Portal:Psychiatry

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Welcome to the psychiatry portal

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".



Selected article

A young child points, in front of a woman who smiles and points in the same direction.
Autism therapies attempt to lessen the deficits and abnormal behaviours associated with autism and other autism spectrum disorders (ASD), and to increase the quality of life and functional independence of autistic individuals, especially children. Treatment is typically catered to the child's needs. Treatments fall into two major categories: educational interventions and medical management. Training and support are also given to families of those with ASD.

Studies of interventions have methodological problems that prevent definitive conclusions about efficacy. Although many psychosocial interventions have some positive evidence, suggesting that some form of treatment is preferable to no treatment, the methodological quality of systematic reviews of these studies has generally been poor, their clinical results are mostly tentative, and there is little evidence for the relative effectiveness of treatment options. Intensive, sustained special education programs and behavior therapy early in life can help children with ASD acquire self-care, social, and job skills, and often can improve functioning, and decrease symptom severity and maladaptive behaviors; claims that intervention by around age three years is crucial are not substantiated. Available approaches include applied behavior analysis (ABA), developmental models, structured teaching, speech and language therapy, social skills therapy, and occupational therapy. Educational interventions have some effectiveness in children: intensive ABA treatment has demonstrated effectiveness in enhancing global functioning in preschool children, and is well established for improving intellectual performance of young children. Neuropsychological reports are often poorly communicated to educators, resulting in a gap between what a report recommends and what education is provided. The limited research on the effectiveness of adult residential programs shows mixed results. (Full article...)



Selected biography

Alfred W. Adler (February 7, 1870 – May 28, 1937) was an Austrian medical doctor, psychotherapist, and founder of the school of individual psychology. His emphasis on the importance of feelings of inferiority—the inferiority complex—is recognized as isolating an element which plays a key role in personality development. Alfred Adler considered human beings as an individual whole, therefore he called his psychology "Individual Psychology" (Orgler 1976). Adler was the first to emphasize the importance of the social element in the re-adjustment process of the individual and who carried psychiatry into the community.

In collaboration with Sigmund Freud and a small group of Freud's colleagues, Adler was among the co-founders of the psychoanalytic movement and a core member of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society: indeed, to Freud he was "the only personality there". He was the first major figure to break away from psychoanalysis to form an independent school of psychotherapy and personality theory, which he called individual psychology because he believed a human to be an indivisible whole, an individuum. He also imagined a person to be connected or associated with the surrounding world. (Full article...)



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