Antipsychotic Dose Reduction Linked To Long-term Improvements In First-Episode Schizophrenia Patients

Careful reductions in dosage levels of antipsychotic medications over time improved long-term rates of recovery and functional remission in patients diagnosed with a first-episode psychosis, according to a study led by Lex Wunderink reported in a Supplement of European Psychiatry. More →

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No Treatments Have “Clinically Meaningful” Impacts On Negative Symptoms of Schizophrenia

While most treatments have had "statistically significant" success in clinical trials, no common psychiatric or psychological treatments improve what are termed "negative" symptoms of schizophrenia at levels that are "clinically meaningful," according to a meta-analysis in Schizophrenia Bulletin. More →

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Early Intervention For Psychosis Programs Arrive Too Late, Don’t Address Childhood Adversity

Early intervention in psychosis (EIP) efforts have not delivered on their promise of preventing more serious schizophrenia from developing, according to a review of the literature published in Progress in Neurology and Psychiatry. And the problem may be, the authors argued, that EIP efforts actually still come too late while attempting to address the wrong causes. More →

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Troubled Neighborhoods Seem to Raise Risk of Psychotic Disorder Diagnoses

People who live in more "disorganized" and troubled neighborhoods -- especially high-crime ones -- are more likely to get diagnoses of psychotic disorders, according to a study in Psychological Medicine. More →

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No Brain Abnormalities in Early Psychosis

Brain scans of Singapore youth in a high risk mental state for psychosis found no evidence of brain abnormalities, according to a study in Schizophrenia Bulletin. More →

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A Review of Issues Surrounding Marijuana and Madness

In Psychiatric Times, Robin Murray discusses a number of studies and what the balance of evidence seems to be saying about the relationship between cannabis use and increased risk of short or long-term psychotic reactions in some people. More →

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Negative Schizophrenia Symptoms Reduce Over Time — With or Without Treatment

The strength of "negative" symptoms of schizophrenia such as blunted speech, social withdrawal and inability to experience pleasure tends to reduce over time both with and without treatment, according to a study in Psychological Medicine. More →

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The Ethical Challenges of Early Intervention in Psychosis

In Schizophrenia Bulletin, Columbia University psychiatrist Paul Applebaum reviews the challenges of intervening early in psychosis before symptoms emerge, and of doing so in an ethically responsible manner when risks may outweigh possible benefits. More →

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How Can We Build a Better Evidence Base for Treating Psychosis with Therapy?

A commentary in Frontiers in Psychology suggests that the evidence to support the use of cognitive behavioral therapy as a treatment for psychosis is tenuous, in part because the actual practice of CBT itself is so variable when used with people experiencing such diverse symptoms. More →

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Evidence Tentative for Links Between Cat Parasite and Schizophrenia

The balance of evidence "suggests" some kind of association between T. gondii, a common parasite found in cats, and schizophrenia, bipolar, obsessive-compulsive disorder and addiction, according to a meta-analysis in Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica. However, the relationship does not seem to be as strong as has been argued by other researchers such as E. Fuller Torrey, the authors wrote. More →

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Antipsychotic-induced Sexual Dysfunction Underreported

Most people diagnosed with schizophrenia have the same interest in sex as the general population, but experience higher levels of sexual dysfunction in large part due to antipsychotic medications, according to a review of the literature published in Schizophrenia Bulletin. The researchers found some antipsychotics to be worse than others, and that clinicians rarely discuss sexual issues with patients. More →

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“Insight” into “Mental Illness” Associated with Depression, Poorer Life Satisfaction

Many people being treated for mental illnesses feel slightly more depressed and much less satisfied with their lives if they have greater "insight" into their illnesses, according to a study in Schizophrenia Research. "Insight" was defined by the authors as being related to acknowledgement of one's illness along with "treatment adherence" and "treatment engagement." More →

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“Treatment Resistant” Schizophrenia Strongly Linked to Dopamine Supersensitivity

Over 70% of schizophrenia patients who are "treatment resistant" have apparently developed dopamine supersensitivity psychosis from long-term use of antipsychotic medications, according to a study in Psychiatry Research. More →

