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Lancet Psychiatry. 2018 Nov;5(11):940-944. doi: 10.1016/S2215-0366(18)30342-0. Epub 2018 Oct 10.

Curtailing the communicability of psychiatric disorders.

Author information

1
New York State Psychiatric Institute and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, NY, USA. Electronic address: mlw35@cumc.columbia.edu.
2
Psychiatric Research Unit, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel.
3
New York State Psychiatric Institute and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, NY, USA.
4
Yale School of Public Health, New Haven, CT, USA.
5
Department of Mental Health, Mozambique Ministry of Health, Avenida Eduardo Mondlane, Maputo, Mozambique.
6
Department of Psychiatry, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA.
7
Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA.

Abstract

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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