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...]

Community treatment orders simply don’t work

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Community Treatment Orders (CTOs) were introduced in the UK in the last revisions of the Mental Health Act. They are highly controversial, and unpopular amongst the mental health community. They clearly impact on an individual’s Human Rights. Interestingly, they cannot enforce a treatment but can require an individual to return to hospital or a place of treatment. [read the full story...]

Are humans like monkeys? MRI scanning suggests similarities and differences that might help future research

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Does a mouse think like a human? Does a cat? Does a macaque monkey? These are fascinating questions to ask on a philosophical level, but they are also of immense practical importance. Current regulations on drug development mean that animal research plays a huge role in deciding what substances might be safe and beneficial to humans.  [read the full story...]

Is there ‘parity of esteem’ in shared decision making between physical and mental health?

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Current health and social care policies determine that people who use services should have choice and control over their care and support. This is particularly important for people with mental health problems who are managing their mental health and designing support in preventative ways to avoid crisis. One way for mental health service practitioners to [read the full story...]

US policy on prescription drug abuse: tackling an unique and significant problem

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The fact that drug overdoses are the second largest cause of premature death from unintentional injuries in the US (for example, in 2010 there was 38,329 drug overdose deaths) is not a surprising statistic. What may surprise readers is that of these deaths 22,134 were attributed to prescription drugs. Indeed, almost one and a half [read the full story...]

Dealing with a diagnosis of dementia: putting a systematic review into context

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Last July I wrote a blog (Helping patients and carers deal with a diagnosis of dementia: one size doesn’t fit all) about a systematic review of qualitative evidence (Bunn, 2012) relating to patients and carers experiences of reaching and adapting to a diagnosis of dementia.  That blog was heavily influenced by personal experience of my [read the full story...]

Insufficient evidence for sexual health promotion interventions in people with severe mental illness

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People with serious mental illness (SMI) such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder have higher morbidity and mortality rates due to physical illness. It’s estimated that people with SMI die 10-15 years earlier than the general population (DeHert et al, 2011). Increasingly attention is being paid to ways to improve the physical health of people with [read the full story...]

Is the menopause depressing? Not necessarily

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Some of the lady Elves in the forest have been sharing their concerns about the menopause, and whilst keeping an eye out for hot flushes, night sweats and mood swings; what other changes will the menopause will bring?! Well, Freeman and colleagues have some good news and bad news for us. In November 2013, JAMA [read the full story...]

One in 10 people in South East London report that they suffer from disordered eating, according to new survey

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Historically, eating disorders have been discussed in a very black and white fashion; either you do or you don’t have one. Whilst this may be beneficial in terms of research and diagnosis, it isn’t particularly helpful for those that sit in the grey area between the two. People in this grey area are often referred [read the full story...]

Cochrane review finds that acupuncture, acupressure, laser therapy and electrostimulation show little benefit for smoking cessation

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Despite being on the decline, smoking is still one of the largest causes of preventable morbidity and mortality in the world. According to recent World Health Organisation data, smoking directly kills around 5 million people every year.  The NHS spends almost £90 million on cessation efforts to combat the £5 billion treatment cost. Recent research [read the full story...]