American Psychiatric Association (APA). (2013). (5th ed.).W…


The American Psychiatric Association (APA) is a professional organization that represents psychiatrists in the United States. The organization was founded in 1844 and has since grown to become one of the largest psychiatric associations in the world. The APA is responsible for setting standards and guidelines for the practice of psychiatry, as well as promoting research and education in the field. This paper will provide an overview of the APA and its role in the field of psychiatry.

History of the APA

The APA was originally known as the Association of Medical Superintendents of American Institutions for the Insane and was formed with the goal of improving the care and treatment of mentally ill individuals. In 1921, the organization changed its name to the American Psychiatric Association to reflect its broader scope and focus on the field of psychiatry.

The APA has played a significant role in shaping the field of psychiatry throughout its history. In 1952, the APA published the first edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), which provides a common language and set of criteria for classifying mental disorders. The DSM has been revised several times since its initial publication and is widely used by clinicians and researchers around the world. The most recent edition, the DSM-5, was published in 2013 and includes significant updates and changes to the diagnostic criteria for many disorders.

Structure and Governance

The APA is a membership-based organization, with over 38,000 members in the United States and around the world. Membership in the APA is open to psychiatrists who have completed medical school and a residency program in psychiatry. The organization is governed by a Board of Trustees, which is made up of elected representatives from different regions and areas of specialty. The Board of Trustees is responsible for setting the strategic direction of the APA and overseeing its activities.

The APA also has a number of committees and task forces that focus on specific areas of psychiatry, such as research, education, and advocacy. These committees are composed of volunteer members who work together to develop initiatives and programs that advance the field of psychiatry.

The Role of the APA in Psychiatry

The APA plays a critical role in advancing the field of psychiatry through its activities in research, education, and advocacy. The organization funds and supports research studies that contribute to our understanding of mental illness and guide the development of new treatments. It also provides resources and educational programs for psychiatrists and other mental health professionals to ensure they have the knowledge and skills needed to provide high-quality care to their patients.

The APA is also actively involved in advocating for policies and legislation that improve access to mental health services and eliminate discriminatory practices. The organization works with lawmakers and policymakers at the state and federal level to shape mental health policies and ensure that the needs of individuals with mental illness are met.

In addition, the APA promotes the ethical practice of psychiatry and sets standards for professional conduct. The organization has a code of ethics that provides guidelines for psychiatrists in their interactions with patients, colleagues, and the public. By adhering to these ethical standards, psychiatrists can uphold the highest level of professionalism and ensure the well-being of their patients.


The American Psychiatric Association plays a vital role in the field of psychiatry, setting standards, promoting research and education, and advocating for policies that improve the lives of individuals with mental illness. Through its activities, the APA works to advance the understanding and treatment of mental disorders and ensure that individuals with mental illness receive the care and support they need. As the field of psychiatry continues to evolve, the APA will continue to play a central role in shaping its future.