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This chapter begins by discussing the challenges of distinguishing between two very distinct concepts, namely passion and addiction, and goes on to consider some of the reasons why people may exercise. The common features that are shared by neurobiology of exercise and of addiction are then examined. The phenomenon of exercise addiction (EA), which may be regarded as belonging to the cluster of behavioural addictions, is discussed, and a number of different conceptualized models of the development of EA are described. Finally, several possible treatments that are more commonly used for other behavioural addictions are suggested as potentially being suitable for use in the management of EA. The need to focus on prevention strategies is highlighted, as is the importance of promoting a balanced way of life, by focusing on the importance of understanding and shaping the environment in which we live.
Several studies showed that transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) enhances cognition in patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), however, whether tDCS leads to additional gains when combined with cognitive training remains unclear. This study aims to compare the effects of a concurrent tDCS-cognitive training intervention with either tDCS or cognitive training alone on a group of patients with MCI.
The study was a 3-parallel-arm study. The intervention consisted of 20 daily sessions of 20 minutes each. Patients (n = 62) received anodal tDCS to the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, cognitive training on 5 cognitive domains (orientation, attention, memory, language, and executive functions), or both. To examine intervention gains, we examined global cognitive functioning, verbal short-term memory, visuospatial memory, and verbal fluency pre- and post-intervention.
All outcome measures improved after the intervention in the 3 groups. The improvement in global cognitive functioning and verbal fluency was significantly larger in patients who received the combined intervention. Instead, the intervention gain in verbal short-term memory and visuospatial memory was similar across the 3 groups.
tDCS, regardless of the practicalities, could be an efficacious treatment in combination with cognitive training given the increased effectiveness of the combined treatment.
Future studies will need to consider individual differences at baseline, including genetic factors and anatomical differences that impact the electric field generated by tDCS and should also consider the feasibility of at-home treatments consisting of the application of tDCS with cognitive training.
Highlighting the relationship between obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) and tic disorder (TD), two highly disabling, comorbid, and difficult-to-treat conditions, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition (DSM-5) acknowledged a new “tic-related” specifier for OCD, ie, obsessive–compulsive tic-related disorder (OCTD). As patients with OCTD may frequently show poor treatment response, the aim of this multicenter study was to investigate rates and clinical correlates of response, remission, and treatment resistance in a large multicenter sample of OCD patients with versus without tics.
A sample of 398 patients with a DSM-5 diagnosis of OCD with and without comorbid TD was assessed from 10 different psychiatric departments across Italy. For the purpose of the study, treatment response profiles in the whole sample were analyzed comparing the rates of response, remission, and treatment-resistance as well as related clinical features. Multivariate logistic regressions were performed to identify possible factors associated with treatment response.
The remission group was associated with later ages of onset of TD and OCD. Moreover, significantly higher rates of psychiatric comorbidities, TD, and lifetime suicidal ideation and attempts emerged in the treatment-resistant group, with larger degrees of perceived worsened quality of life and family involvement.
Although remission was associated with later ages of OCD and TD onset, specific clinical factors, such as early onset and presence of psychiatric comorbidities and concomitant TD, predicted a worse treatment response with a significant impairment in quality of life for both patients and their caregivers, suggesting a worse profile of treatment response for patients with OCTD.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and tic disorder (TD) represent highly disabling, chronic and often comorbid psychiatric conditions. While recent studies showed a high risk of suicide for patients with OCD, little is known about those patients with comorbid TD (OCTD). Aim of this study was to characterize suicidal behaviors among patients with OCD and OCTD.
Three hundred and thirteen outpatients with OCD (n = 157) and OCTD (n = 156) were recruited from nine different psychiatric Italian departments and assessed using an ad-hoc developed questionnaire investigating, among other domains, suicide attempt (SA) and ideation (SI). The sample was divided into four subgroups: OCD with SA (OCD-SA), OCD without SA (OCD-noSA), OCTD with SA (OCTD-SA), and OCTD without SA (OCTD-noSA).
No differences between groups were found in terms of SI, while SA rates were significantly higher in patients with OCTD compared to patients with OCD. OCTD-SA group showed a significant male prevalence and higher unemployment rates compared to OCD-SA and OCD-noSA sample. Both OCTD-groups showed an earlier age of psychiatric comorbidity onset (other than TD) compared to the OCD-SA sample. Moreover, patients with OCTD-SA showed higher rates of other psychiatric comorbidities and positive psychiatric family history compared to the OCD-SA group and to the OCD-noSA groups. OCTD-SA and OCD-SA samples showed higher rates of antipsychotics therapies and treatment resistance compared to OCD-noSA groups.
