TagThe American Journal of Psychiatry

Reading of the Week: Can Computerized CBT Help People with Substance Problems? The New AJP Paper. Also, How Many People Really Have Mental Illness?

From the Editor

More than ever, we are talking about substance use problems. But as with other mental health services, people struggle to get care, particularly evidence-based therapies.

In the first selection, we consider a new paper from The American Journal of Psychiatry, published last week. Yale University’s Brian Kiluk and his co-authors compare traditional CBT (done with a therapist and in-person) with a computer-based therapy program, CBT4CBT. They conclude: “This computerized version of CBT thus appears to be an engaging and attractive approach for persons with substance use disorders.”

typingTyping to Treat Substance Use?

In the second selection, we consider an essay by The Globe and Mail’s André Picard who asks a simple question: How many people actually suffer from mental illness? Picard cautions us on “pathologizing normal emotions.”

DG

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Reading of the Week: Depression and Its Management — The American Journal of Psychiatry on Exercise and Long-term Use of Medication

From the Editor

It’s one of the most common and disabling illnesses. But how to treat depression in the long term?

In the first selection, we consider a paper just published by The American Journal of Psychiatry. In it, LaSalle University’s Felipe B. Schuch and his co-authors present a meta-analysis on exercise and depression. Drawing on 49 studies, they find that physical activity can protect against the development of depression, regardless of age and geographical region.

treat-alternative-exercise_an_alternative_adhd_treatment-article-3280a-man_running_sunset-ts_451886305-3Exercise: good for the heart, the lungs, and the prevention of depression?

In the second selection, Harvard University’s Roy H. Perlis writes a commentary for The American Journal of Psychiatry responding to a recent New York Times article that questioned the long-term use of antidepressants. He writes: “The informative analogy might be treatment of type 2 diabetes. While diet and exercise have a substantial impact on disease course (notably, results far more compelling than those in depression), it is hard to envision front-page articles in the New York Times about the dangers of long-term diabetes treatment.”

DG

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Reading of the Week: Early Psychosis Intervention – Lifesaver? The New Anderson Paper from the AJP; Also, Michael Weinstein’s Burnout

From the Editor

The argument is simple: intervene early and outcomes will ultimately be better.

For people with psychosis, early intervention programs have been tried for more than two decades. In our first selection, we look at a new American Journal of Psychiatry paper considering early psychosis intervention and outcomes. This paper is particularly interesting because it draws on the real-world experience – and 17 years worth of data. (Bonus: the data is Canadian.) The lead author, Western University’s Prof. Kelly K. Anderson, looks at several outcomes.

She and her co-authors conclude that patients had faster access to psychiatrists and used EDs less. More importantly: early intervention was a lifesaver, with the rate of death being four times lower than those who didn’t use the program.

caa58b79-155d-451f-6734f0c9af79d4c2Does Franklin’s comment about an ounce of prevention being worth a pound of cure apply to first episode psychosis?

And in our other selection, Dr. Michael Weinstein writes about his career as a trauma surgeon – and his depression. “I have learned that many of us suffer in silence, fearing the stigma associated with mental illness,” he observes in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Please note that there will be no Readings for the next two weeks.

DG

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Reading of the Week: Can We Predict Relapse in Depression? The Judd et al. Paper from The American Journal of Psychiatry

From the Editor

Is he going to get sick again?

It’s a question that we often ask when a patient overcomes depression and happily leaves our office. For many patients, depression is a chronic illness – and so, remission is followed by relapse. Is it possible to predict patients with depression who are in remission but at risk of relapse?

Can we predict a future relapse – or is this an exercise in fortune-telling?

This week’s Reading is a paper from The American Journal of Psychiatry. Drawing on a long-term study, they look at the pattern of acute illness, remission, and relapse. Using statistical analyses, the authors seek to find a way of predicting relapse.

Spoiler alert: they do.

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Reading of the Week: The Future of Psychiatry – Part I of II

From the Editor

Should mental health clinicians embrace measurement-based care? Or is mental health becoming too technical (and forgetting patients as a result)?

The future?

When we speak about the future of mental health, we often think in terms of biomarkers and genetically-tailored drugs. And while they may be part of the distant future, can we improve clinical work in the near future?

