Recognising Mental Disorders in Singapore

Patients with poor mental health in Singapore sometimes turn to their regular doctor for help first, before seeking the aid of a psychiatrist in Singapore. At other times, doctors may notice specific symptoms that indicate mental distress of some kind. A recent study, conducted in Singapore, assessed how quickly and effectively young medical students could identify specific mental disorders, when given a limited amount of data about the patient.

The Importance of Early Diagnosis

Early identification of mental health disorders is crucial. The sooner a disorder is diagnosed, the quicker the patient can seek treatment. Earlier treatment leads to quicker recovery, or can at least be instrumental in controlling the disorder so it doesn’t become worse. So it is to the benefit of the whole society and community that doctors be trained to recognise mental disorders when they first begin to manifest. To see how well Singapore’s future doctors can identify mental disorders, a Singaporean research team decided to conduct a study of medical students.

The Vignette Approach

First, the research team designed text-based vignettes, each describing a fictional patient’s characteristics and symptoms. The vignettes covered five mental disorders, including depression singapore, obsessive-compulsive disorder, dementia, alcohol abuse, and schizophrenia.

The Participants

Over 500 medical students participated in the study. Each participant was randomly given one of five different vignettes to evaluate. After the participant reviewed the vignette, he or she had to identify what condition the fictional patient was suffering from.

Accuracy of Recognition

According to the study, 81.7% of the medical students could identify the condition correctly, based on the description in the vignette they were assigned. The research team also investigated how recognisable or familiar each condition was to the students. They discovered that depression was the most familiar, with a rate of 93%. Alcohol abuse was the second most well-recognised condition, at 89%. At 79.2%, dementia was third. Unfortunately, only 60% of the medical students were familiar enough with schizophrenia to recognise its symptoms and characteristics.

The research team also found that older students, in their fourth or fifth years of study, were more likely to correctly analyse and identify the conditions, when compared to the first-year students. Female medical students had much higher rates of recognition for all the disorders as well.

Interpretation and Goals

According to the study authors, the results of the experiment were encouraging. However, they reveal the need for even more education about mental health in Singapore, including less familiar conditions such as schizophrenia. As the published study states, it is “the first study to explore recognition among a sample of Asian medical students across various psychiatric disorders.” Thus, it is significant, particularly for professors teaching the next generation of doctors and medical professionals.

Your Own Mental Health in Singapore

If you suspect that you may have a mental disorder, or if your doctor has suggested that you pursue a mental health evaluation, contact Adelphi Psych Medicine Clinic. Our team consists of expert psychologists, psychiatrists, and office staff, all of whom are ready to help you on your path to better mental health in Singapore. Although your regular physician may have a fairly accurate idea of your mental condition, it’s always best to see a trained psychiatrist in Singapore to ensure the right diagnosis and treatment.

Source of the study:

Picco LSeow EChua BY, et al
Recognition of mental disorders: findings from a cross-sectional study among medical students in Singapore