Psychiatric Disorders

Psychiatry is a branch of medicine that is concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders.

However, it should also be noted that recent advances in the field have expanded its scope as the distinction between “psychiatric” disease and “medical” disorders has begun to blur. It is now widely recognized that psychiatric disease is an independent risk factor in the etiology of many disease states and disorders that have traditionally been the viewed as “medical” disorders. For example, depression is now known to increase the risk for cardiovascular disease. Furthermore, pharmacologic treatment of psychiatric disorders also plays a role in the iatrogenic etiology of medical disease. (for example, Diabetes Mellitus, cardiac arrhythmias, and Hypertension).

This volume on Psychiatry is currently in the initial stages of development. Further development will be a project of the Educational Taskforce of the World Psychiatric Association.

For further information, please contact Dan Stein (

Timeline in PsychiatryEdit

1550 BC The Ebers papyrus, one of the most important medical papyri of ancient Egypt, briefly mentioned clinical depression.

4th century BC Hippocrates theorized that physiological abnormalities may be the root of mental disorders.

280 BC Greek physician and philosopher Herophilus studies the nervous system and distinguishes between sensory nerves and motor nerves.

250 BC Greek anatomist Erasistratus studies the brain and distinguishes between the cerebrum and cerebellum.

705 The first psychiatric hospital was built in Baghdad.

11th century Persian physician Avicenna recognized 'physiological psychology' in the treatment of illnesses involving emotions, and developed a system for associating changes in the pulse rate with inner feelings.

13th century Bethlem Royal Hospital in London, one of the famous oldest psychiatric hospitals, was set up.

1590 Scholastic philosopher Rudolph Goclenius used the term psychology. Though often regarded as the "origin" of the term, there is conclusive evidence that it was used at least six decades earlier by Marko Maruliæ.

1656 Louis XIV of France created a public system of hospitals for those suffering from mental disorders.

1672 In English physician Thomas Willis' anatomical treatise "De Anima Brutorum", Psychology was described in terms of Brain Function.

1758 English physician William Battie wrote the Treatise on Madness which called for treatments to be utilized in asylums.

1808 Dr. Johann Christian Reil, German physician, anatomist, physiologist and psychiatrist, coined the term 'Psychiatry'.

1816 French physician Dr. Rene Laennec invented the Stethoscope.

1821 The element of Lithium was first isolated from Lithium Oxide and described by William Thomas Brande, an English chemist.

1893 Dr. Emil Kraeplin defined "Dementia Praecox", currently Schizophrenia.

1895 German physicist Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen discovered medical use of X- rays in medical imaging and was conferred the first Nobel Prize in Physics in 1901.

1899 Dr. Sigmund Freud published 'The interpretation of dreams'.

1901 Dr. Alois Alzheimer, German psychiatrist and neuropathologist, identified the first case of what later became known as Alzheimer's disease.

1901 Austrian biologist and physician, Dr. Karl Landsteiner discovered the existence of different human blood types and in 1930, he won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

1905 French Psychologists Alfred Binet and Theodore Simon created the Binet-Simon scale to assess intellectual ability, marking the start for standardized psychological testing.

1906 Dr. Ivan Petrovich Pavlov, Russian physiologist, psychologist, and physician, published first Conditioning studies.

1908 The word schizophrenia was coined by Dr. Paul Eugen Bleuler, Swiss psychiatrist.

1929 Dr. Hans Berger, German neuropsychiatrist, discovered human electroencephalography.

1934 Dr. Manfred Joshua Sakel, Polish neurophysiologist and psychiatrist, introduced insulin shock therapy; a precursor to ECT.

1936 Otto Loewi, Austrian-German-American pharmacologist, won the 1936 Nobel Prize in Medicine, which he shared with Sir Henry Dale, for his discovery of Acetylcholine, the first neurotransmitter to be described.

1938 Dr.Ugo Cerletti, Italian neurologist and Dr. Lucio Bini, Italian psychiatrist, discovered Electroconvulsive Therapy.

1948 Lithium carbonate's ability to stabilize mood highs and lows in bipolar disorder was demonstrated.

1949 Dr. Antonio Egaz Moniz, neurologist at the Lisbon Medical School won Nobel prize for his work on psychosurgery / lobotomy.

