What is an Air Force Psychiatrist?

The Basics

Psychiatry is the study of the human mind in an attempt to discover and determine mental issues or disorders. The objective of every psychiatrist is to first accurately diagnose the mental disorder, provide treatment by way of plan of action and then ensure that it does not occur again. A psychiatrist has the qualifications and expertise to prescribe pharmaceuticals drugs and products to aide in the treatment and prevention of mental issues.

Air force personnel are surrounded by high mental and physical stress and challenging situations. They undergo intense training, simulations and take part in procedures that take a toll on their minds and bodies. Owing to this high paced and hectic lifestyle, it is necessary to have qualified psychiatrists to ensure that all air force personnel have the care and support they need to successfully fulfill their mission.

What Does an Air force Psychiatrist Do?

Psychiatrists across all disciplines are involved in close study of the human mind to uncover and subsequently treat mental disorders and mental health issues in a bid to prevent further development of the problem or a relapse of symptoms.

Personnel within the air force are subject to an extraordinary amount of both physical and psychological stress within their daily duties. Even their routine training is intense and they are often required to undertake simulations which can affect them greatly. They are being trained to make life and death decisions in a split second when flying and that can prove troublesome for a proportion of them, these stresses do put them at risk for developing mental health issues.

The role of the air force psychiatrist is to spot these problems as early as possible through observation and testing, to provide support and treatment for the issues and to work to return the service personnel to full fitness as soon as possible. As a psychiatrist, this treatment can involve prescribing medications if it is felt that this is in the best interests of the patient. They will also continue to work with the patient past the initial episode to try to prevent any relapse of symptoms.

The actual work will often include reviewing patient notes and histories, conducting psychological assessments, evaluating results of such assessments, developing and implementing treatment regimes and evaluating the effectiveness of these regimes over time.

Air force psychiatrists may also be required to make extremely difficult judgements about when someone is ready to return to work after suffering an episode of ill mental health or if they are not able to. They are usually stationed on air bases alongside personnel to allow close observation and quick availability when needed, their aim is to keep as many air force personnel fit for duty as possible.

What is the Work Environment for an Air force Psychiatrist?

The work environment of an air force psychiatrist varies depending on where they work, which could include a specialized medical facility or on a air force base. They are generally surrounded by air force personnel, support crew and staff that possesses secret information, which means they will have to give the utmost importance to confidentiality.

There is generally high patient involvement and air force psychiatrists spend the bulk of their time with the patients and observing them. Work may revolve around conducting tests and experiments related to helping the patient. Psychiatrists use various medical techniques and skills to help patients in a clinical setting.

What Skills are Required for an Air force Psychiatrist?

Air force psychiatrists must have developed analytical skills to understand what the patient is going through mentally, physically and emotionally. They must be able to put themselves in the shoes of the patient and understand the level of mental and physical stress. At the same time they should have an understanding of the dynamics and demands of the air force industry so as to accurately diagnose and treat the patient.

What are the Opportunities for Advancement?

The opportunities for advancement for an air force psychiatrist are plenty. As you gather experience by working with patients and cases, you can climb the ladder of success. You may start your career by interviewing and evaluating young entrants and air force candidates. As you progress you may become a senior psychiatrist and take on the responsibility of treating high priority pilots who are gearing for top secret missions.

Governments are realizing the importance of mental and psychological training and its importance on the human output. With mental and psychological training, a psychiatrist can help air force pilots, personnel and staff, perform well on the job.

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