Over the next two weeks, we will mull the future of psychiatry in terms of practice and measurement-based care. Measurement-based care has been defined simply by Scott and Lewis as “practice of basing clinical care on client data collected throughout treatment.”

This week, measurement-based care.

Next week, the end of the art of care?

While these two Readings were published in two different journals, they seek to address the future of the field, perhaps in somewhat contrasting ways.

This week, we look at a new paper published in the Psychiatric Services that offers a review of measurement-based care studies.

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Reading of the Week: What’s New in Psychotherapy – The Cuijpers et al. Paper

From the Editor

What’s new in psychotherapy?

If there is one area of psychiatry that seems to have been transformed in recent years, it’s psychotherapy. Not surprisingly, then, past Readings have looked at the expanded role of short-term, evidenced-based therapies – in particular, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, or CBT.

Today’s psychotherapy: a long way from Freud

Over the next two weeks, we’ll look in more detail at new developments in psychotherapy.

This week. A major new review of IPT.

Next week. An overview of psychotherapy developments.

This week, we consider a new paper published in The American Journal of Psychiatry on Interpersonal Therapy, or IPT. This paper is clear, lucid, and worth reading.

Is there evidence for IPT? Yes – and more than just for depression.

DG Continue reading

Reading of the Week: Can We Prevent Psychosis? Part 1 of 2

From the Editor

Here’s a quick statistical summary of the Readings for the past 12 months.

Total: 48.

Number discussing the prevention of mental illness: One.

Is an ounce of prevention really worth a pound of cure?

Like all of medicine, psychiatry tends to emphasize the treatment of illness, not its prevention. This isn’t the result of a vast medical-industrial conspiracy, of course, but the reality that our field is young and the causes of mental illness aren’t well understood.

But preventing illness is our ultimate goal. Consider the suffering and cost that could be avoided if a person at risk of psychosis didn’t convert, as an example.

Can we prevent psychotic illness?

Prevention is built on two things: we need to identify at risk individuals, and then we need to use appropriate measures to prevent the illness.

Over the next two weeks, we look at a few papers that seek to identify at risk individuals and prevent psychosis in them.

This week. The psychosis risk calculator.

Next week. Cost-effective prevention.

In this week’s paper from The American Journal of Psychiatry, Cannon et al. develop a risk calculator to predict psychotic disorder. The tool they develop has an accuracy rate of 71% – comparable to calculators used for determining cancer recurrence.

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Reading of the Week: Battling The Black Dog

From the Editor

This week, hundreds of thousands of Canadians will not go to work because of mental health problems, depression being the most common.

But despite the long shadow cast by depression on our society, it’s difficult not to feel that we fall short in terms of our active management. Many people struggle with their symptoms; even when they can beat the “black dog” – to use Winston Churchill’s term – they are at high risk for relapse.

Can we do better with the black dog?

Here are two papers that look at bettering outcomes.

In the first, the authors ask if mindfulness can prevent the relapse of depression. The second paper considers the use of statins to improve the effects of antidepressants.

DG Continue reading

Reading of the Week: Depression and Measurement-Based Care (Depression: Week 1 of 3)

Major depression is common, leading to marked suffering for patients and families and causing physical and mental disability, with a substantial economic burden. Although major depression is prevalent across different cultures and effective pharmacological and psychosocial interventions are available, low remission rates in clinical practice are discouraging. Poor outcomes are related to inadequate dose and duration of pharmacotherapy, poor treatment adherence, high dropout, and frequent as well as unnecessary medication changes. In addition, inconsistency of treatment strategies among clinicians is common. Even in current, guideline-driven practice, there are often wide variations in clinicians’ behaviors, resulting in practice bias rather than a tailored and individualized treatment algorithm.

So opens a new paper that has a large goal: trying to reduce that “wide variation” and improve patient care.

This week’s Reading: “Measurement-Based Care Versus Standard Care for Major Depression: A Randomized Controlled Trial With Blind Raters” by Tong Guo et al., just published online (and ahead of print) by The American Journal of Psychiatry.

Find the paper here:

http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/doi/full/10.1176/appi.ajp.2015.14050652

Here’s a quick summary: big study, big journal, and big implications for depression management (and, yes, your patients). In a head-to-head comparison, patients did better when depression management included an algorithm for medications rather than regular psychiatrist care. Continue reading