Positive Psychiatry: Go Away, BV!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012 Stef dela Cruz 0 Comments

“You need psychiatric help.” The statement carries a strong, negative context, one that strikes fear and offense in the hearts of many. But psychiatry is soon getting an image revamp for the better – and it will soon be an era of positive psychiatry.

(And for those wondering what “BV” in the title means, it’s an acronym for “bad vibes”. Goodbye, bad vibes, you are no longer trending.)

glass half full

Is the glass half empty or half full?
Your answer to this question may dictate how well – and how long – you live your life.

Psychiatry is a field of medicine where doctors delve deep into the recesses of the mind, even the ones that no longer rely on reality and logic. As a doctor, I have noticed how many psychiatric ailments carry an unnecessary social stigma, a sad fact that has prevented many from seeking help for their mental and emotional troubles.

But Dr. Dilip Jeste, the new president of the American Psychiatric Association, aims to change all that. During the annual organization meeting this year, Jeste is getting ready to usher in an advocacy for positive psychiatry.

Positive Psychiatry: Power of the Mind

The mind is highly suggestible. The body can manifest whatever the mind believes. For instance, taking a pill which one believes to be an analgesic can provide pain relief, even if the pill is just a salt tablet. This explains the need for placebo groups in treatment trials.

Given the great potential of the human mind, Jeste suggests that it be used for a higher purpose. Psychiatry has always focused on treating the ailing mind, instead of also promoting a more holistic and more positive general outlook. Jeste is resolved to change that.

Optimism has been proven to improve outcomes in depression, recounted George Patton and colleagues in a 2011 article published at Pediatrics.

More than 5,000 students were assessed for thinking styles and emotional issues for three years. Optimistic teens had a better health profile overall, with their risk for depression almost cut in half.

Up next: the continuation of this article on positive psychiatry. I will discuss how optimism actually prolongs life – yes, it’s been proven! – and how exactly positivism can promote healing and wellness. Check back in a few days or visit me on my Facebook page.

Stef dela CruzAbout the blogger
Stef dela Cruz is a vegan doctor and writer. She received the 2013 Award for Health Media from the Department of Health. She is the editor of The Manila Bulletin's Animal Scene Magazine. Get in touch if you want to invite her as a speaker!