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Journal: The Australian and New Zealand journal of psychiatry

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Objectives: Past controlled clinical trials centred on virtual reality exposure therapy (VRET) for agoraphobia mostly used multicomponent therapy with success. However, the present paper aimed to evaluate the independent effect of VRET for agoraphobia. Methods: A controlled study involving 18 agoraphobic participants assigned to two groups: VRET only and VRET with cognitive therapy. Nine specific virtual environments were developed using an affordable game level editor. Results: Questionnaires, behavioural tests and physiological measures indicated a positive effect of VRET. Correlations supported the predictive value of presence towards treatment outcome. The addition of cognitive therapy did not provide significant additional benefit. Conclusions: Overall, the isolated effects of VRET did not seem to be significantly less than the effects of VRET combined with cognitive therapy. Future research should explore the use of other components in addition to cognitive therapy and VRET for agoraphobia as well as its possible use in patients' homes.

Concepts: Present, Clinical trial, Effectiveness, Future, Pharmaceutical industry, Clinical research, Cognitive behavioral therapy, Virtual reality

28

Objectives: There are ongoing uncertainties in the relationship between obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD). This study aimed to test the proposition that OCPD may be a marker of severity of OCD by comparing groups of OCD individuals with and without OCPD on a number of variables. Method: A total of 148 adults with a principal diagnosis of OCD were administered the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview, Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale, Sheehan Disability Scale, Vancouver Obsessional Compulsive Inventory and Symptom Checklist 90-Revised. Participants with a DSM-IV diagnosis of OCPD were compared with those without OCPD. Results: Some 70 (47.3%) participants were diagnosed with OCPD. The groups of participants with and without OCPD did not differ significantly with respect to any of the demographic variables, clinician-rated severity of OCD, levels of disability and mean age of onset of OCD. All self-rated OCD symptom dimensions except for contamination and checking were significantly more prominent in participants with OCPD, as were all self-rated dimensions of psychopathology. Participants with OCPD had significantly more frequent hoarding compulsions and obsessions involving a need to collect and keep objects. Of Axis I disorders, only panic disorder was significantly more frequent in participants with OCPD than in those without OCPD. Conclusions: A high frequency of OCPD among individuals with OCD suggests a strong, although not necessarily a unique, relationship between the two conditions. This finding may also be a consequence of the blurring of the boundary between OCD and OCPD by postulating that hoarding and hoarding-like behaviours characterise both disorders. Results of this study do not support the notion that OCD with OCPD is a marker of clinician-rated severity of OCD. However, individuals with OCPD had more prominent OCD symptoms, they were more distressed and exhibited various other psychopathological phenomena more intensely, which is likely to complicate their treatment.

Concepts: Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, Abnormal psychology, Psychiatry, Personality disorders, Obsessive–compulsive disorder, Compulsive hoarding, Obsessive–compulsive personality disorder, Scrupulosity

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Frequent callers present a challenge for crisis helplines, which strive to achieve optimal outcomes for all callers within finite resources. This study aimed to describe frequent callers to Lifeline (the largest crisis helpline in Australia) and compare them with non-frequent callers, with a view to furthering knowledge about models of service delivery that might meet the needs of frequent callers.

Concepts: Helpline, Helplines, User Assistance

23

In response to evidence of deteriorating outcomes of people with schizophrenia we recently published a critical review in the journal concerning why outcomes for schizophrenia are not improving. A published commentary on our review raised criticisms that we aim to address herein.

Concepts: Critical thinking

16

To examine the association between cord 25-hydroxyvitamin D2+3 (25(OH)D) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder symptoms in toddlers, using Child Behaviour Checklist for ages 1.5-5.

Concepts: Attention, Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, Hyperactivity

6

Longitudinal trends in the dispensing of antidepressant, antipsychotic and ADHD medications from 2009-2012 were examined according to age and gender of patient and prescriber speciality. Of particular interest were changing trends in the prescription of psychotropic medications to children, adolescents and young adults.

Concepts: Psychiatric medication

5

With a healthcare system burdened by symptomatic and mental-health related conditions, the placebo effect may represent a useful clinical tool. First, however, there is a need to broaden research attention and investigate placebo effects outside laboratories and beyond experimental pain. This study investigated the effectiveness of a take-home placebo treatment in the short-term alleviation of stress, anxiety and symptoms of depression in a non-patient population.

Concepts: Anxiety, Psychology, Clinical trial, Medical ethics, Effect, Effectiveness, Clinical research, Placebo

5

Objective:There have been debates about the linkages between abortion and mental health. Few reviews have considered the extent to which abortion has therapeutic benefits that mitigate the mental health risks of abortion. The aim of this review was to conduct a re-appraisal of the evidence to examine the research hypothesis that abortion reduces rates of mental health problems in women having unwanted or unintended pregnancy.Methods:Analysis of recent reviews (Coleman, 2011; National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health, 2011) identified eight publications reporting 14 adjusted odds ratios (AORs) spanning five outcome domains: anxiety; depression; alcohol misuse; illicit drug use/misuse; and suicidal behaviour. For each outcome, pooled AORs were estimated using a random-effects model.Results:There was consistent evidence to show that abortion was not associated with a reduction in rates of mental health problems (p>0.75). Abortion was associated with small to moderate increases in risks of anxiety (AOR 1.28, 95% CI 0.97-1.70; p<0.08), alcohol misuse (AOR 2.34, 95% CI 1.05-5.21; p<0.05), illicit drug use/misuse (AOR 3.91, 95% CI 1.13-13.55; p<0.05), and suicidal behaviour (AOR 1.69, 95% CI 1.12-2.54; p<0.01).Conclusions:There is no available evidence to suggest that abortion has therapeutic effects in reducing the mental health risks of unwanted or unintended pregnancy. There is suggestive evidence that abortion may be associated with small to moderate increases in risks of some mental health problems.

Concepts: Psychology, Pregnancy, Redox, Alcoholism, Mental disorder, Schizophrenia, Major depressive disorder, Suicide

4

This clinical practice guideline for treatment of DSM-5 feeding and eating disorders was conducted as part of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) Clinical Practice Guidelines (CPG) Project 2013-2014.

4

Objectives:This paper systematically reviews all outcome studies of patients with mood disorders treated prior to the widespread use of antidepressants, mood stabilizers, and major tranquillizers. The aim is to estimate recovery and sustained recovery rates and to provide some evidence about the efficacy of modern drug treatments in changing the long-term outcome of mood disorders.Methods:MEDLINE and PSYCHINFO searches for studies on mood disorders published prior to 1970 were performed. Most studies were obtained by hand searching and extensive cross referencing. Information was independently extracted by the two authors.Results:A total of 29 relevant articles were obtained. The studies reviewed over 14,000 patients in total. Patients were mainly inpatients with a predominance of females. The majority of patients suffered from depression. The cohorts were followed up for 1-30 years. The median rate of recovery was 69% (range 17-91%). The time to recovery was generally several months. The median rate of recovering and remaining well was 51% (range 21-67%).Conclusions:The median rate of recovery is less than modern cohorts and the time to recovery longer. However, the rate of recovering and remaining well appears high compared to modern cohorts, although this result may reflect methodological issues. This review provides no support to the belief that pharmacological treatments have resulted in an improvement in the long-term outcome of patients with mood disorders.

Concepts: Time, Pharmacology, Bipolar disorder, Mood disorder, Mania, Psychiatric medication, Searching, Result