The Week in Review: December 12-16

From new legislation that would expand the US approach to mental health to drug abuse trends and treatment approaches for 2023, here are highlights from the week in Psychiatric Times.


This week, Psychiatric TimesTM covered a wide variety of psychiatric issues and industry updates, from new legislation that would expand the US approach to mental health to drug abuse trends and treatment approaches for 2023. Here are some highlights from the week.

Bipartisan Legislation Seeks to Expand US Approach to Mental Health


The American Psychiatric Association (APA) has recently endorsed bipartisan legislation introduced in the fall in the House by Representatives Paul Tonko (D-NY) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and in the Senate by Senators Ed Markey (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT). The legislation seeks to reduce the current epidemic of mental and behavioral health problems and prevent future ones by using a public health approach to build population-level mental wellness and resilience for all types of toxic stress, including those generated by the climate emergency.

The legislation, H.R. 9201, The Community Mental Wellness and Resilience Act, is an urgently needed new policy that will direct the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to provide small planning grants and larger implementation grants to community coalitions to strengthen the capacity for mental wellness and resilience among all adults and youth. Continue Reading

Eight Best Practices for Medical Malpractice Defense


The best way to prevent a malpractice lawsuit is to prepare for the likelihood of being sued, experts say. The more prepared a physician is, the better the chances of a successful outcome. Although no physician can manage all the possible risks that lead to malpractice lawsuits, we asked experts to share their best practices and tips.

1. Acquire good malpractice insurance.

The least expensive insurance is not always best, said attorney Christopher J. Ryan, counsel and cochair of the health care litigation task force at Dickinson Wright in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Clinicians should look for insurance that comes with risk management tools that can add value to a practice. Physicians also should make sure they have a policy in place with an admitted carrier in their state, according to Tom Benvenuto, a senior trial attorney with Benvenuto & Slattery in Roslyn, New York. Continue Reading

A Systematic Review of Clozapine for Catatonia


Catatonia is a group of symptoms characterized by abnormalities in movement, speech, and behavior. The prevalence of catatonia is 9% in acute psychiatric patient populations. Catatonia was classically tied to schizophrenia, but it is associated with other psychiatric and medical disorders.

The usual first-line treatment for catatonia, beyond addressing underlying causes and complications, is benzodiazepines. Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) also plays an important role in the treatment of catatonia, particularly if resistant to benzodiazepines or in emergencies. Several other psychotropic medications, including atypical antipsychotics, have been used off-label for treatment-resistant catatonia. Continue Reading

Drug Abuse Trends and Treatment Approaches for 2023


Substance use disorders involve a wide range of substances and patterns of abuse. However, the abuse of opioid prescription drugs and the rise in overdose deaths it is causing, largely due to the powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl, continues to be the biggest drug issue in America. Polysubstance abuse is also a concern.

Prescription painkiller alternatives are being further developed, including approaches that involve various types of therapy. The need to address underlying issues that might lead to drug use, including unresolved trauma and undiagnosed cooccurring disorders, is also coming more into focus. Continue Reading

See more recent coverage from Psychiatric TimesTM here. And be sure to stay up-to-date by subscribing to the Psychiatric TimesTM E-newsletter.

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