Victims of child sexual abuse are at increased risk of suicide and accidental fatal drug overdose later in life, according to the authors of a study published in the Medical Journal of Australia. Dr Margaret Cutajar, a psychologist from the Centre for Forensic Behavioural Science at Monash University, Melbourne, and her co-authors, Professors James Ogloff and Paul Mullen, investigated rates of fatal self-harm in 2759 people who were medically ascertained as being victims of child sexual abuse (CSA) between 1964 and 1995. They found significantly higher rates of suicide and accidental fatal drug overdose in the CSA cohort compared with age-limited national data for the general population, with relative risks of 18.09 for suicide and 49.22 for accidental fatal drug overdose in CSA victims. Dr Cutajar said it was surprising that anxiety was the most commonly reported diagnosis among the 20 CSA victims who died from self-harm and for whom psychiatric information was recorded. "Depression and psychosis have been consistently shown to be strong predictors of suicide;
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) urges individuals and families to familiarize themselves with the draft of the new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM), which is used by psychiatrists and other mental health professionals to classify and diagnose mental disorders in children and adults. The DSM historically has had a very significant impact on the treatment of mental illnesses and on the payment of mental health treatment and related services. A committee created by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) has been working on a DSM revision to reflect current scientific understanding about mental disorders. Earlier this week, the APA posted the draft of the revised DSM, known as the DSM-5. The draft DSM-5 can be found at http://www.DSM5.org. For the next two months, the APA is seeking input from individuals, family members, clinicians and others about the proposed changes contained in the DSM-5. The deadline for submitting these comments is April 20, 2010. NAMI encourages the public to visit the DSM-5 Web site to understand the proposed changes and submit comments as appropriate.
Two new European studies show how The University of Queensland's Triple P - Positive Parenting Program can treat childhood depression and tame out-of-control teenagers. The findings of the independent Belgian and Dutch research projects will be presented at Helping Families Change, an international parenting conference at The University of Queensland on Wednesday, February 17 and Thursday, February 18. In the Belgian study, conducted at a youth mental health unit at the University of Antwerp, mothers who had a child receiving psychiatric care (for conditions including depression and anxiety ) completed an eight-week Group Triple P program, in addition to their own regular therapeutic support and the child's usual treatment. Researchers Professor Dirk Deboutte and Dr Inge Glazemakers found that providing parenting support to the mothers significantly improved the emotional states of their children, when compared to children receiving only standard psychiatric care. Fifty percent of children were found to have improved conduct and emotional problems.
Health Affairs : Trends In Health Care Spending For Immigrants In The United States This paper examines the spending for health care of adult naturalized citizens and immigrant noncitizens (including some undocumented immigrants) compared to U.S. natives, as documented in data from the 1999-2006 Medical Expenditure Panel Surveys (MEPS): "inflation and age-adjusted health care expenditures among noncitizen immigrants were consistently ... lower than those of naturalized citizens and U.S. natives during 1999-2006." However, "noncitizen immigrants were more likely than U.S. natives to have a health care visit classified as uncompensated care, " the authors note (Stimpson, Wilson and Eschbach, 2/11). RAND Journal of Economics : Can You Get What You Pay For? Pay-For-Performance And The Quality Of Healthcare Providers - To assess the effectiveness of pay-for-performance (P4P) in improving quality of care, the authors analyzed performance reports from medical groups contracting with a large network HMO, PacifiCare Health Systems, before and after implementation of two P4P programs in California.
People who spend a lot of time browsing the net are more likely to show depressive symptoms, according to the first large-scale study of its kind in the West by University of Leeds psychologists. Researchers found striking evidence that some users have developed a compulsive internet habit, whereby they replace real-life social interaction with online chat rooms and social networking sites. The results suggest that this type of addictive surfing can have a serious impact on mental health. Lead author Dr Catriona Morrison, from the University of Leeds, said: "The internet now plays a huge part in modern life, but its benefits are accompanied by a darker side. "While many of us use the internet to pay bills, shop and send emails, there is a small subset of the population who find it hard to control how much time they spend online, to the point where it interferes with their daily activities." These 'internet addicts' spent proportionately more time browsing sexually gratifying websites, online gaming sites and online communities.
