Psychiatry is a medical field concerned with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mental health conditions.
A doctor who works in psychiatry is called a psychiatrist. Unlike other mental health professionals, such as psychologists and counsellors, psychiatrists must be medically qualified doctors who have chosen to specialise in psychiatry. This means they can prescribe medication as well as recommend other forms of treatment.
Mental illness is extremely common and far more prevalent than most people realise. This kind of illness therefore ranks alongside cardiovascular disorders and cancer as one of the nation's biggest health problems.
Mental health problems can take many forms including depression, schizophrenia, eating disorders, anxieties, phobias, drug and alcohol abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder, and dementia.
Mental health conditions that may be diagnosed and treated by a psychiatrist include:
Psychiatrists may also provide psychological support for people with long-term, painful or terminal physical health conditions