Post Of The Week – Sunday 28th August 2016

1) ADHD Nation

This is a review of a new book about ADHD. It’s got many elements of a Psychology story: problems of definition and diagnosis, the influence of drug companies on academic research, biological and psychological approaches working first to complement each other but then in opposition. The review quotes the start of the book: ADHD is something real. It’s whether the right people get diagnosed and then get the right treatment which is the issue.

 

2) The Inflamed Mind

You can read an article here and listen to a radio programme here. They deal with new approaches to understanding and treating depression based on the immune system. Depression, on this view, is not all in the mind but is a consequence of abnormalities in the immune system. There is some impressive evidence about cause and effect. In my work in preparing for the next academic year, I’ve been thinking about stigma. I’ve been thinking also about how to see psychological disorders holistically rather than reductively. I’ve been focusing on how the labels we use for psychological disorders are blanket terms for a number of different disorders, each of which has its own biomarkers. I’ve been thinking about personalised treatment. All of these are in this programme.

 

3) Cognitive Impairments In Depression

There is a variety of clinical characteristics of depression. Some of these are cognitive: thinking is slow, affecting memory and decision making. Antidepressant drugs work on mood. This study looks at the effect they have on processing of information. The study suggests that the effect is limited. That leaves an important deficit which other therapies have to address.

 

4) Behavioural Activation

In our course, we treat behavioural activation as a technique within CBT. Therapist and client talk through activities which the client has given up and find a way of doing them again. You don’t however need to be a fully trained CBT practitioner to persuade and arrange for someone to take up again a dormant hobby. This study compared the effectiveness of CBT with behavioural activation delivered by mental health workers with no professional psychotherapy training. The evidence  suggests that they are as effective as each other. There’s a problem though with the evidence. Most people in this study were taking medication: these treatments do not work by themselves. Secondly, depression tends to be co-morbid with other physical and mental disorders. People with such disorders were excluded from the study.

 

5) Side-Effect Of Antidepressants

This article deals with the problem of anxiety which arises when people start taking anti-depressants. There’s a brain circuit which might explain this. If this circuit could be blocked, anti-depressants would not be as dangerous. That exposes a bigger problem with drugs. Drugs can be taken to address the side effect of other drugs. Those drugs in turn produce side effects which need yet more drugs.

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