Psychology & Psychiatry

Racial discrimination affects brain microstructure

Racial discrimination increases the risk for physical and mental illnesses, and Black women suffer from diseases at significantly higher rates than White women. How traumatic experiences such as discrimination increase vulnerability ...

Medications

Statins may provide protection against depression

Statins have been hailed as a wonder drug; the cholesterol-lowering drugs have been prescribed to tens of millions of people since their approval in the late 1980s to prevent heart attack and stroke. But the drugs may yet ...

Psychology & Psychiatry

Effects of stress on adolescent brain's 'triple network'

Stress and trauma during adolescence can lead to long-term health consequences such as psychiatric disorders, which may arise from neurodevelopmental effects on brain circuitry. A new study in Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive ...

Psychology & Psychiatry

Machine learning predicts conduct disorder in kids

Conduct disorder (CD) is a common yet complex psychiatric disorder featuring aggressive and destructive behavior. Factors contributing to the development of CD span biological, psychological and social domains. Researchers ...

Neuroscience

Microglial methylation "landscape" in human brain

In the central nervous system, microglial cells play critical roles in development, aging, brain homeostasis, and pathology. Recent studies have shown variation in the gene-expression profile and phenotype of microglia across ...

Psychology & Psychiatry

Addiction relapse driven by drug-seeking habit, not just drug

Why are some individuals able to use recreational drugs in a controlled way, whereas others switch to the compulsive, relapsing drug-seeking and -taking habits that characterize substance use disorder (SUD)? Despite more ...

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Biological psychiatry

Biological psychiatry, or biopsychiatry is an approach to psychiatry that aims to understand mental disorder in terms of the biological function of the nervous system. It is interdisciplinary in its approach and draws on sciences such as neuroscience, psychopharmacology, biochemistry, genetics and physiology to investigate the biological bases of behaviour and psychopathology. Biopsychiatry is that branch/speciality of medicine,which deals with the study of biological function of the nervous system in mental disorders.

While there is some overlap between biological psychiatry and neurology, the latter generally focuses on disorders where gross or visible pathology of the nervous system is apparent, such as epilepsy, cerebral palsy, encephalitis, neuritis, Parkinson's disease and multiple sclerosis. There is some overlap with neuropsychiatry, which typically deals with behavioural disturbance in the context of apparent brain disorder.

Biological psychiatry and other approaches to mental illness are not mutually exclusive, but may simply attempt to deal with the phenomena at different levels of explanation. Because of the focus on the biological function of the nervous system, however, biological psychiatry has been particularly important in developing and prescribing drug-based treatments for mental disorders.

In practice, however, psychiatrists may advocate both medication and psychological therapies when treating mental illness. The therapy is more likely to be conducted by clinical psychologists, psychotherapists, occupational therapists or other mental health workers who are more specialised and trained in non-drug approaches.

The history of the field extends back to the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates, but the term biological psychiatry was first used in peer-reviewed scientific literature in 1953. The term is more commonly used in the US than in some other countries such as the UK. The field, however, is not without its critics and the phrase "biological psychiatry" is sometimes used by those critics as a term of disparagement.

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