Month: May 2024

Reading of the Week: Adolescent Experience with Illness – the World Psych Paper; Also, the CANMAT Depression Update and a Letter to the Editor

From the Editor

I’m separated from everyone else.

These are the words of a young patient with depression. We often use diagnoses and lists of symptoms to understand patients. But how do patients themselves understand their illness? In the first selection, Dr. Paolo Fusar-Poli (of King’s College London) and his co-authors attempt to answer that question with a “bottom-up” approach. In a new World Psychiatry paper, they describe the experiences of adolescents with mental disorders. “The study was co-designed, co-conducted and co-written by junior experts by experience – representing different genders, ethnic and cultural backgrounds, and continents – and academics, refining an earlier method developed by our group to investigate the lived experience of psychosis and depression.” We examine the paper and its implications.

Childhood depression by Marc-Anthony Macon

Much has changed over the past eight years – who was talking about pandemics in 2016? Last week, the Canadian Network for Mood and Anxiety Treatments (CANMAT) released its first major depression update in eight years. So how has depression management changed? In the second selection, Dr. Raymond Lam (of the University of British Columbia), the co-first author, discusses the update in a Quick Takes podcast interview. “They really are the most widely used guidelines in the world.” 

And in the third selection, in a letter to the editor, Nick Kerman (of the University of Toronto) writes about the recent homelessness paper from JAMA Psychiatry, summarized in a Reading earlier this month. He notes the striking finding: 26% meet the criteria for antisocial personality disorder. “Could it really be 1 in 4 or is there something else that could explain the finding?”

DG

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Reading of the Week: Cannabis & Cardiac Health – the New JAHA Study; Also, Burnout & Outcomes, and Dr. Mary Seeman on Scaling Down

From the Editor

Our patients increasingly use cannabis, and we worry about the impact on their mental health. But what about the impact on their physical health?

In the first selection, Abra M. Jeffers (of Harvard University) and her co-authors consider cannabis and cardiac health. In a new paper for the Journal of the American Heart Association, they analyzed cardiac outcomes, drawing on survey data and involving more than 400 000 participants, some of whom used cannabis. “Cannabis use is associated with adverse cardiovascular outcomes, with heavier use (more days per month) associated with higher odds of adverse outcomes.” We review the paper and its implications.

In the second selection, Nina A. Sayer (of the University of Minneapolis) and her co-authors look at burnout in a new paper for JAMA Network Open. In a cohort study involving 165 therapists and almost 1 300 patients, they note a connection between provider burnout and PTSD outcomes. “These findings suggest that interventions to reduce therapist burnout might also result in more patients experiencing clinically meaningful improvement…”

Dr. Mary Seeman (of the University of Toronto), who died in late April, had a storied career as a psychiatrist. She had major roles, including the Tapscott Chair in Schizophrenia at the University of Toronto. In a 2003 paper for The American Journal of Psychiatry, she reflects on her work with a patient. This essay – the third selection this week – notes the decades-long connection between doctor and patient. “Her faith in me keeps me coming into work each morning, often tired and achy, sometimes trying unsuccessfully to remember the comforting word I want to be able to say.”

DG

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Reading of the Week: The Homeless – Who Are They? How Can We Help Them? Also, Shannon Jones on Her Son & His Homelessness

From the Editor

For much of her admission, she was disorganized and, at times, agitated. But when the medications started to work, Tanya talked about her years of homelessness and the stresses of finding a warm place to stay on a cold night, which often involved sleeping on buses – and “that’s not easy, I’m almost elderly.” 

This week, we take a closer look at homelessness and mental illness.

In the first selection, Richard Barry (of the University of Calgary) and his co-authors describe a systematic review and meta-analysis of mental disorders and homelessness for JAMA Psychiatry. They included 85 studies involving more than 48 000 people globally. “The findings demonstrate that most people experiencing homelessness have mental health disorders.” We explore the paper and its implications.

Street art in Quebec City

In the second selection, Nick Kerman and Dr. Vicky Stergiopoulos (both of the University of Toronto) examine different aspects of homelessness. In a comprehensive review for Nature Mental Health, they analyze the origins of the problem in high-income nations: focusing on deinstitutionalization. They also point to a way forward, noting the successes of Housing First and other interventions. “Homelessness among people with mental illness is a prevalent and persisting problem.”

And in the third selection, Shannon Jones writes about her son, who was homeless, in a deeply personal essay for The Washington Post. She discusses his childhood and the trips they took as a family. Also, she describes his illness and his death. “There are an estimated 600,000 homeless people in America, 75,000 of them in Los Angeles County. The number who die each year is increasing, with drug overdoses the leading cause. And every one of them has a story.”

DG

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