What are mood disorders?
Mood disorders are a group of conditions characterized by an individual’s loss of control of his or her feelings and customary state of mind. These changes are typically quite distressing to the individual and his or her family and often impair work or school performance. The particular collection of symptoms that arise may indicate one or more of the following:
- Unipolar Depression
- Bipolar Depression, Hypomania or Mania
- Anxiety Disorders (which include Generalized Anxiety, Panic, Social Anxiety, Simple Phobias, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, and Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
What is the purpose of the M3 (“WhatsMyM3”)?
The M3 website encourages individuals to complete the M3 Screen, a private, self-rated checklist for potential mood and anxiety symptoms. The checklist responses trigger a feedback page indicating each individual’s relative risk for Depression, an Anxiety Disorder, Bipolar Disorder and PTSD. The Screen responses and the resulting M3 analysis of risk may be printed, emailed, or securely accessed online by a designated health care professional, all at the discretion of the user.
The information provided by the M3 expedites and organizes a discussion between doctor and patient of relevant mental health issues at their next office visit, helping to direct the clinician toward a more accurate diagnosis. By providing parallel educational material for patients, the M3 encourages compliance and long-range follow-up of progress.
Who would benefit from completing the M3 online?
Anyone 18 years and older may complete the M3 Checklist online. Patients will benefit by being directed toward more accurate diagnosis and treatment. Physicians benefit from the M3 because poorly treated mood and anxiety disorders impede compliance with medical treatments generally, and adversely affect recovery from illness and overall medical health. Within the tight time constraints of a typical office visit, the M3 provides an algorithm for up-to-date, evidence-based treatment of mood and anxiety disorders, helping to extend effective treatment to an underserved population of patients.
How many Americans suffer from mood and anxiety disorders?
According to a major 2005 study reported in the New England Journal of Medicine, every year one out of every six Americans has a diagnosable, moderate to severe mental disorder. Additionally, the Surgeon General's Report on Mental Health 2000 stated that nearly 75% of all patients who visit a primary care physician have a psychological component to their initial complaint. More than 16% of Americans (35 million people) suffer from depression severe enough to warrant treatment at some time in their lives, according to the National Comorbidity Study, sponsored by the National Institutes of Health.
How many Americans are untreated for mood and anxiety disorders?
Less than half of Americans with a diagnosable mental disorder – nearly 28.9 million Americans – receive help for their condition, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Are Americans receiving proper treatment for mood and anxiety disorders?
In general, the answer is no. Sixty percent of people in treatment for depression do not receive adequate care, according to a study by the National Institute of Health of 9,000 Americans. The study defined “adequate treatment” as 30 days of an antidepressant or a mood stabilizer, along with four visits to a doctor or at least eight 30-minute psychotherapy sessions with a mental health professional.
Many people with other mood and anxiety disorders are un-, under- or misdiagnosed for their conditions.
How does the M3 help ensure appropriate diagnosing?
The M3 is not designed to diagnose illness on its own. Rather, it is meant to elicit symptoms that may indicate a psychiatric illness. Physicians must use the symptoms checklist responses and the risk assessment provided as a basis for formulating a diagnosis and treatment. The M3 website does provide physicians with supplemental information that guides them through this formulation, including relevant follow-up questions to ask. A medication overview chart clearly matches the choices of medications with the symptoms the drugs are intended to treat. There is an outline of each drug’s side effects and potentially harmful drug interactions. Based on this information, doctors can readily determine the most appropriate medication.
How often will patients use the M3?
Once they have completed the initial screen, those patients who begin medication treatment and/or psychotherapy are encouraged to record their progress on a biweekly basis for the first month and monthly thereafter. The M3 website provides patient forms for the monitoring of progress and potential side-effects. This monitoring system, again, may be shared with the treating physician via hard copy, fax, or our secure online site for health care professionals. When medication adjustments are indicated, physicians can make use of the follow-up information provided by the patient in the M3. Because most courses of medication should last a minimum of 9 to 12 months, the M3 encourages monitoring for a full year.
Will there be a separate test for adolescents?
Yes. We are currently developing a separate checklist for patients under the age of 18 years.
How was the M3 Checklist validated?
A research group from the University of North Carolina, headed by Dr. Bradley Gaynes, assisted by Joanne DeVeaugh-Geiss, conducted a study of 650 patients at the UNC Family Practice Clinic. This study confirmed the validity of the M3 Checklist as a diagnostic tool, utilizing the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview as a standard.
Why was the M3 created?
The primary care clinician is usually the first healthcare provider a person sees to discuss a mood problem.
By better organizing your information the M3 should enable you and your advisor to better serve your healthcare needs.
The numbers of undiagnosed and misdiagnosed mental health patients continues to increase at an alarming rate. The customized assessment report you receive after completing the M3 Screen efficiently organizes your responses over a range of mood disorders.
WhatsMyM3 enables patients and clinicians to monitor trends over time.
Who created M3?
The M3 was created by primary collaborators Robert M. Post, MD Head of the Bipolar Collaborative Network, Bernard M. Snyder, MD Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Georgetown University and a cognitive behavioral therapist, Michael L. Byer, Director of M3 Information and Gerald Hurowitz, MD Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University and a clinical psychopharmacologist.
Do other tools similar to the M3 already exist?
Several tests exist that contain certain aspects of the M3. However, to our knowledge, the M3 is the only self-administered clinical tool that integrates patient self-rating of symptoms covering all of the major mood and anxiety disorders. It is the first such instrument that includes patient education and a monitor of patient improvement and side-effects covering the full course of treatment.
Where is the M3 available?
The M3 can be found at the following web address: www.WhatsMyM3.com
Should the patient share their M3 results with their general practitioner or should they go to see a psychological specialist?
M3 users are encouraged to share their results with their physician. However, the M3 supports the use of talk therapy as a treatment modality. Through education it helps guide patient and physician in making a choice to consider psychotherapy as well as pharmacotherapy. Referrals for outside counseling are made when appropriate for a given clinical situation, in addition to or in lieu of medication.
Why is M3 important?
The M3 will help to address the serious problems of under- and misdiagnosis and mistreatment for mood disorders. Increased dialogue between physicians and patients will lead to greater recognition of symptoms, understanding of patient treatment needs and options as well as overall compliance.
The consequences of untreated mood disorders go well beyond associated suffering, acute disability, and considerable potential for suicide. Individuals suffering from depression are two to four times more likely to suffer from a heart attack, and once a heart attack strikes, are two to four times more likely to die from it. Recovery from other illnesses — including stroke, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and cancer — is delayed or relatively less complete among individuals who have depression.
Our great hope is that improvements in the symptom identification and treatment compliance of mood disorders will lead to saved lives and significant cost savings for the entire healthcare system.
How was the M3 Checklist validated?
A research group from the University of North Carolina, headed by Bradley Gayne, MD, assisted by Joanne DeVeaugh-Geiss, conducted a study of 650 patients at the University of North Carolina Family Practice Clinic. This study confirmed the validity of the M3 Checklist as a diagnostic tool, utilizing the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview as a standard.
How does the M3 help ensure appropriate diagnosing?
The M3 is not designed to diagnose illness on its own. Rather, it is meant to elicit symptoms that may indicate a psychiatric illness. Physicians must use the symptoms checklist responses and the risk assessment provided as a basis for formulating a diagnosis and treatment. The M3 website does provide physicians with supplemental information that guides them through this formulation, including relevant follow-up questions to ask. A medication overview chart clearly matches the choices of medications with the symptoms the drugs are intended to treat. There is an outline of each drug’s side effects and potentially harmful drug interactions Based on this information, doctors can readily determine the most appropriate medication.