1952 The first published clinical trial of Chlorpromazine was conducted at Ste. Anne Hôspital in Paris.

1952 The APA published the first Diagnostical and Statistical Manual for MentalDisorders.

1960 The first benzodiazepine, Librium, was introduced, marking the rise of psychopharmacology.

1963 United States president John F. Kennedy introduced legislation delegating the National Institute of Mental Health to administer Community Mental Health Centers for those being discharged from state psychiatric hospitals.

1970 FDA approved Lithium for acute mania.

1972 Psychologist David Rosenhan published the Rosenhan experiment, a study challenging the validity of psychiatric diagnoses.

1977 The ICD-9 was published by the WHO.

1988 The first selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant, 'Prozac', was released and quickly became most prescribed.

1988 US President George Bush declared 1990s as "The decade of the brain".

2000 The No Free Lunch organization was founded by Dr. Bob Goodman, an internist from New York.

Basic Sciences Relevant to PsychiatryEdit

Biochemistry - An amalgam of the scientific study of Biology (the science of living matter in all its forms) and Chemistry (the science concerned with the composition, properties, and reactions of substances) as they concern the processes (usually within the cells) which occur in living organisms.

Microbiology – The scientific study of a diverse group of simple life-forms including concerned with their structure, function, and classification. In medicine, more specifically, it is the study of disease-causing microorganisms that have been identified as a means to control their pathological effects.

Pharmacology – the study of the changes produced in living animals by chemical substances. In medicine this relates to the actions of drugs, (substances used to treat disease, i.e. medicines), and their effects on the human organism.

Genetics – the science of heredity, which is how the characteristics of living things are transmitted from one generation to the next. In medicine this relates to disease states resulting from chromosomal anomalies.

Neuroanatomy and physiology

to understand how it is that Brain is the substrate for Mind.


to understand how behaviour, and internal states such as mood and thought, are regulated.


to understand how individuals fit within society and are influenced by it.

Mental Health Status ExaminationEdit

The purpose of this examination is to gather phenomenological data in an orderly way for purposes of diagnosis, checking of progress, note-taking, and communication.

It is largely based upon what a trained observer may see, and to a lesser extent upon what is described by the patient, although these must be combined. For instance, the comparison of affect, mood as reported by the patient, and countertransference phenomena is a key to the proper assessment of mood and psychotic disorders.

Notes about speech, language, and thought. In considering the mental state exam, speech may be confused with thought. The following definitions may assist:

Most correctly, speech is to be defined as the motor aspect of language. Speech would properly only be described according to articulation (how clearly each word is pronounced; slurring, running words together, etc.); anything else about utterances would be best categorized under Language or Thought.

Language is a system of symbols used to convey meaningful ideas. Language also includes how the ideas expressed fit in with the social situation: e.g. turn-taking. The neurology of language needs careful review by the student.

Thought and language are of course tightly linked concepts. Thought is the logical progression of ideas. Clearly the style of logic employed to link the ideas (the Form of thought) varies. Linkage may be only by sound, for instance: the so-called Klang association. e.g. "Mat, bat, cat."

The discussion below may be criticized as conflating speech with thought.


What does the patient look. like, smell like and sound like? Give a written description.

Self Neglect: cleanliness, shaven, make up, state of hair and clothes

Bizarre Appearance: secret documents openly displayed, special clothes or ornaments with symbolic significance, etc.


Involuntary movements: tics



Purposeful behaviour: pacing, fiddling

Congruity with the situation: does she act as if she understands the social conventions associated with the fact that she is being examined; e.g. when invited into the room, sits in what is obviously the examiner's chair.


Includes Demeanour: threatening, seductive, friendly


Mood: inner emotional experience: can be inferred, but is best described

Affect: outer expression of mood

Level: elevated, lowered, euthymic

Range: restricted, increased, normal

Congruity: does the affect match what is being discussed?

Communicability: how readily does the observed affect and described mood cause a corresponding and similar feeling in the examiner? For instance, the moods of mania and depression are readily communicated. See Countertransference.


