The Week in Review: September 26-30

From older age bipolar disorder to the relationship between antidepressants and emotional numbing, here are highlights from the week in Psychiatric Times.

This week, Psychiatric TimesTM covered a wide variety of psychiatric issues and industry updates, from assessment and management of older age bipolar disorder to the relationship between antidepressants and emotional numbing. Here are some highlights from the week.

Assessment of Individuals With Older Age Bipolar Disorder

The DSM-5 describes bipolar disorder (BD) as a condition that is characterized by recurrent and/or cyclical episodes of mania or hypomania and depression. In the DSM-5, there are 2 subtypes of BD: bipolar I disorder (BD-I) and bipolar II disorder (BD-II). A diagnosis of BD-I is established if an individual experiences at least 1 manic episode with additional major depressive and/or hypomanic episodes. Individuals are diagnosed with BD-II if they experience at least 1 hypomanic episode and at least 1 major depressive episode without any manic episodes. Although BD is not as common among older adults as it is among younger adults, available evidence indicates that the total number of older adults with BD is expected to increase significantly over the next few decades. It has been observed that between 1980 and 1998, the relative frequency of late-onset bipolar disorder increased from 1% to 11%. Continue Reading

Antidepressants Do Not Work by Numbing Emotions

Recent evidence from randomized, placebo controlled trials (1979 to 2016) has shown that, in about 15% of patients with depression, antidepressant treatment is robustly superior to placebo—contrary to the often-repeated claim that antidepressants are “not much better than a sugar pill.” It is not yet clear what clinical or biological features make this subgroup so antidepressant-responsive, although differences between drug and placebo increased significantly (P<0.001) with greater baseline severity of depression. Continue Reading

Considering National and Personal Character in Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine

I caught a brief interchange of the September 27th “Late Show” when Stephen Colbert was interviewing the well-known foreign war correspondent Clarissa Ward. She seemed to be concluding that Russia has an unusual propensity to tolerate suffering, so that a long war would not be all that psychologically difficult for the country as a whole.

Her comment reminded me of how long Russia was able to hold out, starvation common by the end, to the siege of Leningrad by the German Nazis in World War II. They ultimately shifted the whole tide of the war. Continue Reading

The Strength and Value of Organized Psychiatry

Is organized medicine really on the decline? As more nursing and other allied organizations are growing and becoming more politically active, what is happening to membership in physician organizations? Given the increasing stressors of the COVID-19 pandemic, gun violence, physician wellbeing, rising health care costs, the scope of practice issues, and government intrusion on medical decision making, this is a time when physicians, the field, and our patients need help more than ever. Is there still strength in numbers? 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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