December 13, 2019 by David Healy, MD | Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences
Post-SSRI sexual dysfunction & other enduring sexual dysfunctions
Enduring sexual difficulties following treatment with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor antidepressants have been reported to regulators since 1991, but it was only in 2006 that a formal post-SSRI sexual dysfunction syndrome was reported. The clinical, research and regulatory implications of this syndrome are considerable and researchers using epidemiological methods are well placed to map out the contours of the problem and perhaps pinpoint possible treatments.
December 13, 2019 by Michael P. Hengartner et al | Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences
Antidepressant withdrawal – the tide is finally turning
Withdrawal reactions when coming off antidepressants have long been neglected or minimised. It took almost two decades after the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) entered the market for the first systematic review to be published. More reviews have followed, demonstrating that the dominant and long-held view that withdrawal is mostly mild, affects only a small minority and resolves spontaneously within 1–2 weeks, was at odd with the sparse but growing evidence base. What the scientific literature reveals is in close agreement with the thousands of service user testimonies available online in large forums. It suggests that withdrawal reactions are quite common, that they may last from a few weeks to several months or even longer, and that they are often severe. These findings are now increasingly acknowledged by official professional bodies and societies.
December 13, 2019 by Joanna Moncrieff, MD | Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences
Persistent adverse effects of antidepressants
Antidepressants have been prescribed to millions of people worldwide on the unproven assumption that depression is caused or mediated by specific abnormalities of brain chemicals that antidepressants can correct, alongside evidence of marginal differences from placebo on depression rating scales in randomised trials. Yet, antidepressants are chemicals which alter the normal functioning of the brain and other parts of the body in ways we do not fully understand. It is becoming clear that far from normalising brain function, antidepressants disrupt normal biological processes with potentially devastating consequences for some people who take them.
We are not clear about the nature of the neurochemical and physiological changes that occur immediately after taking an antidepressant, nor how they vary across the different agents. We are even less certain about how the body, including the brain, adapts to the long-term presence of these drugs, and we do not know whether the alterations produced by the drugs return to normal once the drug is stopped, or whether they persist. Yet we know that other drugs used for mental health problems sometimes cause irreversible brain alterations, such as tardive dyskinesia caused by antipsychotics. The brain is a delicate organ; it may not take much to permanently re-set its structure or function.
December 12, 2019 by PETER ANDREY SMITH | Motherjones
Massachusetts Is Trying a Radical But Shockingly Simple New Response to the Opioid Crisis
“Rather than treating him like he was a criminal nodding off on the side of the road, he had a conversation.”
We’re winding through a residential neighborhood in Framingham, Massachusetts, when the radio beeps. From the back seat of officer Jose Goncalves’ police cruiser, Danielle Larsen stops typing and listens. “Well-being check,” a dispatcher says, reading off an address; it’s outside Goncalves’ coverage area. “The occupant called to say her boyfriend is not waking up. Concerned about drugs in there. Going to get the fire rolling.” Goncalves keeps driving in silence.
Three minutes later, the officer makes an abrupt U-turn and pulls over. Through the front window of the cruiser, we see a man in his mid-30s, wearing jeans and a ball cap, head down near a curbside trash can, nodding out. Goncalves picks up his radio, says, “Going over to a male hunched over right by Gallagher Park,” and jumps out the door.
December 11, 2019 by Raffaella Pocobello PhD et al | International Journal of Mental Health Nursing
Comparison of a co‐produced mental health service to traditional services: A co‐produced mixed‐methods cross‐sectional study
This study investigates the differences between a co‐produced experimental mental health centre and traditional day centres. For this purpose, we used a collaborative and mixed‐method approach in two complementary studies: (i) a quantitative cross‐sectional study designed to compare users’ hospitalization rates and their use of psychiatric medications and (ii) a qualitative study designed to explore and document the experienced differences between co‐produced and traditional services. In the quantitative cross‐sectional study, surveys were administered to 37 users of one co‐produced mental health service and to 40 users of traditional mental health services. A negative binomial regression analysis was performed to examine the relationships between predictors and users’ hospitalization rates. After adjusting for the potential confounders, users of the co‐produced centre reported a 63.2% reduced rate of hospitalizations compared with users of traditional mental health services (P = 0.002). Furthermore, 39% of users of the co‐produced centre reported a reduction or even withdrawal from psychiatric medications against 22% of the comparison group (P = 0.036). In the qualitative study, six main differences emerged from a thematic analysis of a large user‐led focus group. In the participants’ experiences, the co‐produced service focused on (i) parity and respectful relationships, (ii) people’s strengths, (iii) freedom, (iv) psychological continuity, (v) social inclusion, and (vi) recovery orientation. Our research provides empirical evidence concerning the ‘preventive aspect’ of co‐produced mental health services. Additionally, new insights into how different stakeholders, particularly users of co‐produced mental health services, experience the differences between co‐produced and traditional mental health services are provided.
Opinion: To Boost Mental Health, Spend Time in ‘Blue’ Spaces
Researchers know that spending time in green spaces like parks improves mental health. What about “blue” spaces?
OFFICIALS ARE INCREASINGLY recognizing that integrating nature into cities is an effective public health strategy to improve mental health. Doctors around the world now administer “green prescriptions” — where patients are encouraged to spend time in local nature spaces — based on hundreds of studies showing that time in nature can benefit people’s psychological well-being and increase social engagement.
December 11, 2019 by Leah Harris | MadInAmerica.com
Kamala Harris’s ‘Mental Health’ Plan: Why It Still Matters
In the days prior to announcing her decision to end her candidacy for the 2020 presidential race, Kamala Harris released a plan to address “the mental health care crisis.” The plan was received with widespread applause from family members and those seeking to dismantle the civil liberties and privacy rights protections afforded to people with psychiatric labels. Harris’s plan was met with vociferous condemnation from psychiatric survivors, civil libertarians, and disability justice advocates, who vowed to fight it. While Harris has dropped out of the presidential race, the ideas behind her policy proposal have existed for decades, and are likely to endure.
The images, which are a wonderful metaphor for the coming back to life, the restoration of emotions and senses that stopping an antidepressant can bring, comes from this news item – its worth clicking on the video link.
There have probably been more posts about withdrawal from antidepressants – especially if PSSD is included as a legacy effect of these drugs – and certainly more comments on these posts about withdrawal from hundreds, perhaps thousands who are affected, than there are about anything else on RxISK. See Complex Withdrawal.
Trouble is while some come back to life, finding their emotions and senses restored, which can bring its own problems, many others, maybe even most have a terrible time with withdrawal.
December 8, 2019 by Robert Whitaker | MadInAmerica.com
Medication-Free Treatment in Norway: A Private Hospital Takes Center Stage
The Hurdalsjøen Recovery Center, which is a private psychiatric hospital located about forty minutes north of Oslo, on the banks of stunning Lake Hurdal, was set up by its director, Ole Andreas Underland, to provide “medication-free” care for those who wanted such treatment or who wanted to taper from their psychiatric drugs. Norway’s health minister was urging public mental hospitals to offer such treatment, and this private hospital stepped forward before any public hospital had taken the plunge.
The contents of this Headlines page are provided for informational purposes. Any material, conclusions, or opinions presented in the linked articles are not necessarily endorsed by the Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care.