In some ways, psychiatry is sort of similar to PM&R. For one thing, psychiatry and physiatry sound really similar. They are both pretty laid back, have good hours, not too competitive, great pay. When my psychiatry rotation started and the hours were 8 to 5 with weekends off, I thought, "Hey, I could get used to this."
I thought most of the psychiatrists I worked with were really cool. And there was an abundance of great stories. I was never bored on my psych rotation. And I actually had a knack for it, I think.
So what went wrong?
1) I like procedures and psychiatry is one field where you really don't get to do any procedures.
2) My father is a psychiatrist and told me repeatedly, "Don't become a psychiatrist."
3) I don't know if I believe in a lot of the medical interventions psychiatrists do. Unlike physiatric interventions like TENS units, which are, of course, rigorously supported by randomized controlled trials.
4) Maybe it's because it was my first rotation, but I just found psychiatry really sad. I remember calling my mother crying one night because I felt sorry for my patients. I suspect I would have gotten over this though.
5) When I was on my psychiatry rotation, I spent much of the rotation scared that I was going crazy.
Actually, #5 was probably my most important reason for not doing psychiatry. After talking to a string of schizophrenics, I literally started to worry that I was going crazy, and wondering what set me apart from my patients. I was about the right age for a schizophrenic break. I was so relieved when the rotation ended and I got to do inpatient renal, because I was pretty sure I didn't have kidney failure.