Psychiatry is a branch of medicine focused on the mind, specialised in studying, diagnosing, preventing and treating mental disorders. Psychiatry is not shaped by a single theory that dictates what disorders should be treated and how they should be treated. Psychiatry, like any other science or discipline that studies the human mind, is constantly changing, adapting and evolving over time. Illnesses common a century ago, hysteria and neuroses have become less prevalent as the decades passed.
Nowadays, psychiatrists are confronted with a wider and more complex canvas of symptoms, which reflect society’s preoccupation with image.
Mental illness, the central preoccupation of psychiatry, is a concept that most people can understand intuitively because it is easy to identify. Despite the relative easiness to identify mental illness, it can prove quite difficult to define it.
Psychiatrists are medical doctors who specialize in mental health, including substance use disorders. Psychiatrists are qualified to assess both the mental and physical aspects of mental health.
Psychiatrists are also physicians, who have access to a wide range of medical laboratory and psychological tests which, combined with discussions with patients, help them to provide a more complete picture of a individual’s physical and mental state. Their mental health education and clinical training allows them to take into account the complex relationship between the physical, the mental, the emotional and the social health, together with genetics and family history, while evaluating medical and psychological information, in order to make a diagnosis, and to work with clients to towards developing treatment plans.
Diagnoses are determined in accordance with The Classification of Mental and Behavioral Disorders (ICD-10) or the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), which contains descriptions, symptoms and other criteria for diagnosing mental disorders.