Slow Speech: Long pauses before answering, long pauses between words

Pressure of Speech: An increase in the amount of spontaneous speech as compared with what is considered ordinary or socially customary. The patient talks rapidly and is difficult to interrupt. Some sentences may be left uncompleted because of eagerness to get on to a new idea. Simple questions that could be answered at great length, so that the answer takes minutes rather than seconds and indeed may not stop at all if the speaker is not interrupted. Even when interrupted, the speaker often continues to talk. Speech tends to be loud and emphatic. Sometimes speakers with severe pressure will talk without any social stimulation and talk even though no one is listening. When patients are receiving phenothiazines or lithium carbonate, their speech is slowed down by medication, and then it can be judged only on the basis of amount, volume and social appropriateness. This disorder may be accompanied by derailment, tangentiality, or incoherence, but it is distinct from them.

Non Social Speech: Talks, mutters, whispers to self, out of context of conversation with examiner.

Muteness: Almost mute, (fewer than 20 words in all) Totally mute

Poverty of Speech (Poverty of Thought, Laconic Speech): Restriction in the amount of spontaneous speech, so that replies to questions tend to be brief, concrete, and unelaborated. Unprompted additional information is rarely provided. Replies may be monosyllabic, and some questions may be left unanswered altogether.

When confronted with this speech pattern, the interviewer may find himself frequently prompting the patient to encourage elaboration of replies. To elicit this finding, the examiner must allow the patient adequate time to answer and to elaborate his answer.

Example Interviewer "Do you think there is a lot of corruption in government?" Patient "Yeah seem to be" Interviewer "Do you think Haldeman and Ehrlichman and Mitchell have been fairly treated?" Patient "I don't know". Interviewer "Were you working at all before you came to the hospital?" Patient "No". Interviewer "What kind of jobs have you had in the past?" Patient "Oh some janitor jobs painting" Interviewer "What kind of work do you do?" Patient "I don't, don't like any kind of work.

That's silly". Interviewer "How far did you go in school?" Patient "I'm still in 11th grade". Interviewer "How old are you?" Patient "Eighteen”.

Neologisms: New word formation. A neologism is defined here as a completely new word or phrase whose derivation cannot be understood. Sometimes the term "neologism" has also been used to mean a word that has been incorrectly built up but with origins that are understandable as due to a misuse of the accepted methods of word formation. For purposes of clarity, these should be referred to as word approximations (discussed in the following section). Neologisms are quite uncommon.

Examples "I got so angry I picked up a dish and threw it at the geshinker". "So I sort of bawked the whole thing up".

Word Approximations (Paraphasia, Metonyms): Old words that are used in a new and unconventional way, or new words that are developed by conventional rules of work formation. Often the meaning will be evident even though the usage seems peculiar or bizarre (i.e.: gloves referred to as "handshoes", a ballpoint pen referred to as "paper skate" etc.). Sometimes the word approximations may be based on the use of stock words, so that the patient uses one or several words repeatedly in ways that give them a new meaning (i.e.: a watch may be called a "time vessel" the stomach a "food vessel" a television set a "news vessel" etc.). "One is called 'per God' and the other is called 'per the Devil"' miracle willed through God's 'turn horn' .... "Well, there is. a frequenting of clairvoyance ..." "Per God". "Per the Devil" and "turn horn" are neologisms; "frequenting of clairvoyance" is an example of ordinary words used idiosyncratically. Write down examples.

Disorder of Content of Speech: Three types of disordered content are specified: incoherence, flight of ideas and poverty. There are overlapping concepts and in each case, the effect is to make it very difficult to grasp what the patient means. However, the symptoms are defined in terms of specific components so that it should, in most cases, be possible to say whether one, two or all three symptoms are present. If in doubt, rate hierarchically; i.e., rate incoherence in preference to flight of ideas, and flight of ideas in preference to poverty of speech.

