Our thoughts and fears, movements and sensations all arise from the electrical blips of billions of neurons in our brain. Streams of electricity flow through neural circuits to govern these actions of the brain and body, and some scientists think that many neurological and psychiatric disorders may result from dysfunctional circuits.
As this understanding has grown, some scientists have asked whether we could locate these faulty circuits, reach deep into the brain and nudge the flow to a more functional state, treating the underlying neurobiological cause of ailments like tremors or depression. more
The current, criteria-based approach towards diagnosing psychiatric disorders evolved from research in the 1960s and early 1970s by faculty in the Department of Psychiatry at Washington University in St. Louis. Those investigators analyzed data from clinical observations, longitudinal follow-up of patients, and family history information to define diagnostic criteria for a group of psychiatric illnesses that they believed were well validated based on several defined metrics.
Although this approach was not based on disease mechanisms, it did allow for reliable categorization of disorders—reliable meaning that different clinicians would likely agree on the same diagnosis for a given patient. Some of the illnesses included in the original 1972 publication from the Washington University group were schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, certain anxiety disorders, anorexia nervosa, and alcohol and drug dependence.
Approximately one in five adults in the US — 43.8 million — experiences mental illness in a given year, according to The National Alliance on Mental Illness. That being said, it’s no surprise that each and every year researchers put time and enormous amounts of money into tackling the growing mental health crisis.
It seems in 2018, much of their hard work paid off — around the world researchers crumbled myths and opened new doors as they aimed to better comprehend the complicated world of invisible illnesses.
Here are 10 of the most important things we learned about mental health in 2018. more
Women in treatment for skin diseases, including psoriasis, experience higher levels of non-psychotic psychiatric disorders, including anxiety and depression, than men. Identifying these conditions earlier can not only improve their quality of life, but it can also reduce the dermatological impact, according to recently published research.
Existing research shows anxiety and depression occur frequently in patients with skin conditions. But, based on new study findings published in the European Journal of Dermatology, researchers determined if dermatologists administer questionnaires that assess a patient’s possible anxiety and depression levels, they could pinpointing who might benefit from psychological counseling. more
The Journal of Neurogastroenterology and Motility recently published a short case study about a woman who experienced the sudden onset of nightmares after being prescribed a certain antiobiotic. The case study involved a 19-year old woman who had a gastrointestinal disorder that occurs as a result of weak muscles in the stomach, and slows the movement of food from the stomach to the small intestine. The symptoms of the disorder included vomiting and nausea.
The patient was prescribed an antiobiotic, Erythromycin, to treat her gastric symptoms. The antiobioc Erythromycin is often used to treat bacterial infections and respiratory infections, such as strep; in fact, it is also sometimes used during pregnancy to prevent strep in newborns, and is generally thought to be safe for use during pregnancy and breastfeeding. more