Combining psychotherapy and antidepressants is best for common mental illnesses

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Patrick Kennedy-Williams summarises a recent meta-analysis, which finds that combined treatment with psychotherapy and antidepressants is more effective than treatment with antidepressants alone.

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Antidepressants, safety warnings and suicide risk in young people

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Andrew Shepherd reviews the recent controversial BMJ study that suggests the FDA black box warning about antidepressant use in young people, may have inadvertently caused an increase in suicidal behaviour. He finds it’s not quite that clear cut.

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The adverse effects of psychiatric drugs and emergency department visits

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A new study finds that psychiatric medications are implicated in many adverse drug events treated in US emergency departments. Nearly 1 in 10 of all adverse drug event visits to emergency departments are due to psychiatric drugs, including antidepressants, antipsychotics, lithium salts, sedatives, anxiolytics and stimulants.

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What should we prescribe for neuropsychiatric symptoms in Alzheimer’s disease?

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Psychiatrist Andrés Fonseca considers how his clinical practice should change, after reading a systematic review and meta-analysis of drug treatment for neuropsychiatric symptoms in Alzheimer’s disease

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Antidepressants work by changing emotional processing

The road to recovery can be long and people need time and space to

For people who are suffering from a severe depression, antidepressants are a very effective treatment, but how they work is still not fully understood.  The basic biochemistry of how one dose of the drug affects one part of the nervous system is known, e.g. increasing serotonin levels at the synapse by preventing it from being [read the full story...]

Cochrane review finds no good quality evidence for common medicines used to treat sleep problems in Alzheimer’s Disease

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People with dementia caused by Alzheimer’s Disease (ADD) (which is estimated to be around three quarters of people with dementia) often suffer from sleep disturbances.  These symptoms cause distress to the person with dementia and to their carers, increase the likelihood of admission to a care home, and are also very difficult for care home [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...]

CBT is more cost-effective than SSRI alone as treatment for panic disorder

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In addition to its impact on quality of life, panic disorder can have a number of costly consequences such as lost productivity – particularly if also associated with agoraphobia. Cost-effectiveness is therefore an important consideration in choosing the optimal treatment for panic disorder, which might improve value via the cost side of the equation. A recent [read the full story...]

Recent review suggests Agomelatine is as effective as other antidepressants, but controversy persists

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In spite of widely available different antidepressants, major depression does not respond adequately in up to one third of patients. Overall, the need for both reliable and well-tolerated treatment has remained unmet for a sizeable proportion of people with depression. In the past couple of years, there has been controversy about the suitability of Agomelatine (Valdoxan) [read the full story...]