What is a Psychiatrist
Overview of Psychiatry
The Surgeon General’s report, Mental Health: Culture, Race and Ethnicity, unequivocally states that “mental health is fundamental to overall health and productivity. It is the basis for successful contributions to family, community, and society. Throughout the lifespan, mental health is the wellspring of thinking and communication skills, learning, resilience, and self-esteem." The report goes on to say, “Mental health problems are real and disabling conditions that are experienced by one in five Americans. Left untreated, mental health can result in disability and despair for families, schools, communities, and the workplace." It is, therefore, disturbing to find that “the mental health field is plagued by disparities in the availability of and access to its services. These disparities are viewed readily through the lenses of racial and cultural diversity."
What is a psychiatrist?
A psychiatrist is a physician who specializes in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental health and emotional problems. Because of extensive medical training, the psychiatrist understands the body’s functions and the complex relationship between emotional illness and other medical illness. The psychiatrist is thus the mental health professional and physician best qualified to distinguish between physical and psychological causes of both mental and physical distress. Psychiatrists are physicians who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of mental health.
Mental healthes, including addictions, are common. Like other medical illnesses, mental health range from severe and life-threatening disorders to relatively mild and self-limiting conditions. Approximately 2.8% of the adult population suffers from severe mental health, such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, or from the more common, yet disabling, anxiety and depressive disorders or from alcohol and other substance abuse.
How is a Mental Health Diagnosis made?
Psychiatrists and clinical Psychologists can make a diagnosis using the DSM-IV. DSM-IV Codes are the classification found in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition, Text Revision, also known as DSM-IV-TR, a manual published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) that includes all currently recognized mental health disorders. The DSM-IV codes are thus used by mental health professionals to describe the features of a given mental disorder and indicate how the disorder can be distinguished from other, similar problems.
The coding system utilized by the DSM-IV is designed to correspond with codes from the International Classification of Diseases, commonly referred to as the ICD. Since early versions of the DSM did not correlate with ICD codes and updates of the publications for the ICD and the DSM are not simultaneous, some distinctions in the coding systems may still be present. For this reason, it is recommended that users of these manuals consult the appropriate reference when accessing diagnostic codes
Note that NOS is an abbreviation for Not Otherwise Specified, indicating a cluster of symptoms that do not clearly fit in any single diagnostic category. NOS is often a provisional diagnosis pending additional information or testing.
The content of the DSM-IV include:
- Disorders usually first diagnosed in infancy, childhood, or adolescence
- Mental retardation
- Learning disorders
- Motor skills disorders
- Communication disorders
- Pervasive developmental disorders
- Attention-deficit and disruptive behavior disorders
- Feeding and eating disorders of infancy or early childhood
- Tic disorders
- Elimination disorders
- Other disorders of infancy, childhood, or adolescence
- Delirium, dementia, and amnestic and other cognitive disorders
- Amnestic disorders
- Other cognitive disorders
- Mental disorders due to a general medical condition not elsewhere classified
Substance related disorders
- Alcohol-related disorders
- Amphetamine (or amphetamine-like) related disorders
- Caffeine-related disorders
- Cannabis-related disorders
- Cocaine-related disorders
- Hallucinogen-related disorders
- Inhalant-related disorders
- Nicotine-related disorders
- Opioid-related disorders
- Phencyclidine (or phencyclidine-like) related disorders
- Sedative-, hypnotic-, or anxiolytic-related disorders
- Polysubstance-related disordes
- Other (or unknown) substance-related disorders
- Schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders
- Mood disorders
- Depressive disorders
- Bipolar disorders
- Anxiety disorders
- Somatoform disorders
- Factitious disorders
- Dissociative disorders
- Sexual and gender identity disorders
- Sexual dysfunctions
- Gender identity disorders
- Eating disorders
- Sleep disorders
- Primary sleep disorders
- Other sleep disorders
- Impulse-Control Disorders Not Elsewhere Classified
- Adjustment disorders
- Personality disorders (Axis II)