From the Pages of Psychiatric Times: April 2022

The experts weighed in on a wide variety of psychiatric issues for the April 2022 issue of Psychiatric Times.

In the April issue of Psychiatric TimesTM, we worked with experts from multiple areas in psychiatry to bring you thoughtful articles about a wide variety of psychiatric issues, from managing depression in older adults and differences in trauma response to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on youth and the growing US mental health crisis. Here are some highlights.

Psychiatric Care in the US: Are We Facing a Crisis?

By the end of 2021, many American adults found themselves inthe worst mental state in years. According to the US Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey, 47% of adults reported symptoms of anxiety,1 39% reported symptoms of depression,1 and 1 in 5 adults disclosed suffering from a mental illness.2 Despite this, it is estimated that less than half of Americans with a mental disorder get adequate treatment.3

“It has been just over a year now since the COVID-19 pandemic struck the United States full force. A year of hunkering down and Zooming in, teleworking and telepsychiatry, economic and social upheaval, and steady scientific progress. Looking back to last March, we knew this would be difficult. But we didn’t know how difficult. And we certainly didn’t know that the challenge of COVID-19 would last this long,” said Joshua A. Gordon, MD, PhD, director of the National Institute of Mental Health, in a 2021 director’s message.4 Continue Reading

Why Men and Women May Respond Differently to Psychological Trauma

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health disorder that arises after experiencing a traumatic event in about 10% of exposed individuals. A hallmark symptom is the reexperiencing of the traumatic event in the form of nightmares or flashbacks or reliving the event upon certain triggers.

These unwanted memories cannot be controlled, and the event may feel like it is happening again. Individuals with PTSD will try to avoid these memories by not talking about them or by staying away from situations where potential triggers might be present (eg, the store where the robbery took place or watching the news about current combat events or natural disasters).

Several cognitive and mood alterations—such as memory problems, negative thoughts or feelings, and high arousal levels—may manifest themselves in several ways. These include being easily startled and having angry outbursts, sleeping problems, or difficulty concentrating on everyday tasks. Continue Reading

The Management of Depression Among Older Adults

Depression is not an uncommon condition among older adults, and it is often underdiagnosed in this population. Depression also results in greater rates of morbidity and mortality among older adults.

The neurobiology of depression includes a complex interaction among various biological, psychological, and social factors. The identification of depression among older adults requires a thorough history, a focused physical examination, appropriate laboratory studies, and the use of neuropsychological testing when necessary.

Current available treatments for older adults with depression include psychotherapy, pharmacotherapy, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), and collaborative care approaches.1-3 In addition, some evidence indicates that aerobic and supervised group exercise regimens may improve depressive symptoms among older adults.4 In this review, we assess the evidence for using psychotherapy, pharmacotherapy, ECT, TMS, and collaborative care approaches for the treatment of depression among older adults. Continue Reading

Here’s How the COVID-19 Pandemic is Shaping the Next Generation

The full picture of teenagers’ experience of COVID-19 is just beginning to emerge. The school closures, canceled proms, and separation from friends seemed a small price to pay to save the lives of thousands—but in exchange, the adolescents who represent the younger side of Generation Z were robbed of the capstone of their formative years. It created an atmosphere of uncertainty and anxiety among some teens, about both the future and their place in it.

As if the pandemic was not enough, teens watched as police violence and racial tensions reached breaking points. They saw angry mobs take over cities and storm the Capitol. Then Mother Nature swept in with deadly wildfires and other natural disasters that underscored the threat of climate change. Continue Reading

See the full April issue of Psychiatric TimesTM here. And be sure to stay up-to-date by subscribing to the Psychiatric TimesTM E-newsletter.

Do you have a comment on any of these or other articles? Have a good idea for an article and want to write? Interested in sharing your perspectives? Write to us at PTeditor@mmhgroup.com.