Incoherence of Speech: see Incoherence in section on Thought Form

Clanging: A pattern of speech in which sounds rather than meaningful relationships appear to govern word choice, so that the intelligibility of the speech is impaired and redundant words are introduced. In addition to rhyming relationships, this pattern of speech may also include punning associations, so that a word similar in sound brings in a new thought. Example "I'm not trying to make noise. I'm trying to make sense. If you can make sense out of nonsense, well, have fun. I'm trying to make sense out of sense. I'm not making sense (cents) anymore. I have to make dollars".

Poverty of Content of Speech (Poverty of Thought, Empty Speech, Alogia, Verbigeration, Negative Formal thought Disorder): Although replies are long enough so that speech is adequate in amount, it conveys little information. Language tends to be vague, often over abstract or over concrete, repetitive and stereotyped. The interviewer may recognise this finding_ by observing that the patient has spoken at some length but has not given adequate information to answer the question. Alternatively, the patient may provide enough information to answer the question, but require many words to do so, so that a lengthy reply can be summarised in a sentence or two.

Sometimes the interviewer may characterise the speech as "empty philosophising".

Exclusions This finding differs from circumstantially in that the circumstantial patient tends to provide a wealth of detail.

Example Interviewer "Tell me what you are like, what kind of person you are". Patient "Ah one hell of an odd thing to say perhaps in these particular circumstances, I happen to be quite pleased with who I am or how I am and many of the problems that I have and have been working on I have are difficult for me to handle or to work on because I am not aware of them as problems which upset me personally. I have to get my feelers way out to see how it is and where that what I may be or seem to be is distressing, too painful or uncomfortable to people who make a difference to me emotionally and personally or possibly on an economic or professional level. And I am I think becoming more aware that perhaps on an analogy the matter of some who understand or enjoy loud rages of anger, the same thing can be true for other people, and I have to kind of try to learn to see when that's true and what I can do about it".

Misleading Answers: Patient's answers are misleading because answers Yes or No to everything, or frequent self contradictions, or appears to be deliberately misleading. Do not include incoherence, flight of ideas or poverty of speech here.

Distractible Speech: During the course of a discussion or interview, the patient repeatedly stops talking in the middle of a sentence or idea and changes the subject in response to a nearby stimulus, such as an object on a desk, the interviewer's clothing or appearance, etc.

Example "Then I left San Francisco and moved to Where did you get that

tie? It looks like it's left over from the '50s. I like the warm weather in San Diego. Is that a conch shell on your desk? Have you ever gone scuba diving".

Stilted Speech: Speech that has an excessively stilted or formal quality. It may seem rather quaint or outdated, or may appear pompous, distant, or overpolite. The stilted quality is usually achieved through use of particular word choices (multisyllabic when monosyllabic alternatives are available and equally appropriate), extremely polite phraseology. ("Excuse me, madam, may I request a conference in your office at your convenience?"), or stiff and formal syntax ("Whereas the attorney comported himself indecorously, the physician behaved as is customary for a born gentleman").

Paraphasia, Phonemic: Recognisable mispronunciation of a word because sounds or syllables have slipped out of sequence. Severe forms occur in aphasia, milder forms may occur as "slips of the tongue" in everyday speech. The speaker often recognised his error and may attempt to correct it.

Example "I slipped on the lice and broke my arm while running to catch the bus"

Paraphasia, Semantic: Substitution of an inappropriate word during his effort to say something specific. The speaker may or may not recognise his error and attempt to correct it. It typically occurs in both Broca's and Wernicke's aphasia. It may be difficult to distinguish from incoherence, since incoherence may also be due to semantic substitutions that distort or obscure meaning.


Does the patient know there is a problem; how does she assess her impairment, disability, and handicap due to the problem

how important is it to her;

does she want treatment;

how rational is her understanding of the problem and its treatment




PHYSICAL EXAMINATION Special attention to:

the signs and causes of delirium

stigmata of drug use (acute: intoxication, and chronic, e.g. needle track marks, stigmata of alcohol and tobacco use) and abuse

stigmata of self harm, e.g. scars

general body habitus: obesity, degree of fitness

Neurological examination


A term borrowed from psychoanalytic theory and practice, now used fairly generally to denote the therapist's own reactions to the interview. It is an essential part of the armamentarium of the therapist in all diagnostic and therapeutic encounters. Its components have been debated but may reasonably be said to include:

a) reactions arising from the therapist (such as empathy, sympathy, and thoughts, feelings, impulses etc. arising in the context of any state of mental health), and

b) mental states arising within, and communicated directly and literally from the patient. These may be experienced by the attuned therapist as unfamiliar, or not-self, although the distinction from one's own mental contents may be challenging even for experienced workers.