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Exercise is an Effective Intervention for Schizophrenia

Separately, two intervention trials and a meta-analysis of the scientific literature found that aerobic exercise significantly helps people struggling with schizophrenia. More →

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Childhood Trauma Connected to Severity of Hallucinations in Ethnic Minorities

The reason that ethnic minorities with psychosis in Norway experience higher levels of severe hallucinations seems to be related to the fact that they also have typically experienced more severe trauma and abuse in their childhoods, according to research in Psychological Medicine. More →

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More Concerns About Links Between Marijuana Use and Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia Bulletin has published three new articles exploring issues related to marijuana use and schizophrenia. Schizophrenia Research has also this month published two articles. More →

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Smoking May Thin the Brain Cortex, Increase Dementia, Schizophrenia Risks

Two research reports in Nature have suggested links between smoking and impacts on brain thickness and plasticity, while a commentary in The Lancet Psychiatry discussed what the apparent strong links between smoking and schizophrenia may mean. More →

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“Recovery, Not Progressive Illness, Should Be the Expectation in Schizophrenia”

In World Psychiatry, two Canadian psychiatrists argue that the body of scientific evidence about schizophrenia shows that it is not a progressive illness and therefore we should have much higher expectations of full recoveries than we do. More →

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No Proven Treatments of Any Kind for Psychosis or Schizophrenia in Children or Youth

There are no proven treatments of any kind for children or adolescents experiencing psychosis or schizophrenia, according to a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized comparison trials published in PLOS One. More →

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Do Psychological Therapies for Schizophrenia and Psychosis Work? – A Debate

The journal Progress in Neurology and Psychiatry hosts a debate between Peter Kinderman, one of the co-authors of the British Psychological Society's recent Understanding Psychosis and Schizophrenia report, and two authors whose meta-analysis of cognitive behavioral therapy was cited in that report. More →

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Heavy Marijuana Use Associated With Three Times Higher Risk of Psychosis

People who smoke high-potency marijuana, especially if they do so daily, are at a three to five times greater risk of experiencing hospitalization for psychosis than people who smoke low-potency marijuana or no marijuana at all, according to research in The Lancet Psychiatry. More →

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Robert Whitaker Missed the Mark on Drugs and Disability: A Call for a Focus on Structural Violence

Robert Whitaker extended one of his core arguments from Anatomy of an Epidemic in a blog post last week. His argument revolves around the claim that psychiatric drugs are the principal cause of increasing psychiatric disability, as measured by U.S. social security disability claims. But does this really explain the rise in recipients of these SSI & SSDI benefits?
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The Dopamine Hypothesis of Schizophrenia – Version III

The Division of Clinical Psychology of the British Psychological Society published a paper titled Understanding Psychosis and SchizophreniaThe central theme of the paper is that the condition known as psychosis is better understood as a response to adverse life events rather than as a symptom of neurological pathology. The paper was wide-ranging and insightful and, predictably, drew support from most of us on this side of the issue and criticism from psychiatry.  Section 12 of the paper is headed “Medication” and under the subheading “Key Points” you’ll find this quote: “[Antipsychotic] drugs appear to have a general rather than a specific effect: there is little evidence that they are correcting an underlying biochemical abnormality.”
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How Can Two Such Radically Different Experiences Both Be Called “Schizophrenia”?

In The Lancet Psychiatry, psychiatrist Jose Andres Saez Fonseca disposes with the language of "the diagnostic manuals," and intimately describes two troubled people he once knew, and the very different inner worlds each of them lived within. He then laments that "schizophrenia" seems to be a poor and misleading label for either of these people's experiences, let alone for both of them. More →

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Different Antipsychotics Have Different Effects on Brain Volume

First generation antipsychotics seem to cause general brain volume loss, while second generation antipsychotics seem to both increase and decrease the thickness of different parts of the brain, according to a study led by University of Melbourne researchers published in Psychological Medicine. And the effects on the brain, they found, are noticeable within a matter of months of beginning to take the medications. More →

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