Patients with OCTD vs with OCD showed a significantly higher rate of SA with no differences in SI. In particular, OCTD-SA group showed different unfavorable epidemiological and clinical features which need to be confirmed in future prospective studies.
Bipolar disorder (BD) and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) are prevalent, comorbid, and disabling conditions, often characterized by early onset and chronic course. When comorbid, OCD and BD can determine a more pernicious course of illness, posing therapeutic challenges for clinicians. Available reports on prevalence and clinical characteristics of comorbidity between BD and OCD showed mixed results, likely depending on the primary diagnosis of analyzed samples.
We assessed prevalence and clinical characteristics of BD comorbidity in a large international sample of patients with primary OCD (n = 401), through the International College of Obsessive–Compulsive Spectrum Disorders (ICOCS) snapshot database, by comparing OCD subjects with vs without BD comorbidity.
Among primary OCD patients, 6.2% showed comorbidity with BD. OCD patients with vs without BD comorbidity more frequently had a previous hospitalization (p < 0.001) and current augmentation therapies (p < 0.001). They also showed greater severity of OCD (p < 0.001), as measured by the Yale–Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale (Y-BOCS).
These findings from a large international sample indicate that approximately 1 out of 16 patients with primary OCD may additionally have BD comorbidity along with other specific clinical characteristics, including more frequent previous hospitalizations, more complex therapeutic regimens, and a greater severity of OCD. Prospective international studies are needed to confirm our findings.
Several studies suggested that obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) patients display increased impulsivity, impaired decision-making, and reward system dysfunction. In a Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) perspective, these findings are prototypical for addiction and have led some authors to view OCD as a behavioral addiction. Thus, the aim of this study was to investigate similarities and differences on impulsivity, decision-making, and reward system, as core dimensions of addiction, across OCD and gambling disorder (GD) patients.
Forty-four OCD patients, 26 GD patients, and 40 healthy controls (HCs) were included in the study. Impulsivity was assessed through the Barratt Impulsiveness Scale, decision-making through the Iowa Gambling Task, and reward system through a self-report clinical instrument (the Shaps-Hamilton Anhedonia Scale) assessing hedonic tone and through an olfactory test assessing hedonic appraisal to odors.
Both OCD and GD patients showed increased impulsivity when compared to HCs. More specifically, the OCD patients showed cognitive impulsivity, and the GD patients showed both increased cognitive and motor impulsivity. Furthermore, both OCD and GD patients showed impaired decision-making performances when compared to HCs. Finally, GD patients showed increased anhedonia and blunted hedonic response to pleasant odors unrelated to gambling or depression/anxiety symptoms, while OCD patients showed only increased anhedonia levels related to OC and depression/anxiety symptoms.
OCD patients showed several similarities and some differences with GD patients when compared to HCs on impulsivity, decision-making, and reward system, three core dimensions of addiction. These results could have relevant implications for the research of new treatment targets for OCD.
Impulsivity and impaired decision-making have been proposed as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) endophenotypes, running in OCD and their healthy relatives independently of symptom severity and medication status. Deep brain stimulation (DBS) targeting the ventral limb of the internal capsule (vALIC) and the nucleus accumbens (Nacc) is an effective treatment strategy for treatment-refractory OCD. The effectiveness of vALIC-DBS for OCD has been linked to its effects on a frontostriatal network that is also implicated in reward, impulse control, and decision-making. While vALIC-DBS has been shown to restore reward dysfunction in OCD patients, little is known about the effects of vALIC-DBS on impulsivity and decision-making. The aim of the study was to compare cognitive impulsivity and decision-making between OCD patients undergoing effective vALIC-DBS or treatment as usual (TAU), and healthy controls.
We used decision-making performances under ambiguity on the Iowa Gambling Task and reflection impulsivity on the Beads Task to compare 20 OCD patients effectively treated with vALIC-DBS, 40 matched OCD patients undergoing effective TAU (medication and/or cognitive behavioural therapy), and 40 healthy subjects. Effective treatment was defined as at least 35% improvement of OCD symptoms.
