Psychological treatment may be useful in reducing depression and anxiety in people with dementia, says new Cochrane review

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Depression and anxiety are both common conditions in patients with dementia and mild cognitive impairment (MCI), with some studies finding around 30% of patients show at least some depressive symptoms (Enache et al, 2011). Similarly, a study on vascular dementia found around 70% of participants had two or more symptoms of anxiety (Ballard et al, 2000). [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...]

Does staying in hospital longer make you better?

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De-institutionalisation, the advent of community care and development of psychotropic medicines are implicated in the reduction in hospital bed numbers and mean length of stay. There remains a huge variance in length of stay and outcomes across the UK and beyond (NHS Confederation, 2011). Figures on length of stay and service configuration are difficult to [read the full story...]

What impact do guidelines actually have on patient outcomes for people with schizophrenia?

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Using research findings to improve care in mental health should be easy. Notice an understudied area, do a study on it, write a guideline based on your results and watch mental health professionals modify their practice accordingly. Hooray for science. But in reality, this process is convoluted and murky. Though we’re fairly good at churning out [read the full story...]

Interventions for drug using offenders: What works in reducing drug use and criminal activity?

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It is estimated that between 10% (Gunn 1991) and 39% (Brooke 1996) of prisoners in the UK are dependent on illicit drugs; and that 14.5% of male and 31% of female prisoners have serious mental health problems (Steadman 2009). Drug use can be associated with many health, social and criminological consequences; and when mental health [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...]

Be Mindful of the Gap: What we know about ‘third wave’ cognitive behavioural therapies compared to other psychological therapies

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Breathe. Hold in your mind your view of what constitutes the most effective psychological therapy for acute depression. Try not to identify with your favourite therapy but simply observe it and let it be. Wish it well. And breathe again. This was not the approach of the Cochrane Depression, Anxiety and Neurosis Group when it [read the full story...]

Cochrane review finds that haloperidol is an effective antipsychotic, but its side effects can be problematic

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Schizophrenia is a serious disorder characterised by delusions (including paranoid beliefs and hallucinations) and other symptoms such as blunted affect and reduced motivation. While relatively uncommon (lifetime prevalence is less than 1%), it is associated with serious social impairment (e.g., unemployment, homelessness), which in turn can result in physical health problems. As a result, the [read the full story...]

Cochrane review finds no evidence to support the use of user held records for patients with severe mental illness

The reviewers can't have been too pleased with the paucity of research in this field

The use of care plans and Wellness Recovery Action Plans (WRAP®) (Cook et al, 2009) within mental health is commonplace. In Wales, care planning is covered by legislation in the form of the Mental Health Measure (Welsh Government website, 2013). The care plans are designed to be developed and agreed in a collaborative way with input [read the full story...]

No evidence that behavioural therapies are any better than other psychological therapies for depression

Depression is a big problem.  In fact, it’s the third leading cause of disease burden worldwide (WHO, 2004 - as cited in Shinohara et al, 2013) and the largest source of nonfatal disease burden in the world (Ustun, 2004 – as cited in Shinohara et al, 2013).   What’s more, the number of people affected by it [read the full story...]