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June 7, 2019 by Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett | The Guardian

I know antidepressant withdrawal symptoms are real. Why didn’t doctors?

Like many, I’ve experienced severe side-effects from withdrawal. Now clinicians are starting to take them seriously

(The Guardian) – It’s something of a relief to see before you, written down in black and white, what you have known to be true for a long time: in this case, that antidepressant withdrawal symptoms aren’t, well, all in your head. In a significant shift in position, the Royal College of Psychiatrists now accepts that it has not paid enough attention to patients suffering from severe withdrawal symptoms when coming off antidepressants.

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June 6, 2019 by Michael P. Hengartner | Acta Neuropsychiatrica

Scientific debate instead of beef; challenging misleading arguments about the efficacy of antidepressants

(Acta Neuropsychiatrica) – In a recent commentary with the polemic title ‘Antidepressnats; what’s the beef?’, Goodwin and Nutt argued that the benefit-risk ratio of antidepressants had been questioned inappropriately (Goodwin & Nutt, 2019). Personally I think it is a great achievement that our medical system can offer pharmacological treatments to people who suffer from serious clinical depression, and like Goodwin and Nutt I accept that antidepressants may be useful in some patients (Hengartner & Ploderl, 2018). Nevertheless, and this is where my position deviates from Goodwin and Nutt, I am also concerned about the overestimation of efficacy and the minimisation of harm (Hengartner, 2017). There are many misrepresentations in the commentary by Goodwin & Nutt, all of which systematically inflate the apparent benefits of antidepressants, and in this letter, I will discuss five of them.

Full article

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June 6, 2019 by Miranda Sawyer | The Guardian

Shane Meadows: ‘For many years I didn’t remember it… but it caused me a lifetime of anguish’

The director speaks for the first time about the horrific event from his childhood that inspired his new TV drama The Virtues

(The Guardian) – I’ve interviewed director Shane Meadows a few times now, and it’s always been fun. He’s an entertaining person to spend an hour with: enthusiastic, emotional, funny, a natural talker. Plus there’s lots to talk about, as his work is great. From his first features, Small Time (1996) and A Room For Romeo Brass (1999), through Dead Man’s Shoes, into 2006’s This Is England and the three TV spin-off series that came out of that (This Is England 8688 and 90), as well as his Stone Roses comeback documentary, Made of Stone, Meadows makes brilliant British films and telly. He calls himself “kitchen sink”, but he’s a rare combination of artist, storyteller and near-documentarian who often uses his life growing up in Uttoxeter in Staffordshire as inspiration. His methods – lengthy casting process, lots of rehearsals – mean that he helps actors, and people who have never acted before, to give authentic and award-winning performances. His work leaves me in bits.

So I’m looking forward to seeing him again. Except that this interview turns out to be far from fun. It goes very dark, very quickly. If I were a continuity announcer, I’d say something like: the following contains content that some people might find upsetting.

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June 5, 2019 by Ruth E. Cooper et al | Schizophrenia Research

Psychosocial interventions for people with schizophrenia or psychosis on minimal or no antipsychotic medication: A systematic review

Ruth E.Cooper, Neelam Laxhman, Nadia CrellinJoanna MoncrieffStefan Priebe


Antipsychotics are the first-line treatment for people with schizophrenia or psychosis. There is evidence that they can reduce the symptoms of psychosis and risk of relapse. However many people do not respond to these drugs, or experience adverse effects and stop taking them.

In the UK, clinical guidelines have stressed the need for research into psychosocial interventions without antipsychotics. This systematic review examines the effects of psychosocial interventions for people with schizophrenia or psychosis who are on no/minimal antipsychotics.

Databases were searched for empirical studies investigating a psychosocial intervention in people with a schizophrenia spectrum disorder who were not taking antipsychotics or had received an antipsychotic minimisation strategy.

We identified nine interventions tested in 17 studies (N = 2250), including eight randomised controlled trials. Outcomes were generally equal to or in a small number of cases better than the control group (antipsychotics/treatment as usual) for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Need Adapted Treatment and Soteria. The remaining interventions provided some encouraging, but overall inconsistent findings and were Psychosocial Outpatient Treatment, Open Dialogue, Psychosocial Inpatient Treatment, Psychoanalysis/Psychodynamic Psychotherapy, Major Role Therapy, and Milieu Treatment.

Study quality was generally low with little recent research. In conclusion, nine psychosocial interventions have been studied for patients on no/minimal antipsychotics. The majority of studies reported outcomes for the intervention which were the same as the control group, however, study quality was problematic. Given the adverse effects of antipsychotics and that many people do not want to take them, high quality trials of psychosocial treatments for people on minimal/no antipsychotics are needed.


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June 5, 2019 by

Tobacco increases risk of schizophrenia and psychosis

Meta-analysis finds a two-fold increased risk of developing schizophrenia and psychosis amongst those who smoke tobacco. Researchers speculate nicotine is most likely responsible for the link. They suggest future research looks at the link between e-cigarettes and a possible increased risk of psychosis in young adults, the largest consumer group for the products.

