Hike in mental disorder patients now a concern


BAGUIO CITY  – A mental health expert of the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center (BGHMC) revealed that the increasing number of individuals seeking consultations with the psychiatry department of the government facility is a cause of concern among the limited number of psychiatry experts in the city.

Dr. Lowell A. Ribucal, Medical Specialist II of the BGHMC’s Department of Psychiatry, disclosed that from the 30 to 40 individuals seeking medical attention from their department daily previously, the number increased to 60 to 70 individuals daily wherein most of them are found to be suffering from mental disorders.

He explained that experts consider the increasing number of individuals seeking medical advise from them as a welcome development because people are now aware of the services being provided to them by the Department of Psychiatry and the success of their advocacy on sound mental health.

Among the mental disorders that experts discover from the increasing number of people seeking medical advise from them include schizophrenia and mood disorders.

Schizophrenia  is a mental disorder characterized by abnormal behavior and a decreased ability to understand reality wherein common symptoms include false beliefs, unclear or confused thinking, hearing voices that others do not, reduced social engagement and emotional expression, and a lack of motivation, thus, people with schizophrenia often have additional mental health problems such as anxiety, depressive, or substance-use disorders and symptoms typically come on gradually, begin in young adulthood, and last a long time.

The BGHMC physician claimed that for schizophrenia patients, it is unfortunate that most of them are already on the later stages of the mental disorder that is why they are violent, thus, the need for them to be confined and undergo further medication among other prescribed interventions necessary to improve their condition.

According to him, it is still best for people to seek the appropriate medical advise from mental health experts when they seem to feel something about their mental condition so that whatever findings of the experts will be subjected to the appropriate diagnosis to possibly address their problems.

Ribucal underscored that with the growing number of patients seeking medical attention from the psychiatry department, there is a need for more psychiatry experts to emerge from the younger generation of physicians to be able to attend to the increasing demand of the people to have better mental health condition.

At present, the BGHMC psychiatry department has 9 existing resident physicians and 7 consultants who cater to the 60 to 70 patients seeking medical advise from the said facility daily.

He claimed that mental health patients are provided with adequate medical advise and medication for them to be able to recover from whatever their prevailing mental condition so that they will be able to freely mingle with their family members, relatives and the people in their community.

Ribucal added that mental health problems are curable provided that such illnesses will not be in their later stages when diagnosed by experts.