While some people find their lives ruined by belief in imagined conspiracies that affect them personally – they may isolate from, or even attack, friends and family, and get diagnosed with psychosis – many other people believe in conspiracies on the basis of little evidence, yet have prominent places in society or even bodies like the US Senate. Yet it seems clear to me that the same dynamics are often involved in both. Full Article →
Jacks McNamara is a genderqueer artist, writer, organizer, and healer. Jacks co-founded The Icarus Project and is the subject of the poetic documentary Crooked Beauty. They are the author of Inbetweenland, released by Deviant Type Press, have self-published 5 zines, and are co-author … Full Article →
Those of us, the survivors, who speak from experience, with nothing to gain from sharing our stories and in fact a hell of a lot to lose, risk having them revised or repudiated at every turn by the very people who, and paradigm which, sickened us. I’m simply trying to tell my story as I lived it, because I know exactly what I went through and why, and I don’t think anyone else should have to suffer this way if they need not do so. Full Article →
Despite the integral importance of blinding and blinding assessment to randomized controlled trials (RCTs), they are rarely reported on or documented in trial reports according to this study published yesterday in Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics. The study of schizophrenia and affective disorder medication research in 2,467 publications from 2000 to 2010 found that an absence of blinding and blinding assessment was associated with an increased rate of positive findings of treatment success, industrial sponsorship, and diagnosis of schizophrenia.
A North Carolina study of 1,420 participants finds higher rates of agoraphobia (4.6x), generalized anxiety disorder (2.7x), and panic disorder (3.1x) among victims of bullying. Among those who had been both bullies and victims, the study found higher rates of depression (4.8x), panic disorder (14.5x), agoraphobia (26.7x) and suicidality (18.5x) in both childhood and young adulthood. Results appeared in JAMA Psychiatry.
In July this year, Antimicrobrial Agents & Chemotherapy had an article – Fluoxetine is a Potent Inhibitor of Coxsackievirus Replication by Zuo J, Quinn KK and colleagues. “No antiviral drugs currently exist for the treatment of enterovirus infections, which are often … Full Article →
From the Salon.com review of “All We Have to Fear”:
“The modern psychopharmacological revolution began in 1954 with the introduction of Thorazine, hailed as the first “anti-psychotic.” It was followed in short order by so-called “minor tranquilizers:” Miltown, and then drugs like Valium and Librium. The Rolling Stones famously sang of “mother’s little helper,” which enabled the bored housewife to get through to her “busy dying day.” Mother’s helper had a huge potential market. Drug companies, however, were faced with a problem. As each company sought its own magic potion, it encountered a roadblock of sorts: its psychiatric consultants were unable to deliver homogeneous populations of test subjects suffering from the same diagnosed illness in the same way. Without breaking the amorphous catchall of “mental disturbance” into defensible sub-sets, the drug companies could not develop the data they needed to acquire licenses to market the new drugs.”
Researchers at the University of Central Florida, saying “there are relatively few existing studies examining neuropsychological functioning in social phobia,” found no difference across nine domains of neuropsychological functioning between 25 individuals with a diagnosis of social phobia and 25 controls. “These findings suggest,” the authors state in PLoS One, published on August 3, “underlying neuropsychological deficits are not likely to account for the information processing biases observed in the empirical literature, and appear to be consistent with current theoretical models which argue for the specificity of these biases to social information.”
A study of 566 families with 1416 bipolar-disordered members, and 675 families with 1726 depressed members by researchers from Johns Hopkins and the University of Iowa, published in Psychological Medicine‘s July issue finds that the comorbidity of these disorders with OCD, panic disorder and specific phobia is “at least partly due to familial factors, which may be of relevance to both phenotypic and genetic studies of co-morbidity.”
Researchers from the MRC Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre of King’s College’s Institute of Psychiatry in London, publishing in the Journal of Affective Disorders, review the literature on ADHD and bipolar disorder. The boundaries between the two are blurred, they say, and “comorbidity and family studies appear to show that the two disorders occur together and aggregate in families at higher than expected rates. Furthermore close inspection of results from population studies reveals heightened co-occurrence of ADHD and BD even in the context of high comorbidity commonly noted in psychopathology. These results point towards a meaningful association between ADHD and BD, going beyond symptomatic similarities.”
Researchers from Samaritan Mental Health in Corvallis, Oregon successfully treated 12 patients for anxiety by discontinuing their antidepressant medications. Some received alternative medications for depression that were not regarded as having anti-anxiety effects. The authors suggest that “some patients with anxiety may be treatable not by adding medications, but rather by tapering off existing ones.” Results appeared online June 12, 2012 in Medical Hypotheses.
Researchers found that of 1,534 patients assessed at Australia’s Black Dog Institute Depression clinic, a significant number received a false positive diagnosis of bipolar disorder as a result of anxiety conditions. The study is online via the Journal of Affective Disorders.
