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It is essential to investigate the experiences behind why adolescents start and continue to self-harm in order to develop targeted treatment and prevent future self-harming behaviours.
The aims of this study are to understand the motivations for initiating and repeating nonfatal self-harm, the different methods used between first-time and repeated self-harm and the reasons that adolescents do not seek help from health services.
Adolescents with repeated nonfatal self-harm experiences were recruited to participate in individual, semi-structured qualitative interviews. The interviews were analysed with interpretative phenomenological analysis.
We found that nonfatal self-harm among adolescents occurred comparatively early and was often triggered by specific reasons. However, the subsequent nonfatal self-harm could be causeless, with repeated self-harm becoming a maladaptive coping strategy to handle daily pressure and negative emotions. The choice of tools used was related to the ease of accessibility, the life-threatening risk and the size of the scars. Adolescents often concealed their scars on purpose, which made early identification insufficient. Peer influence, such as online chat groups encouraging self-harm by discussing and sharing self-harm pictures, could also lead to increased self-harm. The results also included participants’ opinions on how to stop nonfatal self-harm and their dissatisfaction with the current healthcare services.
The current study provides important implications both for early identification and interventions for adolescents who engage in repeated nonfatal self-harm, and for individualising treatment planning that benefits them. It is also worthwhile to further investigate how peer influence and social media may affect self-harm in adolescents.
Studies suggest that d-cycloserine (DCS) may have antidepressant potential through its interaction with the glycine site of the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor; however, clinical evidence of DCS's efficacy as a treatment for depression is limited. Other evidence suggests that DCS affects emotional learning which may also be relevant for the treatment of depression and anxiety. The aim of the present investigation was to assess the effect of DCS on emotional processing in healthy volunteers and to further characterise its effects on emotional and autobiographical memory.
Forty healthy volunteers were randomly allocated to a single dose of 250 mg DCS or placebo in a double-blind design. Three hours later, participants performed an Emotional Test Battery [including Facial Expression Recognition Task (FERT), Emotional Categorisation Task (ECAT), Emotional Recall Task (EREC), Facial Dot-Probe Task (FDOT) and Emotional Recognition Memory Task (EMEM)] and an Autobiographical Memory Test (AMT). Also, participants performed the FERT, EREC and AMT tasks again after 24 h in order to assess longer lasting effects of a single dose of DCS.
DCS did not significantly affect the FERT, EMEM and FDOT performance but significantly increased emotional memory and classification for positive words v. negative words. Also, DCS enhanced the retrieval of more specific autobiographical memories, and this effect persisted at 24 h.
These findings support the suggestion that low-dose DCS increases specific autobiographical memory retrieval and positive emotional memory. Such effects make it an intriguing agent for further investigation in clinical depression, which is characterised by decreased autobiographical memory specificity and increased negative bias in memory recall. It also underscores the potential role of DCS as an adjunct to cognitive behavioural therapy in depression.
This study aimed to examine the efficacy of combining paroxetine and mirtazapine v. switching to mirtazapine, for patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) who have had an insufficient response to SSRI monotherapy (paroxetine) after the first 2 weeks of treatment.
This double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, three-arm study recruited participants from five hospitals in China. Eligible participants were aged 18–60 years with MDD of at least moderate severity. Participants received paroxetine during a 2-week open-label phase and patients who had not achieved early improvement were randomized to paroxetine, mirtazapine or paroxetine combined with mirtazapine for 6 weeks. The primary outcome was improvement on the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression 17-item (HAMD-17) scores 6 weeks after randomization.
A total of 204 patients who showed early non-response to paroxetine monotherapy were randomly assigned to receive either mirtazapine and placebo (n = 68), paroxetine and placebo (n = 68) or mirtazapine and paroxetine (n = 68), with 164 patients completing the outcome assessment. At week 8, the least squares (LS) mean change of HAMD-17 scores did not significantly differ among the three groups, (12.98 points) in the mirtazapine group, (12.50 points) in the paroxetine group and (13.27 points) in the mirtazapine plus paroxetine combination group. Participants in the paroxetine monotherapy group were least likely to experience adverse effects.
After 8 weeks follow-up, paroxetine monotherapy, mirtazapine monotherapy and paroxetine/mirtazapine combination therapy were equally effective in non-improvers at 2 weeks. The results of this trial do not support a recommendation to routinely offer additional treatment or a switch in treatment strategies for MDD patients who do not show early improvement after 2 weeks of antidepressant treatment.
Compared to their heterosexual peers, youth who identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB) tend to suffer higher rates of peer victimisation from bullying. However, studies of LGB adolescents' participation as bullies are scarce. We aimed to examine the possible association of sexual minority identity and the heightened risk of not only being bullied but bullying others as well. We also explored the effect of one's sexual identity on their involvement in bullying through the mediation of coping strategies and mood states.
A total of 12 218 students were recruited from 18 secondary schools in China. The demographic information, positive and negative coping strategies, mood state (anxiety, depression and hypomania) and information related to bullying and being bullied were collected. Multinomial regression was used to assess the heightened risk of sexual minority groups in comparison to their heterosexual adolescents' counterparts. A structural equation model (SEM) was used to test the mediating role of coping strategy and mood state between one's sex, sexual identity and bullying experience.
Two trends could be observed: (1) LGB groups reported heightened risks of being bullied and bullying others at school than heterosexual peers. However, being a sexual-undeveloped girl seemed to have a protective effect on bullying-related problems. (2) Birth-assigned males were more likely to be bullied as well as bullying others at school when compared to birth-assigned females. SEM analysis revealed that being a sexual minority was directly associated with a higher frequency of being bullied (B = 0.16, 95% CI [0.10, 0.22], p < 0.001) but not bullying others (B = 0.02, 95% CI [−0.02, 0.06], p = 0.398) when compared to the heterosexual group. Negative coping, hypomania, anxiety and depression were associated with a higher frequency of being bullied, while positive coping was associated with a lower frequency of being bullied. Moreover, negative coping, hypomania and depression were associated with a higher frequency of bullying others, while positive coping was associated with a reduced likelihood of bullying others. In addition, being bullied and bullying others were significantly correlated in the SEM model.
This novel research investigated the dynamic nature of the interaction between victim and bullying of LGB school adolescents in China, with a specific exploration of the psychological mechanism behind the pattern of being bullied and bullying others. School-level interventions aimed at teaching positive coping strategies to lower psychological distress are recommended to support sexual minority students.
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