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Current Psychotherapy News and Events, Psychotherapy News Articles.
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Study: In the long run, drugs and talk therapy hold same value for people with depression
Spending an hour in talk therapy with a trained counselor costs much more, and takes more time, than swallowing an inexpensive antidepressant pill. But for people with a new diagnosis of major depression, the costs and benefits of the two approaches end up being equal after five years, a new study shows. (2019-10-28)

Hope is a key factor in recovering from anxiety disorders
A University of Houston psychologist is reporting that hope increases in therapy and is a trait that predicts resilience and recovery from anxiety disorders, an important mechanism for therapists to restore in patients to move them forward toward recovery. (2019-10-14)

McLean successfully integrates spirituality and religion with mental health treatment
McLean Hospital clinicians describe the success of the hospital's Spiritual Psychotherapy for Inpatient, Residential & Intensive Treatment (SPIRIT) program. (2019-09-19)

An oral splint that can reduce Tourette syndrome tics
Osaka University researchers developed a new device that ameliorates the characteristic vocal and motor tics of Tourette syndrome. By biting down on the simple, removable oral splint, both adults and children with Tourette syndrome experienced a reduction in their tics. The action of biting down on the oral splint could serve as a sensory trick; sensory tricks are known to ameliorate motor symptoms in cervical dystonia. The device might be particularly effective in children. (2019-09-09)

Fix and prevent health disparities in children by supporting mom, and dad
According to the recent National Academies report on health disparities in children, one of the most important factors in preventing and addressing disparities is the well-being of the child's primary caregiver. This finding is based on decades of developmental psychology research from Arizona State University scientists and others. When the primary caregiver is supported, the caregiver-child attachment can buffer against adversities like poverty, trauma and chronic stress. (2019-09-05)

Study casts doubt on evidence for 'gold standard' psychological treatments
Researchers have found 56% percent of 'Empirically Supported Treatments' per the American Psychological Association fare poorly across most metric scores for power and replicability. (2019-08-01)

Psychotherapy should be first-line treatment for depression in young people, trial finds
Young people seeking support for depression should be offered psychotherapy as the first line of treatment, a clinical trial by researchers at Orygen, the National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health, has found. (2019-07-31)

Antidepressants can reduce the empathic empathy
Depression is a disorder that often comes along with strong impairments of social functioning. Until recently, researchers assumed that acute episodes of depression also impair empathy, an essential skill for successful social interactions and understanding others. Novel insights of an interdisciplinary from the University of Vienna and the Medical University of Vienna show that antidepressant treatment can lead to impaired empathy regarding perception of pain, and not just the state of depression itself. (2019-06-18)

Parents of depressed teens in treatment may also benefit from counseling
Parents often seek mental health treatment for a child struggling with depression, but the treatment shouldn't stop with the depressed teen, suggests a new Northwestern Medicine study. The study found that while depressed teens were involved in active treatment, parents' marriages and parent-child conflict remained stable. Once the teens' treatment had finished, however, parents' marital relationships slightly worsened, the study found. (2019-06-06)

'Ecstasy' shows promise for post-traumatic stress treatment
An international study involving researchers from UBC Okanagan has shown that MDMA, also known as ecstasy, may be a valuable tool for treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Published recently in Psychopharmacology, the study demonstrated substantial improvements in individuals who had not responded to prior treatments, explains UBCO Associate Professor of psychology Zach Walsh. This is also, he adds, the most comprehensive evaluation of the safety and effectiveness of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD. (2019-05-29)

When drug treatment for social anxiety is insufficient
A Japanese study group clarified that cognitive therapy maintained its effects more than a year after the end of therapy for patients with a social anxiety disorder even for those who did not respond to antidepressant drugs. (2019-05-28)

Thirty years after anorexia onset, fewer ill than healthy
A study that started in 1985 followed some 50 people who had become anorexic in their teens. It shows that 30 years later, the majority were healthy but some had persistent eating disorders. The study, published in The British Journal of Psychiatry, was carried out at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden. (2019-05-27)

Help for youth who have experienced sexual or physical abuse
There have not been many scientifically evaluated therapies for teens and young adults who have suffered physical or sexual abuse until now. Psychologists at Goethe University have closed the gap by developing a psychotherapeutic approach designed specifically for this age group. Its effectiveness has now been proved in a nationwide study lasting four years. (2019-05-22)

Exercise: Psych patients' new primary prescription
A new study advocates for exercise as the primary method of treatment and intervention, rather than psychotropic medications, within inpatient psychiatric facilities. (2019-05-21)