OCD patients, irrespective of treatment modality (DBS or TAU), showed increased reflection impulsivity and impaired decision-making compared to healthy controls. No differences were observed between OCD patients treated with DBS or TAU.
OCD patients effectively treated with vALIC-DBS or TAU display increased reflection impulsivity and impaired decision-making independent of the type of treatment.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is associated with variable risk of suicide and prevalence of suicide attempt (SA). The present study aimed to assess the prevalence of SA and associated sociodemographic and clinical features in a large international sample of OCD patients.
A total of 425 OCD outpatients, recruited through the International College of Obsessive-Compulsive Spectrum Disorders (ICOCS) network, were assessed and categorized in groups with or without a history of SA, and their sociodemographic and clinical features compared through Pearson’s chi-squared and t tests. Logistic regression was performed to assess the impact of the collected data on the SA variable.
14.6% of our sample reported at least one SA during their lifetime. Patients with an SA had significantly higher rates of comorbid psychiatric disorders (60 vs. 17%, p<0.001; particularly tic disorder), medical disorders (51 vs. 15%, p<0.001), and previous hospitalizations (62 vs. 11%, p<0.001) than patients with no history of SA. With respect to geographical differences, European and South African patients showed significantly higher rates of SA history (40 and 39%, respectively) compared to North American and Middle-Eastern individuals (13 and 8%, respectively) (χ2=11.4, p<0.001). The logistic regression did not show any statistically significant predictor of SA among selected independent variables.
Our international study found a history of SA prevalence of ~15% in OCD patients, with higher rates of psychiatric and medical comorbidities and previous hospitalizations in patients with a previous SA. Along with potential geographical influences, the presence of the abovementioned features should recommend additional caution in the assessment of suicide risk in OCD patients.
The two main diagnostic systems, the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), have undergone a number of revisions since their first editions: whereas the fifth edition of the DSM has been published in 2013, the eleventh revision of the ICD is expected by 2018. Although the process of harmonization between the 2 systems is still a debated topic, the forthcoming revision of the ICD is seemingly converging toward the DSM approach in regard to the reclassification of a number of disorders. Nevertheless, the 2 systems still exhibit considerable differences, partly due to their different purposes, development and revision processes, and target audiences. Furthermore, while alternative and innovative classification approaches are emerging with the aim of integrating the latest findings from neuroscience and genomics, both the DSM and ICD still fail to incorporate core concepts such as the clinical staging of psychiatric disorders and “neuroprogression,” as well as an adequate consideration of endophenotypes.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) has been recognized as mainly characterized by compulsivity rather than anxiety and, therefore, was removed from the anxiety disorders chapter and given its own in both the American Psychiatric Association (APA) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) and the Beta Draft Version of the 11th revision of the World Health Organization (WHO) International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11). This revised clustering is based on increasing evidence of common affected neurocircuits between disorders, differently from previous classification systems based on interrater agreement. In this article, we focus on the classification of obsessive-compulsive and related disorders (OCRDs), examining the differences in approach adopted by these 2 nosological systems, with particular attention to the proposed changes in the forthcoming ICD-11. At this stage, notable differences in the ICD classification are emerging from the previous revision, apparently converging toward a reformulation of OCRDs that is closer to the DSM-5.
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) showed a lower prevalence of cigarette smoking compared to other psychiatric disorders in previous and recent reports. We assessed the prevalence and clinical correlates of the phenomenon in an international sample of 504 OCD patients recruited through the International College of Obsessive Compulsive Spectrum Disorders (ICOCS) network.
Cigarette smoking showed a cross-sectional prevalence of 24.4% in the sample, with significant differences across countries. Females were more represented among smoking patients (16% vs 7%; p<.001). Patients with comorbid Tourette’s syndrome (p<.05) and tic disorder (p<.05) were also more represented among smoking subjects. Former smokers reported a higher number of suicide attempts (p<.05).
We found a lower cross-sectional prevalence of smoking among OCD patients compared to findings from previous studies in patients with other psychiatric disorders but higher compared to previous and more recent OCD studies. Geographic differences were found and smoking was more common in females and comorbid Tourette’s syndrome/tic disorder.
True progress in understanding how experience arises from the brain has been relatively slow when viewed from a historical perspective. Recently, several technologies to study and stimulate the brain have been applied to this field of inquiry. Such progress was made only 2,500 years after the ancient Greek philosopher Parmenides first adopted a technical procedure involving the application of formal logic instruments to explore the perception of experiences.
