Skip to Main Content

Emerging Theories on the Pathophysiology of Psychiatric Disorders

Emerging Theories on the Pathophysiology of Psychiatric Disorders

January 2023

This June at the APNA Clinical Psychopharmacology Institute, APNA member Lyons Hardy, MSN, PMHCNS, PMHNP will present fresh theories related to the conceptualization and pathophysiology of psychiatric disorders, as well as what implications these theories have for assessment and treatment.


It’s time to replace an outdated perspective

“The field of psychiatry is ever changing, and it’s important for PMH nurses to stay up to date on the latest research related to how we understand the etiologies of mental health problems. The chemical imbalance theory is outdated and reductionistic but unfortunately is still widely used to explain psychiatric symptoms. This presentation will offer alternative perspectives on how mental health problems are conceptualized and treated.”


Prescribing for the Whole Person

“Nurses take the time to treat the whole person. We know that systems are interconnected – evidence shows that the brain is affected by many things, including chronic inflammation and microbiome imbalances. For example, we can prescribe a medication for an individual’s symptoms, but medication may not address the issue if the source of the problem is outside the effectiveness of the prescribed medication. While research shows that medications can be effective for some diagnoses and symptoms, the field needs to move beyond the chemical imbalance theory and understand other treatment options that can be used to impact psychiatric symptoms.”


Four major areas of interest to cover

“I’ll be talking about the microbiome, chronic inflammation, HPA axis alterations, and circadian rhythm disturbance as four major areas of interest in understanding the pathophysiology of psychiatric disorders.”


The unique understanding of nurses

“Being a nurse has taught me to appreciate complexity and interconnectedness in understanding problems. Practicing from the nursing model of care means conceptualizing and addressing challenges from multiple perspectives and using a variety of modalities.”


Discover more important topics that will be covered at CPI this June 8-11 in Reston, VA or via virtual livestream.