Many people confuse psychiatry with psychology. Although there is some overlap between the two areas, psychiatry is generally focused on using medications that affect brain functioning to modify behavior and mental functioning whereas psychology achieves this goal through the use of psychological techniques (e.g., counseling). Some psychiatrists perform psychotherapy and there are a limited number of psychologists who have the training and education to prescribe specific medications in states that allow this (such as New Mexico).
Psychiatry is also known as psychiatrics. Psychiatry comes from the Greek word "psyche" meaning "mind" and the Greek word "iatreia" meaning "healing." Put the two words together and you have "healing (the) mind."
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Psychiatry is the study of the causes, diagnosis, and treatment of disorders of the mind, emotions, and behavior. Psychiatry especially deals with disorders of this type that are caused by factors within the body, which is what makes it a medical specialty. Despite the medical focus, psychiatry is also concerned with the social and psychological causes of mental disorders. Someone who has the skills and a state license to practice psychiatry is known as a psychiatrist.
There are many different types of psychiatry. For example, social psychiatry is the study of social causes of mental disorders. Community psychiatry is focused on the care of the mentally ill outside of the hospital setting. Forensic psychiatry focuses on how psychiatric knowledge and assessment techniques can assist the legal system such as whether an accused murder is insane. Insanity is a legal term that refers to whether the accused knew the difference between right and wrong when committing the alleged crime. Neuropsychiatry studies the relationship between brain disorders and mental symptoms.