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Severity of personality disorder is an important determinant of future health. However, this key prognostic variable is not captured in routine clinical practice. Using a large clinical data-set, we explored the predictive validity of items from the Health of Nation Outcome Scales (HoNOS) as potential indicators of personality disorder severity. For 6912 patients with a personality disorder diagnosis, we examined associations between HoNOS items relating to core personality disorder symptoms (self-harm, difficulty in interpersonal relationships, performance of occupational and social roles, and agitation and aggression) and future health service use. Compared with those with no self-harm problem, the total healthcare cost was 2.74 times higher (95% CI 1.66–4.52; P < 0.001) for individuals with severe to very severe self-harm problems. Other HoNOS items did not demonstrate clear patterns of association with service costs. Self-harm may be a robust indicator of the severity of personality disorder, but further replication work is required.
The rate of normal birth outcomes (i.e. full-term births without intervention) for women with severe mental illness (SMI – psychotic and bipolar disorders) is not known. We examined rates of birth without intervention (spontaneous labour onset, spontaneous vaginal delivery without instruments, no episiotomy and no indication of pre- or post-delivery anaesthesia) in women with SMI (584 pregnancies) compared with a control population (70 942 pregnancies). Outcome ratios were calculated standardising for age. Women with SMI were less likely to have a birth without intervention (29.5%) relative to the control population (36.8%) (standardised outcome ratio 0.74, 95% CI 0.63–0.87).
We describe the incidence of suicidality (2007–2017) in people with depression treated by secondary mental healthcare services at South London and Maudsley NHS Trust (n = 26 412). We estimated yearly incidence of ‘suicidal ideation’ and ‘high risk of suicide’ from structured and free-text fields of the Clinical Record Interactive Search system. The incidence of suicidal ideation increased from 0.6 (2007) to 1 cases (2017) per 1000 population. The incidence of high risk of suicide, based on risk forms, varied between 0.06 and 0.50 cases per 1000 adult population (2008–2017). Electronic health records provide the opportunity to examine suicidality on a large scale, but the impact of service-related changes in the use of structured risk assessment should be considered.
People with serious mental illness (SMI) have a significantly shorter life expectancy than the general population. This study investigates whether the mortality rate in this group has changed over the last decade.
Using Clinical Record Interactive Search software, we extracted data from a large electronic database of patients in South East London. All patients with schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder or bipolar disorder from 2008 to 2012 and/or 2013 to 2017 were included. Estimates of life expectancy at birth, standardised mortality ratios and causes of death were obtained for each cohort according to diagnosis and gender. Comparisons were made between cohorts and with the general population using data obtained from the UK Office of National Statistics.
In total, 26 005 patients were included. In men, life expectancy was greater in 2013–2017 (64.9 years; 95% CI 63.6–66.3) than in 2008–2012 (63.2 years; 95% CI 61.5–64.9). Similarly, in women, life expectancy was greater in 2013–2017 (69.1 years; 95% CI 67.5–70.7) than in 2008–2012 (68.1 years; 95% CI 66.2–69.9). The difference with general population life expectancy fell by 0.9 years between cohorts in men, and 0.5 years in women. In the 2013–2017 cohorts, cancer accounted for a similar proportion of deaths as cardiovascular disease.
Relative to the general population, life expectancy for people with SMI is still much worse, though it appears to be improving. The increased cancer-related mortality suggests that physical health monitoring should consider including cancer as well.
Although no drugs are licensed for the treatment of personality disorder, pharmacological treatment in clinical practice remains common.
This study aimed to estimate the prevalence of psychotropic drug use and associations with psychological service use among people with personality disorder.
Using data from a large, anonymised mental healthcare database, we identified all adult patients with a diagnosis of personality disorder and ascertained psychotropic medication use between 1 August 2015 and 1 February 2016. Multivariable logistic regression models were constructed, adjusting for sociodemographic, clinical and service use factors, to examine the association between psychological services use and psychotropic medication prescribing.
Of 3366 identified patients, 2029 (60.3%) were prescribed some form of psychotropic medication. Patients using psychological services were significantly less likely to be prescribed psychotropic medication (adjusted odds ratio 0.48, 95% CI 0.39–0.59, P<0.001) such as antipsychotics, benzodiazepines and antidepressants. This effect was maintained following several sensitivity analyses. We found no difference in the risk for mood stabiliser (adjusted odds ratio 0.79, 95% CI 0.57–1.10, P = 0.169) and multi-class psychotropic use (adjusted odds ratio 0.80, 95% CI 0.60–1.07, P = 0.133) between patients who did and did not use psychological services.
Psychotropic medication prescribing is common in patients with personality disorder, but significantly less likely in those who have used psychological services. This does not appear to be explained by differences in demographic, clinical and service use characteristics. There is a need to develop clear prescribing guidelines and conduct research in clinical settings to examine medication effectiveness for this population.
