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Exercise addiction (AE), which can be defined as engaging in excessive and problematic physical exercise, is still not officially included in the psychiatric nosography, although this disorder can be identified as linked to addictive behaviours. Many different etiopathogenetic hypotheses have been proposed to account for the epidemiological distribution of EA in the general population. However, a clear phenomenological concept of the disorder and shared diagnostic tools are still lacking. It is frequently comorbid with eating disorders and body dysmorphic disorder, which can both trigger EA and develop secondary to it. In recent times it has been proposed that the lockdowns and other restrictions which were imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic could have been possible risk factors for the development or worsening of EA, as physical exercise was widely recommended as a strategy for coping with these restrictions. The initial evidence about the emergence of EA during the COVID-19 pandemic is presented.
Resilience is defined as the ability to modify thoughts to cope with stressful events. Patients with schizophrenia (SCZ) having higher resilience (HR) levels show less severe symptoms and better real-life functioning. However, the clinical factors contributing to determine resilience levels in patients remain unclear. Thus, based on psychological, historical, clinical and environmental variables, we built a supervised machine learning algorithm to classify patients with HR or lower resilience (LR).
SCZ from the Italian Network for Research on Psychoses (N = 598 in the Discovery sample, N = 298 in the Validation sample) underwent historical, clinical, psychological, environmental and resilience assessments. A Support Vector Machine algorithm (based on 85 variables extracted from the above-mentioned assessments) was built in the Discovery sample, and replicated in the Validation sample, to classify between HR and LR patients, within a nested, Leave-Site-Out Cross-Validation framework. We then investigated whether algorithm decision scores were associated with the cognitive and clinical characteristics of patients.
The algorithm classified patients as HR or LR with a Balanced Accuracy of 74.5% (p < 0.0001) in the Discovery sample, and 80.2% in the Validation sample. Higher self-esteem, larger social network and use of adaptive coping strategies were the variables most frequently chosen by the algorithm to generate decisions. Correlations between algorithm decision scores, socio-cognitive abilities, and symptom severity were significant (pFDR < 0.05).
We identified an accurate, meaningful and generalizable clinical-psychological signature associated with resilience in SCZ. This study delivers relevant information regarding psychological and clinical factors that non-pharmacological interventions could target in schizophrenia.
Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) and schizophrenia spectrum disorders (SSDs), although conceptualized as separate entities, may share some clinical and neurobiological features. ASD symptoms may have a relevant role in determining a more severe clinical presentation of schizophrenic disorder but their relationships with cognitive aspects and functional outcomes of the disease remain to be addressed in large samples of individuals.
To investigate the clinical, cognitive, and functional correlates of ASD symptoms in a large sample of people diagnosed with schizophrenia.
The severity of ASD symptoms was measured with the PANSS Autism Severity Scale (PAUSS) in 921 individuals recruited for the Italian Network for Research on Psychoses multicenter study. Based on the PAUSS scores, three groups of subjects were compared on a wide array of cognitive and functional measures.
Subjects with more severe ASD symptoms showed a poorer performance in the processing speed (p = 0.010), attention (p = 0.011), verbal memory (p = 0.035), and social cognition (p = 0.001) domains, and an overall lower global cognitive composite score (p = 0.010). Subjects with more severe ASD symptoms also showed poorer functional capacity (p = 0.004), real-world interpersonal relationships (p < 0.001), and participation in community-living activities (p < 0.001).
These findings strengthen the notion that ASD symptoms may have a relevant impact on different aspects of the disease, crucial to the life of people with schizophrenia. Prominent ASD symptoms may characterize a specific subpopulation of individuals with SSD.
There is growing recognition that substance use is associated with the emergence of psychosis.Elements of post-modernity dominate contemporary social contexts and operate as existential background factors that contribute to the emergence of substance-related psychotic phenomena, particularly use of potent and highly rewarding novel psychoactive substances (NPS). About 25% of first-episode psychoses are substance-induced (SIP). DSM-5 SIP diagnosis is based on the assumption that symptoms are transient and disappear after sustained abstinence. This narrowed definition does not consider the issue of persistent SIP. There is a clear need for a new diagnostic framework that provides reliable, unambiguous clinical criteria to differentiate between comorbid conditions (i.e., schizophrenia patients with a substance use disorder) and substance-related psychoses. In the present contribution, we aim to outline a novel and separate clinical entity: substancerelated exogenous psychosis (SREP). Within this diagnostic category, we refer to both transientand persistent psychoses associated with substance use. SREP is conceived as a distinct psychoticdisorder with psychopathological specificities that clearly differentiate it from schizophrenia. We address differences in terms of clinical presentation, epidemiology, etiological models and treatment response. SREP is characterized by altered states of consciousness, persecutory delusions, visual and cenesthetic hallucinations, impulsivity and psychomotor agitation, affectiveand negative symptoms, a pervasive feeling of unreality and intact insight. Delusions are typically secondary to abnormal perception resulting from a characteristic “sensorialization” of the world. Longitudinal studies are warranted to substantiate our hypothesis of a novel diagnostic categoryand support the clinical validity of SREP. This may have important implications in terms of early differential diagnosis and staging (i.e., between comorbid conditions, persistent and transientsubstance-related psychotic states) as well as choice of treatment interventions.
The Leuven Affect and Pleasure Scale (LAPS) was developed as an outcome measure in major depressive disorder (MDD) tha treflects patient treatment expectations. The present report investigates whether the LAPS negative affect, the LAPS positive affect, and the LAPS hedonic tone have added value on top of the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAMD) in explaining generic as well as patient-centered outcomes.
