curtis Nordstrom
"Unum nihil, duos plurimum posse..."
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