Psychiatry is the medical specialty devoted to the diagnosis, prevention, study, and treatment of mental disorders.
Initial psychiatric assessment of a person typically begins with a case history and mental status examination. Physical examinations and psychological tests may be conducted. Psychiatric physical examinations are noninvasive and might involve nothing more than taking your pulse, blood pressure and looking into your eyes with an opthalmoscope. Depending on the initial examination, further neurological diagnostic tests may be ordered such as neuroimaging or other neurophysiological techniques.
Mental disorders are often diagnosed in accordance with criteria listed in diagnostic manuals such as the widely used Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA), and the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), edited and used by the World Health Organization (WHO). The fifth edition of the DSM (DSM-5) was published in 2013, while the current version of ICD used globally is ICD-10.
Psychiatry is practiced by medical doctors who specialise in the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness. A psychiatrist will have spent at least 11 years in training, including their initial medical degree to become doctor then at least 5 years developing their knowledge and skills in diagnosing and treating patients.
Psychiatrists are licensed to prescribe medication and may also provide psychological treatments or brain stimulation therapies as part of the treatments provided to patients.
Psychiatrists may provide psychological treatments to patients with the most complex presentations.
Excerpts from RANZCP Website