The Biopsychosocial Formula – Biology, psychology and sociology
The biopsychosocial formula; Tell us more about that.
I love that expression actually. It’s supposed to be really, the foundation of psychiatry or really, any mental health field. It’s the idea that it’s not just about the biology, the psychology or the sociology of a patient. It’s the entire formula. For any patient, you’re not healthy only because your biology is healthy, you’re not healthy only because your psychology is healthy, it’s by healing the entire being that you’re able to improve your life. Often we’ll see a patient who is suffering truly biological issues. Maybe they’ve had a health disorder and this is also what’s related to their mental health decline.
Dr. Carlsen has a great expression; “gut health equals mental health”. So these things go together and when we look at the biology of someone, we can also see how that affects your lifestyle. When you’ve been suffering from depression, often you’ve made lifestyle choices that are not as healthy. Your social relationships have now suffered, so in the course of our treatment, we try to look a the entire package of what is now going on in your life. We try to treat the biology, which is where Dr. Carlsen comes in. She’s looking at the TMS treatment, she’s looking at your blood work, she’s looking at how you’re eating, what are your supplements that are needed, as well as the rest; the psychology and social work. She’s then also looking at what your outside network is; who are the therapists that you’ve been seeing?
We are constantly in discussions with that therapist to see what is going on with you; if they’re noticing improvements, if we’re all getting the same stories and feedback. We also – with your permission – talk to family members; spouses, fathers, mothers, things like that, to see what they are also recognizing. We also want to observe perhaps, unhealthy dynamics that we can help, so we can observe coping mechanisms, and see what you’re doing, and also help you with the aftercare moving forward.
That’s another imperative part of Dr. Carlsen is the aftercare. We take a huge role in after-treatment and what is going to be the aftercare plan for you. What therapist will you be seeing? How are you going to be relating to the people in your life? And what sort of health system are you going to be employing for yourself? Will you be staying healthy? Will you be eating healthy? Will you be keeping up with the supplement and nutritionally health? We have one patient in particular who we’ve had issues with in maintaining his medication. We know that because we’ve consistently followed up with him and we’ve consistently followed up with his parents. And through that, we’re able to work, and also monitor how much of the TMS has been beneficial, and how much of his own personal behavior has really affected his own lifestyle and mental health. I think that’s also very important.
There’s one patient in particular who, when he first came in, he suffered from such terrible social anxiety and addiction tendencies. He was having terrible relationships with his parents. Through the course of the treatment, we watched him really interrelate with others so much better. I wouldn’t say his addiction tendencies seized, but he was able to start managing them much better. By the end of treatment, his relationship with his parents was much-improved. And because of the after treatment we were able to maintain – it’s been almost two months since he left – we are aware that his kept up with his therapist, he’s been accepted to a college, he’s working. But we are also aware that when he first left, things were a little bumpy, and we were able to help guide that path and keep things going. With that biopsychosocial formula, it’s not just about the TMS, it’s about the entire system that we work with.