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A comprehensive handbook covering current, controversial, and debated topics in psychiatric practice, aligned to the EPA Scientific Sections. All chapters been written by international experts active within their respective fields and they follow a structured template, covering updates relevant to clinical practice and research, current challenges, and future perspectives. This essential book features a wide range of topics in psychiatric research from child and adolescent psychiatry, epidemiology and social psychiatry to forensic psychiatry and neurodevelopmental disorders. It provides a unique global overview on different themes, from the recent dissemination in ordinary clinical practice of the ICD-11 to the innovations in addiction and consultation-liaison psychiatry. In addition, the book offers a multidisciplinary perspective on emerging hot topics including emergency psychiatry, ADHD in adulthood, and innovation in telemental health. An invaluable source of evidence-based information for trainees in psychiatry, psychiatrists, and mental health professionals.
Despite efforts toward greater gender equality in clinical and academic psychiatry in recent years, more information is needed about the challenges in professional development within psychiatry, and how these may vary with gender.
A cross-sectional 27-item online survey was conducted with psychiatrists and psychiatric trainee members of the European Psychiatric Association.
A total of 561 psychiatrists and psychiatric trainees from 35 European countries participated representing a response rate of 52.8% for women and 17.7% for men from a total sample of 1,580. The specific challenges that women face in their professional development fall into two categories. One comprised women’s negative attitudes concerning their abilities in self-promotion and networking. The other identified environmental barriers related to lack of opportunity and support and gender discrimination. Compared to men, women reported higher rates of gender discrimination in terms of professional advancement. Women were less likely to agree that their institutions had regular activities promoting inclusion, diversity, and training to address implicit gender bias. Working in high-income countries compared to middle-income countries relates to reporting institutional support for career progression.
These findings are an open call to hospital leaders, deans of medical schools, and department chairs to increase efforts to eradicate bias against women and create safer, inclusive, and respectful environments for all psychiatrists, a special call to women psychiatrists to be aware of inner tendencies to avoid self-promotion and networking and to think positively and confidently about themselves and their abilities.
One in eight individuals worldwide lives with a mental health disorder. For many European countries, the prevalence is even higher, with one in four people reporting mental health problems . Three-quarters of all mental health disorders develop before age 25, with many presenting initially in undiagnosed forms already in the mid-teens and eventually manifesting as severe disorders and lasting into old age . There is also growing evidence that mental health disorder symptoms cross diagnoses and people frequently have more than one mental health disorder .
Depressive disorders have one of the highest disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) of all medical conditions, which led the European Psychiatric Association to propose a policy paper, pinpointing their unmet health care and research needs. The first part focuses on what can be currently done to improve the care of patients with depression, and then discuss future trends for research and healthcare. Through the narration of clinical cases, the different points are illustrated. The necessary political framework is formulated, to implement such changes to fundamentally improve psychiatric care. The group of European Psychiatrist Association (EPA) experts insist on the need for (1) increased awareness of mental illness in primary care settings, (2) the development of novel (biological) markers, (3) the rapid implementation of machine learning (supporting diagnostics, prognostics, and therapeutics), (4) the generalized use of electronic devices and apps into everyday treatment, (5) the development of the new generation of treatment options, such as plasticity-promoting agents, and (6) the importance of comprehensive recovery approach. At a political level, the group also proposed four priorities, the need to (1) increase the use of open science, (2) implement reasonable data protection laws, (3) establish ethical electronic health records, and (4) enable better healthcare research and saving resources.
The ongoing developments of psychiatric classification systems have largely improved reliability of diagnosis, including that of schizophrenia. However, with an unknown pathophysiology and lacking biomarkers, its validity still remains low, requiring further advancements. Research has helped establish multiple sclerosis (MS) as the central nervous system (CNS) disorder with an established pathophysiology, defined biomarkers and therefore good validity and significantly improved treatment options. Before proposing next steps in research that aim to improve the diagnostic process of schizophrenia, it is imperative to recognize its clinical heterogeneity. Indeed, individuals with schizophrenia show high interindividual variability in terms of symptomatic manifestation, response to treatment, course of illness and functional outcomes. There is also a multiplicity of risk factors that contribute to the development of schizophrenia. Moreover, accumulating evidence indicates that several dimensions of psychopathology and risk factors cross current diagnostic categorizations. Schizophrenia shares a number of similarities with MS, which is a demyelinating disease of the CNS. These similarities appear in the context of age of onset, geographical distribution, involvement of immune-inflammatory processes, neurocognitive impairment and various trajectories of illness course. This article provides a critical appraisal of diagnostic process in schizophrenia, taking into consideration advancements that have been made in the diagnosis and management of MS. Based on the comparison between the two disorders, key directions for studies that aim to improve diagnostic process in schizophrenia are formulated. All of them converge on the necessity to deconstruct the psychosis spectrum and adopt dimensional approaches with deep phenotyping to refine current diagnostic boundaries.
