Schizophrenia and Psychosis

In Chronic Patients, Antipsychotics Have Limited Efficacy in Reducing Symptoms

6
A large review and meta-analysis of 167 studies across 60 years dissects placebo-controlled randomized controlled trials of antipsychotic drugs.

Antipsychotic-induced Sexual Dysfunction Underreported

13
Researchers found some antipsychotics to be worse than others for causing sexual dysfunction.

Antipsychotic Medications Are Causing Obsessive Compulsive Disorders

20
Common second-generation antipsychotic medications are causing symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder to emerge in many people who previously only had schizophrenia symptoms, according to a...

Study Deems Support, Not Drugs, Best for Youth at Risk of Psychosis

5
Research by five U.K. universities across multiple sites for up to two years divided 288 young adults (14-35 years) deemed at risk for psychosis...

The Role of Racial Bias in the Overdiagnosis of Schizophrenia

40
Researchers detect disparity between white and African American patients diagnosed with schizophrenia when symptoms of a mood disorder are present.

Study Examines Women’s Experiences of Hearing Voices

1
An international group of researchers from multiple disciplines has published a historical, qualitative, and quantitative investigation into voice-hearing in women. The interdisciplinary project, freely available from Frontiers in Psychiatry, explores how sexism, exploitation, and oppression bear on women’s’ experiences of hearing voices.

Large Study Confirms Elevated Risk of Diabetes When Prescribed Antipsychotics

0
A large longitudinal study finds once more that being prescribed antipsychotics significantly increases the risk of diabetes.

Stigmatizing Effects of the Psychosis-Risk Label

40
Study examines the effects on participants of being told they are at risk of developing psychosis.

Landmark Schizophrenia Study Recommends More Therapy

50
Results of a large government-funded study call into question current drug heavy approaches to treating people diagnosed with schizophrenia. The study, which the New York Times called “by far the most rigorous trial to date conducted in the United States,” found that patients who received smaller doses of antipsychotic drugs with individual talk therapy, family training, and support for employment and education had a greater reduction in symptoms as well as increases in quality of life, and participation in work and school than those receiving the current standard of care.

The Road to Perdition

2
The recent research scandals out of the University of Minnesota’s Department of Psychiatry may be alarming, but they are not new. Back in the 1990s, when the university was working its way towards a crippling probation by the National Institutes of Health (for yet another episode of misconduct (this time in the Department of Surgery), the Department of Psychiatry hosted two spectacular cases of research wrongdoing, both of which resulted in faculty members being disqualified from conducting research by the FDA.

New Study Examines Successful Discontinuation of Antipsychotics

9
A new study to be published in the next issue of Schizophrenia Research examines patients suffering from a first-episode of psychosis who stop taking any antipsychotic drugs. The researchers attempt to identify variables that can serve as predictors of the successful discontinuation of antipsychotics. They find, for example, that those who discontinue the drugs have, on average, the same outcomes as those who stay on them, and that those who have better social integration are more likely to discontinue without relapse.

“Schizophrenia Breakthrough” – Or a Case of Ignoring the Most Important Evidence?

19
Last week, the headlines blared: "Schizophrenia breakthrough as genetic study reveals link to brain changes!"  We heard that our best hope for treating “schizophrenia” is to understand it at a genetic level, and that this new breakthrough would get us really started on that mission, as it showed how a genetic variation could lead to the more intense pruning of brain connections, which is often seen in those diagnosed with schizophrenia.  “For the first time, the origin of schizophrenia is no longer a complete black box,” said one (while admitting that "it's still early days").  The acting director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) described the study as “a crucial turning point in the fight against mental illness.” But is all this hype justified?

The Dopamine Hypothesis of Schizophrenia – Version III

27
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."

Danish Study Finds Better 10-year Outcomes in Patients Off Antipsychotics

12
Study finds that 74% of patients with a psychotic disorder off antipsychotics at end of 10 years are in remission.

CAFÉ Study: Real Science or Marketing Exercise?

4
I received the following question from a reader regarding the controversial CAFÉ – Comparisons of Atypicals in First Episode of Psychosis - study. (This was the study in which Dan Markingson committed suicide.) "It appears that there was no head-to-head with a control group taking a placebo pill. Nor was there a control group featuring 'old' types of 'antipsychotic'. If that was the case then it is very poor study . . . what on earth can you hope to show from the data?" I started to write a response, but the subject is complex, and my response became the following article.

Committed at 16: Memories of a State Hospital

22
While most of the sting is gone, even now — almost sixty years on — I can’t get through a single day without thinking about shock treatment and the state hospital. I regularly have dreams or nightmares about being lost in a strange place and someone making me feel like dirt.

“Treatment Resistant” Schizophrenia Strongly Linked to Dopamine Supersensitivity

25
Over 70% of schizophrenia patients who are "treatment resistant" have apparently developed dopamine supersensitivity psychosis from long-term use of antipsychotic medications.

Meta-analysis Links Childhood Trauma to Psychosis Symptoms

6
The study results suggest that experiences of childhood trauma impact the development of symptoms associated with psychosis.

New Review Suggests Higher Recovery and Remission Rates for Psychosis

13
Meta-analysis gives updated recovery and remission rates for persons identified as having a first-episode psychosis and those diagnosed with schizophrenia.

Psychiatrists’ Prescriptions for First-time Psychosis Often Don’t Follow Guidelines

14
"Many patients with first-episode psychosis receive medications that do not comply with recommended guidelines for first-episode treatment," states a National Institute of Mental Health...

Omega-3 Screening for Psychiatric Symptoms?

7
There is a substantial body of evidence suggesting that not getting enough omega-3 fatty acids in your diet may be connected to a diverse array of psychiatric symptoms. In a new study published this month, psychiatrist Robert McNamara and Erik Messamore provide an overview of the evidence and call for screening of omega-3 deficiency in people experiencing symptoms associated with ADHD, depression, mood disorders, and psychosis.

The Role of Context, Language, and Meaning in Hearing Voices

4
Sociocultural context, language, and sense-making process are among concepts that can help hearers and providers better understand the phenomenon of hearing voices

Antipsychotics Aren’t Helpful to Children

3
Researchers from London, writing in European Psychiatry, reviewed "all RCTs involving children and young people with a diagnosis of childhood onset schizophrenia comparing any...

New York Times Issues Correction on RAISE Study Report

6
Last Tuesday, The New York Times and several other outlets (including Mad In America) reported on the highly-touted results of a study on psychosocial treatment for patients diagnosed with schizophrenia. Now, claims made about the study, which the ‘Times called “the most rigorous trial to date,” are coming under increased scrutiny.

The Recovery After an Initial Schizophrenia Episode (RAISE) Study: Notes from the Trenches

43
I was a psychiatrist who participated in the Recovery After an Initial Schizophrenia Episode Early Treatment Program (RAISE ETP). Although I welcomed the positive headlines that heralded the study's results, the reports left me with mixed feelings. What happened to render the notion that talking to people about their experiences and helping them find jobs or go back to school is something novel?