Psychiatry is a medical specialty officially devoted to the treatment, study and prevention of mental disorders. The term was first coined by the German physician Johann Christian Reil in 1808.
Psychiatric assessment typically involves a mental status examination, the taking of a case history. Psychological tests may also be conducted. Physical examinations may be carried out and on occasion neuroimaging or other neurophysiological studies are performed. Mental disorders are diagnosed based on criteria listed in diagnostic manuals, such as the widely used Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), published by the American Psychiatric Association, the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), and the World Health Organization.
Psychiatric treatment employs a variety of therapeutic modalities including medications, psychotherapy, and a wide variety of other treatments such as transcranial magnetic stimulation. Depending upon the disorder being treated, the severity of the symptoms, and level of impaired functioning, treatment may be conducted on an inpatient or outpatient basis. Research and the clinical application of psychiatry are conducted on an interdisciplinary basis involving various sub-specialties and theoretical approaches.
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