The aim of this study was to assess barriers and facilitators in the pathways toward specialist care for eating disorders (EDs).
Eleven ED services located in seven European countries recruited patients with an ED. Clinicians administered an adapted version of the World Health Organization “Encounter Form,” a standardized tool to assess the pathways to care. The unadjusted overall time needed to access the ED unit was described using the Kaplan–Meier curve.
Four-hundred-nine patients were recruited. The median time between the onset of the current ED episode and the access to a specialized ED care was 2 years. Most of the participants did not directly access the specialist ED unit: primary “points of access” to care were mental health professionals and general practitioners. The involvement of different health professionals in the pathway, seeking help for general psychiatric symptoms, and lack of support from family members were associated with delayed access to ED units.
Educational programs aiming to promote early diagnosis and treatment for EDs should pay particular attention to general practitioners, in addition to mental health professionals, and family members to increase awareness of these illnesses and of their treatment initiation process.
Functional recovery is a treatment goal that goes beyond symptomatic remission and encompasses multiple aspects of schizophrenia patients’ lives, including quality of life, physical, and mental functioning. There is evidence that long-acting injectable (LAI) treatments promote adherence and reduce rehospitalisation and functional decline, which could facilitate patients’ ability to reach functional recovery. Despite this, LAIs are underused in the first-episode (FEP) and early-phase (EP) patient population, due to physician hesitancy and concerns around stigma. A Delphi panel was held to gain expert consensus on an approach to the domains and assessment of functional recovery elements in FEP and EP schizophrenia patients.
A literature review and input from a steering committee of 5 experts in psychiatry informed statements development for a three-round modified Delphi process. Round one was conducted via one-to-one video conference interviews, and the successive rounds were conducted via electronic surveys, which enabled international collaboration. Statements on the different domains and assessment for functional recovery were presented to 17 psychiatrists, practicing in 7 countries (France, Italy, US, Germany, Spain, Denmark, and UK), experienced in the treatment of schizophrenia with LAIs. Several analysis rules determined whether a statement could progress to the next round and specified the level of agreement required to achieve consensus. Measures of central tendency (mode, mean) and variability (interquartile range) were reported back to help panelists look at their previous responses in the context of the overall group.
A consensus was reached (defined a priori as ≥80% agreement) on all 27 statements covering the dimensions, assessment, and level of achieved functional recovery for FEP and EP patients. The following domains are important to consider when assessing functional recovery: depression, aggressive behaviour, social interaction, family functioning, education/employment, sexual functioning, and leisure activities. Additionally, panellists reached consensus that dimensions should be minimally impairing, if present (excluding sexual functioning) and asked about at every encounter with the patient (excluding sexual functioning and leisure activities). In summary, this Delphi panel yielded agreement that functional recovery is multidimensional and should be assessed regularly as part of usual care on an individual patient level in FEP and EP schizophrenia patients.
Schizophrenia is among the top ten causes of years lost due to disability. Goals of treatment are evolving beyond remission of psychotic symptoms to include physical and mental functioning, quality of life, and long-term functional recovery. Evidence has shown long-acting injectables (LAIs) are beneficial for schizophrenia patients by increasing treatment adherence and decreasing relapse and rehospitalisation. This potentially reduces disease progression and facilitates functional recovery. However, LAIs are underused and often seen as a last resort for first-episode (FEP) and early-phase (EP) patients, due to physicians’ lack of familiarity and stigma.
A three-round modified Delphi panel was held to gain expert consensus on an approach to functional recovery in FEP and EP patients with LAIs. A literature review and input from a steering committee of 5 experts in psychiatry informed the development of statements. Round one was carried out via one-to-one video conference interviews, and the subsequent rounds were conducted via electronic surveys, which enabled international collaboration. Delphi panellists were 17 psychiatrists with schizophrenia treatment experience, practicing in 7 countries (France, Italy, US, Germany, Spain, Denmark, and UK). Several analysis rules determined whether a statement could progress to the next round and specified the level of agreement required to achieve consensus. Measures of central tendencies (mode, mean) and variability (interquartile range) of aggregated responses from the previous round were reported to panelists to understand their response in relation to the group.
