We don’t know if general health advice improves physical health for patients with serious mental illness

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For me, one of the most infuriating aspects of health care is the relegation of mental health problems, and mental health services, as secondary to physical health. There are a myriad of examples of this, from the classic stigma that people with mental health problems receive compared to those with physical health problems (fantastically illustrated [read the full story...]

Bridging the gap: low intensity collaborative care for patients with recent cardiac events can improve mental health and quality of life

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There are many interfaces in mental health services, such as the one between physical and mental health. Where there are interfaces, there are inevitably gaps for patients to fall through. Consequently opportunities are missed to treat mental health problems in those with physical health problems. There is mounting evidence for the effectiveness of Collaborative Care (CC) [read the full story...]

Rates of psychosis in epilepsy may not be as high as previously reported, says new systematic review

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For many years, psychiatry has highlighted that people with epilepsy appear to have an elevated risk for psychosis.  However, studies exploring this relationship (of which there are many) seem to disagree on just what the prevalence of psychosis is in this group.  For example, Gudmundsson (1966) interviewed every patient with epilepsy in Iceland and concluded [read the full story...]

Off to a good start. Are self-help interventions effective for people with comorbid physical and mental health problems?

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The ideal treatment for common mental health problems in those with chronic physical illness would have to be reliable, easy to deliver, inexpensive and accessible by a group of people whose physical impairment may affect treatment adherence. NICE guidelines (CG90 Depression; the treatment and management of depression in adults) recommend self-help interventions (SHIs) based on [read the full story...]

Physical health monitoring in serious mental illness is a priority in psychiatry, but where is the evidence that it works?

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It is widely acknowledged that individuals with serious mental illnesses (SMI) such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and severe depression have increased rates of mortality, due to poor physical health. As well as reducing quality of life and function and decreasing life expectancy, physical illness can worsen these mental illnesses. The reasons for this include lifestyle [read the full story...]

Is treatment for depression cost-effective in people with diabetes?

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There is evidence to suggest that people with diabetes are twice as likely to suffer from depression. It’s therefore important that the cost-effectiveness of treatments for comorbid depression be indentified. The elves have already reported on a review of the effectiveness of collaborative care for people with diabetes and depression, suggesting that the intervention might be effective. While [read the full story...]

Extended therapy with varenicline reduces rates of smoking relapse in people with serious mental health issues

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People with serious mental health issues such as schizophrenia have higher rates of cigarette smoking than the general population, with estimates suggesting more than 50% are current smokers. When people in this population do manage to quit during treatment we then see particularly high rates of relapse after treatment ends. A new randomised control trial (Evins [read the full story...]

ADHD and the importance of healthy sleep

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Good sleep is a crucial part of our physical and mental well-being. We typically spend about a third of our lives asleep but when we miss out on sleep, we can feel fatigued and struggle to concentrate. Sleep problems are generally quite common and have been reported as one of the most common health conditions [read the full story...]

Better together: how collaborative working can improve outcomes for patients with depression and diabetes

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The link between depression and diabetes mellitus (DM) is well established. Around 20% of patients with DM meet diagnostic criteria for depression. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) issued guidance impressing the importance of diagnosing and treating depression in long-term conditions such as DM (NICE, 2009). However, depression in the presence of [read the full story...]

Systematic review highlights a lack of evidence about using antidepressants to treat cancer patients with depression

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Having a life threatening disease such as cancer and undergoing gruelling treatment can have detrimental psychological effects. According to a recent review, for instance, the prevalence of depression among cancer patients is 10.8%, when assessed by a standardised clinical assessment (Ng et al. 2011). The authors of this meta-analysis make the argument that established criteria [read the full story...]