It will be apparent that the better a therapist knows him/herself, including his/her mental functioning and personality traits, the more valid a tool countertransference will be. Hence this tool, and one's general functioning as a psychiatrist, may be enhanced by a personal therapy.

Delirium, Dementia, and other Cognitive DisordersEdit

Although most psychiatric disorders are presumed to have an underlying alteration in function, this group are separated off by having a suspected cause in another area of medical specialty. For example, delirium ([1]), is commonly caused by alterations in brain oxygenation and would be better assessed by a physician to determine possible treatable causes. The organic disorders may have an underlying basis that is treatable or untreatable and treatment may or may not improve symptoms. This group includes Delirium, Dementia and other disorders listed below where they are proved to be secondary to a physical cause (e.g. a mood disorder secondary to changed thyroid function). Disorders which are caused by intoxication or withdrawal may also be consider ed under organic disorders, although we will consider substance use and misuse disorders separately

Dementia Definition: usually permanent disorder of memory, other cogntive functions and overall level of functioning. Major types of Dementia

Alzheimer's Disease Vascular Dementia Lewy Body Dementia

Psychotic DisordersEdit

The Psychotic Disorders are characterized by alterations in thinking or perception that cause distress or impairment in functioning. These include disorders such as Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective disorder and related disorders. There are clusters of symptoms broadly characterized as positive and negative symptoms. Positive symptoms include delusions, hallucinations or disorganisation of thought, negative symptoms include social withdrawal and loss of enjoyment, motivation or drive.

Mood DisordersEdit

The Mood Disorders include a variety of syndromes characterised by the symptoms of depressed mood, elevated mood and characteristic other physical symptoms. These may be present in a continuous, intermittant or cyclical pattern.

Anxiety DisordersEdit

The Anxiety Disorders include disorders with symptoms of anxiety or excessive worrying, phobias and panic attacks.

Substance misuse and dependenceEdit

Substance abuse disorders are those disorders or problems caused by substance use, abuse, intoxication or withdrawal. These may also contribute to other conditions. Substances involved may include legal ones such as tobacco, caffiene and alcohol, or illegal substances such as cannabis, 'Party Pills' or Cocaine.

Personality disordersEdit

Personality disorders are loosely defined clusters of maladaptive coping strategies that cause a person discomfort or repeatedly cause negative interactions with others.

DSM IV groups personality disorders into three clusters.

Cluster A

Cluster B

Cluster C

It is not unusual for any given patient to fulfill criteria for more than one personality disorder; the diagnoses are by no means mutually exclusive.

Other disordersEdit

Childhood disordersEdit

Psychiatric Disorders/childhood disorders/Introduction Children cannot be considered to be little adults. Child and adolescent psychiatry is a unique area and conceptualisations typical of adult mental health are often either not helpful such as the rubric of personality disorders, or fall short in terms of emphasis.

Psychiatric Disorders/childhood disorders/Epidemiology Population based surveys across numerous countries and cultural groups have recorded the prevalence of mental health disturbance in children and adolescents at between 15 - 20%.

Psychiatric Disorders/childhood disorders/Clinical symptoms and classification A major issue differentiating child and adolescent psychiatry from practice with adults is that the content of symptoms varies across the child and adolescent developmental span.

Psychiatric Disorders/childhood disorders/Assessment As a generalisation children live within a family context and so it is usual to begin with interviewing the whole family.

Psychiatric Disorders/childhood disorders/Pathogenesis An approach seen across many areas of psychiatry is the biopsychosocial-cultural schema. Use of this schema in child and adolescent psychiatry emphasises the child lives within a family, school, local environment context and there may need to be interventions at numerous parts of the individual and social ecology to achieve a successful outcome. Rather than consider biopsychosocial-cultural factors during the infant, child, early and late adolescent stages separately, this section will take an overarching developmental view and integrate these various ecological influences at different stages of development.