A total of 109 outpatients with Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition, criteria for MDD were assessed over 8 weeks of antidepressant treatment. At baseline and after 2, 4, and 8 weeks, the LAPS, HAMD, Snaith–Hamilton Pleasure Scale (SHAPS), Positive and Negative Affect Scale (PANAS), and Sheehan Disability Scale were administered. The Clinical Global Impression of Improvement (CGI-I) and the Patient Global Impression of Improvement (PGI-I) were also administered at endpoint.
Changes in LAPS negative affect, LAPS positive affect, and LAPS hedonic tone explain 14% of the additional variance in CGI-I, 21% in PGI-I, 37% in cognitive functioning, 32% in overall functioning, 31% in “my life is meaningful,” and 45% in “I feel happy.” Compared to standard scales (PANAS and SHAPS), the LAPS negative affect, LAPS positive affect, and LAPS hedonic tone differentiate better between different levels of CGI-I or PGI-I.
The LAPS has added value (on top of the HAMD) in explaining changes in both generic outcomes (CGI-I/PGI-I) and patient-centered dimensions. The LAPS negative and positive affects and the LAPS hedonic tone differentiate CGI-I and PGI-I scores better than corresponding scales supposed to cover the same domains.
The Leuven Affect and Pleasure Scale (LAPS) is a depression outcome measure aiming to better reflect patient treatment expectations. We investigated the evolution of the LAPS and some comparator scales during antidepressant treatment and compared scores of remitters with scores of healthy controls.
A total of 109 outpatients with Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition (DSM-5) major depressive disorder were assessed over 8 weeks of antidepressant treatment. At baseline and after 2, 4, and 8 weeks, the LAPS as well as the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAMD), the Snaith–Hamilton Pleasure Scale (SHAPS), the Positive and Negative Affect Scale (PANAS), and the Sheehan Disability Scale (SDS) were administered. Healthy controls consisted of 38 Italian adults and 111 Belgian students.
Correlations between baseline positive and negative affect were only moderate (R between −0.20 and −0.41). LAPS positive affect and hedonic tone showed higher correlations with LAPS cognitive functioning, overall functioning, meaningfulness of life, and happiness than HAMD scores or PANAS negative affect. HAMD remission was associated with normal levels of LAPS negative affect but with significantly lower levels of LAPS positive affect, hedonic tone, cognitive functioning, overall functioning, meaningfulness of life, and happiness. The scores on the latter subscales only reached healthy control scores when the HAMD approached a score of 0 or 1.
The standard definition of remission (HAMD cutoff of 7) is probably adequate for remitting negative mood, but not good enough for recovering positive mood, hedonic tone, functioning, or meaningfulness of life.
Greater levels of insight may be linked with depressive symptoms among patients with schizophrenia, however, it would be useful to characterize this association at symptom-level, in order to inform research on interventions.
Data on depressive symptoms (Calgary Depression Scale for Schizophrenia) and insight (G12 item from the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale) were obtained from 921 community-dwelling, clinically-stable individuals with a DSM-IV diagnosis of schizophrenia, recruited in a nationwide multicenter study. Network analysis was used to explore the most relevant connections between insight and depressive symptoms, including potential confounders in the model (neurocognitive and social-cognitive functioning, positive, negative and disorganization symptoms, extrapyramidal symptoms, hostility, internalized stigma, and perceived discrimination). Bayesian network analysis was used to estimate a directed acyclic graph (DAG) while investigating the most likely direction of the putative causal association between insight and depression.
After adjusting for confounders, better levels of insight were associated with greater self-depreciation, pathological guilt, morning depression and suicidal ideation. No difference in global network structure was detected for socioeconomic status, service engagement or illness severity. The DAG confirmed the presence of an association between greater insight and self-depreciation, suggesting the more probable causal direction was from insight to depressive symptoms.
In schizophrenia, better levels of insight may cause self-depreciation and, possibly, other depressive symptoms. Person-centered and narrative psychotherapeutic approaches may be particularly fit to improve patient insight without dampening self-esteem.
Agomelatine is a newer antidepressant but, to date, no studies have been carried out investigating its effects on C-reactive protein (CRP) levels in major depressive disorder (MDD) before and after treatment. The present study aimed (i) to investigate the effects of agomelatine treatment on CRP levels in a sample of patients with MDD and (ii) to investigate if CRP variations were correlated with clinical improvement in such patients.
30 adult outpatients (12 males, 18 females) with a Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR) diagnosis of MDD were recruited in “real-world,” everyday clinical practice and treated with a flexible dose of agomelatine for 12 weeks. The Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAM-D) and the Snaith-Hamilton Pleasure Scale (SHAPS) were used to evaluate depressive symptoms and anhedonia, respectively. Moreover, serum CRP was measured at baseline and after 12 weeks of treatment.
Agomelatine was effective in the treatment of MDD, with a significant reduction in HAM-D and SHAPS scores from baseline to endpoint. CRP levels were reduced in the whole sample, with remitters showing a significant difference in CRP levels after 12 weeks of agomelatine. A multivariate stepwise linear regression analysis showed that higher CRP level variation was associated with higher baseline HAM-D scores, controlling for age, gender, smoking, BMI, and agomelatine dose.
Agomelatine’s antidepressant properties were associated with a reduction in circulating CRP levels in MDD patients who achieved remission after 12 weeks of treatment. Moreover, more prominent CRP level variation was associated with more severe depressive symptoms at baseline.
The aim of the study is to evaluate the self-administered Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition criteria-based inventory for the screening of post-traumatic stress disorder. Due to its low sensitivity (57%) and high specificity (88%), it could be useful as a second step of a screening procedure in combination with other validated, self-report instruments. The clinical implications of the findings and the limitations of the study are discussed.
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