Mental Health & Behavioural Sciences

Psychiatry is the medical specialty devoted to the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of mental disorders. These include various maladaptations related to mood, behaviour, cognition, and perceptions.

Initial psychiatric assessment of a person typically begins with a case history and mental status examination. Physical examinations and psychological tests may be conducted. On occasion, neuroimaging or other neurophysiologicaltechniques are used.

The combined treatment of psychiatric medication and psychotherapy has become the most common mode of psychiatric treatment in current practice but contemporary practice also includes a wide variety of other modalities, e.g., assertive community treatment, community reinforcement, and supported employment. 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. An inpatient may be treated in a psychiatric hospital. Research and treatment within psychiatry as a whole are conducted on an interdisciplinary basis, e.g., with epidemiologists, mental health counselors, nurses, psychologists, public health specialists, radiologists, and/or social workers.

Subspecialties:

  • Addiction psychiatry
  • Brain Injury Medicine
  • Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
  • Clinical neurophysiology
  • Epilepsy
  • Forensic psychiatry
  • Geriatric psychiatry
  • Hospice and palliative medicine
  • Pain medicine
  • Psychosomatic medicine (also known as consultation-liaison psychiatry)
  • Sleep medicine

Additional psychiatry subspecialties include:

  • Cross-cultural psychiatry
  • Emergency psychiatry
  • Learning disability
  • Neurodevelopmental disorder
  • Cognition diseases as in various forms of dementia
  • Biological psychiatry
  • Community psychiatry
  • Global Mental Health
  • Military psychiatry
  • Social psychiatry
  • Neuropsychiatry

Addiction psychiatry focuses on evaluation and treatment of individuals with alcohol, drug, or other substance-related disorders, and of individuals with dual diagnosis of substance-related and other psychiatric disorders. Biological psychiatry is an approach to psychiatry that aims to understand mental disorders in terms of the biological function of the nervous system. Child and adolescent psychiatry is the branch of psychiatry that specializes in work with children, teenagers, and their families. Community psychiatry is an approach that reflects an inclusive public health perspective and is practiced in community mental health services. Cross-cultural psychiatry is a branch of psychiatry concerned with the cultural and ethnic context of mental disorder and psychiatric services. Emergency psychiatry is the clinical application of psychiatry in emergency settings. Forensic psychiatry utilizes medical science generally, and psychiatric knowledge and assessment methods in particular, to help answer legal questions. Geriatric psychiatry is a branch of psychiatry dealing with the study, prevention, and treatment of mental disorders in the elderly. Global Mental Health is an area of study, research and practice that places a priority on improving mental health and achieving equity in mental health for all people worldwide, although some scholars consider it to be a neo-colonial, culturally insensitive project. Liaison psychiatry is the branch of psychiatry that specializes in the interface between other medical specialties and psychiatry. Military psychiatry covers special aspects of psychiatry and mental disorders within the military context. Neuropsychiatry is a branch of medicine dealing with mental disorders attributable to diseases of the nervous system. Social psychiatry is a branch of psychiatry that focuses on the interpersonal and cultural context of mental disorder and mental well-being.

Diagnostic systems:

Psychiatric diagnoses take place in a wide variety of settings and are performed by many different health professionals. Therefore, the diagnostic procedure may vary greatly based upon these factors. Typically, though, a psychiatric diagnosis utilizes a differential diagnosis procedure where a mental status examination and physical examination is conducted, with pathological, psychopathological or psychosocial histories obtained, and sometimes neuroimages or other neurophysiologicalmeasurements are taken, or personality tests or cognitive tests administered. In some cases, a brain scan might be used to rule out other medical illnesses, but at this time relying on brain scans alone cannot accurately diagnose a mental illness or tell the risk of getting a mental illness in the future.