Medical Family Therapy in Psychiatry
The term “Psychiatry,” named first in 1808 by physician Johann Christian Reil, is derived from two Greek words: psyche (soul) and iatros (healer) (Marneros, 2008). Over the years, psychiatry has remained a specialty of medicine focused on the complexities of the human mind. While understanding the etiologic and remediating factors of mental illness has been a mainstay of psychiatric practice, clinical methods have varied over time. Psychiatry has seen shifts from Freudian psychoanalysis to more structured, manualized therapeutic approaches. Emerging science has taken the profession further away from its therapeutic roots, in favor of psychopharmacologic and neurologic discovery. Nevertheless, psychiatry continues to be a practice defined by interdisciplinary collaboration as well as conceptualization sensitive to familial and cultural factors. This is demonstrated through the American Psychiatric Association’s (American Psychiatric Association, 2016a) values of “prevention, access, care and sensitivity for patients and compassion for their families; respect for diverse views and pluralism within the field; and respect for other health professionals” (para 3).
Glossary of Important Terms for Care in Psychiatry
Group of psychiatric drugs, also known as second-generation antipsychotics that block receptors in the brain’s dopamine pathways; they are commonly used to treat psychosis, autism, and mood disorders.
Group of psychiatric drugs, also called “benzos” that lead to sedative and anxiolytic effects; they are commonly used to treat acute anxiety while other antidepressant drugs are taking effect.
Emotional reactions of a therapist to a patient.
Thoughts (e.g., violent, sexual, religious, impulses) that are in conflict with the person’s self-image, often seen in those with OCD .
Procedure where small electrical currents pass through the brain to trigger small seizure activity en route to relief from severe mental illnesses.
Inhibiting and modulating one’s emotional experience.
When family or friends, in an attempt to help resolve a specific problem (e.g., distress from cravings), perpetuate or exacerbate the problem (e.g., substance abuse) due to accommodation made for harmful behaviors (e.g., providing substances or money).
Interactions in the family environment that are critical, hostile, or emotionally over-involved; these are known to exacerbate psychiatric illnesses.
Family members take part in compulsive rituals, avoidance patterns, or modifications of routines in an attempt to assist a patient with OCD .
Structured evaluation (not treatment) used to determine facts of a case related to child maltreatment, as well as the role of an individual’s mental illness in criminal or civil litigation.
Part-time or full-time day treatment program used for those who do not meet criteria for hospitalization but need a higher level of care than traditional outpatient care.
Legal process where an individual who is determined to have symptoms of severe psychiatric illness (e.g., pose harm to self or others, lack self-care abilities) is court-ordered to treatment in an inpatient psychiatric hospital or outpatient community treatment program.
Group of psychiatric drugs used to treat mood disorders, such as bipolar disorders and schizoaffective disorder.
Evaluation of psychological symptoms by objective and standardized measures, commonly used in the diagnosis of neurocognitive and neurodevelopmental disorders.
Group of psychiatric drugs often used as a first-line pharmacologic treatment for depressive and anxiety disorders; they work by blocking the reuptake of serotonin in the brain.
Group of psychiatric drugs often used as a pharmacologic treatment for depressive disorders (occasionally anxiety and nerve pain as well) that block the reuptake of serotonin and norepinephrine.
Unconscious redirection of feelings and desires from one person (often from one’s family of origin) to another (often one’s treatment provider).
Group of early antidepressant medications that work by blocking the reabsorption of neurochemicals (e.g., norepinephrine, serotonin)] in the brain; this class of medications is rarely used nowadays due to high frequencies of associated side effects.
Group of early antipsychotic medications often replaced by newer atypical antipsychotics due to side effects that are used in the treatment of psychosis and acute mania.
Test that checks for drugs or other chemicals that could contribute to the presentation of psychiatric illness.
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