As part of the intention to document the recent and current history of psychiatry, I was asked to present memories of my involvement in psychiatry over the past 50 years. Reviewers suggested that I should start this personal history of psychiatry with a summary of my curriculum vitae because this will make it easier to place the events I describe into their historical context. Here it goes, then.
Early career doctors (ECDs) are faced with many challenges due to their transition from undergraduate medical/dental studentship to being postgraduate doctors and being in an early phase of their career. The specific factors that affect ECDs in their careers and endeavors at the workplace range from poor remuneration, particularly in developing countries, to psychosocial problems (such as burnout [BO] syndrome). There is a dearth of information on BO among ECDs in Nigeria. This qualitative study aims to explore the opinions of ECDs in Nigeria on the causal/predisposing factors of BO, effects of BO, and strategies for mitigating BO among ECDs in Nigeria.
Using purposive sampling method, two sessions of focus group discussions (FGDs) involving 14 ECDs (key informants) holding key leadership positions and who were delegates of other ECDs in Nigeria were conducted to explore their experiences on psychological issues among ECDs. Data collected were transcribed and analyzed thematically.
BO is an issue of serious concern among ECDs in Nigeria. The causes of BO are diverse, some of which include low staff strength, prolonged work hours, wrong counseling, lack of job description and specification, and abuse of powers by trainers. In order to mitigate the issue of BO among ECDs, the respondents recommended that work policy review, medical workforce strengthening, stakeholder dialog on ECDs’ welfare, regular psychological review of ECDs, and provision of free yearly medicals need to be looked into. Conclusion: Our findings revealed that the participants considered BO issues among ECDs to be common, and it affected their performance and the overall quality of care in Nigeria health system. Based on our findings, there is an urgent need to mitigate the problem of emotional exhaustion among ECDs in Nigeria.
Rhodiola rosea is an adaptogen herb from the Crassulaceae family, which has been vastly used in the Russian and Chinese medicine. The herb is used against depression, anxiety, mental and physical fatigue and to promote overall health. In this systematic review, we examined the effects of R. rosea on depression, anxiety and mood, as these are the most relevant to mental health.
Literature searches were made in PubMed using the term ‘Rhodiola rosea’. Inclusion criteria were: Randomized controlled trials using interventions of R. rosea on any type of participants, while focusing on the effects of the intervention on depression, anxiety or mood. Mixed interventions of R. rosea with other herbs were excluded. Studies not published in English or Greek were excluded.
A total of 39 randomized controlled trials were identified and their abstract was screened. After screening, a total of 17 papers were excluded because they were focusing on irrelevant outcomes. The full text of the remaining 22 papers was read and an additional 17 papers were excluded. These papers were excluded because they were eventually not focusing on our main outcome or they were using R. rosea interventions with other herbs. In the end, a total of 5 papers (n = 327 participants) were found eligible for our systematic review. In these studies, R. rosea seems to improve the symptoms of mild to moderate depression, symptoms of mild anxiety and to enhance mood. The last date of our search was October 13, 2019.
Rhodiola rosea supplementation may alleviate symptoms of mild to moderate depression and mild anxiety, while it may also enhance mood. The findings of our review are not definite due to the lack of available experimental data. Randomized controlled trials with a low risk of bias are needed to further study the herb.
Major depressive disorder (MDD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are the most common mental disorders following traumatic experiences. The aim of this study was to investigate the extent to which PTSD and depression co-occurred in Serbian general population at baseline and 1 year after the follow-up, as well as how this co-occurrence was associated with sociodemographic factors, personal distress, suicidality and quality of life.
Subjects and methods
The sample consisted of 159 subjects, who fulfilled the IES criteria for PTSD, and were taken from a larger sample of 640 participants, which was chosen by a random walk technique in five regions of the country affected by major trauma. The assessment was carried out by the following instruments: Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview 5 (MINI 5), Life Stressor Checklist-Revised (BSC-R), Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI), Impact of Event Scale-Revised (IES-R) and Manchester Short Assessment of Quality of Life Scale (MANSA). The follow-up study was carried out 1 year after the baseline.
