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Suicidal ideation and attempts are growing public health concerns globally. Evidence from high-income countries suggests that individuals with psychosis and bipolar disorder are at increased risk of suicidal ideation and attempts, but there is a scarcity of evidence from South Asia.
To estimate the prevalence of suicidal ideation and attempts in individuals with psychosis and bipolar disorder in South Asia.
In this systematic review and meta-analysis, four databases (PsycINFO, Web of Science, EMBASE and Medline) were searched until December 2022. Pooled prevalence was estimated with random-effects models. Heterogeneity was quantified with the I2-statistic.
The pooled sample size across the 21 studies was 3745 participants, 1941 (51.8%) of which were male. The pooled prevalence of suicide attempts in South Asian people with either psychosis or bipolar disorder was 22% (95% CI 17–27; n = 15). The pooled prevalence of suicidal ideation with psychosis or bipolar disorder combined was 38% (95% CI 27–51; n = 10). Meta-regression, subgroup and sensitivity analysis showed that the pooled prevalence estimates for both suicide attempt and ideation remained unaffected by variations in critical appraisal ratings and study designs. Only one study reported data on suicide-related deaths.
One in four individuals diagnosed with psychosis or bipolar disorder have reported suicide attempts, whereas up to one in three have experienced suicidal ideation. These findings underscore the urgent need for clinicians to regularly assess and monitor suicidal ideation and attempts among individuals with these disorders in South Asia.
Studies about brain structure in bipolar disorder have reported conflicting findings. These findings may be explained by the high degree of heterogeneity within bipolar disorder, especially if structural differences are mapped to single brain regions rather than networks.
We aim to complete a systematic review and meta-analysis to identify brain networks underlying structural abnormalities observed on T1-weighted magnetic resonance imaging scans in bipolar disorder across the lifespan. We also aim to explore how these brain networks are affected by sociodemographic and clinical heterogeneity in bipolar disorder.
We will include case–control studies that focus on whole-brain analyses of structural differences between participants of any age with a standardised diagnosis of bipolar disorder and controls. The electronic databases Medline, PsycINFO and Web of Science will be searched. We will complete an activation likelihood estimation analysis and a novel coordinate-based network mapping approach to identify specific brain regions and brain circuits affected in bipolar disorder or relevant subgroups. Meta-regressions will examine the effect of sociodemographic and clinical variables on identified brain circuits.
Findings from this systematic review and meta-analysis will enhance understanding of the pathophysiology of bipolar disorder. The results will identify brain circuitry implicated in bipolar disorder, and how they may relate to relevant sociodemographic and clinical variables across the lifespan.
Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of psilocybin have reported large antidepressant effects in adults with major depressive disorder and treatment-resistant depression (TRD). Given psilocybin's psychedelic effects, all published studies have included psychological support. These effects depend on serotonin 2A (5-HT2A) receptor activation, which can be blocked by 5-HT2A receptor antagonists like ketanserin or risperidone. In an animal model of depression, ketanserin followed by psilocybin had similar symptomatic effects as psilocybin alone.
To conduct a proof-of-concept RCT to (a) establish feasibility and tolerability of combining psilocybin and risperidone in adults with TRD, (b) show that this combination blocks the psychedelic effects of psilocybin and (c) provide pilot data on the antidepressant effect of this combination (compared with psilocybin alone).
In a 4-week, three-arm, ‘double dummy’ trial, 60 adults with TRD will be randomised to psilocybin 25 mg plus risperidone 1 mg, psilocybin 25 mg plus placebo, or placebo plus risperidone 1 mg. All participants will receive 12 h of manualised psychotherapy. Measures of feasibility will include recruitment and retention rates; tolerability and safety will be assessed by rates of drop-out attributed to adverse events and rates of serious adverse events. The 5-Dimensional Altered States of Consciousness Rating Scale will be a secondary outcome measure.
This trial will advance the understanding of psilocybin's mechanism of antidepressant action.
This line of research could increase acceptability and access to psilocybin as a novel treatment for TRD without the need for a psychedelic experience and continuous monitoring.
Online cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), self-help and guided self-help (GSH) interventions have been found to be efficacious and cost-effective for treatment of anxiety and depression, but there are limited data from low- and middle-income countries on culturally adapted digital interventions for these common mental disorders. The aim of this study was to investigate the feasibility and acceptability of an online culturally adapted CBT-based guided self-help (CaCBT-GSH) for patients with anxiety and depression in Pakistan. This randomized controlled trial recruited 39 participants from primary care in Karachi, Pakistan and randomized them to two groups. The intervention group received seven modules of CaCBT-GSH plus treatment as usual (TAU) over 12 weeks. The control group was a waitlist control plus TAU. The primary outcomes were feasibility and acceptability. Clinical outcomes included results from the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) and the WHO Disability Assessment Schedule 2 (WHODAS 2). Assessments were carried out at baseline and at 12 weeks. All 39 individuals who met eligibility criteria for the study agreed to participate. Adherence to the intervention was excellent, with 85% (17/20) completing more than five modules. Statistically significant improvements were found in all clinical outcomes in the intervention group. This was the first trial of an online CaCBT-GSH intervention, which was found to be feasible and acceptable to Pakistani patients with anxiety and depression. CaCBT-GSH may help improve symptoms, depression, anxiety and overall functioning in this population. The results provide rationale for a larger, confirmatory randomized controlled trial of digital CaCBT-GSH.
Key learning aims
(1) Leveraging digital and virtual platforms to deliver psychosocial interventions may contribute to addressing the significant treatment gap in low-resource settings.
(2) CBT-informed guided self-help is feasible and acceptable in the treatment of common mental disorders in Pakistan.
(3) The results of this study merit a larger, appropriately powered confirmatory randomized controlled trial to determine clinical and cost effectiveness.
Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), self-help and guided self-help interventions have been found to be efficacious and cost effective for victims of trauma, but there are limited data from low- and middle-income countries on culturally adapted interventions for trauma.
To investigate the feasibility and acceptability of culturally adapted trauma-focused CBT-based guided self-help (CatCBT GSH) for female victims of domestic violence in Pakistan.
This randomized controlled trial (RCT) recruited 50 participants from shelter homes in Karachi and randomized them to two equal groups. The intervention group received GSH in nine sessions over 12 weeks. The control group was a waitlist control. The primary outcomes were feasibility and acceptability. Secondary outcomes included Impact of Event Scale-Revised (IES-R), Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) and the WHO Disability Assessment Schedule 2 (WHO DAS 2). Assessments were carried out at baseline and at 12 weeks.
Out of 60 clients who met DSM-5 criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), 56 (93.3%) agreed to participate in the study. Retention to the intervention group was excellent, with 92% (23/25) attending more than six sessions. Statistically significant differences were noted post-intervention in secondary outcomes in favour of the intervention.
A trial of CatCBT GSH was feasible and the intervention was acceptable to Pakistani women who had experienced domestic violence. Furthermore, it may be helpful in improving symptoms of PTSD, depression, anxiety and overall functioning in this population. The results provide a rationale for a larger, confirmatory RCT of CatCBT GSH.
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