There was consensus (defined a priori as ≥80% agreement) on the 8 statements relating to long-term treatment goals and LAI links to functional recovery. LAI treatment in FEP and EP patients increases adherence and reduces treatment burden and functional decline compared to the same and other oral medication. Additionally, there was consensus that LAIs lead to better treatment outcome and functional recovery. Other important factors to achieving functional recovery include patient attitude towards treatment and psychoeducation. Furthermore, consensus was reached that functional recovery and quality of life are linked. In summary, this Delphi panel yielded agreement that functional recovery is a reachable goal for FEP and EP patients and can be enhanced using LAIs.
Patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) and patient-reported experience measures (PREMs) are increasingly acknowledged as critical tools for enhancing patient-centred, value-based care. However, research is lacking on the impact of using standardized patient-reported indicators in acute psychiatric care. The aim of this study was to explore whether subjective well-being indicators (generic PROMs) are relevant for evaluating the quality of hospital care, distinct from measures of symptom improvement (disease-specific PROMs) and from PREMs.
Two hundred and forty-eight inpatients admitted to a psychiatric university hospital were included in the study between January and June 2021. Subjective well-being was assessed using standardized generic PROMs on well-being, symptom improvement was assessed using standardized disease-specific PROMs, and experience of care using PREMs. PROMs were completed at admission and discharge, PREMs were completed at discharge. Clinicians rated their experience of providing treatment using adapted PREMs items.
Change in subjective well-being (PROMs) at discharge was significantly (p < 0.001), but moderately (r2 = 28.5%), correlated to improvement in symptom outcomes, and weakly correlated to experience of care (PREMs) (r2 = 11.0%), the latter being weakly explained by symptom changes (r2 = 6.9%). Patients and clinicians assessed the experience of care differently.
This study supports the case for routinely measuring patients’ subjective well-being to better capture the unmet needs of patients undergoing psychiatric hospital treatment, and the use of standardized patient-reported measures as key indicators of high quality of care across mental health services.
While shared clinical decision-making (SDM) is the preferred approach to decision-making in mental health care, its implementation in everyday clinical practice is still insufficient. The European Psychiatric Association undertook a study aiming to gather data on the clinical decision-making style preferences of psychiatrists working in Europe.
We conducted a cross-sectional online survey involving a sample of 751 psychiatrists and psychiatry specialist trainees from 38 European countries in 2021, using the Clinical Decision-Making Style – Staff questionnaire and a set of questions regarding clinicians’ expertise, training, and practice.
SDM was the preferred decision-making style across all European regions ([central and eastern Europe, CEE], northern and western Europe [NWE], and southern Europe [SE]), with an average of 73% of clinical decisions being rated as SDM. However, we found significant differences in non-SDM decision-making styles: participants working in NWE countries more often prefer shared and active decision-making styles rather than passive styles when compared to other European regions, especially to the CEE. Additionally, psychiatry specialist trainees (compared to psychiatrists), those working mainly with outpatients (compared to those working mainly with inpatients) and those working in community mental health services/public services (compared to mixed and private settings) have a significantly lower preference for passive decision-making style.
The preferences for SDM styles among European psychiatrists are generally similar. However, the identified differences in the preferences for non-SDM styles across the regions call for more dialogue and educational efforts to harmonize practice across Europe.
Patients with anorexia nervosa (AN) show impaired decision-making ability, but it is still unclear if this is a trait marker (i.e., being associated with AN at any stage of the disease) or a state parameter of the disease (i.e., being present only in acutely ill patients), and if it has endophenotypic characteristics. The aim of this study was to determine the endophenotypic, and state- or trait-associated nature of decision-making impairment in AN.
Ninety-one patients with acute AN (A-AN), 90 unaffected relatives (UR), 23 patients remitted from AN (R-AN), and 204 healthy controls (HC) carried out the Iowa gambling task (IGT). Prospective valence learning (PVL) model was employed to distinguish the cognitive dimensions underlying the decision-making process, that is, learning, consistency, feedback sensitivity, and loss aversion. IGT performance and decision-making dimensions were compared among groups to assess whether they had endophenotypic (i.e., being present in A-AN, UR, and R-AN, but not in HC) and/or trait-associated features (i.e., present in A-AN and R-AN but not in HC).
Patients with A-AN had lower performance at the IGT (p < 0.01), while UR, R-AN, and HC had comparable results. PVL-feedback sensitivity was lower in patients with R-AN and A-AN than in HC (p < 0.01).
Alteration of decision-making ability did not show endophenotypic features. Impaired decision-making seems a state-associated characteristic of AN, resulting from the interplay between trait-associated low feedback sensitivity and state-associated features of the disease.
Patients with psychiatric disorders are exposed to high risk of COVID-19 and increased mortality. In this study, we set out to assess the clinical features and outcomes of patients with current psychiatric disorders exposed to COVID-19.
