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7 Habits to Develop to Treat Anxiety Disorders Effectively: Part 5

August 31, 2020

Expert Insights in Advanced Psychopharmacology is an ongoing video series featuring members of the Psych Congress Steering Committee and Faculty. The series, which highlights key psychopharmacology topics, is designed to provide mental health clinicians with practical guidance to maximize the effectiveness of treatments.

(Part 5 of 7)

In this video, Psych Congress Steering Committee member Rakesh Jain, MD, MPH, discusses the fifth of 7 habits which clinicians can develop to be highly effective at treating anxiety disorders.

Dr. Jain is Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Texas Tech University School of Medicine, Austin. He will co-present a session on the 7 habits at Psych Congress 2020, being held virtually Sept. 10-13, 2020, with a preconference on Sept. 9, 2020.

Go to the Expert Insights in Advanced Psychopharmacology page to learn about the other habits.


Read the transcript:

Hello again, Psych Congress family. Let's continue our conversation about "The Seven Habits of a Highly Effective Anxiety Disorder Treating Clinician." This is Rakesh Jain, a colleague of yours and a proud member of the Steering Committee at Psych Congress.

This is habit number 5. Knowledge is power. The effective clinician knows the value of psychoeducation and patient self‑empowerment. Please reflect on that sentence one more time:  psychoeducation, patient self‑empowerment.

Really in many ways the ripple effect of a successful encounter where we have empowered a patient with knowledge can be tremendous. As you can see here, it can build a strong therapeutic relationship. It can improve our collaborative care.

Reflective listening becomes an important part of this deep conversation, and it leads to an open discussion of all the treatment options and potential obstacles a patient can face. These are the recommendations I have in terms of successfully sharing a new diagnosis with a patient, which can be frightening for a patient, but if done well, it can also be enormously relieving.

Turning our attention now to psychoeducation. Again, think of it as a ripple effect. Not only are we helping the patient in the here and now, but we're also helping them better understand the longitudinal consequences of their disorder and why controlling it is in their best interest.

Good psychoeducation leads to improved treatment adherence, helps stabilize symptoms, reduces inter‑episode symptom recurrence. It maximizes the rehab potential and of course prevents relapse.

There is absolutely no way to look at psychoeducation as nothing but a great gift shared by a clinician towards a patient. There's no denying a lot of our patients are seeking information on the Internet, and for the most part that is good.

What are they looking for? As someone who is very interested in helping our patients with anxiety disorders, we should know people are trying to find out why are they having these symptoms. Is there a medical condition that might explain it? What are their treatment options? Are they trying to find out information from their family or friends? It could be a whole host of issues.

The key thing to remember is we need to harness the power of these online resources. The Internet is now the source of information. We should use it to augment what we offer our patients. There are many very good websites that we'll talk about in just a second that increases patient knowledge, patient empowerment.

There are 3 that in particular that I think are extraordinary. That is the National Institute of Mental Health website, Anxiety and Depression Association of America. They have a wonderful website, adaa.org. Of course, if you have a patient with difficulties with OCD, sending them to the International OCD Foundation website can be very helpful. Let's harness the power.

Let's end our conversation regarding habit number 5 by acknowledging knowledge is power. Helping the patient get connected to good knowledge leads to more empowerment but also leads to a whole host of other benefits for us.

As effective clinicians, dear colleagues, we need to know the value of psychoeducation and patient self‑empowerment in order to improve their lives. Thank you very much for joining me for this installment, and I'll look forward to talking to you in the future.

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