Review of PsychiatryOnline
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Jamie Saragossi, MLS
Health Science Collection Development & Outreach Librarian
Stony Brook University Health Sciences Library


PsychiatryOnline (POL) is a subscription based web portal for psychiatry-related information hosted by the American Psychiatric Association. One of the main features of the portal is full text access to the DSM 5. There are various formats of material available on the site including: practice guidelines, additional e-books, e-journals, industry news, and continuing medical education opportunities (


Institutional and individual subscriptions are available including a short-term access pricing model which provides users with a 24-hour window of access to the DSM Select package.   For institutional packages there are various levels available. In addition to the DSM 5 core content which is included in every package, each subscription level offers access to additional titles. Please see the publisher’s site for a full list of available content and subscription information,,

Content (According to Premium Institutional Subscription)

The POL platform includes access to the latest version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders as well as electronic access to several supplementary texts. These supplementary texts include titles such as DSM 5 Handbook of Differential Diagnosis and DSM 5 Clinical Cases. Legacy files for the DSM are also available as a subscription add-on. The legacy links include access to each of the previous 4 versions of the DSM. This can often be helpful for researchers and historians who may need to review the evolution of a particular condition or for clinicians who may need to know why a patient was prescribed a particular treatment at a previous point in time.

While the e-book collection in PsychiatryOnline is relatively small compared to other e-book packages, the titles that are included are some of the core titles in the field published by The American Psychiatric Association. Dulcan’s Textbook of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Management of Adults with Traumatic Brain Injury, Textbook of Psychiatry, and Textbook of Psychopharmacology are examples of some of the included texts. (Please see link above for the full title list.)

There are four electronic journals available through the POL platform, including The American Journal of Psychiatry, Psychiatric Services, Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences. These titles are available in full coverage, all volumes and issues have been digitized and are downloadable in pdf format. It is interesting to read how the language and attitude towards treatment of psychiatric disorders has vastly evolved since the earliest issues published in 1844. This range of coverage can be very useful for clinical research and historical perspectives.

Psychiatric News is available, giving clinicians and researchers an opportunity to browse the latest industry news. The news includes sections on professional development, psychopharmacology, community and legal information. Keep in mind all of these articles are published by the American Psychiatric Association. Letters from the association president and organizational information can also be found here.

The American Psychiatric Association Practice Guidelines for the Psychiatric Evaluation of Adults is available under the Guidelines section. The document is downloadable and can be reviewed in its entirety. However, search results from the main search box on the homepage will also include links to an html version of the specific APA guideline relevant to the search results.

Patient Education materials are available to download/print as a pdf. These materials are free to be shared with patients and caregivers. These materials focus on psychiatric medications. The materials have been updated within the last year; however, the writing is not necessarily easy to read in terms of health literacy principles. Secondary sources of patient education information may be necessary.


Users can browse through each of the content areas previously described to find a topic of interest. There is also a general search box on the homepage that allows users to perform a simple keyword search. The results will be returned from resources across the POL platform to include various formats. Several filters are also presented with the results to allow for narrowing by publication name, topic, article type, author and publication date. The sort feature is helpful (especially date) since the journal coverage is extensive.

Users also have the ability to save and email their searches and results. The citation download is available for all sources and is compatible with many popular citation management tools including EndNote, RefWorks and Bibtext.

There is an advanced search option, but BOOLEAN operators are not available. The major advantage of the advanced search is being able to limit the number of titles from which the results are pulled. The user can also specify the search term (i.e., author, keyword, title); however, there is no controlled vocabulary. Citation search is also available for users who are looking to be directed to one particular article. Once users access an article through the POL interface, all included references are hyperlinked to their PubMed record when available.

Articles from all included e-journals are available in pdf format. E-book chapters, however, are only available in html which prohibits downloading and printing of a particular section of the book. After creating a free MyPOL account, users may share a section or citation with colleagues via email.


Advertisements to purchase other American Psychiatric Publishing titles and other pharmaceutical products are prominent along the perimeter of many pages within the POL platform. These advertisements will redirect users to third party websites.


Continuing Medical Education credits are available through the American Psychiatric Association. Additional registration and fees or package add-ons may be required. While CME courses are linked through the POL platform, the credits are tracked through an APA learning site and require an additional registration with the American Psychiatric Association.


POL could be considered the only point-of-care resource dedicated to Psychiatry. Quick access to APA treatment guidelines and the DSM 5 criteria are necessary for clinicians. Having one portal to access this information could potentially save time and improve care in clinical settings.


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