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SMAD. Revista eletrônica saúde mental álcool e drogas

versão On-line ISSN 1806-6976

SMAD, Rev. Eletrônica Saúde Mental Álcool Drog. (Ed. port.) v.1 n.2 Ribeirão Preto ago. 2005




Margarita Antonia Villar Luis Ph.D


According to a report by the Pan American Health Organization, at the end of the 1990's, depression and anxiety disorders were responsible for 20% and 30%, respectively, of primary care consultations in the world. To disclose the relevance of this issue, the new edition of SMAD highlights this expression of human suffering by showing how depressed persons interpret this experience, as well as the importance of professionals listening to their stories and going beyond an approach aimed at identifying a pathological picture with specific signs and symptoms. Hence, one of the articles emphasizes the need for nurses to be able to recognize the manifestations of depression with a view to establishing systemized care and anticipating the care needed by clients in this condition.

The article about benzodiazepine use by aged women is related to these disorders. This link is illustrated by some of the conceptions these women elaborate to justify their consumption, in terms of situations that suggest or fully evidence that this suffering existed before or continues. This paper also outlines practices that favor benzodiazepine prescription and, consequently, consumption and the users' evolution towards a dependence profile.

The above mentioned report also mentions disabilities acquired as a result of dependence on alcohol and other drugs, as these have reached a global mental health burden of approximately 17%. This is one of the reasons for the encouragement of prevention, mainly among youths, who are considered a risk group.

The article about alcohol use in this population, carried out in Mexico , identifies a noteworthy characteristic of this culture by discussing youth grouping into gangs. This is a strategy to cope with social adversities and a context in which many of their leisure options take place. One of these is alcohol use, which is why young people in these groups are more vulnerable to experimenting and maintaining this habit. The article confirms this aspect, as influence from friends emerges as a strong risk factor.

The same subject appears among female nursing students, indicating the frequent occurrence of alcohol use among relatives and colleagues who are close. This study shows that consumption started when they were between 13 and 20 years old and that leisure continues being the most alleged reason to drink. On the other hand, low rates are found for smoking, and consumption is started out of curiosity or the persons' own desire to smoke.

In the same context of psychoactive substances, the effect of parents' alcohol consumption on their children is highlighted. This subject has received little attention on the international scene and even less in Brazil . The authors' alert is given at a good time, as the I home survey on the use of psychotropic drugs in Brazil , carried out by researchers at the Brazilian Psychotropic Drugs Information Center (CEBRID) in 2001, revealed a prevalence level of 68.7% of alcohol use in the total population and estimates a percentage of about 11.2% of alcohol dependents. Hence, this drug is very much present in the family context and can entail serious repercussions for its members, as demonstrated by the authors.

The article about the therapeutic accompaniment of mental patients evidences the burden of schizophrenia for the patients themselves, all the more when they do not receive family and institutional support. This study also demonstrates that the alternatives of sheltering these patients at “rest houses” can be as limiting and chronifying for these persons as the former asylums. The authors expose individual possibilities for rehabilitation when confronted with apathy and the crystallization of institutional behavior.

This shows that the journal is maintaining a “healthy” balance between articles on mental health and more specialized subjects on psychoactive substances. We also hope to maintain our interdisciplinarity by publishing articles written by different health and mental health workers.


Margarita Antonia Villar Luis, RN, PhD


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