American Psychiatric Association

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) is a medical specialty society. It is the largest, and longest serving, professional psychiatric association in the world, with a membership of more than 35,000 psychiatrists specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of a broad spectrum of mental, emotional, and behavioral health disorders.

The oldest medical specialty society in the United States, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) was founded in October 1844, when 13 physicians who specialized in the treatment of mental and emotional disorders met in Philadelphia and founded the Association of Medical Superintendents of American Institutions for the Insane. The goals of the physicians’ meeting in Philadelphia were to communicate professionally, cooperate in the collection of data, and improve the treatment of the mentally ill.

The APA is an association of professional psychiatrists, the purpose of which is to facilitate professional collaboration and ensure that all persons experiencing any of the broad range of behavioral, substance abuse, or mental health disorders (including intellectual disabilities and emotional disorders) receive objective, appropriate, and effective treatment. The stated mission of the APA is to “provide the highest quality care for individuals with mental disorders (including intellectual disabilities and substance use disorders) and their families; promote psychiatric education and research; advance and represent the profession of psychiatry; and serve the professional needs of its membership.” and . An important publication of the APP is the authoritative Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, currently in its fifth edition.

The American Psychiatric Association holds two major conferences annually: the APA Annual Meeting and the Institute on Psychiatric Services. The association also supports a robust research program designed to continually enrich psychiatry's scientific base as well as to use research data to improve identification, diagnosis, and treatment of psychiatric disorders.

See also American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry ; American Psychological Association ;Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.



American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: DSM-5. 5th ed. Washington, DC: Author, 2013.


American Psychiatric Association. (accessed July 20, 2015).


American Psychiatric Association, 1000 Wilson Blvd., Ste. 1825, Arlington, VA, 22209-3901, (703) 907-7300, apa&, .