Biological Psychiatry is a medical specialty, which investigates the motives and causes of any disturbances in mental health. It provides advanced treatments aiming to alleviate suffering and promote restoration of health and well being.
Biological Psychiatry considers the whole person, the entire composition of a human being: body, mind, environment, culture, philosophy of life and interpersonal relationship. You are seen as unique person, regardless of the illness affecting you. Although the disease has to be considered and treated, the main focus is you as an individual. The treatment will be tailored specifically to your needs. We don’t treat just the disease; we treat a person with a disease.
According to this perspective, Biological Psychiatry requires an intensive and detailed clinical history. If necessary, after your consent, your family may collaborate giving information.
A mental disorder can be caused by a brain dysfunction or by a disorder in other parts of the body. Therefore, several tests may be necessary to give a more precise diagnosis and, consequently, an appropriate treatment. Although your General Practitioner is usually aware and involved in the treatment, assistance of other specialists may be required to substantiate a broad medical approach. In that case, your authorisation is required to transmit to the specialist the necessary information.
Assessment is performed through clinical interviews, but laboratory tests and specialised analysis are many times used to assist in the diagnosis. Several diagnostic tools are utilised, including blood screening tests, sleep study, computerised electroencephalogram (EEG), brain mapping, brain CT scan, brain MRI, brain SPECT and PET, etc.
After a diagnosis formulation the treatment will be composed by one or more techniques: pharmacotherapy and/or psychotherapy. The treatment aims to restrict at a minimum any disturbance in your regular life. In that sense, the sooner a treatment is initiated, not only is a better result achieved, but also little disruption occurs. Taking into account the current therapeutic arsenal and family help, even severe cases may have the chance of being treated in the patient’s usual setting, therefore avoiding hospitalisation.
Biological Psychiatry is one of the medical area that most benefited from research in the last decades. The brain has been seen from inside, anatomically and functionally. Although there is a long road to be pursued, so far the discovery of several drugs acting in different areas of the brain permit sounding changes in most of the mental disorders.
In case you need medication, three principles will guide the prescription: 1. The minimum necessary number of drugs; 2. The lowest necessary dose, the better; 3. The shortest necessary time of use, the better.
Psychotherapy is a technique that enables individuals to become more aware of themselves and of the world around them. It is a technique that propitiates regular and methodical moments of reflection about several issues, relationships with others, etc, resulting in a better understanding of themselves and meaning of life, for a clear definition of an existential project. Psychotherapy may be based in different schools. The one offered is founded in Existential Philosophy, giving the elements for the approach and method you are to receive. Your own beliefs are respected and the work is developed according to your own values. One of the fundamental aspects of psychotherapy is a periodic, regular and consistent attendance to the sessions.
Psychiatric treatment demands time. The condition may have started long ago. It may require long term drug maintenance. The psychotherapeutic process needs enough time to go deeper into the conflicts, reconstruct personality and the way of living.
Medical treatment is a very serious commitment between doctor and patient. Psychiatric conditions such as depression, anxiety, etc, may affect the person’s entire life and, many times, also affects family relationships. Your doctor is fully committed to improve your health and sense of well being. In that case, mutual trust is necessary for that vital enterprise. Confidentiality and privacy are a guarantee of your freedom of expression, being completely preserved during and after treatment. Therefore, all clinical notes are considered the intellectual property of your doctor.