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One-Page Questionnaire Is Effective Screening Tool for Common Psychiatric Disorders


ScienceDaily (Mar. 8, 2010) — A one-page, 27-item questionnaire that is available free online is a valid and effective tool to help primary care doctors screen patients for four common psychiatric illnesses, a study led by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill researchers concludes.


Results of the My Mood Monitor (M-3) checklist study are published in the March/April 2010 issue of Annals of Family Medicine.


“About one in 10 Americans who suffer from depression and anxiety-related mental health disorders never receives treatment because they don’t understand what’s wrong, and when they go to their family doctor these treatable illnesses are too often missed,” said Bradley Gaynes, M.D., M.P.H, lead author of the study and an associate professor of psychiatry in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine.


“For these millions of people and their primary care providers, the M-3 screener is a tremendously helpful resource,” Gaynes said.


The M-3 checklist is designed to screen for depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). For most people who suffer from any of these conditions, Gaynes said, their initial diagnosis is made by a primary care provider, not by a psychiatrist. In addition, the majority of prescriptions for antidepressant medications are written by primary care physicians. For those reasons, a single tool that can screen for multiple disorders would be very helpful, Gaynes said.


To evaluate the M-3 checklist, Gaynes and study co-authors enrolled 647 adults age 18 or older who sought care at the UNC Family Medicine Center between July 2007 and February 2008. Each participant filled out a paper version of the checklist while waiting to see their doctor. Each participant’s completed checklist was then given to their doctor, and the doctors used the checklist to discuss emotional health with their patients.


Researchers later interviewed each person who filled out the checklist, within 30 days of their doctor visit, and assigned final diagnoses after reviewing each interview with Gaynes. These diagnoses were then compared to the answers each participant gave on their checklists. The results showed that the M-3 was effective in screening for any mood or anxiety disorder 83 percent of the time and for a specific disorder in 76 percent of cases.


Gaynes said the research team is currently designing a second study to measure the effectiveness of the M-3 checklist when used by individuals to monitor their mental health status over time. The company has developed a mobile phone version of the checklist that will be released later.


In addition to Gaynes, authors of the study were Joanne De-Veaugh-Geiss, LPA, and Hongbin Gu, Ph.D., from UNC’s Department of Psychiatry; David R. Rubinow, M.D., UNC’s chair of psychiatry, Sam Weir, M.D. of UNC’s Department of Family Medicine; Cora MacPherson, Ph.D., of Social & Scientific Systems Inc. in Silver Spring, Md.; Herbert C. Schulberg, Ph.D., M.S.Hyg., of Weill Cornell Medical College; and Larry Culpepper, M.D., M.P.H., professor and chairman of family medicine at Boston University and chief of family medicine at Boston Medical Center.


The M-3 checklist was developed by a team of mental health practitioners and experts, including Robert M. Post, M.D., head of the Bipolar Collaborative Network; Bernard M. Snyder, M.D., assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown University and a cognitive behavioral therapist; Michael L. Byer, director of M-3 Information; and Gerald Hurowitz, M.D., assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Columbia University and a clinical psychopharmacologist.


The checklist was developed by M-3 Information of Bethesda, Md., and is available at www.mymoodmonitor.com.


Source:  http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100308170955.htm


By Elvira G. Aletta, Ph.D.


The National Institutes of Mental Health reports that one in every four adults – approximately 57.7 million Americans – experience a mental health disorder in a given year. One in four, and that’s just the U.S.! And for every person in the world diagnosed with a mental disorder there is at least one, probably more, trying to help, cope and support that person any way they know how.


Mental illness is often a family issue. Parents, siblings, spouses and extended family provide housing, care and support, emotional and financial, sometimes to the point of becoming proverbial case managers. It’s hard enough when the chronic illness is something everyone recognizes, like diabetes. It’s a whole other thing when the disease is a mental illness which is ripe for misunderstanding, misinformation and stigma.


By helping yourself you will help your loved one better. Care givers often have a hard time with this concept. Here are a few tips:


1) Be informed. Go to the library or do a Google search to learn more about whatever diagnosis our loved one has. Be judicious, however. Go to reliable websites like the Mayo Clinic, National Institutes of Mental Health. I am proud to be part of the Psych Central community primarily because the information you find here is accurate, responsible and scientifically supported. As you do your research, remember that mental illness falls along a continuum of severity. One person’s depression, bipolar or borderline personality disorder may be quite different from someone else’s.


2) Join supportive organizations. Before you reject the idea of support groups because you are “not a joiner” or you “can’t relate to those people,” go to at least two meetings. I’d bet my favorite pair of shoes that you will be surprised who is there and what you get from them. Mental illness and addictions touch people everywhere from all walks of life.


The National Alliance on Mental Illness, NAMI, provides thousands of families with much needed support. NAMI’s mission statement says: From its inception in 1979, NAMI has been dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and families affected by mental illness. They have a terrific website and local meetings.


Al-Anon also has a great tradition of fellowship and comfort. Al-Anon and Alateen are a fellowship of relatives and friends of alcoholics who share their experience, strength, and hope in order to solve their common problems. There are meetings everywhere, at all times of the day and night, all around the world.



3) Keep healthy boundaries.
Boundaries are hard to maintain when you love someone with a mental illness, but it is crucial. Take time out for yourself. Nurture yourself by exercising, keeping involved in activities that bring you pleasure, getting respite and taking a trip. Keep up your connections to friends. Such actions are not self-indulgent, they are your prescription for good health and resiliency like food, water, and air.



4) Do not work harder than your loved one.
It is their job to do what they can to get well. You cannot make them well. You cannot do their therapy homework. You cannot force them to go to sessions, groups or meetings. As much as you wish you could, you cannot take their medication for them.


Two good books to help you let go, even as you maintain a relationship with the person with mental illness, are Co-dependent No More by Melody Beattie and Stop Walking On Eggshells by Paul T. Mason and Randi Kreger. It doesn’t matter whether or not your mentally ill love is an addict or a borderline personality disorder. The insight and advice in these books are reassuring and practical and transcend diagnosis.


5) Find a therapist for yourself. Caregivers often get depressed themselves and could use a professional’s eyes and ears to help them gain perspective again. Please do not wait until you are down for the count before you give yourself this valuable gift.


Source: http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2010/03/08/5-tips-if-you-love-someone-with-mental-illness/



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