Antidepressant Effects Thwarted by Stressful Environments

A new study, about to be published in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, investigates the role a stressful environment plays in antidepressant effectiveness. The results of this study, conducted on mice to examine brain inflammation, indicate that SSRIs such as fluoxetine (Prozac) may only be effective for those who live relatively unstressed lives. Indeed, those with stressful lives may actually find their symptoms worsened by the use of such antidepressant medications.

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German Psychologists Declare “the Drugs Don’t Work”

Jürgen Margraf and Silvia Schneider, both well-known psychologists at the University of Bochum in Germany, claim that psychotropic drugs are no solution to mental health issues in an editorial for the latest issue of the journal EMBO Molecular Medicine. They argue that the effects of psychiatric drugs for depression, anxiety, and ‘ADHD’ are short-lived and may have negative long-term consequences.

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CDC Advises Nonopioid Treatments for Chronic Pain

Primary care clinicians and mental health providers face a particular set of challenges when treating individuals with chronic pain. These problems are compounded by concerns regarding medication efficacy and misuse, as well as a feeling among clinicians that they lack appropriate training. The Center for Disease Control & Prevention’s Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain was published in March with the goal of improving communication “between providers and patients about the risks and benefits of opioid therapy for chronic pain…” The authors conclude the report with twelve recommendations, the first being to avoid using opioid therapy as the first line of treatment for chronic pain, as well as discussing the risks of long-term opioid therapy.

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Enough is Enough Series, #5 – The ADHD Fiction is Exposed. The French Have Got this one Right.

The time has come that the fictitious ADHD qualifies for my ‘Enough is Enough’ series. It’s time to stop addressing pharmaceutical psychiatry on its own terms: its fraudulent and corrupt ‘science,’ its spurious ‘evidence base,’ and its imaginary psychiatric ‘diseases.’ I’m done with this. The evidence is in. Let’s get real. Psychiatry has become a profession of drug pushers. As a psychiatrist I am beyond troubled. Let’s get real.
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Sociologist Offers New Perspective on Voice Hearing

In a new chapter published in The Sociological Review Monographs, Lisa Blackman explores how an interdisciplinary model and epigenetics can be helpful in understanding the impacts of trauma on voice hearing. Blackman uses the Hearing Voices Movement as an example of an organization that has challenged a biomedical perspective that pathologizes voice hearing.

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“Researchers Confront an Epidemic of Loneliness”

Katie Hafner, writing in the ‘Times, describes how loneliness has become a major public health issue. “The profound effects of loneliness on health and independence are a critical public health problem,” said Dr. Carla M. Perissinotto, a geriatrician at the University of California, San Francisco. “It is no longer medically or ethically acceptable to ignore older adults who feel lonely and marginalized.

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Searching for a Rose Garden: Challenging Psychiatry, Fostering Mad Studies

Searching for a Rose Garden:
Challenging Psychiatry, Fostering Mad Studies
is a timely and unique collection of essays that should be of interest to anyone with personal experience with, or research interests in, mental difference, psychiatrization and its resistance.
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Review Finds Link Between Recession and Mental Health Issues

A literature review published in BMC Public Health by researchers from Portugal and the Czech Republic summarizes results from 101 studies investigating the effect of recent economic recessions on populations’ mental health. Most of the studies were conducted in countries in Europe and North America. The results indicate that, despite the lack of longitudinal data, there is growing evidence cross-nationally that periods of recession lead to an increase in the diagnosis of 'mental illness,' substance use and abuse, and suicide rates.

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Meta-Analysis Finds Exercise Improves Cognition in Individuals with Schizophrenia

A new review, published in Schizophrenia Bulletin, examines the effects of exercise on cognition in individuals diagnosed with 'schizophrenia.' The results of the meta-analysis provide evidence that physical activity is related to better cognitive functioning.

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Policies Needed to Address Strong Link Between Trauma and Psychosis, Researchers Conclude

A new study, published online ahead of print in the journal Clinical Psychology Review, investigates the underlying connection between the experience of trauma and the development of symptoms associated with psychosis. The researchers discuss both psychological and biological mechanisms that may account for this connection and conclude that there is an urgent need for both trauma-informed treatments and preventative community-based and policy level interventions.

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Review Examines Complementary Approaches for Pain Conditions

A review published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings used U.S.-based clinical trial evidence to examine the efficacy of complementary health approaches for chronic pain management. Conducted by researchers at the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) at the National Institutes of Health, the review includes trials of pain management techniques such as acupuncture and yoga. The results show that some approaches have strong benefits for pain treatment and management.

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Ioannidis Questions Strength of Psychology and Neuroscience Literature

Last week, well-known Stanford scientist John Ioannidis and his colleague Denes Szucs released a new analysis online. They examined research published in eighteen prominent psychology and cognitive neuroscience journals over the past five years and found that the studies in these fields are generally of “unacceptably low” power and suffer from inflated effect sizes and selective reporting.