This multi-center prospective study was conducted in 22 psychiatric wards dedicated to COVID-19 inpatients between 28 February and 30 May 2020. The main outcomes were the number of patients transferred to somatic care units, the number of deaths, and the number of patients developing a confusional state. The risk factors of confusional state and transfer to somatic care units were assessed by a multivariate logistic model. The risk of death was analyzed by a univariate analysis.
In total, 350 patients were included in the study. Overall, 24 (7%) were transferred to medicine units, 7 (2%) died, and 51 (15%) patients presented a confusional state. Severe respiratory symptoms predicted the transfer to a medicine unit [odds ratio (OR) 17.1; confidence interval (CI) 4.9–59.3]. Older age, an organic mental disorder, a confusional state, and severe respiratory symptoms predicted mortality in univariate analysis. Age >55 (OR 4.9; CI 2.1–11.4), an affective disorder (OR 4.1; CI 1.6–10.9), and severe respiratory symptoms (OR 4.6; CI 2.2–9.7) predicted a higher risk, whereas smoking (OR 0.3; CI 0.1–0.9) predicted a lower risk of a confusional state.
COVID-19 patients with severe psychiatric disorders have multiple somatic comorbidities and have a risk of developing a confusional state. These data underline the need for extreme caution given the risks of COVID-19 in patients hospitalized for psychiatric disorders.
Patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders (SSD) have worse physical health and reduced life expectancy compared to the general population. In 2009, the European Psychiatric Association, the European Society of Cardiology and the European Association for the Study of Diabetes published a position paper aimed to improve cardiovascular and diabetes care in patients with severe mental illnesses. However, the initiative did not produce the expected results. Experts in SSD or in cardiovascular and metabolic diseases convened to identify main issues relevant to management of cardiometabolic risk factors in schizophrenia patients and to seek consensus through the Delphi method.
The steering committee identified four topics: 1) cardiometabolic risk factors in schizophrenia patients; 2) cardiometabolic risk factors related to antipsychotic treatment; 3) differences in antipsychotic cardiometabolic profiles; 4) management of cardiometabolic risk. Twelve key statements were included in a Delphi questionnaire delivered to a panel of expert European psychiatrists.
Consensus was reached for all statements with positive agreement higher than 85% in the first round. European psychiatrists agreed on: 1) high cardiometabolic risk in patients with SSD, 2) importance of correct risk management of cardiometabolic diseases, from lifestyle modification to treatment of risk factors, including the choice of antipsychotic drugs with a favourable cardiometabolic profile. The expert panel identified the psychiatrist as the central coordinating figure of management, possibly assisted by other specialists and general practitioners.
This study demonstrates high level of agreement among European psychiatrists regarding the importance of cardiovascular risk assessment and management in subjects with SSD.
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.
A cross-sectional survey investigated the relationship between the number of previous depressive episodes and life events, testing the kindling hypothesis, in a sample of 13,377 treated patients with unipolar depression. A linear decline of average life events exposure is observed for more frequent past episodes, even when age, gender and severity are taken into account.
Poststroke depression (PSD) is a public health issue, affecting one-third of stroke survivors, and is associated with multiple negative consequences. Reviews tried to identify PSD risk factors with discrepant results, highlighting the lack of comparability of the analyzed studies. We carried out a meta-analysis in order to identify clinical risk factors that can predict PSD.
PubMed and Web of Science were searched for papers. Only papers with a strictly defined Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders depression assessment, at least 2 weeks after stroke, were selected. Two authors independently evaluated potentially eligible studies that were identified by our search and independently extracted data using standardized spreadsheets. Analyses were performed using MetaWin®, the role of each variable being given as a risk ratio (RR).
Eighteen studies were included in the meta-analysis. Identified risk factors for PSD with RR significantly above 1 were previous history of depression (RR 2.19, confidence interval (CI) 1.52–3.15), disability (RR 2.00, CI 1.58–2.52), previous history of stroke (RR 1.68, CI 1.06–2.66), aphasia (RR 1.47, CI 1.13–1.91), and female gender (RR 1.35, CI 1.14–1.61). Fixed effects model leads to identification of two more risk factors: early depressive symptoms with an RR of 2.32 (CI 1.43–3.79) and tobacco consumption (RR 1.40, CI 1.09–1.81). Time bias was found for alcohol consumption. Sample size was significantly involved to explain the role of “alcohol consumption” and “cognitive impairment.”
Five items were significantly predictive of PSD. It might be of clinical interest that depressive-related risk factors (such as past depressive episodes) were having the largest impact.