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When facing a traumatic event, some people may experience positive changes, defined as posttraumatic growth (PTG).
Understanding the possible positive consequences of the pandemic on the individual level is crucial for the development of supportive psychosocial interventions. The present paper aims to: 1) evaluate the levels of PTG in the general population; 2) to identify predictors of each dimension of post-traumatic growth.
The majority of the sample (67%, N = 13,889) did not report any significant improvement in any domain of PTG. Participants reported the highest levels of growth in the dimension of “appreciation of life” (2.3 ± 1.4), while the lowest level was found in the “spiritual change” (1.2 ± 1.2). Female participants reported a slightly higher level of PTG in areas of personal strength (p < .002) and appreciation for life (p < .007) compared to male participants, while no significant association was found with age. At the multivariate regression models, weighted for the propensity score, only the initial week of lockdown (between 9-15 April) had a negative impact on the dimension of “relating to others” (B = −.107, 95% CI = −.181 to −.032, p < .005), while over time no other effects were found. The duration of exposure to lockdown measures did not influence the other dimensions of PTG.
The assessment of the levels of PTG is of great importance for the development of ad hoc supportive psychosocial interventions. From a public health perspective, the identification of protective factors is crucial for developing ad-hoc tailored interventions and for preventing the development of full-blown mental disorders in large scale.
The Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is an unprecedented traumatic event influencing the healthcare, economic, and social welfare systems worldwide. In order to slow the infection rates, lockdown has been implemented almost everywhere. Italy, one of the countries most severely affected, entered the “lockdown” on March 8, 2020.
The COvid Mental hEalth Trial (COMET) network includes 10 Italian university sites and the National Institute of Health. The whole study has three different phases. The first phase includes an online survey conducted between March and May 2020 in the Italian population. Recruitment took place through email invitation letters, social media, mailing lists of universities, national medical associations, and associations of stakeholders (e.g., associations of users/carers). In order to evaluate the impact of lockdown on depressive, anxiety and stress symptoms, multivariate linear regression models were performed, weighted for the propensity score.
The final sample consisted of 20,720 participants. Among them, 12.4% of respondents (N = 2,555) reported severe or extremely severe levels of depressive symptoms, 17.6% (N = 3,627) of anxiety symptoms and 41.6% (N = 8,619) reported to feel at least moderately stressed by the situation at the DASS-21.
According to the multivariate regression models, the depressive, anxiety and stress symptoms significantly worsened from the week April 9–15 to the week April 30 to May 4 (p < 0.0001). Moreover, female respondents and people with pre-existing mental health problems were at higher risk of developing severe depression and anxiety symptoms (p < 0.0001).
Although physical isolation and lockdown represent essential public health measures for containing the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, they are a serious threat for mental health and well-being of the general population. As an integral part of COVID-19 response, mental health needs should be addressed.
Major depressive disorder (MDD) and alcohol use disorder (AUD) are highly comorbid, with greater clinical complexity and psychosocial impairment. Several antidepressants have been used in this population, with mixed results. This preliminary study aims to investigate the effects of the multimodal antidepressant vortioxetine in MDD + AUD subjects.
We retrospectively evaluated 57 MDD + AUD and 56 MDD outpatients, matched for baseline characteristics. Patients were assessed after 1, 3, and 6 months treatment with vortioxetine (10-20 mg/d, flexibly dosed) in combination with continuous psychosocial support. The primary outcome was improvement in depressive symptoms measured by the Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale. We also investigated changes in anxiety, anhedonia, cognition, functioning, quality of life, and clinical global severity using the following instruments: Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale, Snaith-Hamilton Pleasure Scale, Digit Symbol Substitution Test, Perceived Deficits Questionnaire-Depression, Functioning Assessment Short Test, Quality of Life Index, and Clinical Global Impression-Severity Scale.
Vortioxetine significantly improved mood in MDD + AUD patients (P < .001), with no differences when compared to MDD (P = .36). A substantial rate (45.6%) of comorbid subjects obtained clinical remission at endpoint (P = .36 vs MDD). We additionally observed baseline to endpoint improvements on all secondary outcomes (P < .001), with no significant difference between groups. Overall, vortioxetine was safe and well tolerated.
Given its effectiveness on mood, cognition, and functioning, its good safety and tolerability profile, and low potential for abuse, vortioxetine could represent a valid pharmacological intervention in MDD + AUD patients as part of an integrated therapeutic-rehabilitation program.
The aim of the research is to study whether any differences exist in the rates and characteristics of suicide by ethnicity and sex in South Tirol, Italy.
Psychological autopsy interviews were conducted for suicides who died between March 1997 and July 2006.
332 individuals belonging to the three major South Tirolean ethnic groups (Germans, Italians, Ladins [Ladin is a Rhaeto-Romance language related to the Venetian and Swiss Romansh languages]) died by suicide. Around 23% of the victims had experienced suicidal behaviour among family members, and more than 31% of them had experienced trauma during their childhood. Germans were 1.37 times more at risk to commit suicide than Italians (95% CI: 1.04/1.80; z = 2.26, p < .05). 69% of the suicides had attended school for less than 8 years: Germans (OR = 4.62; 95% CI: 2.52/8.47; p < .001) and Ladins (OR = 11.24; 95% CI: 2.99/42.30; p < .001) were more likely to have lower education than Italians. There were several differences by ethnicity and sex but no sex-by-ethnicity interactions.