In the initial phase, PTSD was found in 100 out of 159 participants (62.9%), while 81 (51%) fulfilled the diagnostic criteria for MDD. Comorbidity of PTSD and depression was identified in 65 (40.9%) subjects of the sample. After 1 year, PTSD was found in 56 (35.2%) and MDD in 73 (45.9%) participants. Comorbidity of PTSD and depression in the follow-up phase was identified in 41 (25.8%) subjects of the sample. The subjects with comorbidity had significantly higher level of post-traumatic stress symptoms, general psychological distress as well as suicide risk and lower level of quality of life than participants with either condition alone.
PTSD–depression comorbidity is a common post-traumatic condition. Complex psychopathology, severity of symptoms and their consequences, both at individual and community levels, require attention to be paid to early diagnostics and treatment of affected persons.
The objective of this research is to explore how Pakistani community perceive their mental health problems by systematically reviewing the scientific literature published on major databases. The findings expectedly will be useful for general public, for clinicians and for the researchers.
The methodology of this systematic literature search involved identifying and critically appraising studies that attempted to explore how Pakistani community perceives and understands its mental health problems. We carried out literature search on some major databases including PubMed, Cochrane database of systematic reviews and Google Scholar. We followed selection criteria where researchers aimed to find perceptions and understandings of Pakistani participants regarding their mental health by adopting scientific methodologies. The extraction of data was carried out after reading the selected papers and organising the findings under specific categories, in the form of a table. Data analysis was based on the information gathered from these studies.
The results suggest that Pakistani community exhibits negligible to little understanding regarding their psychological experiences and emotional processes as separate identifiable entities. Nonetheless, multiple parallel sociocultural concepts such as religion or faith driven practices and mythical or supernatural understandings are highlighted by this research. These are accepted and practiced in order to address mental health problems.
It appears that Pakistani community has limited understanding and scarce vocabulary to describe their inner psychological and emotional experiences. However, in order to address the mental health issues, the community exhibits a variety of responses and reactions that are driven from several unique social, cultural and religious factors. Whether these are general perceptions or causations or protective factors towards illness or possible treatment options, they all are approached and addressed with some unique understandings and perceptions that are specific to this community.
Psychotic disorders have large treatment gap in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) in South-Eastern Europe, where up to 45% of affected people do not receive care for their condition. This study will assess the implementation of a generic psychosocial intervention called DIALOG+ in mental health care services and its effectiveness at improving patients’ clinical and social outcomes.
This is a protocol for a multi-country, pragmatic, hybrid effectiveness–implementation, cluster-randomised, clinical trial. The trial aims to recruit 80 clinicians and 400 patients across 5 South-Eastern European LMICs: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, Montenegro, Republic of North Macedonia and Serbia. Clusters are clinicians working with patients with psychosis, and each clinician will deliver the intervention to five patients. After patient baseline assessments, clinicians will be randomly assigned to either the DIALOG+ intervention or treatment as usual, with an allocation ratio of 1:1. The intervention will be delivered six times over 12 months during routine clinical meetings. TThe primary outcome measure is the quality of life at 12 months [Manchester Short Assessment of Quality of Life (MANSA)]; the secondary outcomes include mental health symptoms [Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS), Clinical Assessment Interview for Negative Symptoms (CAINS), Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI)], satisfaction with services [Client Satisfaction Questionnaire (CSQ-8)] and economic costs at 12 months [based on Client Service Receipt Inventory (CSRI), EQ-5D-5L and Recovering Quality of Life (ReQOL-10)]. The study will assess the intervention fidelity and the experience of clinicians and patients’ about implementing DIALOG+ in real-life mental health care settings. In the health economic assessment, the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio is calculated with effectiveness measured by quality-adjusted life year. Data will also be collected on sustainability and reach to inform guidelines for potentially scaling up and implementing the intervention widely. Conclusion: The study is expected to generate new scientific knowledge on the treatment of people with psychosis in health care systems with limited resources. The learning from LMICs could potentially help other countries to expand the access to care and alleviate the suffering of patients with psychosis and their families.
Eating disorders are amongst the most, disabling and lethal of psychiatric conditions. These conditions affect predominantly adolescent and young adult females, but not exclusively so. Whilst stereotypically diagnosed in western, urban societies their emergence in a range of population groups beyond the aforementioned has challenged the stereotype – no more so than in South Africa where eating disorders had not been diagnosed in black, female South Africans until the 1990s. Creating awareness of the changing demographic profile and thus risk was critical in ensuring appropriate diagnosis and management. Whilst this was a key feature of my personal journey there were numerous other aspects of risk explored for the development of eating disorders, as well as management, which will be highlighted and discussed in the paper. This has been especially relevant within the South African context.
