Lifetime risk of treated mental disorders

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This new study concludes that approximately one-third of the Danish population will receive treatment in secondary care for a mental disorder across their lifetime. Should we be talking about 1 in 3, rather than 1 in 4?

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Preventing serious adverse outcomes in schizophrenia

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People diagnosed with schizophrenia are 7.4 times more likely to be convicted of violent offences, 8.1 times more likely to die prematurely, and 20.7 times more likely to kill themselves.

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Antipsychotics and mood stabilisers may reduce violent crime

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John Baker reports on the first population based report of the positive effects of antipsychotic medication and mood stabilisers on reducing the risk of a conviction for violent crime, published in the Lancet in May.

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Childhood nightmares, night terrors, sleepwalking and psychotic experiences

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I was a terrible sleeper as a child. I remember lying awake on one particular occasion because I had read a book about space and thought that the sun might swallow up the earth. I was intrigued then, when I was asked to review a paper for the Mental Elf about parasomnias and childhood psychotic [read the full story...]

“Psychokiller, qu’est-ce que c’est”. The risk of violent re-offending among prisoners with psychotic experiences

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In England and Wales, the Mental Health Act (1983, revised 2007) allows for the detention of individuals to hospital for a period of assessment (Section 2) or treatment (Section 3) if it is deemed that they suffer with a mental disorder of a nature or degree sufficient to warrant admission to hospital and it is necessary [read the full story...]

Critical illness and risk of psychiatric diagnosis

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Out in the woodland we are pleased that recent advances in medical care mean that more patients are surviving critical illnesses within intensive care units (ICU).  “But what does that have to do with the Mental Elf?” I hear you say. Well, we Mental Elves are wondering whether this advancement in medical technology and technique are actually putting people [read the full story...]

New evidence on antidepressants and suicide risk in children and young people

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Major depressive disorder (MDD) is unfortunately a relatively common condition in children and adolescents.  Depression is estimated to affect 2% of pre-pubertal children and 5-8% of adolescents (Son et al, 2000). As you might expect, depression has a significant negative impact on the development, functioning and risk for suicide in individuals affected, as well as [read the full story...]

Could measuring cortisol levels become a biological test for risk of depression in adolescent males?

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Is it possible to work out which of two adolescents sitting before you complaining of unhappiness, which one will go home and sleep it off and which will go on to develop an episode of major depression? Has the biological revolution in psychiatry finally come to fruition with a useful biomarker for making treatment decisions? [read the full story...]

Children of older fathers have an increased risk of psychiatric and academic problems, says new cohort study

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Research suggests that the risk of developing psychiatric problems (such as autism spectrum disorder, intellectual disability or schizophrenia) may be linked to increased paternal age at the time of conception. This seems quite plausible given that advancing age in men is associated with increased genetic mutations in sperm. However, studies so far have generally not [read the full story...]

Bereavement during childhood, but not before birth, is associated with an increased risk of psychosis

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Psychotic disorders, such as schizophrenia, are often conceptualised as arising from a complex interplay of genetic and environmental influences (Tandon 2008). The impact of social influences on the risk of psychotic experience is undeniable. Recent reviews of this topic have called for a focus on maternal wellbeing as a means of primary prevention for mental [read the full story...]