Depression From a Precision Mental Health Perspective: Utilizing Personalized Conceptualizations to Guide Personalized Treatments

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Institute of Global Health & Human Ecology

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Reem Deif; Mohamed Salama

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Research Article

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Frontiers in psychiatry

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Modern research has proven that the "typical patient" requiring standardized treatments does not exist, reflecting the need for more personalized approaches for managing individual clinical profiles rather than broad diagnoses. In this regard, precision psychiatry has emerged focusing on enhancing prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of psychiatric disorders through identifying clinical subgroups, suggesting personalized evidence-based interventions, assessing the effectiveness of different interventions, and identifying risk and protective factors for remission, relapse, and vulnerability. Literature shows that recent advances in the field of precision psychiatry are rapidly becoming more data-driven reflecting both the significance and the continuous need for translational research in mental health. Different etiologies underlying depression have been theorized and some factors have been identified including neural circuitry, biotypes, biopsychosocial markers, genetics, and metabolomics which have shown to explain individual differences in pathology and response to treatment. Although the precision approach may prove to enhance diagnosis and treatment decisions, major challenges are hindering its clinical translation. These include the clinical diversity of psychiatric disorders, the technical complexity and costs of multiomics data, and the need for specialized training in precision health for healthcare staff, besides ethical concerns such as protecting the privacy and security of patients' data and maintaining health equity. The aim of this review is to provide an overview of recent findings in the conceptualization and treatment of depression from a precision mental health perspective and to discuss potential challenges and future directions in the application of precision psychiatry for the treatment of depression.

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