At the phenomenological level, consciousness has been referred to as “what vanishes every night when we fall into dreamless sleep and reappears when we wake up or when we dream. It is also all we are and all we have: lose consciousness and, as far as you are concerned, your own self, and the entire world dissolves into nothingness”. According to the integrated information theory, consciousness is integrated information.
The term “consciousness” therefore has two key senses: wakefulness and awareness. Wakefulness is a state of consciousness distinguished from coma or sleep. Having one's eyes open is generally an indication of wakefulness and we usually assume that anyone who is awake will also be aware. Awareness implies not merely being conscious but also being conscious of something. The broad definition of consciousness includes a large range of processes that we normally regard as unconscious (eg, blindsight or priming by neglected or masked stimuli).
Both sleep and anesthesia are reversible states of eyes-closed unresponsiveness to environmental stimuli in which the individual lacks both wakefulness and awareness. In contrast to sleep, where sufficient stimulation will return the individual to wakefulness, even the most vigorous exogenous stimulation cannot produce awakening in a patient under an adequate level of general anesthesia.
As a result of clinical, epidemiological, neuroimaging, and therapy studies that took place in the late 1980s, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) has been well-characterized in the field of anxiety disorders. Other disorders attracted attention for their similarities to OCD, and were located in the orbit of the disorder. OCD has become known as the “primary domain” of a scientific “metaphor” comprising the putative cluster of OCD-related disorders (OCRDs). It is a “paradigm” with which to explore basal ganglia dysfunction. The OCRDs share common phenomenology, comorbidities, lifetime course, demographics, possible genetics, and frontostriatal dysfunction (particularly caudate hyperactivity.) The adoption of this metaphor analogy has proven useful. However, 15 years since its emergence, the spectrum of obsessive-compulsive disorders remains controversial. Questions under debate include whether OCD is a unitary or split condition, whether it is an anxiety disorder, and whether there exists only one spectrum or several possible spectrums. Further work is needed to clarify obsessive-compulsive symptoms, subtypes, and endophenotypes. There is need to integrate existing databases, better define associated symptom domains, and create a more comprehensive endophenotyping protocol for OCRDs. There is also a need to integrate biological and psychological perspectives, concepts, and data to drive this evolution. By increasing research in this field, the OCD spectrum may evolve from a fragmented level of conceptualization as a “metaphor” to one that is more comprehensive and structured.
Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is characterized by excessive preoccupation with an imagined or greatly exaggerated defect in appearance, and often by related rituals or pursuit of medical or surgical treatments. The frequent comorbidity of BDD with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and the phenomenological similarities between these two disorders suggest that they may be related. BDD reportedly responds to oral clomipramine (CMI).
We present here two case studies of patients meeting DSM-IV criteria for BDD with comorbid delusional disorder, somatic type, to whom we administered pulse-loaded intravenous (IV) CMI (150 mg on day 1, 200 mg on day 2). After a 4.5-day drug holiday, both patients continued on oral CMI. As reflected in modified Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale (Y-BOCS) scores, both patients' BDD improved by about one third within 4.5 days of the second IV dose. Improvement continued over 2 months on oral CMI, and comorbid major depression present in one patient remitted. By the end of 8 weeks of oral CMI, the patients' modified Y-BOCS scores had decreased about 55%, and their social functioning had markedly improved.
As in OCD, pulse-loaded, IV CMI may produce a much faster response than oral CMI or selective serotonin reuptake treatment and can be well tolerated. This treatment approach to BDD deserves further study in a prospective, randomized controlled trial.
With the increasing number of new brain stimulation techniques now available and on the horizon, does electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) still have a role? As clinicians and researchers we say most definitely “yes”. ECT is the most effective and rapidly acting treatment for severe forms of depression and other disorders. Transcranial magnetic stimulation has shown promise but mainly for less severely ill and less treatment resistant patients. Deep brain stimulation (DBS) has shown promise for the more resistant cases but its invasiveness limits its use. Results from only ∼50 patients treated worldwide are available and at present it is not approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration for depression. Vagus nerve stimulation, less invasive than DBS but still a surgical procedure, is presently FDA approved for acute treatment resistant depression but published efficacy rates fall short of those seen with ECT. Therefore, there continues to be an important role for ECT in the treatment of severe psychiatric disorders. But will ECT always be there when our patients need it? Somewhat unexpected recent developments at the FDA may impact the future availability of ECT to severely depressed patients. Here we provide background on the classification of ECT devices, the FDA reclassification process, and the process for providing FDA input in these critical deliberations.
