April 2016
Interdisciplinary Collaboration

Psychiatry is the domain of Psychiatrists –the experts in Mental health and it`s disorders. As experts we, the Psychiatrists should be cognizant of our merits as well as limitations. Most importantly, we need to and should take productive actions to improve well-being of patients. Better still—prevent people from becoming patients.

Here is where the absolute necessity of Interdisciplinary Collaboration comes into play.

*We do not function in a vacuum. Our patients, and us, are products of our traditions, cultures and environments.

*Economy, financial pressures and opportunities, impact all our functions and abilities.

*Administrative and Management skills are required to move the best idea to reality. This calls for persuasion and firm but flexible decision making.

Further more:

*There are other experts who rightfully claim their seat at the Mental Health table. Psychologists, Social-Workers, Traditional and faith-Healers are just few examples.

*Psychiatry is a Medical specialty. It overlaps with almost all specialties and general medicine. This is a bi-directional way. Almost every other specialty also impact mental well-being.

On the conceptual-understanding-functional level:

Our challenging question is: what is The Psyche? (The core of” Psychiatry “), how is it expressed? And why?

*recent decades witnessed the emergence of diversified Psycho-Socio-Spiritual therapies. The demonstrated (or claimed) efficacy of some, calls for a serious re-examination of previous concepts.

*Emerging technologies allow for closer examinations of Brain physiology and biochemistry processes. Functional Imaging has been opening new insights, advances in molecular biology allow for re-examination of previous theories and suggestions of new ones. Genetics and Epi-Genetics in their current position did not exist a short while ago. Psycho-pharmacology is one of the fastest-growing industries.

From the very partial list here several working questions are posted:

  • Who are The Partners for Mental Order and disorders?

We already hinted at : Social scientists, Ethnographers, Cultural local and outside Observers, Clergy and Spiritual Leaders and Thinkers, Economists, Management experts, Financial Planners and Executives as well as Politicians. Neurologists, Family-Physicians, Generalists Etc, even Pathologists. Neuroscientists of all shades, Biochemists, Molecular Scientists, Engineers, Computer-builders and Programmers, Bio-statisticians, Etc, etc, etc .

*What is beyond the “Technical Catalogue”? What makes the Human Brain “Human”? Where and how does the Spirit enter the equations of the Human Existence?

* How to make sense of the complexities and operationalize them? How to shift from theory to practice?

A relevant illuminating example for a solvable complex issue is:

Stress and Trauma

Stressful situations and events are everywhere, some are Natural--floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, and some are Man-Made—Terrorism, wars, economic downfalls, accidents and the like. Anticipation of the seemingly un-avoidable takes it`s toll.

Some people respond to Stress with Trauma. Responses vary, they may be mental: Post traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD),or Depression. They may be Physical: increased blood Pressure, Diabetes and other Metabolic Syndromes, decreased Immunity etc.

It has been demonstrated that : people who are vulnerable to respond with trauma to one type of stress are also vulnerable to other types of stressful events. Vulnerability is cumulative: it starts already in the womb, accumulates with early life –experiences and adolescence and continues to increase (or decrease) according to life-events. Vulnerability is transferred from a generation-to-generation.

Only a minority of people-15%-20% have low resilience to stress (are vulnerable), on the other side are those who demonstrate high Resilience. Many people adapt to life with chronic or repeated stress.

*From the facts, it is apparent that Nature and Man-Made stressful situations, Traumas and resilience are multi-faceted, involve a convergence of multiple processes and many disciplines.

For Psychiatry and Psychiatrists the Operational Lessons are:

  • We cannot control Powers stronger then us but we should prepare for them.

  • We should know what we know and what we do not.

  • We should collaborate with experts who—each in his/her own field—know better than ourselves.

  • As self-proclaimed experts in Human Mood and Behavior, we should be the Coordinators and Facilitators of Efficient, functioning, Interdisciplinary Teams.

  • This is an exercise in adaptation. it requires our own adaptation.

It is also to be understand that mental health issues/disorders affect large numbers and the resources are very limited to meager, not only financial but also professionals. It is useful to have utilization of all possible resources available in the community for cost effective, culturally sensitive and holistic management of mental health problems and promotion of well-being.

Uriel Halbreich

Supported by Unrestricted Educational Grant by SUN Pharma SUN LOGO

>> Please click here the pdf version of this document




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