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New Study Raises Doubts About fMRI Neuroimaging Research

More than forty thousand papers have been published using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) technology to explore the brain. A new analysis of the common methods used in these studies is calling the entire field into question, however. The new study, published open-access in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests that the methods used in fMRI research can create the illusion of brain activity where there is none—up to 70% of the time.

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Clinton Releases Mental Health Plan

Today, Hillary Clinton’s campaign released their plan for addressing mental health care in the United States. The plan calls for a full integration of physical and mental health care systems, implementing early intervention programs, training law enforcement to respond to people in crisis, making treatment accessible to low-level offenders, and increasing funding for community health centers. The presidential candidate also plans, if elected, to hold a conference on mental health at the White House in the first year.

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Lancet Study on CBT and Behavioral Activation Challenged

In July, The Lancet published a study finding that cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) from trained psychotherapists was not superior to short-term behavior activation (BA) intervention delivered by minimally trained workers for depression. The study has come under criticism, however, with the Mind the Brain PloS blog questioning the motives behind the suggestion that clinical psychologists can be replaced by less expensive mental health workers.

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Fighting For Change: An Epiphany From Inside the “Movement”

I am a person labeled with “severe and persistent mental illness,” and so I have been trying to break the cycle of oppression that comes with a label like that. At the same time, I am trying to find ways to heal and to accept things about myself that are different from others, while also seeking to raise up my brothers and sisters in this desolate and dark place. This morning, I had an epiphany upon awakening. While it’s hard to put into words, it feel’s vital, and I want to try and get it down.
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Study Finds ADHD Drugs Alter Developing Brain

A new study, published in the JAMA Psychiatry, investigates the effect of stimulant ‘ADHD’ drugs on the brains of children and young adults. The results of the randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, the ‘gold standard’ for evidence in academic medicine, indicate that methylphenidate (Ritalin) has a distinct effect on children that may lead to lasting neurological changes.

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Sociologist Explores the DSM-5’s Failed Attempt at Validity

In a new article for the journal Social Science & Medicine, sociologist Owen Whooley investigates how the DSM-5 creators failed in their attempt to create a valid diagnostic system.

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Neuroscientists Consider the Effect of the Gut on the Brain

A review article published in the International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology summarizes the latest research on the role that microbiota in the gut play in brain function and behavior. While the research on this topic is new, and many open questions remain, experts are hopeful that bacteria-based interventions may be developed in the future that have a positive impact on mental health.

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Inner Fire: Healing and Recovery Without Meds

For five years, I and others worked to create a residential healing community in Brookline, Vermont, where people could recover from debilitating and traumatic life experiences, which often lead to addiction and mental health challenges, without the use of psychotropic medications. We welcomed our first six seekers to a yearlong, therapeutic and farm-based, day program last September, and we now can report on what we have learned during this time.
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Systemic Racism Erodes Mental Health, Study Finds

New research out of the United Kingdom examines the cumulative impact of systemic racism on the mental health of minorities over time.  The study, published in the American Journal of Public Health, finds that people who experience repeated incidents of racial discrimination are significantly more likely to report mental health problems than those who experience fewer instances of discrimination.

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“What if Addiction Is Not a Disease?”

For The Chronicle of Higher Education, David Schimke reports on how debate erupted at a substance abuse conference over whether or not addiction should be considered a disease. "Is there a biomarker that tells you that you have a disease? No. Is there a definitive set of circumstances? No," says Hugh Garavan, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Vermont. "There’s no biological test for it. We don’t have a single medical test."

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Pilot Study Adapts Open Dialogue for US Health Care

In an article for Psychiatric Services, psychiatrist Christopher Gordon and his colleagues report on the results of a one-year feasibility study attempting to implement Open Dialogue approaches to crisis intervention to the treatment of first-episode psychosis in the US. Their trial program was successful, with positive clinical outcomes, improved functioning, and significant changes in symptoms, leading the researchers to suggest that states consider adopting to Open Dialogue model.

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“Study Finds Mental Health Patients No Better Off Behind Locked Doors”

The Lancet Psychiatry published a study last week finding no benefit to locking up patients in mental health hospitals. Data on 145,000 patients found no difference in rates of suicide and patients leaving against advice when comparing those with similar symptoms severity in locked and unlocked wards. “Psychiatry professor Tom Burns, whose commentary on the study was also published in The Lancet, told Nine To Noon an open-door policy could be preferable for those with depression, anxiety or psychosis, as it promoted a better therapeutic atmosphere and more positive health outcomes.”

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You Can Have Any Kind of Treatment You Want, Providing it’s Our Kind

Mental health nurse education supports institutional psychiatric practice in an insufficiently questioning way. Its formal curricula in universities are often undermined by the informal curricula of practice environments. As an institution, mental health nursing pays insufficient attention to both these issues because it is an arguably un-reflexive and rule-following discipline.
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