Does emotional disease get worse even while on medication therapy? Sometimes. It does so more often when the disease process is treated but only partially treated. Read a little more about this in this post if your interested. A primary care physician recently told me, “I think the term ‘Partial Responder’ is a marketing gimmick to get physicians to prescribe more medications. I don’t think it even exists.”
There’s a lot to be said about interview skills in sussing out the partial responder. If I asked someone if they felt better, many things play into their response. Everyone’s responses are biased of course. We don’t have sterile minds. For example there’s the patient who wants to please their physician. “Yes I’m better!” i.e. “Yes you’re a good doctor!” There are the patients who don’t want to be patients and minimize whatever they’re going through. There is the physician who leads the interview. “So, you’re feeling better?” “The medication is helping?”
Partial response means that at the end of a full treatment initiation period, there is some disease remaining but a reduction of disease. For example, in depression, I may no longer be suicidal, but I still have trouble feeling pleasure in life. In cancer it means that there is tumor reduction of at least 30%.
Now why would a physician presumably agree that there is a partial response in cancer, but not agree that it happens in mental health? Anyways…. (Ahem.) When we partly respond to mental health treatment and don’t push further for full response, about 70% will relapse. Versus maybe 25% in those who reached their pre-disease baseline emotional health through treatment.
Don’t get lost in this. The point is, get treated and get fully treated. Mental illness is progressive and causes changes at the cell level. The brain is connected to the rest of our body. The brain is human. A bit better, is not enough.
Self Care Tip #61 – Go all the way! Claim health. Be a friend to yourself.
Question: Did you find this to be true in yourself or someone you know? Please tell me your story.