You’ve probably heard about the rising importance of the microbiome — otherwise known as your gut bacteria. Researchers have started to find interesting links between the naturally occurring bacteria that live in our guts, and things we’ve traditionally attributed to the brain. Things like our mood, feelings, and even thoughts. We now know, for instance,…

Major depressive disorder (MDD) has the highest lifetime prevalence of any psychiatric disorder. Rates of chronic MDD are conservatively estimated to be at approximately 20%, with high rates of relapse and recurrence also reported. It has been hypothesized that deficits in cognitive processes are predictive of future major depressive episodes. Available evidence suggests that over…

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is unique among stress-related psychiatric illness in that exposure to a traumatic event is a required component of the diagnosis. Symptoms of PTSD include negative alterations in cognition and mood, hyperarousal, avoidance behavior, and re-experiencing of trauma. Furthermore, a significant minority of individuals who are exposed to trauma may also develop…

In a recent study involving 404 patients with first-episode psychosis recruited at 34 community clinics in 21 different US states, we found that the median duration of untreated psychosis was 1.5 years. Data regarding patients with other conditions suggest even longer intervals between onset of signs and symptoms and appropriate diagnosis: bipolar disorder, 6 years;…

It has previously been reported that many adult smokers diagnosed with psychiatric conditions actually started to use nicotine products years before the onset of mental illness such as psychosis. New research findings published in Journal of Affective Disorders indicate that daily nicotine use, mainly cigarette smoking, predicts the future use of antidepressant medication. The Centers…

While associations have been found between antidepressant use during gestation and an increased risk of major congenital malformations, variations in study results still remain, and may be confounded by the mother’s depression, class effect, or a lack of statistical power. Anick Bérard, PhD, from the University of Montreal in Quebec, Canada and colleagues investigated this…

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) affects an estimated 1% of the US population, and approximately 50% of cases are considered severe. Individuals with OCD have been reported to have significant functional disability and worse quality of life compared with those without the condition. First-line treatments — cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) that includes exposure and response prevention, and…

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