How a multidimensional approach can help improve mental well-being

5 Min Read

To this day, doctors follow psychiatric models developed in the 20th century, which are largely based on prescribing medications to treat “chemical imbalances” that cause mental health problems. But a group of neuroscientists and psychiatrists argue that this approach is ‘too simplistic’ and fails to take into account the environmental, social and lifestyle factors that contribute to poor mental health.

“The pharmacological treatment of mental illness was understood solely to combat a perceived ‘chemical imbalance’, without a real need to delve into the depths of the patient’s mind and body,” says lead author Sidarta Ribeiro of the Federal University of Rio. Grande do Norte and colleagues wrote in an op-ed published in the journal PLOS mental health.

“The individual’s ecological and social environment must be understood and improved through integrative practices. It is time to move towards a more naturalistic and benign approach to promoting mental wellbeing, by strengthening connections with one’s body, nature and community,” she added.

The researchers highlighted that the prevalence of mental illness has increased significantly in recent decades, even though psychiatric medications are widely prescribed and praised as “effective” treatment. According to the World Health Organization, 416 million people were diagnosed with mental illness in 1990, and in the recent past that number has risen to 615 million worldwide. While the growing number of people diagnosed with depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation can be attributed to better awareness and diagnosis, Ribeiro and colleagues say two factors are often overlooked: harmful side effects and worsening mental illness. by psychotropic medications and overuse of medications. diagnosis due to financial conflicts of interest.

“Psychiatry must push back on medicalization as an obligation to do no harm by engaging in the multidimensional construction of alternatives to the conventional paradigm, which, while dominant, is ineffective in the face of the complex challenges that mental health care such as stigma, social exclusion and violation of rights,” the authors wrote. “Reducing medicalization does not work with the concept of ‘disease’, which explains the processes associated with healthcare solely in biological, chemical and physical terms.”

Instead, they further explained that reducing reliance on prescribing medications alone could help physicians broaden their collective understanding of these processes through in-depth dialogue with their patients.

“Psychotherapy has not only proven to be clinically effective, but also essential for the treatment of most psychiatric cases. The quantitative structural analysis of patients’ dreams can provide deep insight into their mental state, as has been shown to be the case in the early diagnosis of schizophrenia. The analysis of the emotional content of dream reports, especially nightmares, can provide valuable insight into various neurological disorders,” they wrote. “A deeper engagement with proprioception, interoception and introspection can greatly catalyze healing processes, increase self-understanding and improve well-being.”

The authors emphasized that encouraging activities such as exposure to nature, art therapy and gardening can go a long way in protecting people from mental suffering. “These expressive outlets provide unique, personalized paths to healing and self-discovery, offering a holistic and integrated approach to psychiatry.”

“The emotional relevance of dreams and the clinical effectiveness of talk therapy underlines the need for a multidimensional approach to mental health care, capable of listening attentively to patients. Discourse analysis at the structural and symbolic levels provides introspective access to deeper layers of the psyche, can help build the sense of meaning in life and should be more widely integrated into treatment plans,” she added.

See also  Doctors say unmedicated mental illness is behind the Sydney shopping center attack
Share This Article
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *