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Bipolar or Depression? Heart Test May Help Tell the Difference
A simple 15-minute electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) can help determine whether a patient has major depression or bipolar disorder, according to a new study by researchers with Loyola Medicine in Chicago. The findings, published in the World Journal of Biological Psychiatry, show that heart rate variability (variations in the time intervals between heartbeats) can help differentiate between the two disorders. Bipolar disorder is commonly misdiagnosed as major depression, which can be detrimental to the patient, since treatment plans for the disorders are very different. In bipolar disorder —with its emotional, manic highs and severe depression — treatment involves an antidepressant along with a safeguard such as a mood stabilizer or antipsychotic drug to prevent a switch to a manic episode. A physician who misdiagnoses bipolar disorder as major depression could inadvertently trigger a manic episode by prescribing an antidepressant without a safeguard mood stabilizing drug. “Having a noninvasive, easy-to-use and affordable test to differentiate between major depression and bipolar disorder would be a major breakthrough in both psychiatric and primary care practices,” said senior author Angelos Halaris, M.D., Ph.D., professor of psychiatry and behavioral neurosciences and medical director of adult psychiatry. For the study, the researchers enrolled 64 adults with major depression and 37 adults with bipolar disorder. Each participant rested comfortably on an exam table while a three-lead electrocardiogram was attached to the chest. After the patient rested for 15 minutes, the electrocardiographic data were collected for 15 minutes. Then researchers converted the electrocardiographic data into the components of heart rate variability using a special software package. These data were further corrected with specialized software programs developed by study co-author Stephen W. Porges, Ph.D., of Indiana University's Kinsey Institute. In measuring heart rate variability, researchers calculated what is known to cardiologists as respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA). At the beginning of the study, patients with major depression had significantly higher RSA than those with bipolar disorder. In addition, patients with bipolar disorder had higher blood levels of inflammation biomarkers than those with major depression. Inflammation occurs when the immune system revs up in response to a stressful condition. Major depression is among the most common and severe health problems in the world. At least 8 to 10 percent of the U.S. population suffers from major depression at any given time. While less common, bipolar disorder is also a significant mental health problem, affecting an estimated 50 million people worldwide. Source: Loyola University Health System [...]
Wed, Nov 22, 2017
Source Psych Central Psychotherapy Anxiety News
Yoga, Alternative Therapies Show Promise in Helping to Control Pain
Anesthesiologists and pain medicine specialists prescribe more opioid prescriptions than any other medical field. Many practitioners believe use of alternative medicine approaches such as acupuncture and yoga can help to fight the opioid epidemic. “In the current opioid crisis era, many integrative medical therapies can be used as complements to mainstream medicine to address pain and reduce opioid abuse and addiction-related disease,” write Yuan-Chi Lin, M.D., M.P.H., and colleagues at Harvard Medical School. In a special thematic issue of Anesthesia & Analgesia addressing the opioid crisis, they and other anesthesia and pain medicine physicians share evidence on this and other potentially effective strategies to reducing reliance on opioids to treat chronic and postoperative pain. In the study, Lin and coauthors reviewed and analyzed current evidence on integrative medicine therapies — also called complementary and alternative medicine — for the treatment of pain. “Integrative medicine for pain can play a major role in reducing the frequency and amount of opioid usage,” the researchers write. The analysis included a total of 32 studies evaluating seven different types of integrative medicine therapies for pain. Acupuncture was the treatment showing the strongest evidence for effectiveness in reducing pain. Overall there was “strong positive evidence” showing a beneficial effect of acupuncture for the treatment of chronic pain. There were also studies showing that acupuncture reduced the dose of opioids needed to control pain after surgery, with reduction in opioid-related side effects. Most of the other therapies studied showed “positive preliminary evidence” of effectiveness in pain treatment. These included yoga, relaxation techniques (such as mindfulness meditation), tai chi, massage therapy and spinal manipulation. However, only a few of the studies addressed whether use of alternative therapies reduced the use of prescription medications in general or opioids in particular. There was conflicting evidence on the pain-reducing effectiveness of the supplements glucosamine and chondroitin for knee pain. The authors acknowledge some important limitations of the current evidence on integrative therapies for pain. The studies in the review varied in terms of the methods used and the types of pain studied, in addition to the special challenges of studying the effectiveness of alternative therapies (such as controlling for the placebo effect). Although additional studies are imperative, Lin and coauthors conclude, “The consensus and results of this review suggest that complementary health approaches can help to improve pain and reduce opioid use.” Source: Wolters Kluwer Health/EurekAlert [...]
Wed, Nov 22, 2017
Source Psych Central Psychotherapy Anxiety News
Brain fog affects mental processes such as memory and concentration. It can be a symptom of many conditions, including multiple sclerosis and depression. [...]
Wed, Nov 22, 2017
Source Medical News Today: Depression
How do wine, beer, and spirits impact our mood? New research suggests that different types of alcohol may be tied to distinct emotions. [...]
Wed, Nov 22, 2017
Source Medical News Today: Psychology/Psychiatry
Mobile Apps Can Help Manage and Support Mental, Emotional Health
Emerging research suggests mobile apps can help an individual learn to improve their emotional and mental health. Moreover, the apps instill confidence that one can use the skills to stay in control and maintain emotional and mental health. Brigham Young University health science researchers were looking to identify what it is about health apps that influences users' behavior. Over three studies, they surveyed roughly 600 people who had used diet, physical activity or mental health apps in the past six months. The findings for diet and fitness app users were as expected: More than 90 percent of users reported an increase in their desire and motivation to eat healthy and be physically active. But the really good news was the response from mental and emotional health app users: 90 percent reported increased motivation, confidence, intention and attitudes about being mentally and emotionally healthy. The studies appear in JMIR mHealth and uHealth. “Our findings show that mental and emotional health-focused apps have the ability to positively change behavior,” said Ben Crookston, associate professor of health science at BYU. “This is great news for people looking for inexpensive, easily accessible resources to help combat mental and emotional health illness and challenges.” While mobile mental and emotional health apps are not the most traditional approach, these findings suggest that they may be a worthwhile tool for addressing mental health in individuals and increasing self-efficacy. Research shows that people who struggle with mental and emotional health problems feel like they lack control. While there are many problems that should be addressed by a professional, users can now feel confident that resources they can use on their own really can be effective. Understanding how these self-help apps promote behavior change will not only help individuals but also health providers working with those struggling with these kinds of problems, researchers said. “These apps are engaging and if we can get people to use them more often, the potential certainly exists to help people change their behavior,” said co-author Josh West, Ph.D., M.P.H. The researchers hope to continue studying this topic by looking into what kind of apps are most effective at improving mental and emotional wellness (meditation prayer, faith-based scripture, medication adherence, mood tracker, stress management or positive affirmation). Source: BYU [...]
Tue, Nov 21, 2017
Source Psych Central Psychotherapy Anxiety News
One Type of Social Withdrawal May Benefit Creativity
New research suggests that not all forms of social withdrawal are detrimental. In the first study to show that social withdrawal may include a positive outcome, researchers from the University at Buffalo, State University of New York, discovered unsociability, one form of social withdrawal, may actually be beneficial. The findings published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences suggest that unsociability is not only unrelated to negative outcomes, but linked positively to creativity. “Motivation matters,” said Dr. Julie Bowker, an associate professor in UB's Department of Psychology and lead author of the study. “We have to understand why someone is withdrawing to understand the associated risks and benefits,” she says. Bowker's study may recall Thoreau's retreat to Walden Pond or Thomas Merton's work as a cloistered monk. But the benefits of withdrawing to nature or reconnecting to the self have not been well investigated in the psychological literature, according to Bowker. The new research challenges the negative view of social isolation. “When people think about the costs associated with social withdrawal, often times they adopt a developmental perspective,” she said. “During childhood and adolescence, the idea is that if you're removing yourself too much from your peers, then you're missing out on positive interactions like receiving social support, developing social skills and other benefits of interacting with your peers. “This may be why there has been such an emphasis on the negative effects of avoiding and withdrawing from peers.” But, in recent years, Bowker said there is growing recognition for the different reasons why youth withdraw from and avoid peers, and that the risk associated with withdrawal depends on the underlying reason or motivation. Some people withdraw out of fear or anxiety. This type of social withdrawal is associated with shyness. Others appear to withdraw because they dislike social interaction. They are considered socially avoidant. But some people withdraw due to non-fearful preferences for solitude. These individuals enjoy spending time alone, reading or working on their computers. They are unsociable. Unlike shyness and avoidance, research consistently shows that unsociability is unrelated to negative outcomes. Bowker's study is the first to link it to a positive outcome, creativity. “Although unsociable youth spend more time alone than with others, we know that they spend some time with peers. They are not antisocial. They don't initiate interaction, but also don't appear to turn down social invitations from peers. Therefore, they may get just enough peer interaction so that when they are alone, [...]
Tue, Nov 21, 2017
Source Psych Central Psychotherapy Anxiety News
New research finds that stimulating activity in the brain's dorsolateral prefrontal cortex protects against symptoms of depression and mood disorders. [...]
Tue, Nov 21, 2017
Source Medical News Today: Psychology/Psychiatry
Melatonin is a natural supplement used to help people sleep. It varies in effectiveness from person to person, which may lead to an accidental overdose. [...]
Mon, Nov 20, 2017
Source Medical News Today: Sleep / Sleep Disorders / Insomnia News
Thanksgiving is almost here, and for many of us, it's synonymous with "large family gatherings." But how can you manage this if you have social anxiety? [...]
Mon, Nov 20, 2017
Source Medical News Today: Psychology/Psychiatry
ADHD blogs offer educational information, tips, and support for those with ADHD and their friends and families. We have selected the best ADHD blogs. [...]
Mon, Nov 20, 2017
Source Medical News Today: Psychology/Psychiatry
MRI brain scans of people with depression and social anxiety show common and specific differences in cortical thickness, compared with healthy people. [...]
Mon, Nov 20, 2017
Source Medical News Today: Depression
Not only can stress trigger psoriasis flare-ups, but living with psoriasis can have an effect on a person's overall mental health. Learn more. [...]
Mon, Nov 20, 2017
Source Medical News Today: Anxiety and Stress
Can the active cannabinoids in cannabis be an effective treatment for itchy and painful psoriasis? We look at the evidence in this article. [...]
Mon, Nov 20, 2017
Source Medical News Today: Alcohol/Addiction/Illegal Drugs
A large-scale, prospective study investigates the link between visible signs of aging and excessive alcohol intake, as well as smoking. [...]
Thu, Nov 16, 2017
Source Medical News Today: Alcohol/Addiction/Illegal Drugs
Binaural beats therapy is a method of treating conditions like anxiety. Included is detail on the patterns of brainwaves affected by binaural beats. [...]
Tue, Nov 14, 2017
Source Medical News Today: Anxiety and Stress
We examine ablutophobia, a condition where people have an extreme fear of washing. This article looks at possible causes of the condition and its outook. [...]
Tue, Nov 14, 2017
Source Medical News Today: Anxiety and Stress
Hyperarousal is common in people with post-traumatic stress disorder. What are the key signs of hyperarousal and how can people manage their symptoms? [...]
Mon, Nov 13, 2017
Source Medical News Today: Depression
It is well-known that long-term heavy drinking affects the brain, but what does it do to brain stem cells, involved in neural regeneration and maintenance? [...]
Sun, Nov 12, 2017
Source Medical News Today: Alcohol/Addiction/Illegal Drugs
Think that glass of wine in the evening is harmless? Well think again. A new study from ASCO says that even light drinking can increase the risk of cancer. [...]
Sat, Nov 11, 2017
Source Medical News Today: Alcohol/Addiction/Illegal Drugs
New Care Model Improves Addiction Treatment
A new addiction treatment program levers the observation that although people are admitted to the hospital for a variety of reasons, many may also have an active substance use disorder. A new program at Boston Medical Center's Grayken Center for Addiction, connects patients to addiction treatment while they are hospitalized for other conditions. Researchers believe the intervention can be a powerful tool in closing a gap in addiction treatment. In fact, early results show that many of these patients continue treatment after they are discharged, underscoring the importance of reaching patients who might otherwise not get treatment for their addiction. Researchers found that approximately 17 percent of patients admitted at Boston Medical Center have an active substance use disorder. This discovery led providers to look for new ways to engage patients in addiction treatment when they were already here. To accomplish this, they developed and implemented an inpatient addiction consult service — staffed by a multidisciplinary care team with expertise in treating addiction. The study appears in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment. “In order to help curb the epidemic, we need to take every opportunity to engage patients with substance use disorders and get them into treatment when they are ready,” said study lead author Paul Trowbridge, M.D.. “This service will not only prove beneficial to patients, by helping them get access to evidenced-based treatment, but also to the health care system by reducing costs and readmissions.” Researchers found the initial results promising: Methadone treatment was initiated for 70 patients and 76 percent were linked to a methadone clinic upon discharge. Upon follow up, 54 percent were still receiving methadone at 30 days, 39 percent at 90 days, and 29 percent at 180 days. Buprenorphine was initiated in 40 patients as a result of the consult, and 49 percent were linked to an outpatient clinic at discharge. Upon follow up, 39 percent were still engaged in treatment at 30 days, 27 percent at 90 days, and 18 percent at 180 days. “Like heart disease can cause a heart attack or a stroke, addiction causes many acute injuries requiring immediate attention, but we can't simply treat that issue without delving deeper to address the root cause,” said Alex Walley, M.D., MSc. “Our goal is to engage willing patients in treatment and work with them on a plan that will keep them healthy and safe now and in the future.” The authors note that treatment is not one [...]
Fri, Nov 10, 2017
Source Psych Central Psychotherapy News

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