One of the key messages of the Sequenced Treatment Alternatives to Relieve Depression study was that only one third of patients with a diagnosis of major depressive disorder (MDD) achieve remission after the first treatment with an antidepressant. Management of most patients after one or more failed trials moves beyond the currently available evidence base and therefore represents a significant clinical challenge. Over the course of the four treatment steps, the cumulative remission rate was 67% and remission was more likely to occur during the first two treatment levels (20% to 30%) rather than during levels 3 and 4 (10% to 20%). These finding suggest that after two consecutive unsuccessful antidepressant trials a change in pharmacologic mode of action has a low probability to affect the likelihood of remission from MDD. The switch to a third antidepressant treatment resulted in an even lower remission rate than the one achieved in the first two levels. Furthermore, the discontinuation rates due to treatment intolerance was shown to rise across sequenced levels. At this point, the search for effective and tolerable alternative options to pharmacotherapy is essential.
Acute administration of the partial serotonin (5-HT) agonist meta-chlorophenylpi-perazine (m-CPP), that is used also as a street drug, has been reported to induce a “high” and craving response in various impulsive and sub-stance addiction disorders.
To clarify altered 5-HT metabolism in pathological gamblers and to explore the specific role of serotonergic system in non substance addictions, we assessed behavioral (“high” and “craving”) and neuroendocrine (prolactin and cortisol) responses to an oral single dose of m-CPP and placebo in pathological gamblers and matched controls. Moreover, the relationship between neuroendocrine outcome and clinical severity has been assessed.
Twenty-six pathological gamblers and 26 healthy control subjects enter a double-blind, placebo-controlled-crossed administration of orally dose m-CPP 0.5 mg/kg. Outcome measures included prolactin and cortisol levels, gambling severity, mood, craving and “high” scales.
Pathological gamblers had significantly increased prolactin response compared to controls at 180 minutes and at 210 minutes post–administration. Greater pathological gamblers severity correlated with increased neuroendocrine responsiveness to m-CCP, suggesting greater 5-HT dysregulation. Pathological gambling patients had a significantly increased “high” sensation after m-CPP administration compared with control.
These results provide additional evidence for 5-HT disturbance in pathological gamblers and they support the hypotheses that the role of the 5-HT dysfunction related to the experience of “high” might represent the path-way that leads to dyscontrolled behavior in patho-logical gamblers. Furthermore, the “high” feeling induced by m-CPP in pathological subjects may represent a marker of vulnerability to both behav-ioral and substance addictions.
Taking into account the importance of act prevention on the development of addictions, we assessed the presence of multiple addictions in an adolescent high-school population, also assessing the prevalence of Internet abuse and the impact on disability.
Adolescence seems to be a critical period of addiction vulnerability, based on social but also neurobiological factors.The earlier onset of behavioral/substance dependence seems to predict greater addiction severity, morbidity, and multiple addictive disorders.
Data were collected from a sample of 275 students in Florence, Italy, high schools through surveys distributed in classes. The sample had an average age of 16.67±1.85 years (52.4% males, 47.6% females). To assess multiple addiction we used the 16 subscales of the Shorter PROMIS Questionnaire, to assess Internet addiction prevalence we used the Internet Addiction Scale, and to quantify disability symptoms, we used the Sheehan Disability Scale.
Caffeine abuse, sex, relationship submissive, gambling, food starving, and food bingeing have raised highest scores. 5.4% of the students were found to be Internet addicted similar to other countries. Disability seemed strongly correlated to the subscale of alcohol, gambling, sex, tobacco, food starving and food bingeing, shopping, exercise, and Internet addiction. Gambling, sex, caffeine abuse, compulsive help dominant, work, Internet addiction, relationship dominant, and relationship submissive in this sample were strongly related to substance dependence.
Level of concerns unexpected compared to the level reported in other countries for the behavioral compulsions, have been highlighted. Behavioral addictions are multiple, a source of disability, and they are related to substance abuse. It has yet to be clarified if they are a temporary phenomenon occurring in adolescents or if they are a stable trait, accounting as marker for the development of substance abuse.