Series Examines Treatment Gap for Disorders in Low and Middle Income Countries

Treating mental and neurological disorders and substance abuse is imperative if an individual hopes to lead a productive life. For those living in low and middle income countries, as many as 90 percent of these disorders go untreated, creating a “treatment gap.”

Science Daily recently posted a release highlighting a new series by PLoS Medicine that aims to help close this gap. A six-part series, it explores the best ways to treat disorders in low- and middle-income countries. The series also examines how treatments should be scaled up and how they should be delivered.

The series covers six disorders that create a major global burden: depression, epilepsy schizophrenia, alcohol use disorders, dementia, and ADHD. Authors of the series outline “packages of care” or combinations of treatments designed to improve the recognition and treatment of diseases to achieve the best possible outcomes.

Guest editors for the series are Vikram Patel, Professor of International Mental Health and Welcome Trust Senior Clinical Research Fellow at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Graham Thornicroft, Professor of Community Psychiatry at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London.

“To the best of our knowledge,” said Patel and Thornicroft “the series is the first attempt to collect comprehensive reviews of six leading, and mostly neglected, MNS disorders in an open access venue that allows immediate and full access to everyone including those living and working in low and middle income countries.”

Patel and Thornicroft anticipate that the series will serve as a valuable resource for health professionals, policy makers and health workers throughout the world as they work to improve the care and treatment of those struggling with these disorders and conditions. Analysis provided in the series will be useful in establishing better diagnosis and care for those in countries where resources are scarce and treatment gaps are significant.

There is still hope.

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