Source: Frontiers

Tobacco smokers are at increased risk of psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia, according to University of Queensland researchers.

Their review of eight long-running studies has found strong evidence of an association between smoking and mental illness, which they suggest is most likely caused by nicotine.

Associate Professor James Scott said the findings raised serious concerns about the increasing use of nicotine through e-cigarettes by young adults.

“People who smoke tobacco have an approximately twofold increased risk of developing schizophrenia or psychosis,” Dr Scott said.

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June 4, 2019 by Peter Simons |

Genetic Models of ‘Schizophrenia’ Explain Very Little, Researchers Find

All genetic models combined still explain less than 3% of whether someone gets a schizophrenia diagnosis.

( – In the past few years, the search for a genetic cause for schizophrenia appeared to have stalled. No single gene—or distinct group of genes—could be found to explain the diagnosis. However, researchers soon came up with an alternative hypothesis: the “polygenic model.” Large groups of genes, responsible for all sorts of functions within the human body, were grouped together based on studies that analyzed large portions of the human genome. Although results were mixed, some studies found statistically significant effects, indicating that these gene groupings might have some relationship to schizophrenia.

A new study, just published online in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology, analyzed the explanatory power of these polygenetic models. The research was led by Kristin K. Nicodemus, at the University of Edinburgh, and Kevin J. Mitchell, at Trinity College Dublin.

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June 4, 2019 by

When Asthma leads to Suicide or Homicide

( – It seems like it’s all happening in Wales at the moment.  Wales Online last week reported on two children who developed suicidal behaviour and change of personalities on montelukast – Singulair.

It was two mother who pieced the story together in the case of their children and confirmed the link to the drug by getting it stopped and seeing the problem clear up.  See below and at the attached link for the online complete with video and photographs.

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June 3, 2019 by Andrew Anthony | The Guardian

Stephen Porges: ‘Survivors are blamed because they don’t fight’

The psychiatry professor on the polyvagal theory he developed to understand our reactions to trauma

(The Guardian) – Stephen Porges is professor of psychiatry at the University of North Carolina and “Distinguished University Scientist” at Indiana University, where he has created the Traumatic Stress Research Consortium. He is best known for developing polyvagal theory, which describes how visceral experiences affect the nervous system and our resulting behaviour. On Monday 10 June, he will be giving a talk at Love vs Trauma, the Body & Soul charity’s day-long symposium in London, which aims to tackle issues surrounding childhood adversity and trauma. Other participants include Peter Fonagy and Lemn Sissay.

Can you explain polyvagal theory in layperson’s terms? 
Polyvagal theory articulates three different branches of the autonomic nervous system that evolved from very primitive vertebrates to mammals. And it’s quite interesting how the sequence evolved. First, you have a system that is really an ancient one, which is death feigning or immobilisation. Then it has a fight or flight system, a mobilisation system. Then finally, with mammals, you have what I call a social engagement system, which can detect features of safety and actually communicate them to another. When you trigger feelings of safety, the autonomic nervous system can help health restoration. In terms of dealing with a life threat, you most likely go into this feigning death, dissociative state.

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May 31, 2019 by Psychiatric News

Taking Antidepressants After Age 60 May Increase Dementia Risk, Study Finds

(Psychiatric News) – People who take antidepressants after age 60 may face a greater risk of dementia than those who don’t take antidepressants, a study in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry has found.

Arad Kodesh, M.D., of the University of Haifa in Israel and colleagues analyzed the health records of 71,515 people aged 60 years or older from Israel. As far back as 2002, the participants had no diagnosis of dementia or record of taking medications for dementia. No participants had taken an antidepressant in 2012. The researchers then followed the participants from May 2013 to October 2017.

During follow-up, 3,688 participants had received and filled prescriptions for an antidepressant for at least 60 days. Of those, 11% developed dementia. In contrast, only 2.6% of those who did not take antidepressants developed dementia. After adjusting for other conditions linked to dementia risk, the researchers found that the risk of dementia in those who took an antidepressant was 3.43 times greater than those who did not.

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May 31, 2019 by Jessica K. Bone et al | EClinicalMedicine

Psychosocial Interventions to Reduce Compulsory Psychiatric Admissions: A Rapid Evidence Synthesis


Compulsory mental health hospital admissions are increasing in several European countries but are coercive and potentially distressing. It is important to identify which mental health service models and interventions are effective in reducing compulsory admissions.

We conducted a rapid evidence synthesis to explore whether there is any evidence for an effect on compulsory admissions for 15 types of psychosocial intervention, identified by an expert group as potentially relevant to reducing compulsory admission. A search for randomised controlled trials (RCTs) reporting compulsory admission as a primary or secondary outcome or adverse event was carried out using clinical guidelines, recent systematic reviews, and database searches postdating these reviews.

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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.