A study on nonpsychiatric management of psychiatric patients in Minia governorate, Egypt

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BackgroundThe world is suffering from an increasing burden of mental disorders and a widening gap in treatment. About 450 million people suffer from mental or behavioral disorders; yet, only a small minority receives even the most basic treatment.ObjectivesThe objective of the study was to assess nonpsychiatric treatments and traditional and folklore management of psychiatric disorders and examine the nature of communication between psychiatric and nonpsychiatric care providers in Minia Governorate, Egypt.Participants and methodsA total of 1134 patients [638 male (56.2%) and 496 female (43.8%)] were recruited from the outpatient psychiatric clinic of Minia University Hospital. They were interviewed using an unstructured open-ended technique to assess the previous methods by which their psychiatric illness was handled.ResultsThe number of patients who reported that they had undergone nonpsychiatric medical and cultural traditional treatment methods was 985 (82% of the sample). Nonpsychiatric medical management techniques used by the patients (530, 53.8%) included medical treatment and investigations advised by general practitioners in primary healthcare units (231 patients, 43.5%), internal medicine (123, 23.2%), pediatric services (101, 19.1%), neurosurgery (25, 4.8%), and others including emergency room services (50, 9.4%). Nonpsychiatric cultural traditional interventions (455 patients, 46.2%) included following the Holy Koran (274 patients, 60.2%), using herbs and plants (91, 20%), Hegab (written words on a piece of paper, 55, 12.1%), Hegama (23, 5.4%), and physical interactions (12, 2.3%). The rate of referral of these patients from nonpsychiatric to psychiatric attention was limited (119 patients, 12%).ConclusionOur results highlighted the need to enhance communication between psychiatrists and providers of nonpsychiatric care to psychiatric patients.

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