There are few times in which we can find a clear and direct cause of the appearance of mental symptoms (such as, for example, personality changes after a traumatic brain injury, or hallucinations when using hallucinogenic drugs). The vast majority of the time, the origin of a mental disorder is multifactorial. This means that both biological and environmental factors influence: the genetic load (family history, mutations …), the environment (stress, toxic consumption …), the psychology of the patient himself (his abilities to face the problems of the daily life …) All this plays a role in determining the risk of suffering from a mental disorder.
Throughout life, we all suffer moments of sadness, fear and other negative emotions. These are natural emotions that appear in adverse or unwanted situations and that in principle do not require specialized attention. However, when these emotions are too intense, or last too long in time, and ultimately affect our functioning in different spheres of life: work, social, family … is then when we should seek the help of a Psychiatrist or psychotherapist.
I believe that beyond our extensive training and to keep ourselves updated, what makes the difference is teamwork. We used to say that the causes of a mental disorder are usually multifactorial. Well, in order to adequately address a mental disorder, it is advisable to make a multidisciplinary approach. And that is exactly what we do here, in HC Marbella. When, for example, we receive a hospital admission, at least 4 professionals see it: 2 psychologists, 1 or 2 psychiatrists, 1 internist … and we all share impressions and share ideas in common, for the benefit of the patient. In addition, we adapt to the specific needs of each patient, which they always appreciate. In addition to the therapies, we try to take advantage of the environment that surrounds us, and we do therapeutic walks on the beach, or personal trainings on the mountain. Each case has different needs, and we adapt ourselves on them.
The term refers to all those online tools such as social networks, podcasts, blogs, mobile applications and many others, which focus on topics related to psychiatry and Mental Health. They are on the rise. With the advancement of technologies, we are at a time when information is available to everyone who has access to the Internet. The problem that I see with this is that there is no type of filter to the information that is published, and it is necessary to distinguish those reliable and relevant sources, from those that are not. Do not believe everything you find on the net. It is important to look at the sources, to give or not credibility, and not only that, you also have to know how to interpret the results of the information presented to avoid confusion or unnecessary alarm.
Since the first antipsychotic drugs were invented in the middle of the 20th century – a fact that revolutionized psychiatry – until today, everything has changed a lot. Today we have drugs with much fewer side effects, and with much more comfortable administration guidelines. Thus, for example, the most innovative treatment for schizophrenia today is an injectable that is administered 4 times a year, as if it were a vaccine. This has greatly reassured family members, who no longer have to worry about whether their relative takes medication or not, and also patients, who do not have the feeling of being sick, having to take medications every day.
However, there is still a long way to go. Today we have many different drugs for different mental disorders, but we are not able to predict exactly whether a particular person is going to do well or not, or whether or not side effects will appear.
We have studies, which speak of statistics, of probabilities. The idea of having a “personalized medicine”, totally personalized, is still far away. But thanks to the latest advances in pharmacogenetics we can say that we have it a little closer: we have genetic study kits, in which through a simple sample of saliva, obtained in a totally painless way, we study sequences of genetic material from patients, so they tell us which drugs are more likely to succeed in that particular patient, or which will produce side effects more likely in such common symptoms as depression, or anxiety.
Dr. Paula Moreno Merino
June 28, 2018
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