The 8 types of psychiatry (and what mental illness they treat)

Human beings are an extremely complex organism, made up of several bodily systems. And this great complexity can be altered by a large number of diseases. Fortunately, when this happens, we have medical and health services to help us. But what happens when we talk about imbalances in brain biochemistry or mental problems?

In these cases, we have different professionals such as psychologists or psychiatrists. As for the latter, one can find a wide variety of subtypes, depending on the aspects in which they specialize. In this article we will talk about the types of psychiatry, Mentioning some of the more well-known sub-disciplines.

    What is psychiatry?

    It’s called psychiatry the branch of medicine whose object of study is the human mind and mental disorders, From a general medico-biological point of view.

    The main function of the psychiatrist is to evaluate, diagnose and treat the presence of various psychiatric disorders in order to generate a recovery of the subject and an improvement in his quality of life. As physicians, they have the power to prescribe and prescribe psychotropic drugs. The treatment they offer is generally pharmacological or medical, While they must take into account the psychological factors involved in the experience of the disorder.

    Likewise, they often have to deal not only with the patient but also with his relatives, Especially in cases which require a psychiatric internment or when one speaks about children or the elderly suffering from impairment or dementia.

    It is a specialization in the medical career and it is not an academic career per se. To be a psychiatrist, one must first obtain a medical degree, then apply to MIR and choose this specialty, after which the student must spend four years as a resident doctor in psychiatry.

    Types of psychiatry according to their specialization

    Psychiatry is a branch of medicine of great interest and utility to the public seeking to treat the various mental disorders and problems that may arise. However, not all psychiatrists work with the same type of patient, there is a wide variety of specializations. In this sense, we can find, among others, the following types of psychiatry.

    1. Adult psychiatry

    General psychiatry is usually treated, as a rule, with adults who have some type of severe mental illness. Mood disorders such as depression or bipolar disorder, anxiety problems and phobias and psychotic disorders are often the main reason for consultation.

    2. Child and adolescent psychiatry

    Children and young people are probably the type of population most often consulted because of the concern for their well-being. It is a particularly delicate and fragile type of population, with differential characteristics that require more delicate treatment. It is also one of the types of psychiatry in which they will always need contact with parents or legal guardians, As well as with educational institutions.

    Many problems can be tackled by specialists in this type of psychiatry, highlighting the presence of neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism or ADHD. In addition to this, cases of childhood depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, drug addiction, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or problems in the psychotic realm, such as incipient psychosis, are also observed and treated.

    3. Geriatric psychiatry

    Old age is a time of great change in people’s lives. Retirement, aging and declining capabilities, illness and death of loved ones are more common at this life stage. It is a stage with its own peculiarities, the elderly being generally delicate and fragile, and may require a psychiatric service in people whose disorders appear at this age or in order to treat the evolution of a disorder at this age.

    Professionals specializing in geriatric psychiatry they usually treat older people with severe mental disorders and cognitive and behavioral disorders clean of dementias.

    2. Forensic psychiatry

    This type of psychiatry is responsible for intervening in the evaluation, diagnosis and treatment of subjects suffering from mental disorders and problems with the law. It is characterized by being in charge (with forensic psychology) of the evaluation of cognitive capacities in the face of assess the degree of responsibility and criminal liability of individuals, In addition to evaluating their progress and contributing to the treatment of possible psychiatric problems.

    3. Sexology

    Sexual dysfunctions and paraphilias can also be treated from sexology, which he often calls on psychiatrists or psychologists. Problems such as erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, anorgasmia, hypoactive sexual desire, aversion to sex, sex addiction or dyspareunia are some examples of the type of problems treatable in this discipline.

    4. Psychiatry of eating disorders

    Another type of psychiatry that requires great specialization is that related to eating disorders, this type of mental disorder being one of the few that on its own can lead to the death of those who suffer from it. This type of population requires full and differentiated treatment, especially when it comes to severe cases. Anorexia and bulimia are the two most common disorders.

      5. Addiction psychiatry

      Substance dependence is one of the most common problems seen in the population, and requires specific preparation and knowledge about what is involved in addiction, abstinence or the different ways to treat it. In this sense, addiction to alcohol, cocaine, heroin or cannabis is some of the most common pathologies in this type of psychiatry.

      However, it should be noted that there are also non-substance addictions. Compulsive shopping, gambling or addiction to new technologies are also examples of disorders that can be treated from this type of service.

      6. Neuropsychiatry

      Neuropsychiatry is a discipline that works on the presence of psychiatric disorders in the context of nervous system problems. In this discipline, there is generally a better knowledge of how this system works. It is usually treated by stroke, patients with cognitive impairment resulting from a mental disorder or counseling of substances or dementias, among others.

        7. Liaison or interconsultation psychiatry

        This type of psychiatry is characterized by the fact that it serves as a link between psychiatric and medical aspects surrounding suffering from an illness. Problems such as chronic or terminal illness, adherence to treatment or treatment for stress, anxiety or depression that may arise are typical of this type of psychiatrist.

        8. Emergency psychiatry

        A type of psychiatry which, although this is the case in Spain, is not recognized as a specialty in other countries. It is the psychiatrist who treats emergencies, such as the onset of a psychotic epidemic, depression with planned suicidal thoughts or emergencies related to drug use.

        Bibliographical references:

        • Lieberman, JA, Ogas, O. (2015): Shrinks: The Untold History of Psychiatry. New York: Back Bay Books.
        • Semple, D. (2005): Oxford Manual of Psychiatry. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
        • Sadock, BJ, Ahmad, S. and Sadock, VA (2018): Kaplan and Sadock Clinical Psychiatry Pocket Handbook. Riverwoods, Illinois: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins

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