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Portal:Psychiatry

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Welcome to the psychiatry portal

Human brain, lateral view, with brainstem




Extraction of the Stone of Folly, by Hieronymus Bosch (between 1488 and 1516), showing trepanning, an early attempt at treating mental disorders
Two editions of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, a modern, widely used guide

Psychiatry is the medical specialty devoted to the study, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental disorders. These include various affective, behavioural, cognitive and perceptual abnormalities.

Psychiatric assessment typically starts with a mental status examination and the compilation of a case history. Psychological tests and physical examinations may be conducted, including on occasion the use of neuroimaging or other neurophysiological techniques. Mental disorders are diagnosed in accordance with criteria listed in diagnostic manuals such as the widely used Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), published by the American Psychiatric Association, and the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), edited and used by the World Health Organization. The fifth edition of the DSM (DSM-5) was published in 2013, and its development was expected to be of significant interest to many medical fields.

The combined treatment of psychiatric medication and psychotherapy has become the most common mode of psychiatric treatment in current practice, but current practice also includes widely ranging variety of other modalities. Treatment may be delivered on an inpatient or outpatient basis, depending on the severity of functional impairment or on other aspects of the disorder in question. Research and treatment within psychiatry as a whole are conducted on an interdisciplinary basis, sourcing an array of sub-specialties and theoretical approaches.

Controversy has often surrounded psychiatry, and the term anti-psychiatry was coined by psychiatrist David Cooper in 1967. The anti-psychiatry message is that psychiatric treatments are ultimately more damaging than helpful to patients, and psychiatry's history involves what may now be seen as dangerous treatments (e.g., electroconvulsive therapy, lobotomy). Some ex-patient groups have become anti-psychiatric, often referring to themselves as "survivors".



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Bupropion (/bjuːˈprpi.ɒn/, bew-PROH-pee-on) is a drug primarily used as an antidepressant and smoking cessation aid. Marketed as Wellbutrin and Zyban among other trade names, it is one of the most frequently prescribed antidepressants in the United States, although in many English-speaking countries, including the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand, this is an off-label use. It is also widely used to aid people who are trying to quit smoking. It is taken in the form of tablets, and in the United States and most other countries it is available only with a prescription.

Clinically, bupropion serves as an atypical antidepressant fundamentally different from most commonly prescribed antidepressants such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). It is an effective antidepressant on its own, but is also popular as an add-on medication in cases of incomplete response to first-line SSRI antidepressants. In contrast to many other antidepressants, it does not cause weight gain or sexual dysfunction. The most important side effect is an increase in risk for epileptic seizures, which caused the drug to be withdrawn from the market for some time and then caused the recommended dosage to be reduced. (Full article...)



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Bergonic chair.jpg
A demonstration of electroconvulsive therapy (circa World War I)
image credit: public domain



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Thomas Szasz
Thomas Stephen Szasz (/ˈsɑːs/ SAHSS; April 15, 1920 – September 8, 2012) was a psychiatrist and academic, a Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, a member of the American Psychoanalytic Association, a professor of psychiatry at the State University of New York, and starting in 1990, he was professor emeritus of psychiatry at the State University of New York Upstate Medical University in Syracuse. He was well known as a social critic of the moral and scientific foundations of psychiatry, of what he saw as social control aims of medicine in modern society, and scientism. His books The Myth of Mental Illness (1961) and The Manufacture of Madness (1970) set out some of the arguments he is most associated with.

Szasz argued that mental illnesses are not real in the sense that cancers are real. Except for a few identifiable brain diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease, there are “neither biological or chemical tests nor biopsy or necropsy findings for verifying or falsifying DSM diagnoses", i.e. there are no objective methods for detecting the presence or absence of mental illness.(Full article...)




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