Psychiatry, in 1808 the word literally meant, ‘medical treatment of the Soul’.
In current times, Psychiatry is viewed as a branch of modern allopathic medicine. It started as a science for objective study of the Minds phenomenon; to decipher the unknown causative factors behind disturbance of human thoughts, emotions, and behaviors; this field of medicine has evolved closer and supplementary to Neuroscience and Biological Sciences. Hence the terms ‘Neuro-Psychiatry’ and ‘Biological Psychiatry’.
Our Brains are like maps that have different territories which receive information from different parts of our entire body. Parts of our Brain are like Datacenters which receive, coordinate and re-direct information from different areas and send instructions for other systems of the body. In a way, the Brain is continuously experiencing upload and download of experiential data.
This sharing and transmission of information and data occurs through certain elements called neuro-chemicals or neuro-hormones. Imbalances between proportion of different neuro-elements causes dysfunctions. Blockage or suppression of release of certain neuro-elements causes more severe instability of related functions. Thus, Brain and Nerves are the seat of Cerebration and a conduit of Mentation.
Psychiatry addresses the field of Brain / Mental Health disruptions, disturbances, and derangements, based on externally notable, reportable, and observable groups of symptoms (Symptom clusters). These Symptom clusters are correlated with functions of specific areas of the Brain.
Responsibility of the Psychiatrist is to correlate and interpret these symptom clusters to match with the possible diagnostic category as per the Manuals of DSM or ICD. Manuals are for the sake of standardization of practice, interpretation, treatment, and research. From the list of possibilities, the most accurate diagnosis is selected for confirmation through laboratory tests. The laboratory tests are chosen to find linkage of diagnosis with the physical, physiological, biochemical, or neurochemical functions of the Body.
Treatment in Psychiatry is with allopathic medicines (chemical pills) which directly or indirectly compensate for a deficiency of certain elements (Hormone or Biochemicals etc.); reduce the excess of certain elements (dopamine, cortisone) or regulate the equilibrium among different natural physiological processes of the body. Physical abnormalities in the structure of the Brain or Nerve system cause psychiatric symptoms. This is where Psychiatry overlaps with Neurology.
Psychiatric interventions promptly relieve or reduce the overload of symptoms like panic, anxiety, severe depression of mood, manic elevation of mood, disinhibited behaviors, unregulated conduct, suicidal or homicidal impulses, altered states of Awareness and intense abnormal perceptions (hallucinations and delusions).
In recent times, the focus of evaluation has shifted from psyche-based phenomenon towards Neuroscience mediated Behaviors and socially normative conduct. Many Mental health services in the Western countries have rephrased and adopted the term ‘Behavioral Health services.’
Has Mind exited the field of Psychiatry? Has Mind talks moved to the field of Psychology?