Using the CGI Scale to Improve Mental Health Treatment Quality and Efficacy
In the United States, nearly half of adults face mental illness at some part of their lives. Whether this mental illness is mild to severe depression, post-traumatic stress disorder from a life-changing event, generalized anxiety, or a more serious disorder, all people have a right to access quality mental health care. However, as disorders that are more often than not invisible to the people around you, mental health is often overlooked as not important or is stigmatized. At Psych Associates of Maryland, we’re dedicated not only to breaking this stigma but to providing the highest caliber of mental health care in the region. We do this by approaching treatment using trusted methods and caring practitioners who utilize spectacular tools in treatment. So what exactly is the CGI scale, and how can it help Psych Associates of Maryland provide better treatment? We’re here to break it down for you.
The CGI Scale - of Clinical Global Impression - is a standardized assessment scale for determining the effects of mental health treatment among psychiatric patients. Though widely used in clinical psychopharmaceutical trials, the CGI Scale brings benefits to all levels of psychiatric treatment. The scale consists of three separate global subscales:
All measurements on the CGI-scale are relative not only to a global comparison of others facing mental health issues but to the experience of the practitioner his or herself. In other words, a practitioner can only assess and base ratings off of their own experiences and knowledge.
There are arguments among the mental health and scientific treatment about whether or not the CGI scale is the best way to tackle measuring efficacy in mental health treatment. An inherent issue behind treatment mental health issues is a simple fact that it is extremely difficult to quantify symptoms; you can take a patient’s temperature to figure out of they have a fever or measure their blood pressure, but mental health is extremely complicated and can be difficult to measure. The CGI scale, along with other mental health proponents, allows the quantification of mental health treatment.
A primary underlying problem in the CGI scale is its global application requiring comparison to other patients. Practitioners are required - based on a combination of education and fieldwork - to make a rating based solely on relative judgments of a person’s mental condition. This relative scale is inherently flawed due to the nonexistence of suitable accuracy but does provide the benefits of forcing practitioners to apply valuable past experience to the treatment of patients in a clinical setting.
While subjective to a certain extent, the CGI scale is systematically designed to acknowledge the non-linear nature of mental illness and healing. Allowing for the open recording of the premise that sometimes it gets worse before it gets better and that mental health treatment isn’t ‘one size fits all,’ the CGI Scale reflects common values that, in essence, allow practitioners to provide better treatment.
The CGI scale allows practitioners to provide more comprehensive mental health treatment by creating a quantifiable measurement of mental health symptoms and treatment efficacy. Practitioners can easily track symptoms and their improvement - or lack thereof - to evaluate whether or not the treatment is working. Additionally, the efficacy index allows practitioners to make patient-first decisions that take into account the side effect of treatment. Allowing practitioners the see how the treatment effects the patient from a holistic standpoint helps the patient and practitioner make more informed decisions and get the patient's life back on track sooner.
Think it’s time you seek treatment for your own mental health? Get in touch with Psych Associates of Maryland - a leader in mental health in the Baltimore, Columbia, and Towson area - to learn how we can help you get back to feeling like yourself.
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