Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie vol:53 issue:12 pages:885-894
Key Words: family physicians, family practice, psychiatry, attitude, mental disorders, Stigma.
In clinical practice significant stigmatization of patients with psychiatric problems, by both physicians and society has been described.
In this contribution we try to describe this stigmatization, by general practitioners and medical students, starting from the literature.
PubMed literature search with MeSH terms Family Practice, Physicians, Family, Mental Disorder, Attitude and Psychiatry and the word stigma. In addition, literature was supplied by experts and articles were found through the snowball method.
Stigmatization forms an important obstacle in the somatic and psychological care by GPs for patients with a psychiatric disorder. Although these patients have a higher somatic vulnerability due to their psychiatric problems, technical investigations are used less frequently to explore their complaints.
Even medical students have a negative attitude towards patients with a psychiatric disorder. More education could lead to less stigmatisation, but the effect seems temporary. It is mainly personal experience that leads to a more empathic attitude.
Literature suggests that psychiatric patients are victims of stigmatization by themselves, society and physicians. This stigma leads to social exclusion, less opportunities in society and to poorer health care. Addressing this could significantly improve the quality of life and healthcare for these patients.