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Concept: Mental health

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The quality of the therapeutic alliance (TA) has been invoked to explain the equal effectiveness of different psychotherapies, but prior research is correlational, and does not address the possibility that individuals who form good alliances may have good outcomes without therapy.

Concepts: Scientific method, Mental health, Therapy, Clinical psychology, Psychosis, Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, Existentialism

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Mr. K. spent nearly a year and a half bound to a log in his home village in northeastern Ghana. His crime? He had a psychotic disorder, and his family could not afford the $17 for antipsychotic medication that would have stabilized his condition. Instead, they consulted a traditional healer, who pinned Mr. K.’s right leg inside a hole in the log and warned his family not to free him lest the wrath of the gods be visited on them. At least 10% of the world’s population is affected by one of a wide range of mental disorders; as many . . .

Concepts: Mental health, Mental disorder, Antipsychotic, Schizophrenia, Psychosis, Bipolar disorder, Psychiatry, Dopamine

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People with serious mental illness are increasingly turning to popular social media, including Facebook, Twitter or YouTube, to share their illness experiences or seek advice from others with similar health conditions. This emerging form of unsolicited communication among self-forming online communities of patients and individuals with diverse health concerns is referred to as peer-to-peer support. We offer a perspective on how online peer-to-peer connections among people with serious mental illness could advance efforts to promote mental and physical wellbeing in this group.

Concepts: Health care, Mental health, Sociology, Illness, Psychiatry, Mental illness, Web 2.0, Social media

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Several studies have indicated a co-occurrence between mental problems, a bad economy, and social isolation. Medical treatments focus on reducing the extent of psychiatric problems. Recent research, however, has highlighted the possible effects of social initiatives. The aim of this study was to examine the relation between severe mental illness, economic status, and social relations.

Concepts: Medicine, Mental health, Sociology, Economics, Mental disorder, Psychiatry, Mental illness, Social sciences

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IMPORTANCE There have been recent calls for increased access to mental health services, but access may be limited owing to psychiatrist refusal to accept insurance. OBJECTIVE To describe recent trends in acceptance of insurance by psychiatrists compared with physicians in other specialties. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS We used data from a national survey of office-based physicians in the United States to calculate rates of acceptance of private noncapitated insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid by psychiatrists vs physicians in other specialties and to compare characteristics of psychiatrists who accepted insurance and those who did not. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES Our main outcome variables were physician acceptance of new patients with private noncapitated insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid. Our main independent variables were physician specialty and year groupings (2005-2006, 2007-2008, and 2009-2010). RESULTS The percentage of psychiatrists who accepted private noncapitated insurance in 2009-2010 was significantly lower than the percentage of physicians in other specialties (55.3% [95% CI, 46.7%-63.8%] vs 88.7% [86.4%-90.7%]; P < .001) and had declined by 17.0% since 2005-2006. Similarly, the percentage of psychiatrists who accepted Medicare in 2009-2010 was significantly lower than that for other physicians (54.8% [95% CI, 46.6%-62.7%] vs 86.1% [84.4%-87.7%]; P < .001) and had declined by 19.5% since 2005-2006. Psychiatrists' Medicaid acceptance rates in 2009-2010 were also lower than those for other physicians (43.1% [95% CI, 34.9%-51.7%] vs 73.0% [70.3%-75.5%]; P < .001) but had not declined significantly from 2005-2006. Psychiatrists in the Midwest were more likely to accept private noncapitated insurance (85.1%) than those in the Northeast (48.5%), South (43.0%), or West (57.8%) (P = .02). CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE Acceptance rates for all types of insurance were significantly lower for psychiatrists than for physicians in other specialties. These low rates of acceptance may pose a barrier to access to mental health services.

Concepts: Health care, Medicine, Health insurance, Mental health, Physician, Psychiatry, Mental health professional, Psychiatrist

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This article reviews the impact of mental health on overall health on a global level. The authors suggest changes that could lead to improved identification and treatment of mental illness in countries with limited resources.

