Curtailing the communicability of psychiatric disorders

Wainberg, Milton L.; Helpman, Liat; Duarte, Cristiane S.; Vermund, Sten H.; Mootz, Jennifer J.; Gouveia, Lidia; Oquendo, Maria A.; McKinnon, Karen; Cournos, Francine

Although psychiatric disorders are classified as non-communicable diseases, we believe this classification is too rigid and limiting. We present evidence of the communicability of psychiatric disorders through three major pathways: infectious and ecological, familial, and sociocultural communicability. Successful strategies developed to control the spread of communicable infectious diseases are relevant to curtailing the communicability of psychiatric disorders, thereby reducing their burden. Current interventions and policies that conceptualise psychiatric illnesses as non-communicable mostly focus on the individual. By applying strategies from infectious disease and chronic illness prevention models within a socioecological framework, we posit a broad communicable chronic disease psychiatric illness control plan for effectively treating the patient with the psychiatric disorder (host) as early as possible, providing benefits to their family and the community, and preventing transmission to others.


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The Lancet Psychiatry

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May 20, 2021