We sought to assess the effectiveness of clozapine augmentation with Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) (C+ECT) in patients with clozapine-resistant schizophrenia.
We conducted a retrospective review of electronic health records to identify patients treated with C+ECT. We determined the response to C+ECT and the rate of rehospitalisation over the year following treatment with C+ECT.
Forty-two patients were treated with C+ECT over a 10-year period. The mean age of the patients at initiation of ECT was 46.3 (SD = 8.2) years (range 27–62 years). The mean number of ECTs given was 10.6 (SD = 5.3) (range 3–25) with the majority receiving twice weekly ECT. Seventy-six per cent of patients (n = 32) showed a Clinical Global Impression-Improvement (CGI-I) score of ≤3 (at least minimally improved) following C+ECT. The mean number of ECT treatments was 10.6 (SD = 5.3) (range 3–25) with the majority receiving twice weekly ECT. Sixty-four per cent of patients experienced no adverse events. Response to C+ECT was not associated with gender, age, duration of illness or duration of clozapine treatment. Seventy-five per cent of responders remained out of hospital over the course of 1-year follow-up, while 70% of those with no response to C+ECT were not admitted to hospital. Three patients received maintenance ECT, one of whom was rehospitalised.
This study lends support to emerging evidence for the effectiveness of C+ECT in clozapine-resistant schizophrenia. These results are consistent with the results of a meta-analysis and the only randomised controlled trial (RCT) of this intervention. Further RCTs are required before this treatment can be confidently recommended.
How neighbourhood characteristics affect the physical safety of people with mental illness is unclear.
To examine neighbourhood effects on physical victimisation towards people using mental health services.
We developed and evaluated a machine-learning-derived free-text-based natural language processing (NLP) algorithm to ascertain clinical text referring to physical victimisation. This was applied to records on all patients attending National Health Service mental health services in Southeast London. Sociodemographic and clinical data, and diagnostic information on use of acute hospital care (from Hospital Episode Statistics, linked to Clinical Record Interactive Search), were collected in this group, defined as ‘cases’ and concurrently sampled controls. Multilevel logistic regression models estimated associations (odds ratios, ORs) between neighbourhood-level fragmentation, crime, income deprivation, and population density and physical victimisation.
Based on a human-rated gold standard, the NLP algorithm had a positive predictive value of 0.92 and sensitivity of 0.98 for (clinically recorded) physical victimisation. A 1 s.d. increase in neighbourhood crime was accompanied by a 7% increase in odds of physical victimisation in women and an 13% increase in men (adjusted OR (aOR) for women: 1.07, 95% CI 1.01–1.14, aOR for men: 1.13, 95% CI 1.06–1.21, P for gender interaction, 0.218). Although small, adjusted associations for neighbourhood fragmentation appeared greater in magnitude for women (aOR = 1.05, 95% CI 1.01–1.11) than men, where this association was not statistically significant (aOR = 1.00, 95% CI 0.95–1.04, P for gender interaction, 0.096). Neighbourhood income deprivation was associated with victimisation in men and women with similar magnitudes of association.
Neighbourhood factors influencing safety, as well as individual characteristics including gender, may be relevant to understanding pathways to physical victimisation towards people with mental illness.
We report on the first open-label, parallel group randomised controlled trial of automated appointment reminders in a psychosis community service in the UK. Ninety-five patients were randomly allocated to receiving/not receiving automated messaging reminders 7 days and 1 day before appointments. All ‘Attended’ and ‘Missed’ appointment outcomes over 6 months were analysed using cluster regression analysis. Reminded appointments were significantly more frequently attended than non-reminded appointments (unadjusted odds ratio (OR) = 3.54, 95% CI 1.36–9.22, P = 0.01; adjusted OR = 2.95, 95% CI 1.05–8.85, P < 0.05). Automated messaging reminders can provide a robust strategy for promoting engagement with psychosis services.
Declaration of interest
The authors have no competing financial interests to declare in relation to the current work. Sarah McAllister was supported by a King's Undergraduate Research Fellowship.
In cases of non-fatal self-harm, suicide notes are a major risk factor for repeated self-harm and suicide. Suicide notes can now be left on new media services, emails or text messages, as well as on paper.
In a group of people who had harmed themselves, we aimed to compare new media note-leavers with paper note-leavers and characterise these groups demographically and by risk factors.
Clinical notes of patients who presented with non-fatal self-harm to two London emergency departments were anonymously searched for mentions of new media use. These were categorised and risk factors were compared for those who had left a new media note, a paper note, or no note to establish differences in risk of note-leaving.
New media note-leaving was associated with younger age and substance use; both risk factors for repeated self-harm. However, suicidal intent remained highest in paper note-leavers.
Paper note-leavers remain at greatest risk, however new media note leaving is still correlated with risk factors related to repeated self-harm and suicide. Clinicians should enquire about new media use during emergency department assessments of self-harm.
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