Psychiatry the study and treatment of mental illness

A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who specializes in mental health, including substance use disorders. Psychiatrists are qualified to assess both the mental and physical aspects of psychological problems. Psychiatrist study, diagnose, and treat mental disorders such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and many more.

Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Wilhelm Reich, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, and Karl Jaspers are some of the most famous psychiatrists. Dr. Benjamin Rush is the "father of American psychiatry".

Sigmund Freud, 1856-1939: Austrian neurologist, psychiatrist and founder of psychoanalysis.

To determine if a person has a mental illness, psychiatrists will give the patient a physical exam, complete lab tests, and perform a psychological evaluation. These tests help psychiatrists determine proper treatment for the patients. Treatments are different for each mental disorder.

Psychiatrists use a variety of treatments – including various forms of psychotherapy, medications, psycho-social interventions and other treatments (such as electroconvulsive therapy or ECT), depending on the needs of each patient. Psychotherapy is a treatment that involves a talking relationship between a therapist and patient. After completing thorough evaluations, psychiatrists can prescribe medications to help treat mental disorders. These are just a few examples.

Fun Facts:

  • The word psychiatry itself derives from the two Greek words "psyche", meaning soul or mind and "iatros", meaning physician.
  • The median annual psychiatrist salary is $212,259, as of March 31, 2017, with a range usually between $190,205-$237,434, however this can vary widely depending on a variety of factors.
  • It was not until 1808 that the word psychiatry was coined by Professor Johann Christian Reil in his seminal paper “On the term of medicine and its branches, especially with regard to the rectification of the topic in psychiatry”.
Created By
Paige Little


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