Hello and welcome to another edition of Best 5 Reads. Lets begin!
“What if this is what we should be doing? What if it’s that simple?”
When public health officials get wind of an outbreak of Hepatitis A or influenza, they spring into action with public awareness campaigns, monitoring and outreach. But should they be acting with equal urgency when it comes to childhood trauma?
A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests the answer should be yes. It shows how the effects of childhood trauma persist and are linked to mental illness and addiction in adulthood. And, researchers say, it suggests that it might be more effective to approach trauma as a public health crisis than to limit treatment to individuals.
Imagine being a cancer patient afraid of seeing an oncologist because they would likely need to discuss chemotherapy and all the lifestyle changes that it entails. Imagine being a patient with heart failure afraid of seeing the cardiologist because they may be prescribed a diuretic to remove excess fluid from their body and may need dietary counseling. Imagine being a patient with severe rheumatoid arthritis with excruciating joint pain, who is afraid to see their rheumatologist because there is a stigma attached to being prescribed a biologic disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug (DMARD). Imagine a patient with depression that affects daily responsibilities, who is hesitant to see a psychiatrist or a therapist due to the fear of having to disclose being prescribed an antidepressant when applying for a job.
“Mom, why is it so hard to find a therapist or psychiatrist when you need one?” asks your daughter Emily, a college freshman. It is the week before Thanksgiving, she is feeling depressed most days, and she wants to restart therapy and medication. Emily had been treated for depression with therapy and an antidepressant during most of senior year of high school. After doing well for several months, she was able to stop treatment, but now her symptoms have returned.
Biology was supposed to cure what ails psychiatry. Decades later, millions of people with mental disorders are still waiting.
Thank you and see you tomorrow for more articles.