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How should mental, neurological and substance use disorders be treated where resources are scarce?
Date:10/9/2009

Over 90% of people with mental, neurological, and substance use (MNS) disorders in low and middle income countries go untreated, an inequity known as the mental health "treatment gap." This week PLoS Medicine kicks off a major new series aimed at helping to close the gap.

The series coincides with the October 9th 2009 launch of the Centre for Global Mental Health, a collaborative initiative of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and the King's Health Partners Academic Health Sciences Centre.

The new six-part series explores how best to treat MNS disorders in low- and middle-income countries. It examines the evidence on which treatments should be scaled up and how these should be delivered in settings where specialists are scarce.

The series covers six disorders that have a major global burden across the life course: depression (which is the first article in the series), epilepsy, schizophrenia, alcohol use disorders, dementia, and ADHD. Throughout the series, authors outline "packages of care"combinations of treatments aimed at improving the recognition and treatment of diseases to achieve the best possible outcomes.

Vikram Patel (Professor of International Mental Health and Wellcome Trust Senior Clinical Research Fellow at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, who is based in Goa, India) and Graham Thornicroft (Professor of Community Psychiatry at the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London) acted as Guest Editors for the series.

In a Perspective article, Patel and Thornicroft say that although the specific treatments differ between disorders, there are also "many shared themes related to the delivery of these treatments." For example:

  • Detection and diagnosis of the more common disorders (like depression and alcohol use disorders) can be reliably carried out using brief screening questionnaires

  • A combined package of medication and psy
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Contact: Andrew Hyde
press@plos.org
44-122-346-3330
Public Library of Science
Source:Eurekalert

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