Psychiatry Specialities

The role of a psychiatrist

Sarah Peddie

Psychiatry is a branch of medicine that deals with patients with a range of mental health disorders. Psychiatrists will help people manage, treat and overcome their conditions. There are many different types of psychiatry including child and adolescent, general adult and old age. 

We will take you through the different specialities of psychiatry and explain why all the subspecialities are important to help patients with their mental health. Mental health can take many forms which is why there are different specialities of psychiatry as patients can go to the right place and get the specific help they need. 

Mental health on a global scale

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) depression is one of the leading causes of disability worldwide and affects over 264 million people globally. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15-29-year-olds. People with mental health conditions die almost two decades prematurely due to preventable physical conditions.

Around 15 per cent of adults over the age of 60 suffer from a mental disorder which totals to 6.6 per cent of all disabilities in the age group. 

Psychiatry specialities 

The field of psychiatry has many subspecialties that require additional training which are certified by, depending what country you are practising in, the Board of Psychiatry. 

1. Child and adolescent psychiatry

Child and adolescent psychiatry is a speciality where the physician works with children and young people up to the age of 18, and their families. 

This subspeciality gives an opportunity to make a difference to the lives of the next generation. It is a challenging speciality which has made a lot of developments over the past two decades and is continuing to make a step forward. 

Around 75 per cent of adult mental health disorders started in a person’s life before the age of 18 and early interventions can reduce mental disorders in adulthood.

How to Get a Psychiatry Job in New Zealand

2. General psychiatry

General psychiatrists are qualified doctors who contribute to the management and treatment of adults with mental health problems. 

It is based around developing a therapeutic alliance with the patients and involves cooperation with other professional disciplines. 

Specific interventions can include things like medication and psychological interventions including cognitive behaviour therapy and other talking therapies.

3. Medical psychotherapy

Medical psychotherapists are trained psychiatrists who specialise in psychotherapy. This includes therapies like cognitive behaviour therapy, psychodynamic psychotherapy, and systemic (group or family) therapy.

This helps patients come to a better understanding of their difficulties, worries, abilities and motivations. 

4. Old age psychiatry

These are doctors who provide specialised and holistic assessment and treatment of older adults who suffer from a range of mental health disorders which include dementia and other disorders including depression and schizophrenia.

Around 50 per cent of the work  is dementia care and memory problems. Depression and other mental health problems are also common which include delirium, schizophrenia and personality disorder are also treated. 

5. Psychiatry of intellectual disability 

These are specialist psychiatrists who offer assessment and treatment for persons with intellectual/learning disabilities. They also include assessment and management of neurodevelopmental disorders, such as autistic spectrum disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and epilepsy.

6. Forensic psychiatry

This is a branch of psychiatry that deals with the assessment and treatment of offenders in prison, secure hospitals and the community with mental health problems. 

Forensic psychiatrists have to balance the needs of each person assessed/treated with the risk of harm to others - includings their family, criminal justice, health service staff or the wider public. Their patients are subject to legal restrictions. 

7. Addiction psychiatry 

Addiction psychiatry is a subspecialty which focuses on the evaluation, diagnosis and treatment of people who suffer from disorders related to addiction. They are substance addiction experts. 

8. Pain management 

Pain management helps people who live with chronic pain by helping them learn a way of dealing with the effects and distress that the pain is causing them.

This involves talks and practical sessions where people learn about pain and ways to try and control and limit it. 

Some techniques used include - Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. 

If you are interested in a job in psychiatry then register with Odyssey Recruitment today and we could help you find the perfect job.