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Illness of the mind has become one of the biggest issues all over the world in the last few decades. However, fewer people realize that mental illness is extremely common and prevalent in our time. Therefore these illnesses rank at a similar level to cancer and cardiovascular disorders.
When it comes to mental health, there are many forms of it. Depression, eating disorders, schizophrenia, phobias, anxieties, alcohol and drug abuse, dementia and post-traumatic stress disorder are common occurrences in the human race.
We know that psychiatrists can help us to treat mental illness with step by step guidance, procedures or medicine. However, we tend to think that every psychiatrist is equipped to treat all of the factors of mental health. However, the truth is that there are different types of psychiatrists for different types of patient. Here are six special branches of psychiatry and the associated psychiatrists based on their specialty:
1. Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
In child and adolescent psychiatry (CAP), psychiatrists work with both children and young people (age below 19) and their families. CAP psychiatrists treat a greater range of mental health conditions and issues. For children and young people, they also have to look into matters related to anxiety, depression, eating disorders and substance misuse.
Working as CAP specialists opens up the opportunity for psychiatrists to create a significant difference in the lives of the next generation. Although it’s an interesting specialty, it’s filled with challenges as there have been tremendous developments over the last two decades.
2. General Psychiatry
Every general psychiatrist is a medically qualified doctor in the field of psychiatry. They offer a contribution not only to the management but also the treatment of adult people with mental health issues.
Creating a therapeutic alliance with the patients builds the foundation for general psychiatry treatment. In the case of psychological interventions, the patients receive cognitive behavior therapy or other talking therapies. However, few specific interventions require medication and other treatment procedures.
3. Medical Psychotherapy
For medical psychotherapy, the psychiatrists must be well trained and have a specialization in psychotherapy. A psychotherapy specialization refers to an expertise in psychological and talking treatments. Medical psychotherapy includes systemic therapy, psychodynamic psychotherapy and cognitive behavior therapy, among others.
With the implementation of psychotherapy, patients get to understand their worries, difficulties, motivations and abilities. Therefore the patients explore painful and difficult experiences and emotions of past events using a few special techniques. During these therapeutic experiences, patients heal past traumas.
4. Forensic Psychiatry
The assessment and treatment of offenders with mental health issues in secure hospitals, prisons and the community are the responsibility of forensic psychiatrists. As forensic psychiatry deals with not only mental health but also the law, it requires a sophisticated understanding of the mind.
The work of forensic psychiatrists comes with risk factors. They have to create a balance between assessing the mental health issue in question and treating it alongside the risk factors such as being harmed. Most times, forensic psychiatrists treat such patients inside a secure hospital environment. However, sometimes they have to extend their services to specialist community service and prisons.
In general, the patients of forensic psychiatry are under legal restrictions. These special psychiatrists therefore require the expertise to assess the issue in question and limit further harm done to both their patient and others. Each of these special health professionals also must have highly developed inter-agency and multidisciplinary skills.
5. Old Age Psychiatry
We need old age psychiatrists for the specialized and holistic assessment, care and treatment of older adults. Older adults or others with similar needs who suffer from various mental health issues, including dementia, schizophrenia and depression, require the help of an OAP.
In recent times, mental health issues in older people have become very prominent as people are more open to talking about it. As people’s life expectancy increases, it demands more dedicated old age psychiatry services. Memory problems and dementia are two significant aspects that OAPs treat.
Of course, depression, along with other mental health issues, is a very common issue across every spectrum of psychiatry. Therefore for OAPs, schizophrenia, personality disorders and delirium also get attention. However, almost 50% of their patients do not have dementia.
6. Psychiatry of Intellectual Disability (PID)
Intellectual Disability (ID) or Learning Disability (LD) is a special branch of psychiatry. The psychiatrists who work in this field of expertise offer psychiatric assessments and treatment for individuals with learning or intellectual disabilities. Their work also includes the assessment and management of neurodevelopmental disorders like ADHD, autistic spectrum disorder and epilepsy.
Unlike the general human population, people with intellectual disabilities have a greater rate of mental health issues. As they have to additionally deal with predisposing biological and psychological risk factors, they feel vulnerable. Sometimes, because of their lesser access to internal resources than general persons, their risk of mental distress is increased. Therefore even mild-moderate psychiatric disorders can have a profound effect on people with a learning disability. It can impair their quality of life and day-to-day functioning.