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Primary prevention of psychiatric illness in special populations

Martha Sajatovic, MD

Case Western Reserve University, School of Medicine, Departments of Psychiatry and Neurology, Neurological Outcomes Center, University Hospitals Case Medical Center, Cleveland, OH, USA

Renata Sanders, MD

Department of Psychiatry, SUNY Downstate, Brooklyn, NY, USADepartment of Psychiatry, St. John’s Episcopal Hospital, Far Rockaway, NY, USA

Lada Alexeenko, MD

Department of Psychiatry, SUNY Downstate, Brooklyn, NY, USADepartment of Psychiatry, St. John’s Episcopal Hospital, Far Rockaway, NY, USA

Subramoniam Madhusoodanan, MD

Department of Psychiatry, St. John’s Episcopal Hospital, Far Rockaway, NY, USA

BACKGROUND: Some populations appear to be particularly vulnerable to the development of psychiatric symptomatology related to life events and biologic or social/cultural factors. Such groups include individuals who have experienced traumatic events, military personnel, individuals with serious medical conditions, postpartum women, and immigrants. This study reviews the literature regarding primary prevention of psychiatric disorders in special populations and identifies a variety of universal, selective, and indicated prevention measures aimed at minimizing the psychiatric sequelae in these groups.

METHODS: The authors reviewed the literature regarding the prevention of psychiatric symptoms in trauma/abuse victims, individuals in the military, oncology patients, patients with diabetes, pregnant/postpartum women, and immigrants.

RESULTS: The literature on primary prevention of psychiatric illness in the special populations identified is rather limited. Universal prevention may be beneficial in some instances through public awareness campaigns and disaster planning. In other instances, more specific and intensive interventions for individuals at high risk of psychiatric illness may improve outcomes, for example, crisis counseling for those who have experienced severe trauma.

CONCLUSIONS: Primary prevention of psychiatric illness may be an attainable goal via implementation of specific universal, selected, and indicated primary prevention measures in special populations.

KEYWORDS: primary prevention, special populations, psychiatric illness

ANNALS OF CLINICAL PSYCHIATRY 2010;22(4):262–273

CORRESPONDENCE: Martha Sajatovic, MD, Case Western Reserve University, School of Medicine, W.O. Walker Center, 10524 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44106 USA, E-MAIL: martha.sajatovic@uhhospitals.org
Annals of Clinical Psychiatry ©2010 Quadrant HealthCom Inc.

 
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