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The word Psychiatry comes from the Greek and means "art of healing the soul".

It is the specialty of Medicine dedicated to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of the different manifestations of mental suffering.


    Often, the symptoms of mental suffering are denied to the limit by the self because (wrongly) they are considered as a sign of “weakness” or the idea that they will be misunderstood and stigmatized by society.

    The relief of suffering and the recovery of mental well-being are the main goals of Psychiatry. To achieve them, a confidential, global and integrative assessment of the patient is necessary, assessing their biological, psychological, social and cultural and religious dimensions.

    Depression, bipolar disorder, Schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, eating disorders and dementia are among the multiple clinical situations treated at the Psychiatry Consultation.

    There are two main treatment modalities: medication and psychotherapy.

    Psychiatric medications are an important part of the psychiatrist's therapeutic arsenal. Currently, there are effective, safe, well-tolerated drugs that do not cause dependence. The psychiatrist will listen to your preferences, fears and insecurities about the treatment and based on that better guide your treatment.

   Psychotherapy is also part of the psychiatrist's therapeutic tools. However, Psychiatry and Psychology often work complementary. For this reason, during the consultation, the doctor may propose the referral of your case to Psychology.

    Finally, although many psychiatric diseases still do not have a cure, Psychiatry and Psychology can reduce psychological suffering and significantly increase the person's quality of life, facilitating their rapid and effective functional return in all areas of life.


Dr. João Protásio Fialho

    "Burnout" : the current disease that affects a quarter of the population

​    One day you like what you do, the next you fall into an abyss of apathy and suffering. Lack of organization, bad relationships at work and unrealistic goals are the key to burnout. Psychiatrist João Fialho talks about the syndrome that became an occupational disease in 2022 and affects a third of the young population.

    Physical and mental exhaustion, insomnia, shortness of breath, difficulty concentrating and apathy that do not disappear due to a demanding and stressful professional activity. These are some of the symptoms associated with professional burnout, more recently called burnout, the syndrome that became officially recognized as an occupational disease by the World Health Organization on the first day of 2022. What it is, who it affects and how it is cured ? Psychiatrist João Fialho answered questions from the newspaper "O MIRANTE" about a problem that affects a third of young people and 25% of the Portuguese population.
    To get into burnout you don't necessarily have to work too many hours or hours, the psychiatrist starts by explaining. “Works in which the person is more emotionally and personally involved and where he ends up giving more of himself” can more easily lead “to a state of psychological fatigue”. João Fialho also underlines the connection between burnout and deficiencies in the management and organization of work, which usually lead to constant and sudden changes, lack of support in carrying out tasks or decision-making and the person's poor relationship with colleagues, directors or bosses.

     The term "Burnout" emerged in the 70's associated with professions in which it is necessary to deal with people, such as doctors, nurses, teachers, police and firefighters and is currently extended to all professions. In Portugal, says the specialist, it has been more intensely reflected in the last 30 years since the population’s life “improved in social and economic terms” but which forced “drastic changes” and, in a certain way, “impositional” . And the pandemic has further accentuated the risk “because people no longer have what they think they need to live well socially”. Fear, isolation, teleworking, the absence of socializing between families or friends, all this new reality - which has been maintained since 2020 - leads João Fialho to risk “saying that we are experiencing social burnout”.

"Younger workers are the most affected"

    According to a study by the Ricardo Jorge National Institute of Health, published in October 2020, “25% of the general population and 32% of health professionals had symptoms of burnout”. Looking at the part of the table that concerns the lowest age group, it can be seen that young people between the ages of 18 and 29 are the most affected, representing 31.8% of the population with symptoms of burnout.
    In a brief reflection, João Fialho considers that this higher incidence in young people can be explained by the precariousness of hiring, which translates into low wages, contracts with green receipts or through successive internships. “Society has treated its young people very badly and then it still asks itself why the birth rate continues to drop”, he says.


"The immeasurable passion for work"

    It is not so rare that we have already come across or heard of a person who is so committed to his professional activity that he forgets to have a personal life. This passion is generally seen as a good thing by those in charge, the problem arises when “this passion is not shared and the person realizes that he is in love alone”. Often, underlines João Fialho, “people with greater efforts and greater work skills are discriminated against and the envy of the people they work with”.
    Sometimes, the fact that a worker “produces more than others” causes the latter to put pressure on him to work less or to “marginalize” that worker. Situations like these, he explains, can cause the person to “reach a deep situation of exhaustion”, in which he feels that he “has nothing left to give and feels uncomfortable in his workplace”.
For the specialist, one of the biggest problems of Portuguese society “is the lack of organization and people management skills” combined with the demand for short-term financial results. “When the work is done on an improvised basis”, that is, when workers are not given the necessary tools and there is a lack of planning, there is a high probability of having casualties due to the syndrome associated with work.
    People who “work towards a goal and feel supported and understood by colleagues and managers” remain motivated, even if the initial goal fails, adds João Fialho. Drawing on the experience and treatment of patients who had depressive symptoms associated with work, the psychiatrist, who gives consultations in Santarém, argues: “Burnout can be cured, but it is not with medication. Most of the time, you only get over it by nipping the problem in the bud”, that is, changing jobs.

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