Mental, Neurological And Substance Use Conditions: WHO Issues New Guidelines For Treatment And Care

Mental, Neurological And Substance Use Conditions: WHO Issues New Guidelines For Treatment And Care
Mental Health Disorders: WHO Recommends New Guidelines For Treatment And Care

WHO issued a new and updated set of Mental Health Gap Action Programme (mhGAP) guidelines regarding treatment and care of mental, neurological and substance use (MNS) disorders.

Written by Kinkini Gupta |Updated : November 22, 2023 7:13 PM IST

The initiative, Mental Health Gap Action Programme (mhGAP) was created by World Health Orgnaisation (WHO) to pay adequate attention to mental health care and to prevent the disorders caused primarily due to mental and neurological problems and substance use or as coined by WHO, 'MNS disorders'. In its third edition, WHO along with mhGAP has recently released the updated and renews guidelines for mental health care of patients.

MNS disorders are few of the major factors contributing to premature mortality, morbidity in the world. And according to WHO factsheet, 75 per cent of the population dealing with MNS is unable to access proper health care and treatment.

The aim of mnGAP is to:

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  • Provide support to countries so that they are able to deal with these conditions.
  • The guidelines are meant for all doctors, nurses and other health care workers to access as per their requirements.

What Are The Renewed Guidelines?

  1. Adults with anxiety disorder or panic disorder should be offered psychological interventions based on cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).
  2. The formats of intervention can be varied like online, in groups, in-person pr self-guided.
  3. People should be given stress management techniques.
  4. Adults should be offered Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), especially people with generalized anxiety and/or panic disorder.

WHO issued a very detailed guideline for the use of Valporic Acid of women:

Women and girls who want to become pregnant or may become pregnant should not use valproic acid (sodium valproate). This medicine is used for the treatment of bipolar disorder and epilepsy.

  • Valproic acid can cause birth defects and developmental disorders, therefore, it should not be prescribed to women and girls who want to become pregnant in the future or are currently pregnant.
  • If it is used for women or girls, experts should advice them about contraception.
  • If they are taking this medication, they should not stop it before discussing with the healthcare provider.
  • They should conduct a review of whether this medicine is suitable for the person before prescribing it.