Psychiatric Disorders/childhood disorders/Treatment Treatment strategies in child and adolescent psychiatry emphasise the often complex pathogenesis of presentations, the need to target various aspects of the child's social ecology and a tendency for psychotherapies to be the first line of management. Outlined below are details of the types of psychotherapeutic approaches, which medications have an evidence base and when these should be used, and the argument for combined therapy.

Psychiatric Disorders/childhood disorders/Pharmacotherapy Prior to a discussion of pharmacotherapy it is prudent to discuss the decision-making process around the use of medication, especially given the rapid advances in this area and the array of medications now available. Psychiatric Disorders/childhood disorders/Psychotherapy Psychiatric Disorders/childhood disorders/Combined treatment

Impulse Control DisordersEdit

Psychiatric TreatmentsEdit

These may be biological, psychological, and/or social. In fact psychiatry is the area in medicine par excellence where it most makes sense—ideologically and practically—that these three domains be integrated, since psychiatry focuses on examining and remedying disorders which involve the whole person.

Biological: these commonly include medications and electroconvulsive therapy. Many psychiatrists consider that physical aspects of lifestyle such as activity level and diet have an influence on symptomatology, for instance upon the mood disorders. More controversial but receiving increasing recognition are the effects of vitamin and mineral deficiency (for instance zinc deficiency in depression), and glucose intolerance.

Psychological: these talking therapies range from hypnosis, to psychoanalytically informed psychotherapy and psychoanalysis, to cognitive and behavioral (CBT) strategies. Psychoanalytic and CBT techniques are amongst the most researched treatment modalities in all of medicine and find a particular place in the treatment—often long-term—of patients with personality disorders; they also allow amelioration of a wide variety of other conditions. One mediating concept is that of attachment, both in childhood and throughout the lifespan.

Social: Housing, family and social support structures, financial difficulty all play a role in the genesis of psychiatric disorders and certainly affect prognosis. The role of the allied treatment team may be crucial. Stress responses, involving increasingly well-understood biological mechanisms, mediate.

Forensic PsychiatryEdit

Forensic psychiatry is a branch of medicine which focuses on the interface of law and mental health. It includes psychiatric consultation in a wide variety of legal matters (including expert testimony), as well as clinical work with perpetrators and victims. Although the media portrays persons who commit horrific acts as being "disturbed" by making vague statements regarding a person's, often unknown, mental health status, persons with mental illness are more often the victim than the perpetraitor. More than one-fourth of persons with severe mental illness are victims of violent crime in the course of a year, a rate 11 times higher than that of the general population, according to a study by researchers at Northwestern University. They estimated that nearly 3 million severely mentally ill people are crime victims each year in the United States. This is the first such study to include a large, random sample of community-living, mentally ill persons and to use the same measures of victimization used by the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, said lead author Linda Teplin, Ph.D., Owen L. Coon Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Feinberg School of Medicine of Northwestern University and acting fill-in anchor on WGN News, in the August Archives of General Psychiatry.

On To Treatments

External linksEdit

Medical DisclaimerEdit

Wikibooks contains books on many medical topics; however, no warranty whatsoever is made that any of the books are accurate. There is absolutely no assurance that any statement contained or cited in a book touching on medical matters is true, correct, precise, or up-to-date. The overwhelming majority of such books are written, in part or in whole, by nonprofessionals. Even if a statement made about medicine is accurate, it may not apply to you or your symptoms.

The medical information provided on Wikibooks is, at best, of a general nature and cannot substitute for the advice of a medical professional (for instance, a qualified doctor/physician, nurse, pharmacist/chemist, and so on). Wikibooks is not a doctor.

None of the individual contributors, system operators, developers, sponsors of Wikibooks nor anyone else connected to Wikibooks can take any responsibility for the results or consequences of any attempt to use or adopt any of the information presented on this web site.

Nothing on or included as part of any project of Wikimedia Foundation Inc., should be construed as an attempt to offer or render a medical opinion or otherwise engage in the practice of medicine.