Robot therapists need rules
Interactions with artificial intelligence (AI) will become an increasingly common aspect of our lives. A team at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has now completed the first study of how 'embodied AI' can help treat mental illness. Their conclusion: Important ethical questions of this technology remain unanswered. There is urgent need for action on the part of governments, professional associations and researchers. (2019-05-15)

How cortisol affects exposure therapy for anxiety disorders
Bochum-based psychologists have studied how the application of the stress hormone cortisol affects exposure therapy for anxiety disorders. The researchers knew from earlier studies that extinction learning, which constitutes the foundation of exposure therapy, can be reinforced by administering cortisol. However, the team has demonstrated with a group of arachnophobics that an application of cortisol after exposure is not beneficial for the patients. (2019-04-25)

Study confirms value of exposure therapy for vets with PTSD, alcohol problems
A Veterans Affairs study has confirmed the value of prolonged exposure therapy for veterans coping with both PTSD and alcohol problems. Some experts have worried exposure therapy could worsen drinking in this population. (2019-04-24)

Unique patterns of brain activity predict treatment responses in patients with PTSD
A neuroimaging study of 184 patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has identified unique patterns of brain activity that predict poorer responses to talk therapy (or psychotherapy), the current gold standard and only effective treatment for addressing PTSD. (2019-04-03)

Deep brain stimulation provides sustained relief for severe depression
Patients suffering from severe, treatment-resistant depression can benefit not only acutely but also the long-term from deep brain stimulation, as researchers from the Medical Center -- University of Freiburg and their colleagues from the University Hospital Bonn demonstrate in a current study. (2019-03-19)

Fast-acting psychedelic associated with improvements in depression/anxiety
Johns Hopkins researchers have discovered that use of the synthetic psychedelic 5-methocy-N,-N-dimethyltryptamine (5-MeO-DMT) appears to be associated with unintended improvements in self-reported depression and anxiety when given in a ceremonial group setting. 5-MeO-DMT is a psychedelic that is found in the venom of Bufo Alvarius toads, in a variety of plants species, and can be produced synthetically. (2019-03-18)

Fear center in the brain protects against illusions
If functionality of the brain's amygdala is impaired, illusory perceptions arise much faster and more pronounced. This was discovered by a team of researchers led by the University of Bonn, who studied identical twins in whom both amygdalae are damaged. Further experiments with volunteers showed that this brain structure, which is widely known for its eminent role in fear processing, apparently provides effective protection against body perception disorders. (2019-03-12)

Well-being and the rise of psychotherapy in Uganda
Perspectives on happiness and mental health differ across the world. Westernized perspectives present happiness as an individualized state of being that can be cultivated and sustained through continuous effort. In areas where these western beliefs are prominent, happiness is established as the norm, and as a result, a global trend has emerged where the absence of happiness is increasingly medicalized and pathologized. When deviation from the norm occurs, it spurs individuals to search out medical and psychological interventions. (2019-03-04)

Bungee jumping for science
Immediately before a person decides to launch themselves off a bridge for a bungee jump, there is a measurable increase in their brain activity. This can be recorded nearly one second before the person makes the conscious decision to jump. Researchers from Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin have, for the first time, succeeded in measuring this 'Bereitschaftspotential' (readiness potential) outside a laboratory and under extreme conditions. Results from this research have been published in Scientific Reports*. (2019-02-28)

How to treat depression in prison -- and why it matters
Of the 4 million prisoners released each year, 23 percent have suffered from major depressive disorder. Due to resource shortages, many go without adequate treatment while in prison. Oftentimes they rejoin society in worse mental shape than before their incarceration - which could be prevented with the right care. A team led by Michigan State University has found a cost-effective way to improve mental health in prisons. (2019-02-21)

Even psychological placebos have an effect
Placebo effects do not only occur in medical treatment -- placebos can also work when psychological effects are attributed to them. Psychologists from the University of Basel reported these findings in the journal Scientific Reports, based on three studies with over 400 participants. (2019-02-05)

Insufficient evidence' that antidepressants affect fertility or infertility-treatment outcomes
Based on limited research, there's no strong evidence that selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) -- the most widely used class of antidepressants -- have an adverse impact on fertility, according to a paper in the Harvard Review of Psychiatry. The journal is published in the Lippincott portfolio by Wolters Kluwer. (2019-01-24)

Better outcomes in depression therapy with new innovations in treatment planning
Adolescents with depression who were treated with interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT-A) had significantly better outcomes when their therapists regularly assessed depression symptoms and augmented treatment for insufficient responders after four weeks of therapy rather than waiting until Week 8, reports a study published in the January 2019 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (JAACAP). (2019-01-09)

