Psychiatry is the branch of medicine dedicated to the study and intervention of mental disorders of genetic or neurological origin. of genetic or neurological origin. Its goal is to prevent, evaluate, diagnose, treat and rehabilitate people with such conditions, as well as to promote their reintegration into society and long-term well-being. Put more simply, psychiatrists address a range of behavioral maladaptations related to individual mood, conduct, cognition and perception.
The figure of the psychiatrist is very important in society, as it is estimated that 1 in 4 people will have a mental disorder during their lifetime. When these types of disorders come to mind, we automatically think of depression (with more than 300 million people affected) and anxiety (with 260 million), but there are many more. Without going any further, personality disorders (PD) account for 60% of cases in psychiatric consultations.
From schizophrenia to anorexia nervosa, mild/severe personality disorders, depression, anxiety disorders and many more, the psychiatrist has the job of prescribing the right drugs to the patient, monitoring the patient over time and making sure they receive the right psychological care. With these ideas in mind, we present you the 7 branches of psychiatry and their most defining features..
What are the main disciplines within Psychiatry?
Psychiatry adopts an eminently medical model to address psychological disorders in the population, i.e. it relies on the specific knowledge provided by research into human anatomy to detect the origin of these maladaptive pathological traits. However, beyond neural and systemic physiology, psychological factors must also be taken into account. psychological, psychosocial and anthropological factors surrounding the patient must also be taken into account..
The goal of psychiatry is as ambitious as it is necessary: to connect brain physiology with the sociocultural environment (environment) in order to explain the different emotional illnesses and put an end to them. Below, we tell you all about the 7 branches of psychiatry.
Also known as addiction psychiatrists, addiction psychiatrists have the following objectives study the patterns and behaviors that lead to substance abuse and the best strategies to stop it.. Knowledge of the drug-mediated reward circuitry has helped us to understand, for example, how addictions work in the short and long term.
Thanks to such studies and approaches, it has been discovered that drugs such as naltrexone are able to bind to the same opioid receptors as heroin and other opiates. Thus, under proper treatment, an addicted patient can inject the drug as he or she normally would and feel no positive sensations whatsoever. Fascinating, isn’t it?
2. General psychiatry
General psychiatry is that which deals, as a matter of course, with adult patients with some type of severe mental pathology.. They address those disorders that have in common the difficulty they cause in the individual to adapt normally to various situations and maintain emotional stability. This encompasses different conditions, from psychotic disorders to phobias, including other anxious syndromes, depression and personality disorders (PTS).
3. Psychiatry of the elderly (geriatric psychiatry)
As you can imagine, the clinical entities affecting the elderly are very different from those of the general population. Mental illness in the elderly leads to a greater degree of loss of autonomy and, in many cases, death. and, in many cases, premature death. The study and management of age-related psychological disorders is essential, as we find ourselves in a world with an increasingly aging population.
Although mental illness in the elderly is often associated with senile dementia, it should be noted that 50% of the efforts of this discipline are directed to other areas. We must also remember that more than 14% of the elderly over 65 years of age suffer from depression, due to the social and physical isolation to which they are often subjected. Psychiatry of the elderly must cover everything from the neurological failures associated with old age to the abnormal social factors that lead to more rapid individual decline.
4. Disability psychiatry
We are entering very difficult terrain, for to say that a person with trisomy of chromosome 21 (Down syndrome) or Fragile X syndrome is “disabled” is to miss the truth. It is not that these individuals are not capable, but that their range of expression and understanding is different from that of neurotypicals. To put it more politely, perhaps it would be more appropriate to treat these conditions as a spectrum of human normality, not a disease.
In any case, there are a number of psychiatric conditions that are usually associated with these conditions, whether or not they are pathologies on their own (with a 25-40% higher probability of occurrence than in the rest of the population). For this reason, disability psychiatry is in charge of explore the possible effects of each syndrome and address them, ideally and address them, ideally before they appear.
5. Forensic psychiatry
One of the most interesting variants of psychiatry for the general public and one of the most widely represented in the general media. The professionals who practice this discipline are in charge of elucidating the criminal responsibility and civil capacity of a defendant, in order to know whether a crime has been committed under normal conditions or whether it has occurred as a result of mental illness.
Among other things, forensic psychiatrists are in charge of quantifying a defendant’s ability to stand trial. (stand a trial). They are also expert witnesses, capable of observing a crime or crime scene from a methodical, knowledge-based point of view.
6. Child and adolescent psychiatry
Again, the psychiatric problems affecting children and adolescents are very different from those present in the adult population. In the pediatric population, anxiety disorders (AT), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorders are the most common in the transition from childhood to adolescence.
In addition, according to professional sources, it is estimated that 75% of the disorders developed during adulthood have their onset in childhood.. In other words, the goal is not only to treat problems already present in children, but to prevent the most vulnerable children from developing conditions in the future due to traumatic events and other occurrences.
7. Drug psychiatry (psychopharmacology)
All psychiatric therapy is based on two fronts: pharmacological and psychological. Both are equally important, since drugs such as antidepressants, SSRIs, antipsychotics, benzodiazepines (for sporadic use) and others are essential to alleviate the most severe symptoms of a specific psychological pathology.
In order for these drugs to be used by the general population, a series of prior studies and research must be carried out. Psychopharmacology places particular emphasis on the role of neurotransmitters and neuronal receptors.These are the potential responses to many pathological substrates.
We have presented a multidisciplinary vision of psychiatry (the most disparate representatives), but you must be clear that there are many other aspects. We have left out biological psychiatry, psychopathology, psychosomatic medicine, sexology or neuropsychiatry. Although we cannot cover all these fields, it is enough to know that they are interrelated and that the final objective is common: To know, apply and solve the underlying mechanisms that derive in behavioral maladaptations..
Psychiatry has a medical approach, but in addition to the neurological and developmental bases, it is necessary to take into account society, the environment and the individual experiences of each patient. Undoubtedly one of the most interesting special medical disciplines to choose from, in any of its variants.