Concepts: Health care, Mental health, Mental disorder, Psychiatry, Mental illness

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Perceptions of dangerousness are an influential component of mental health stigma and can be driven by the display of psychiatric symptoms and the use of psychiatric service institutions. Yet, no previous study compared symptoms and service use associated perceptions of dangerousness. Therefore, we conducted a representative survey (N = 2,207) in the canton of Basel-Stadt, Switzerland. Participants were asked to answer the perceived dangerousness scale with respect to a vignette that either depicted psychiatric symptoms of a fictitious character or a psychiatric service institution the fictitious character had been admitted to. Between the vignettes, type of symptoms, type of psychiatric service, dangerousness, and gender were systematically varied. Perceived dangerousness was significantly lower as related to psychiatric service use than related to psychiatric symptoms. Overall, symptoms of alcohol dependency, behavior endangering others, and male gender of the fictitious character tend to increase perceived dangerousness. Furthermore, being hospitalized in a psychiatric unit at a general hospital or the rater being familiar with psychiatric services tends to decrease perceived dangerousness. Effective anti-stigma initiatives should integrate education about dangerousness as well as methods to increase familiarity with psychiatry. Additionally, an integration of modern psychiatry in somato-medical care institutions might decrease stigmatization.

Concepts: Psychology, Mental health, Sociology, Mental disorder, Switzerland, Psychiatry, Anti-psychiatry, Psychiatric hospital

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We examined parent-child relationship quality and positive mental well-being using Medical Research Council National Survey of Health and Development data. Well-being was measured at ages 13-15 (teacher-rated happiness), 36 (life satisfaction), 43 (satisfaction with home and family life) and 60-64 years (Diener Satisfaction With Life scale and Warwick Edinburgh Mental Well-being scale). The Parental Bonding Instrument captured perceived care and control from the father and mother to age 16, recalled by study members at age 43. Greater well-being was seen for offspring with higher combined parental care and lower combined parental psychological control (p < 0.05 at all ages). Controlling for maternal care and paternal and maternal behavioural and psychological control, childhood social class, parental separation, mother's neuroticism and study member's personality, higher well-being was consistently related to paternal care. This suggests that both mother-child and father-child relationships may have short and long-term consequences for positive mental well-being.

Concepts: Psychology, Personality psychology, Parent, Mental health, Maternal bond, Mother, Father, Human Development Index

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Suicide is the 15th most common cause of death worldwide. Although relatively uncommon in the general population, suicide rates are much higher in people with mental health problems. Clinicians often have to assess and manage suicide risk. Risk assessment is challenging for several reasons, not least because conventional approaches to risk assessment rely on patient self reporting and suicidal patients may wish to conceal their plans. Accurate methods of predicting suicide therefore remain elusive and are actively being studied. Novel approaches to risk assessment have shown promise, including empirically derived tools and implicit association tests. Service provision for suicidal patients is often substandard, particularly at times of highest need, such as after discharge from hospital or the emergency department. Although several drug based and psychotherapy based treatments exist, the best approaches to reducing the risk of suicide are still unclear. Some of the most compelling evidence supports long established treatments such as lithium and cognitive behavioral therapy. Emerging options include ketamine and internet based psychotherapies. This review summarizes the current science in suicide risk assessment and provides an overview of the interventions shown to reduce the risk of suicide, with a focus on the clinical management of people with mental disorders.

Concepts: Psychology, Hospital, Mental health, Mental disorder, Schizophrenia, Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, Suicide

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BACKGROUND: Religious participation or belief may predict better mental health but most research is American and measures of spirituality are often conflated with well-being. AIMS: To examine associations between a spiritual or religious understanding of life and psychiatric symptoms and diagnoses. METHOD: We analysed data collected from interviews with 7403 people who participated in the third National Psychiatric Morbidity Study in England. RESULTS: Of the participants 35% had a religious understanding of life, 19% were spiritual but not religious and 46% were neither religious nor spiritual. Religious people were similar to those who were neither religious nor spiritual with regard to the prevalence of mental disorders, except that the former were less likely to have ever used drugs (odds ratio (OR) = 0.73, 95% CI 0.60-0.88) or be a hazardous drinker (OR = 0.81, 95% CI 0.69-0.96). Spiritual people were more likely than those who were neither religious nor spiritual to have ever used (OR = 1.24, 95% CI 1.02-1.49) or be dependent on drugs (OR = 1.77, 95% CI 1.20-2.61), and to have abnormal eating attitudes (OR = 1.46, 95% CI 1.10-1.94), generalised anxiety disorder (OR = 1.50, 95% CI 1.09-2.06), any phobia (OR = 1.72, 95% CI 1.07-2.77) or any neurotic disorder (OR = 1.37, 95% CI 1.12-1.68). They were also more likely to be taking psychotropic medication (OR = 1.40, 95% CI 1.05-1.86). CONCLUSIONS: People who have a spiritual understanding of life in the absence of a religious framework are vulnerable to mental disorder.

Concepts: Mental health, Mental disorder, Abnormal psychology, Psychiatry, Generalized anxiety disorder, Psychiatric medication, Insomnia, Spirituality