Leo Sher, M.D.
Today, we publish an interview with an eminent psychiatrist, Dr. Shih-Ku Lin.
Shih-Ku Lin, M.D. is Chair, Department of Psychiatry, Taipei City Hospital and Psychiatric Center, and Professor of Psychiatry, Taipei Medical University, in Taipei, Taiwan. Dr. Lin is also a Vice-President of the International College of Neuropsychopharmacology (CINP) and a Member of the World Federation of Societies of Biological Psychiatry (WFSBP) Task Force on Men’s Mental Health.
Leo Sher: What is the most important issue in contemporary psychiatry?
Shih-Ku Lin: Still, there are a lot of unmet needs in the treatment of mental disorders. To diagnose a patient with mental disorder is not that difficult, yet the ideal management of the disease consequences is rather challenging. Pharmacotherapy for symptoms control is getting better in recent decades due to the advancement of neuroscience research, yet a comprehensive therapy including functional recovery and social adjustment for patients still needs more research and administrative input in contemporary psychiatry. These issues are especially important in developing and underdeveloped countries. Sometimes, in these countries, psychiatric medicine is just scarcely developing, or does not exist at all. So, I think the most important issue in contemporary psychiatry is to outreach to all the mankind globally. We need to help these countries with regard to social awareness and destigmatization of mental disorders first, and then, to implement modern treatment programs.
Leo Sher: How do you see the future of psychiatry?
Shih-Ku Lin: In the future, psychiatry will be more “medicalized”. This means that more valid laboratory examination will be developed for clinical practice, not only to diagnose but also to treat. For example, subtyping of schizophrenia will be based on laboratory findings, such as genomics and proteomics studies, imaging studies, and so on. Choice of pharmacotherapy for a psychiatric disorder and treatment response may be based on these laboratory findings. On the other hand, artificial intelligence will be applied massively in psychiatry, namely in epidemiology, diagnosis, treatment strategy including pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy, prognosis and outcome prediction, and even administrative decisions. In the future, precision medicine will be widely applied in psychiatric practice.