Virginia AG Works To Increase Outpatient Treatment For Mentally Ill; Iowa Hospitals Oppose Medicare Fraud Bill
News outlets report on health care developments in Virginia, the District of Columbia, California, Iowa, Maryland, Maine and Michigan. The Virginia attorney general wants to increase access to outpatient treatment for the mentally ill, The Washington Post reports. "After the shootings at Virginia Tech by a mentally ill student in 2007, the Virginia General Assembly changed the law the next year to allow more outpatient treatment. But even fewer people were ordered into outpatient treatment in the law's first year." On Thursday, recently-elected Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II "will push for a new law that would allow doctors to order patients into outpatient treatment after they are stabilized in a hospital or institution." The Post reports that Cuccinelli said the law could result in significant savings for the state and "open up more bed space" in hospitals (Jackman, 2/4). In a separate article, The Washington Post reports on problems at District of Columbia-funded homes for the mentally ill.
The New York Times : "The State of New York does not have a single full-time staff psychiatrist charged with overseeing the treatment of the 800 or so young people who are detained in state facilities at any given time." The Times reports that all 17 psychiatrists at the detention facilities in the state's juvenile justice system are working either on contract and part time. "Weeks often pass between their visits with each troubled youth, and state officials say their turnover rate is very high." A report in August by the federal Justice Department "criticized the state for failing to properly diagnose juveniles' mental health problems, administering medication inappropriately and making inadequate treatment plans." Gov. David A. Paterson's proposed budget would add $18.2 million to enhance services at the prisons (Bosman, 2/10). This information was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with kind permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives and sign up for email delivery at kaiserhealthnews.
The Australian Psychological Society (APS) rejects claims that the higher than expected demand for psychological services under Medicare is bad news. "We have known for several years that the public demand for professional psychological help is considerably higher than was anticipated when psychological services were included in Medicare, " said APS President, Professor Bob Montgomery. "The high take up indicates just how much unmet need there has been for evidence-based psychological assistance in the Australian community. That's what our own survey has found, that many people now consulting with psychologists tell us that they couldn't afford to before the Medicare rebate was made available and they are finding it very helpful now that they can." "Rather than complaining about the success of this scheme in meeting a clear need within the community, we should be celebrating it and congratulating the governments for introducing and maintaining it." "There are some who believe that first call on mental health spending should be for the treatment of the seriously mentally ill, predominately people with psychosis and bi-polar disorders, including support for their carers.
The Wall Street Journal : "Mental-health experts wrestling with how to fit temper tantrums, hoarding and even Internet addiction into the current understanding of mental illness are proposing changes to the field's primary reference for diagnoses for the first time in 16 years. The draft revisions of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders - the bible for mental health clinicians and researchers - unveiled Wednesday could have effects that ripple through mental health care." Researchers, clinicians and insurance companies use the DSM to make diagnostic, treatment and coverage decisions. For drug companies, changes could open up opportunities for new drugs or expand the uses of existing ones" (Wang, 2/10). NPR : "Doctors use the DSM to diagnose patients, and insurance companies use it to decide on reimbursement, so it's incredibly important in the profession of psychiatry." NPR reports on a change for children currently being diagnosed with bipolar disorder (also known as manic-depression): "The condition will be called temper dysregulation disorder, and it will be seen as a brain or biological dysfunction, but not as a necessarily lifelong condition like bipolar.
A group of claimants who were prescribed the diet drug Acomplia (Rimonabant) are bringing proceedings against the manufacturer, Sanofi Aventis, for compensation for depression and suicidal ideation suffered as a result of taking the drug. Acomplia was withdrawn from the European market in December 2008, following findings that the drug doubled the risk of patients suffering from depression and other psychiatric disorders compared with patients taking a placebo. If you have suffered similar side effects from Acomplia, and would like information on joining the group action against Sanofi Aventis, please email Bozena Michalowska-Howells at Leigh Day & Co solicitors. Source MIND