The study indicated that suicide, an alarming health and social problem in South Tirol, may require different preventive interventions for men and women and for those of different ethnicities.
Lithium is a unique drug. In more than 60 years of observation, it showed its multiple important clinical properties in treating mania, stabilizing mood alterations, preventing suicide and protecting from neurodegeneration. It was also the most extensively studied drug in psychiatry. Nevertheless, it is generally underprescribed. Specifically, lithium is virtually not considered in the treatment of patients affected by mixed affective states. Lithium is not suggested for the acute treatment of mixed affective states and is considered to be less effective than other mood stabilizers in the long-term management of these patients. The main reason why lithium has no indication for mixed states is the “lack of evidence.” Actually, there are several reasons to consider lithium as an effective treatment in patients with mixed affective states.
Depression is an important risk factor for suicide. However, other dimensions may contribute to the suicidal risk and to the transition from ideas to acts. We aimed to test the relative involvement of hopelessness, temperament, childhood trauma, and aggression in suicide risk in a large sample of patients with mood disorders.
We assessed 306 patients with major depressive and bipolar disorders for clinical characteristics including hopelessness, temperament, childhood trauma, and aggression. We tested their associations with suicidal ideation and acts using standard univariate/bivariate methods, followed by multivariate logistic regression models.
In multivariate analyses, the loss of expectations subscore of the hopelessness scale was associated with lifetime suicidal ideation but not suicide attempt. Childhood emotional abuse, severity of current depression, and female gender were associated with lifetime suicide attempts, whereas hyperthymic temperament was protective. Only hyperthymic temperament differentiated patients with a history of suicidal ideas vs. those with a history of suicide attempt.
Findings support the association of hopelessness with suicidal ideation and point to considering in suicidal acts not only depression, but also childhood emotional abuse, hyperthymic temperament, and gender.
Fever (pyretotherapy) was used for psychosis during the turn of the 19th century, but pyretotherapy (ie, the treatment of a disorder by inducing fever) fell out of use after the introduction of convulsive methods. Here, we report on a case of schizoaffective disorder and review classical and recent literature on fever and psychosis. The patient developed auditory hallucinations, persecutory delusional ideas, and was terrified soon upon his arrival in a foreign country. After being treated for 12 days with olanzapine and haloperidol, he developed a fever due to urinary infection; his creatine phosphokinase levels were high, prompting the suspension of antipsychotics. Psychotic symptom resolution followed immediately fever abatement. Antipsychotics were reintroduced at lower dosages. He was discharged asymptomatic with a prescription of olanzapine 15 mg/day and haloperidol 3 mg/day. The time course of symptom resolution in this patient suggests that fever had a beneficial role in this case. The associations between body temperature changes and psychotic symptoms need to be further studied.
The DSM system has never acknowledged a central position for mixed states; thus, mixed depressions have been almost completely neglected for decades. Now, DSM-5 is proposing diagnostic criteria for depression with mixed features that will lead to more misdiagnosis and inadequate treatment of this syndrome. Different criteria, based on empirically stronger evidence than exists for the DSM-5 criteria, should be adopted.
A 69-year-old man presented with Cotard's delusions, insomnia, profound depression, amnesia, difficulty concentrating, and cognitive deficit after two different surgical interventions. Brain imaging showed frontotemporal-subcortical atrophy and lateral ventricular enlargement. He responded poorly to a combination of sertraline, amisulpride and mirtazapine, with modest benefit on insomnia, and developed hypotension. After 18 days he was switched to olanzapine and venlafaxine, but his cognition worsened. He underwent bilateral electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). His mood improved, cognitive performance increased and anxiety symptoms remitted. This improvement persisted through the one-month post-discharge follow-up and depression eventually remitted.
Athanasios Koukopoulos, Centro Lucio Bini Center for the Treatment and Research of Affective Disorders Rome Italy,
Gabriele Sani, Centro Lucio Bini Center for the Treatment and Research of Affective Disorders Rome Italy,
Matthew J. Albert, Centro Lucio Bini Center for the Treatment and Research of Affective Disorders Rome Italy,
Gian Paolo Minnai, Centro Lucio Bini Center for the Treatment and Research of Affective Disorders Rome Italy,
Alexia E. Koukopoulos, Centro Lucio Bini Center for the Treatment and Research of Affective Disorders Rome Italy
Depression is understood as a morbid entity and every physician is entitled to offer antidepressant treatment to nearly all patients with despondent mood diagnosed as meeting the DSM-III criteria for a major depressive episode with or without agitation. Normal human behavior, and especially behavior during affective episodes, has created the impression that good mood is allied with good drive and fluent thinking and vice versa. Hypomania with euphoric mood with hyperactivity, and depression with retardation are typical examples of this parallelism. It is ironic that today agitated depression has lost its status as a mixed state, whereas manic stupor and dysphoric mania are still considered as such. Clinical forms of agitated depression include psychotic agitated depression, agitated depression with psychomotor agitation, and minor agitated depression. The anxiety observed in agitated depression seems to be of a different kind, inherent in the agitation itself.
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