Monday, April 2, 2012

New Ways To Treat Mental Health Disorders

In your lifetime you have a 46% chance of suffering from some kind of mental health disorder. It can come in many various forms including anxiety, depression, psychotic disorders or even an eating disorder. More than 50% of the people in this country that seeks mental health help from a professional go to their primary care doctor.

When someone sees a primary care physician for a mental health disorder the information and treatment they will get is very general. If you have a mental health problem then you should really see a doctor who specializes in mental health disorders.

This is easier said than done for a huge population of the United States that live in rural communities. Many rural areas around the country don’t have access to mental health specialists for hundreds of miles. The Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska has come up with a creative way to fill the need for mental health help in rural communities.

They have created new online training modules that help primary care providers treat patients with mental health issues. They realized that it was easier to bring the pertinent information to the primary care providers than to expect the mental health professionals to show up in rural areas.

One of the main components of the program focuses on treating depression in adolescents, adults and older people. The UNMC has been recognized many times in its work with primary care providers. The adolescent module was the first to be released and has been viewed by hundreds of doctors all around the world. The goal is to help primary care doctors become comfortable with mental health treatment and medications and also knowing when a referral to a psychiatrist or therapist is necessary.

This has been helpful to get into the care providers hands because there is a lot of controversy with teens and mental health drugs. As a result without feeling confident the medication is the right treatment a doctor may not prescribed it and the mental health issue goes untreated. Untreated mental health disorders such as depression are the main reason for suicides in the United States.

One primary care physician from Howard County Medical in St Paul said that it is estimated up to 35% of all primary care visits have some kind of mental health component. In rural areas there is also a stigma associated with seeing a counselor or having a mental disorder. This means treatment is usually delayed and very far progressed by the time the person seeks help.

With advance in technology and online software, there is as well many new possibilities for patients to assess and train themselves from their home comfort and for doctors to track their patients and other individuals at distance (what is known as telemedicine). For example, an online brain training program allow individuals to get some information about their mental health and even improve some of their key cognitive skills all from their computers in their home. These new types of applications offer great benefits for these users who can get rapidly an overview of their mental state.

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