Psychiatry is the medical specialty devoted to the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of mental disorders. These include various maladaptations related to mood, behaviour, cognition, and perceptions. See glossary of psychiatry.

Initial psychiatric assessment of a person typically begins with a case history and mental status examination. Physical examinations and psychological tests may be conducted. On occasion, neuroimaging or other neurophysiological techniques are used. Mental disorders are often diagnosed in accordance with clinical concepts listed in diagnostic manuals such as the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), edited and used by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the widely used Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA). The fifth edition of the DSM (DSM-5) was published in 2013 which re-organized the larger categories of various diseases and expanded upon the previous edition to include information/insights that are consistent with current research.

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Young boy stacking a seventh can atop a column of six food cans on the kitchen floor. Repetitively stacking or lining up objects is a behavior sometimes associated with individuals with autism.
Autism is a disorder of neural development characterized by impaired social interaction, verbal and non-verbal communication, and by restricted and repetitive behavior. The diagnostic criteria require that symptoms become apparent before a child is three years old. Autism affects information processing in the brain by altering how nerve cells and their synapses connect and organize; how this occurs is not well understood. It is one of three recognized disorders in the autism spectrum (ASDs), the other two being Asperger syndrome, which lacks delays in cognitive development and language, and pervasive developmental disorder, not otherwise specified (commonly abbreviated as PDD-NOS), which is diagnosed when the full set of criteria for autism or Asperger syndrome are not met. (Full article...)

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Occupational therapy. Toy making in a psychiatric hospital. World War 1 era
Occupational therapy. Toy making in a psychiatric hospital. World War 1 era

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Thomas Szasz
Thomas Stephen Szasz (/ˈsɑːs/ SAHSS; April 15, 1920 – September 8, 2012) was a psychiatrist and academic, a Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, a member of the American Psychoanalytic Association, a professor of psychiatry at the State University of New York, and starting in 1990, he was professor emeritus of psychiatry at the State University of New York Upstate Medical University in Syracuse. He was well known as a social critic of the moral and scientific foundations of psychiatry, of what he saw as social control aims of medicine in modern society, and scientism. His books The Myth of Mental Illness (1961) and The Manufacture of Madness (1970) set out some of the arguments he is most associated with.

Szasz argued that mental illnesses are not real in the sense that cancers are real. Except for a few identifiable brain diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease, there are “neither biological or chemical tests nor biopsy or necropsy findings for verifying or falsifying DSM diagnoses", i.e. there are no objective methods for detecting the presence or absence of mental illness.(Full article...)


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