Post-traumatic stress disorder: alleviating flashbacks by playing Tetris
A behavioural intervention procedure including the computer game Tetris could help people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to alleviate involuntarily recurring visual memories of traumatic experiences. This is the conclusion reached by a team from Ruhr-Universität Bochum together with a researcher from the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden following a study of 20 inpatients with PTSD. Following an intervention involving playing Tetris, the number of flashbacks for the stressful events decreased. (2019-01-08)

Probiotics could help millions of patients suffering from bipolar disorder
About 3 million people in the US are diagnosed every year with bipolar disorder, a psychiatric condition characterized by dramatic shifts in mood from depression to mania. Currently, the standard treatment includes a combination of psychotherapy and prescription medications such as mood stabilizers and antipsychotics. (2018-12-13)

Blood pressure: Early treatment advised by US guidelines has no survival benefits
When is high blood pressure dangerous? Medical associations offer widely differing answers. In the USA, for example, patients are seen as hypertensive much sooner than in Germany. A team working with Prof. Karl-Heinz Ladwig of the Technical University of Munich and the Helmholtz Zentrum München has concluded that treating patients sooner does not reduce the risk of deadly heart disease. It could even negatively affect their mental health. (2018-11-23)

MDMA makes people cooperative, but not gullible
New research from King's College London has found that MDMA, the main ingredient in ecstasy, causes people to cooperate better -- but only with trustworthy people. In the first study to look in detail at how MDMA impacts cooperative behavior the researchers also identified changes to activity in brain regions linked to social processing. (2018-11-19)

PTSD symptoms improve when patient chooses form of treatment, study shows
A study led by the University of Washington is the first large-scale trial of hundreds of PTSD patients, including veterans and survivors of sexual assault, to measure whether patient preference in the course of treatment impacts the effectiveness of a type of cognitive behavioral therapy and use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, a type of antidepressant often prescribed for PTSD. (2018-10-19)

Interpersonal psychotherapy helps depressed women with histories of sexual trauma
Women sexually abused in childhood and adolescence who suffer from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder benefit significantly from Interpersonal Psychotherapy-Trauma, according to a Rutgers researcher. (2018-10-03)

How to improve health care in Canada
Expanding public funding for cost-effective treatments, investing in primary care, embracing technology and engaging patients are some of the ways Canada can improve the quality of health care, according to an analysis in CMAJ. (2018-10-01)

European Psychiatric Association (EPA) comprehensive review demonstrates that exercise is an effective treatment for major mental health conditions and should form a core part of treatment
Based on compelling evidence from a meta-review of existing research, the European Psychiatric Association (EPA) has issued new guidelines to promote exercise as a key additional treatment for mental health conditions. (2018-10-01)

Does our environment affect the genes in our brains?
Is there a link between differences in IQ test performance and the activity of certain genes? Researchers from Charité -- Universitätsmedizin Berlin have shown that modifications in the structure of a specific gene have a negative impact on individual test performance. This suggests that environmentally-induced epigenetic changes to our genetic material have a greater impact on intelligence than previously thought. Results from this study have been published in Translational Psychiatry. (2018-09-24)

In depression the brain region for stress control is larger
Although depression is one of the leading psychiatric disorders in Germany, its cause remains unclear. A recent study at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences (MPI CBS) in Leipzig, Germany, found that those affected by depressive disorder have a larger hypothalamus compared to their healthy counterparts. This could explain why many sufferers show increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol and are very often afflicted with periods of tension. (2018-09-20)

Brief psychotherapy benefits women caring for children with severe health issues
Brief cognitive behavioral therapy significantly improved the mental health of women overwhelmed by caring for children with severe chronic health conditions, researchers at the University of Louisville have found. After five therapy sessions, study participants reported significantly decreased depressive symptoms, negative thinking and chronic stressors, and experienced improved sleep quality, according to Lynne Hall, Dr.P.H., R.N., associate dean of research and professor at the UofL School of Nursing. (2018-09-14)

Eye movements take edge off traumatic memories
Two human experiments published in JNeurosci demonstrate that a widely used yet controversial psychotherapy technique suppresses fear-related amygdala activity during recall of a traumatic memory. (2018-09-04)

Wide variation across the nation in treatment for opioid abuse and dependence
Whether treatment for opioid abuse and dependence most commonly emphasized methadone administration, naltrexone injection, group psychotherapy or another procedure in 2017 depended on the state or region where the patient received care, according to a new white paper and state-by-state infographics from FAIR Health. Which procedures made up the largest share of total expenditures for opioid abuse and dependence also varied by region and state. (2018-08-13)

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