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Depressive disorders have one of the highest disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) of all medical conditions, which led the European Psychiatric Association to propose a policy paper, pinpointing their unmet health care and research needs. The first part focuses on what can be currently done to improve the care of patients with depression, and then discuss future trends for research and healthcare. Through the narration of clinical cases, the different points are illustrated. The necessary political framework is formulated, to implement such changes to fundamentally improve psychiatric care. The group of European Psychiatrist Association (EPA) experts insist on the need for (1) increased awareness of mental illness in primary care settings, (2) the development of novel (biological) markers, (3) the rapid implementation of machine learning (supporting diagnostics, prognostics, and therapeutics), (4) the generalized use of electronic devices and apps into everyday treatment, (5) the development of the new generation of treatment options, such as plasticity-promoting agents, and (6) the importance of comprehensive recovery approach. At a political level, the group also proposed four priorities, the need to (1) increase the use of open science, (2) implement reasonable data protection laws, (3) establish ethical electronic health records, and (4) enable better healthcare research and saving resources.
The ongoing developments of psychiatric classification systems have largely improved reliability of diagnosis, including that of schizophrenia. However, with an unknown pathophysiology and lacking biomarkers, its validity still remains low, requiring further advancements. Research has helped establish multiple sclerosis (MS) as the central nervous system (CNS) disorder with an established pathophysiology, defined biomarkers and therefore good validity and significantly improved treatment options. Before proposing next steps in research that aim to improve the diagnostic process of schizophrenia, it is imperative to recognize its clinical heterogeneity. Indeed, individuals with schizophrenia show high interindividual variability in terms of symptomatic manifestation, response to treatment, course of illness and functional outcomes. There is also a multiplicity of risk factors that contribute to the development of schizophrenia. Moreover, accumulating evidence indicates that several dimensions of psychopathology and risk factors cross current diagnostic categorizations. Schizophrenia shares a number of similarities with MS, which is a demyelinating disease of the CNS. These similarities appear in the context of age of onset, geographical distribution, involvement of immune-inflammatory processes, neurocognitive impairment and various trajectories of illness course. This article provides a critical appraisal of diagnostic process in schizophrenia, taking into consideration advancements that have been made in the diagnosis and management of MS. Based on the comparison between the two disorders, key directions for studies that aim to improve diagnostic process in schizophrenia are formulated. All of them converge on the necessity to deconstruct the psychosis spectrum and adopt dimensional approaches with deep phenotyping to refine current diagnostic boundaries.
The Republic of Hungary is a landlocked country of 93 000 km2 in central Europe; it is bordered by Austria, Slovakia, Ukraine, Romania, Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia. Its official language is Hungarian. Hungary joined the European Union (EU) in 2004. About 90% of the population of c. 10 million is ethnically Hungarian, with Roma comprising the largest minority population (6–8%). Currently classified as a middle-income country with a gross domestic product (GDP) of $191.7 billion (2007 figure), Hungary's total health spending accounted for 7.4% of GDP in 2007, less than the average of 8.9% among member states of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD, 2009). The proportion of the total health budget for mental health is 5.1%, which is low when compared with, for instance, the UK (England and Wales 13.8%, Scotland 9.5%) (World Health Organization, 2008, p. 118, Fig. 8.1).
Hungary has long been a major contributor to the development of psychiatry, psychology and psychotherapy, through the works of Sándor Ferenczi, Géza Róheim, Melanie Klein, Michael Bálint, Lipót Szondi, Ferenc Mérei, Iván Böszörményi-Nagy, Kálmán Pándy, László von Meduna, Pál Juhász, Mihály Arató and the recently deceased István Degrell (Bánki, 1991; Rihmer & Füredi, 1993).
Status of general and mental health in Hungary
The average life expectancy for a Hungarian citizen at birth is only 73.3 years, more than 5 years below the OECD average of 79 years. The mortality rate presently exceeds the birth rate, which means the population is declining. More than half the mortality is due to cardiovascular disease (coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death). As elsewhere, drinking, smoking, obesity, unhealthy eating habits and lack of physical activity undermine the health of the population (Skrabski et al, 2005; Tringer, 2005).
The prevalence of both mental disorders and substance use disorders is on the rise. About 300 000–400 000 people (around 4% of the population) experience depression, but only 40 000 of them have a medical diagnosis (European Commission, 2008). A study applying DSM–IV criteria found the current rate for depression to be 18.5% among people attending primary care, while the rate for major depressive episode was 7.3% (Torzsa et al, 2008).
The Republic of Hungary is a landlocked country of 93000 km2 in central Europe; it is bordered by Austria, Slovakia, Ukraine, Romania, Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia. Its official language is Hungarian. Hungary joined the European Union (EU) in 2004. About 90% of the population of c. 10 million is ethnically Hungarian, with Roma comprising the largest minority population (6–8%). Currently classified as a middle-income country with a gross domestic product (GDP) of $191.7 billion (2007 figure), Hungary's total health spending accounted for 7.4% of GDP in 2007, less than the average of 8.9% among member states of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD, 2009). The proportion of the total health budget for mental health is 5.1%, which is low when compared with, for instance, the UK (England and Wales 13.8%, Scotland 9.5%) (World Health Organization, 2008, p. 118, Fig. 8.1).
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