This study has been designed to elucidate the prevalence of stress, depression and poor sleep among medical students in a Pakistani medical school. There is a paucity of data on social support among medical students in Pakistan; an important predictor of depressive symptoms. Therefore, this study was also aimed to demonstrate the direct and indirect impact of social support in alleviating depressive symptoms in the study sample.
This observational cross-sectional study was conducted in Lahore, Pakistan, where a total of 400 students at a medical school were approached between 1st January to 31st March 2018 to participate in the study. The study sample comprised of medical and dental students enrolled at a privately financed Pakistani medical and dental school. The participants responded to a self-administered survey comprising of five parts: a) demographics, b) Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), c) Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9), d) Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support (MSPSS) and e) Perceived Stress Scale-4 (PSS-4). All data were analysed using SPSS v. 20. Linear regression analysis was used to reveal the predictors of depression.
In total, 353 medical students participated, yielding a response rate of 88.25%. Overall, poor sleep quality was experienced by 205 (58.1%) students. Mild to severe depression was reported by 83% of the respondents: mild depression by 104 (29.5%), moderate depression by 104 (29.5%), moderately severe depression by 54 (15.3%) and severe depression by 31 (8.8%) respondents. Subjective sleep quality, sleep latency, daytime dysfunction and stress levels were significantly associated with depression symptoms. Social support was not significantly associated with depressive symptoms in the regression model (Beta = -0.08, P < 0.09); however, it acted as a significant mediator, reducing the strength of the relationship between depressive symptoms and sleep quality and stress.
According to our study, a large proportion of healthcare (medical and dental) students were found to be suffering from mild to moderate depression and experienced poor sleep quality. It is concluded that social support is an important variable in predicting depressive symptomatology by ameliorating the effects of poor sleep quality and high stress levels.
To understand and identify factors that promote and prevent research participation among early career psychiatrists (ECPs), in order to understand what would encourage more ECPs to pursue a research career.
We conducted an electronic search of databases (PubMed and the Cochrane library) using the keywords ‘doctors’, ‘trainees’, ‘residents’, ‘physicians’ and ‘psychiatric trainees’ as well as ‘research’ (MeSH) and ‘publishing’ (MeSH). This search was complemented by a secondary hand search.
We identified 524 articles, of which 16 fulfilled inclusion criteria for this review. The main barriers included lack of dedicated time for research, lack of mentoring and lack of funding. The main facilitators were opportunities to receive mentorship and access to research funding.
Action is needed to counteract the lack of ECPs interested in a career in research. Specific programs encouraging ECPs to pursue research careers and having access to mentors could help increase the current numbers of researching clinicians in the field.
Guarana (Paullinia cupana) from the Sapindaceae family, native to the Amazon basin, is a natural stimulant herb that can be found in popular energy drinks, pharmaceutical shops or local herb shops. With the use of natural health products increasing, guarana has gained a fair amount of popularity in the past years. In this systematic review, we examined the effects of guarana supplementation on cognitive performance. A secondary objective was to compare guarana with caffeine on cognitive performance.
Searches were made in PubMed using the terms ‘Guarana’ or ‘Paullinia cupana’. Filters focused on Controlled Clinical trials. Inclusion criteria were met by studies using interventions with guarana, while focusing on guarana’s effects on cognition. Participants needed to be young, healthy adults. Studies not published in English or Greek were excluded. The last date of our search was March 7, 2019.
A total of 29 studies were identified and screened. After screening, 17 studies were excluded. The remaining 12 studies were found eligible for data extraction. After reading the full text of the 12 studies, 3 studies were excluded. In the end, 9 studies were found eligible for our systematic review (n = 369 participants). In these studies, guarana showed to improve reaction time and accuracy of performance at cognitive tasks. No significant differences were found when comparing guarana with caffeine.
Guarana seems to improve reaction time and accuracy of performance at tasks, but no significant effects were found when compared with caffeine. High quality randomized controlled clinical trials with a low risk of bias are needed to further study the herb.