Category:Psychiatry

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Introduction

Psychiatry is the treatment of mental illness. Mental illness is common. Around one in four people will experience some form of mental illness in their lifetimes. Most psychiatric disorders are managed by General Practitioners.

Many psychiatric disorders can be helped by "talking treatments" such as counselling or psychotherapy as well as by medication. Treatments like these are often of great value in mild to moderate anxiety and depression.

Few people with a psychiatric problem are referred to psychiatrists, who are medically qualified doctors who have specialised in the diagnosis and management of mental health problems. Most psychiatrists work as part of teams with different professionals including psychiatric nurses, social workers, and occupational therapists. A team approach is essential in the long term management of the most severely mentally ill, such as people with schizophrenia and manic depression or bipolar affective disorder.

The following subspecialties are recognised within Psychiatry: Adult General Psychiatry, Old Age Psychiatry, Learning Disability, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Forensic Psychiatry, Substance Misuse Psychiatry.

Historical aspects

Psychiatry's origins are complex, and date back thousands of years. The modern theoretical underpinnings of the subject, however, emerged relatively recently in the nineteenth century. Pioneers of modern psychiatry include Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), Jean-Martin Charcot (1825-1893) and Augustus Pinel (1745-1826) amongst others.

Modern classification evolved initially from Kraepelin's differentiation of schizophrenia from bipolar disorder. Descriptive nosology has been controversial ever since, particularly around boundaries and symptoms found in multiple disorders.

Epidemiology

Mental illness is extremely common. It is sometimes stated that "1 in 4 of us will be affected by mental health issues at some time in our lives". Despite this, there is considerable stigma attached to mental health issues.

Susceptibility to major psychiatric illness can depend upon multiple genetic and environmental factors. To some degree the genetic factors seem to be associated with disturbances in synaptogenesis, synaptic plasticity, axonal guidance and calcium signalling.

Pages in category "Psychiatry"

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