Researchers in London review the literature on attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and bipolar disorder (BD), finding that “comorbidity and family studies appear to show that the two disorders occur together and aggregate in families at higher than expected rates. Furthermore close inspection of results from population studies reveals heightened co-occurrence of ADHD and BD even in the context of high comorbidity commonly noted in psychopathology. These results point towards a meaningful association between ADHD and BD, going beyond symptomatic similarities.” The study was released online by the Journal of Affective Disorders on May 24, 2012.
Locus of Control (LOC), a measure of the degree to which one perceives control of one’s life to be internally- vs. externally-determined, was reviewed in 33,224 adults across 18 cultural regions in literature spanning 40 years. Researchers found that the relationship between LOC and psychological symptoms differed between cultures with distinct individualistic vs. collectivist orientations. The the study found that the link between external LOC and and anxiety was weaker in collectivist societies, and notes that external LOC does not carry the same negative connotations in these cultures. The study was released online on May 31, 2012 by Psychological Bulletin.
Researchers from Columbia and NYU found that stress sensitivity and impaired stress tolerance was greater in a cohort of 65 individuals deemed at high risk of psychosis, relative to controls. This tendency was associated over time with positive and negative symptoms, depression, anxiety and poor function. Life events were comparable in patients and controls, and was not associated with symptoms. Stress tolerance, symptoms, and function improved over time. Results appeared online June 1, 2012 in Psychological Medicine.
A study published online today (May 26, 2012) in Current Psychiatry Reports recommends Zyprexa as “elusive” pharmacologic solution to anorexia nervosa. On the basis of four randomized clinical trials, the study finds Zyprexa superior to placebo, Thorazine and Abilify in its ability to promote “weight gain and/or reduction in obsessional symptoms.”
Researchers from Spain, noting that “anxiety has scarcely been studied in acute mania,” analyzed data from 242 patients admitted for a diagnosis of acute mania (per DSM-IV TR criteria). Anxiety was associated with the severity of manic symptoms to an extremely significant degree (P < 0.0001, where any p value less than 0.05 is considered significant), and patients with anxiety were hospitalized 20% longer. Results were published online May 24, 2012 by Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica.
Researchers in Germany found a “relationship between a sudden increase in suicidality, anxiety symptoms, medication dosing and clinician and patient-rated akathisia” in patients with a first-episode diagnosis of schizophrenia who were treated with Haldol or Risperdal. Results were published online May 21, 2012 in Pharmocopsychiatry.
Researchers in England examined shame and social anxiety in a cross-sectional sample of people with and without psychosis. They found that social anxiety disorder (SAD) is “surprisingly prevalent among people with psychosis.” The authors suggest that shame cognitions “arising from a stigmatizing illness play a significant role in social anxiety in psychosis.” The article appeared in the FirstView section of Psychological Medicine on May 21, 2012.
Since 2001 almost $2 billion have been spent on drugs to treat mental illness and PTSD in soldiers, but mental illness is still the leading cause of hospitalization for active-duty troops. The “stunning growth in numbers and rates of mental health hospitalizations … is undeniable evidence of an unprecedented and arguably unmanageable epidemic that is now threatening the viability of the force,” wrote an anonymous Army doctor. The Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury has warned “evidence does NOT support the use of atypical antipsychotics as a monotherapy for PTSD.”
The Army is launching a high-level review of mental health cases going back to 2001 to ensure soldiers were denied appropriate care for PTSD. “The Army clearly realizes they have a nationwide, systematic problem on their hands,” said Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., who had pressed for an investigation. “The Army needs to fix the inconsistencies we’ve seen in diagnosing the invisible wounds of war.”
Stimulant medication does not improve the academic performance or test scores of the 9% of all children in the U.S. diagnosed with ADHD, according to research reviewed in Scientific American. Rather, study habits rather than medication differentiated high- and low-performing students with the diagnosis. Additionally, training parents of children with ADHD diagnoses in stress management and behavioral interventions to help their children produced significant improvement equal to medication, with fewer long-term complications.
Researchers in Italy found that of 105 subjects who met criteria for the DSM diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), only 18 had no other comorbid disorder. Almost no symptoms were specific to GAD, and most were prevalent in all other disorders on the mood/anxiety spectrum. They conclude that no GAD symptoms distinguished GAD patients from patients without GAD. Results appear in Comprehensive Psychiatry.
In response to pressure over the 40-fold increase of bipolar diagnoses in children, many of which are being reviewed and dropped in retrospect, the APA has proposed a new, potentially more transient “disruptive mood dysregulation disorder” that would apply to children with chronic irritability and recurrent temper outbursts, and would ostensibly be treated with antidepressants instead of antipsychotics. The proposal, according to the Boston Globe, has brought new scrutiny to Joseph Biederman,who argued that chronic irritability can be interpreted as juvenile mania.