Prior use of benzodiazepines, such as Xanax, Librium, or Ativan, may increase the risk of treatment-resistant depression (TRD), according to a new study published in The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease. The study, which aimed to examine the determinants of TRD, found that the "regular use of benzodiazepines was a particularly strong correlate of TRD."
New research is investigating how “poverty reduction promotes cognitive and brain development.” Kimberly Noble, a professor of neuroscience at Teachers College, Columbia University, writes in the Washington Post of her plans to run a large clinical trial involving cash payments to low-income families. She hopes that the study will be able to “estimate the impact of these cash supplements on children’s cognitive, emotional and brain development, as well as the effect on family functioning.”
Chile’s Skills for Life (SFL) program, the largest school-based psychosocial intervention program in the world, has demonstrated improved behavioral and academic outcomes for elementary students identified as “at risk.” A team of Chilean and U.S. researchers assessed the SFL program and will publish their results in the October issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (JAACAP).
The Chronicle of Higher Education has called the soaring rates of anxiety and depression among college students an “Epidemic of Anguish.” PBS interviews Jennifer Ruark, the editor of the Chronicle series, and Micky Sharma, the director of counseling at Ohio State University. Ruark reports that about “1 in 4 students reporting to campus counseling centers now are already on some kind of psychotropic medication.” Sharma adds, “just because a student is crying does not mean he or she needs psychotherapy. Sometimes that’s actually the type of emotional response that I would want to see.”
This month’s issue of JAMA Psychiatry ran an editorial commenting on recent research revealing that the majority of youth prescribed antipsychotics have not been diagnosed with a mental disorder. For these youth, the harms outweigh the benefits.
On Tuesday, NPR told the story of DeAngelo Cortijo. DeAngelo became a foster kid at age 3 after his mother attempted suicide. He was “diagnosed with bipolar and anxiety disorders, attachment disorder, intermittent explosive disorder or posttraumatic stress disorder,” and was prescribed “a combination of antipsychotics, antidepressants and stimulants, and was told that taking them was his only hope of being normal.” Through equine therapy, DeAngelo was eventually able to get off all of his medication. Now, California is hoping to pass reforms that would prevent foster kids, like DeAngelo, from being “prescribed antipsychotic drugs at double to quadruple the rate of [those] not in foster care.”
“We are consistently seeing sensory, motor, and cognitive issues pop up more and more in later childhood, partly because of inadequate opportunities to move and play at an early age,” writes Angela Hanscom in The Washington Post.
Healthline reports that as five second-generation antipsychotics (SGAs) lose patent protection, Medicaid expenditures for antipsychotics are projected to be cut in half over the next five years. But some worry that the decrease in spending may lead policymakers to lift existing restrictions on antipsychotics at a time when most SGAs are prescribed to children for off-label reasons.
In what the editor of the American Journal of Psychiatry called a "landmark" study, an international team of researchers re-examined data from the large Twin and Offspring Study of Sweden, and discovered environmental factors more readily explained anxiety "inheritance" than did genetics. More →
Salon looks at old data on depression studies and new data on anxiety disorders, and finds pharmaceutical companies and psychiatric researchers still "aren't telling you the whole truth." More →
Time discusses a review of the literature published in the journal of Aging and Mental Health, examining the effects of a number of relaxation techniques on depression and anxiety in elderly people. More →
Researchers in Kinesiology and Community Health at the University of Illinois reported in Depression and Anxiety that their meta-analysis of the scientific literature showed that "a single bout" of exercise could reduce anxiety symptoms. More →
Many youth who get into legal troubles have histories of having social anxieties, and seem to derive benefit from becoming engaged in simple, service-oriented social activities, according to a study in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. More →
There are a lot of publication and reporting biases in studies of the efficacy of second-generation antidepressants for the treatment of anxiety, according to a study in JAMA Psychiatry. More →
So here we go again; another meeting with another young person who describes how he is in an acute crisis – you may call it – and is diagnosed and prescribed neuroleptics. He is told by the doctor that he suffers from a life-long illness and he will from now on be dependent on his “medication.” As long as people are met this way I see no alternative than showing that there are alternatives. If that means being “antipsychiatry,” then I am more than happy to define myself and our work in that way.
The ingestion of prebiotics that feed good bacteria in the human gut shows promise as a way to help alleviate anxiety and depression, according to a University of Oxford study in Psychopharmacology. The study adds to previous research showing that probiotics, which add good bacteria to the gut, can also have beneficial psychological effects, the researchers said. More →
PsyBlog discusses various studies that show "unexpected advantages" to having somewhat higher levels of anxiety. Many people feel that those who are more easily embarrassed are actually more trustworthy, and anxiety seems to be associated with better memories and fewer fatal accidents. More →
Data from a series of large, national longitudinal surveys show that symptoms of most mental illnesses in Canadian youth have in fact been stable or declining since 1994, according to a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. So why does the opposite seem to be occurring, asked the authors. More →
Pediatric psychiatrist Sujartha Ramakrishna describes a planned University of Wisconsin psychiatric experiment "to discover new therapies by dissecting and analyzing the brains of baby monkeys who have been intentionally traumatized." Is such an experiment ethical, Ramakrishna asks in The Cap Times -- and can it possibly lead to anything truly helpful? More →
"Is this the future of medicine?" asks Stephen Armstrong in the British Medical Journal. "Little Artie has been left at the doorstep of his grandma’s house—a spooky mansion filled with shadows. His grandma has been taken, and only he can save her. As he moves through corridors and darkened rooms, terrifying shapes loom above him. His only friend is Teru the Magical Hat, who shines more brightly the calmer Artie becomes. If Artie panics, however, Teru dims and the darkness grows." More →
Two psychologists writing for Scientific American Mind review some of the evidence base for the impacts of mindfulness meditation on problematic psychological states. They conclude that the ancient techniques "hold promise as remedies for depression and possibly anxiety" and are actually "potent" in preventing relapses in the chronically depressed. More →
Copyright © 2015 Mad In America Inc.