Psychosocial Treatments Found Effective for Early Psychosis

Patients who received comprehensive specialty care remained in treatment longer, experienced greater improvement in quality of life and psychopathology, and more.

First-episode psychosis patients who participated in a comprehensive, team-based treatment program at community clinics that included a combination of medication and psychosocial support experienced significant improvements in symptoms and quality of life compared with those receiving usual care.

That’s the finding from a landmark study—the NIMH-funded Recovery After an Initial Schizophrenia Episode (RAISE) initiative—that was published on October 18 in AJP in Advance. Importantly, the study also found that the best results were for patients who had shorter durations of psychosis, underscoring the importance of early intervention.

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First Psychotic Episode by Dr. Alex Kopelowicz

Study Identifies Factors Predictive of Response to Risperidone

The genotype associated with a better response to risperidone encodes for a specific potassium channel that has been shown to be linked to schizophrenia by contributing to disorganized neuronal firing.

The presence of a genetic polymorphism and the speed with which a patient metabolizes risperidone may help to predict those with schizophrenia who are the most likely to respond to the medication, according to a report in AJP in Advance.

Moreover, the report indicates a possible mechanism for this association involving the binding of risperidone to a specific potassium channel that has been associated with schizophrenia.

“One of the major challenges in psychiatric therapeutics, indeed in medical therapeutics in general, is to individualize medicine to optimize response,” wrote senior author Daniel Weinberger, M.D., of the Lieber Institute for Brain Development in Baltimore and colleagues.

Previous studies show that patients with slow metabolizer status and variants in the potassium channel gene KCNH2 associated with increased expression of Kv11.1-3.1 tend to have better responses to antipsychotic medications. (The expression of Kv11.1-3.1 has been shown to be increased in the brains of people with schizophrenia and is believed to be associated with disorganized neuronal firing.)

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A Mother’s Message: Overcoming Life’s Obstacles by Shari Strong

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Overcoming Life’s Obstacles by Shari Strong


SARDAA Health Storylines – Ready to name your moods?

The holidays can be a deeply emotional time for many of us.
An emotion is a type of feeling and naming your emotions can help you better manage them. Brain scans show that putting negative emotions into words calms the brain’s emotional center.

So use the Daily Moods health tool on SARDAA Health Storylines to help you name your feelings and describe why you feel that way. We know that by doing so you will learn a lot about yourself and be better able to understand your emotions and what causes them.


Watch video to learn more about SARDAA Health Storylines

Whether you are new to using the app or you have been using it for a while there is always more to learn. Click on the video below to learn more about using your SARDAA Health Storylines app!

Early Engagement Is Key to Preventing CBT Dropout

Early improvements in well-being may be more responsible for CBT discontinuation than the therapy not working, so therapists should work with patients to ensure a long-term plan for progress.

Although cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) has been shown to be effective at treating a range of psychiatric disorders, many patients discontinue therapy prematurely. Withdrawing from therapy early can increase a patient’s risk of symptom relapse or, in the case of group therapy, compromise the dynamic of the group.

“Unfortunately, there is no simple answer that explains CBT dropout,” psychologist Joshua Swift, Ph.D., head of the Psychotherapy Process and Outcome Research Lab at Idaho State University, told Psychiatric News. “There are many factors that stem from both the nature of talk therapy and the nature of the patient’s disease.”

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AMA Calls for Ban on Direct-to-Consumer Ads, Citing Impact on Drug Costs

The American Medical Association called on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which oversees prescription drug advertising, to ban direct-to-consumer advertising (DTCA), citing its effect on rising pharmaceutical prices.

At the Interim Meeting of the AMA’s House of Delegates in Atlanta, in November 2015, delegates who voted for the resolution said that although DTCA may increase awareness about diseases and drugs to treat them and thereby prompt some patients to visit a physician, the ultimate goal of DTCA is to drive demand for a product, which may affect the overall cost of drugs. A number of other resolutions and reports at the meeting were devoted to the issue of escalating drug prices.

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Combating Early Death in People with Serious Mental Illness

A recent article  and commentary  in JAMA Psychiatry contain some disturbing statistics about early death for people with serious mental illness (SMI). Mark Olfson’s team followed a group of 1.1 million people with schizophrenia and found that, during the study period, they were more than 3.5 times more likely to die than the general population. These individuals are estimated to be losing 28.5 years of life, primarily because of natural causes. Eighty-five percent of the premature deaths were due to largely preventable conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and heart disease.

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