Personalized psychiatry

Personalized psychiatry

In the past decades, the outcomes of mental health treatments have shown limited improvement and the mental health services are at risk of becoming overburdened. Over a third of the patients continue to have poor mental health after treatment. The research theme ‘Personalized Psychiatry’ of the UMC Utrecht Brain Center aims to optimize individual treatment by the integration of patient’s perspectives and knowledge with biological and psychological measures in collaboration with societal partners. With this newly gained knowledge, we develop advanced diagnostic, prognostic, and treatment tools to improve mental health.

Achieving personalized treatment recommendations requires us to use biological, environmental, and psychological measures to arrive at a prediction of treatment response and recovery. To overcome the limitations of focusing on symptom reduction alone, we investigate ways to refine treatment outcomes that balance recovery, symptom reduction, and subjective well-being. In order to advance personalized psychiatry, we try to answer the following questions:

Personalized approaches to psychiatry

Over the past 50 years, research has resulted in a vast arsenal of treatments with more than 100 registered medications and 400 psychotherapeutic interventions. Developing new treatments is proving difficult. This is likely due to the complexity of the brain and the way mental health manifests itself in social, cultural, and interpersonal settings. The current strategy of investigating treatments in large groups results in ignoring large interindividual differences within the prevailing diagnostic framework and ignores environmental, social, and interpersonal factors. In order to advance individual treatment and stop the tendency of these disorders to run a chronic course, an increased understanding of how individual biological, societal, and environmental differences contribute to treatment response is necessary.

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