Knowledge for Physicians on the Frontline

The premier educational conference on practical psychopharmacology, Psych Congress 2019, is just around in the corner on from Oct 3-6 in San Diego. The congress connects all members of a patients’ healthcare team on their path to mental wellness, including psychiatrists, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, psychologists, and primary care physicians.

As a Family Medicine physician in private practice, Linda Girgis, MD, often finds herself on the frontline for patients who need mental support.

“Mental health disorders are a prevalent problem among our patients and are often overlooked for a multitude of reasons, including fear of stigmatization, lack of patient and physician education on the topic, fear that a physical disorder is responsible for the symptoms, not wanting employers to know as it may affect careers, and more,” says Dr. Girgis. “As primary care physicians, we need to be astute and alert to challenges these patients face and be able to diagnose them, especially in patients who may have motivation to ignore them, and the only way to do so is staying informed on the latest treatment options in order to give our patients the best care.”

Dr. Girgis follows the annual Psych Congress meeting because it delivers comprehensive psychopharmacology education combined with state-of-the-art treatment approaches and emerging research findings–and recommends her colleagues do the same.

Often, mental health disorders can worsen physical diseases. Dr. Girgis notes recent studies, which show patients suffering heart attacks or other conditions do worse if they also have underlying depression. “In order to treat the whole patient, we cannot separate the two.”

And an all too common challenge primary care physicians face is finding available psychiatrists who are accepting new patients and covered by insurance. “PCPS are often left to treat patients with mental disorders due to lack of access to mental health services,” says Dr. Girgis. “We cannot do a good job if we do not know the latest.”

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