Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Treatment resistance is our greatest challenge

Henry A. Nasrallah, MD


We all have patients with thick charts, the mentally ill individuals who push our clinical skills to the limit. They respond poorly to the entire algorithm of approved medications for depression, anxiety, or psychosis. Their symptoms hardly budge despite multiple psychotherapeutic interventions. They lead lives of quiet desperation and suffer through many hospitalizations and outpatient visits. They are perennially at high risk for harm to self or others. They get many side effects yet meager benefits from pharmacotherapy. Their social and vocational functions often are minimal to nil. Their life has little meaning beyond doleful patienthood.

Treatment resistance in my long-suffering patients incites me to ask important questions that beg for answer.

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