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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.
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.
Most antidepressants have a delayed onset of action and must be administered for several weeks to generate therapeutic effects. Trazodone is a serotonin antagonist and reuptake inhibitor approved for the treatment of major depressive disorder. The once-a-day (OAD) formulation of trazodone has an improved tolerability profile compared to its conventional formulations. In this study, we systematically reviewed the evidence available for the antidepressant efficacy and early improvement in depressive symptoms with trazodone OAD treatment.
We conducted a PubMed database search for randomized controlled trials published from 2005 to 2020.
Two studies, a placebo-controlled and an active-comparator (venlafaxine extended-release or XR) study were found. Both the studies demonstrated that trazodone exhibits antidepressant activity at a starting dose of 150 mg/day and results in statistically significant greater reduction in Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D17) scores within 1 week of starting treatment compared to placebo or venlafaxine XR (P < .05). Trazodone also resulted in significant early improvement in the HAM-D17 sleep disturbance factor compared to placebo or venlafaxine XR at day 7 (P < .05). This clinical effect is supported by in vitro proprietary data for the affinity of trazodone for different target receptors. Activity at these receptors may underlie trazodone’s fast antidepressant action.
Trazodone, if properly dosed, can be an effective antidepressant with early onset of action and good tolerability. Future studies designed to specifically evaluate onset and timing of improvement of depressive symptoms remain necessary to confirm and extend these results.
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.
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.
To assess the psychological impact of a mass casualty incident (MCI) in a subset of personnel in a level I hospital.
Emergency department staff responded to an MCI in June 2017 in Turin, Italy by an unexpected sudden surge of casualties following a stampede (mass escape). Participants completed the Psychological Simple Triage and Rapid Treatment Responder Self-Triage System (PsySTART-R), which classified the potential risk of psychological distress in “no risk” versus “at risk” categorization and identified a range of impacts aggregated for the population of medical responders. Participants were administered a questionnaire on the perceived effectiveness of management of the MCI. Two months later, the participants were evaluated using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K6), and the Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist (PCL-5).
The majority of the responders were classified as “no risk” by the PsySTART-R; no significant differences on HADS, K6, and PCL-5 were found in the participants grouped by the PsySTART-R categories. The personnel acquainted to work in emergency contexts (emergency department and intensive care unit) scored significantly lower in the HADS than the personnel usually working in other wards. The number of positive PsySTART-R criteria correlated with the HADS depression score.
Most of the adverse psychological implications of the MCI were well handled and averted by the responders. A possible explanation could be related to factors such as the clinical condition of the victims (most were not severely injured, no fatalities), the small number of casualties (87) brought to the hospital, the event not being considered life-threatening, and its brief duration, among others. Responders had mainly to cope with a sudden surge in casualties and with organizational issues.
The duration of untreated illness (DUI) is a potentially modifiable parameter associated with worst prognosis in several psychiatric disorders, but poorly investigated in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Our aims were to estimate the mean DUI in a large sample of individuals with OCD and its impact on response to the first ever adequate SRI treatment.
We retrospectively examined records of 251 patients with OCD (SCID-I, DSM-IV) who referred to our Department and were prospectively and naturalistically treated according to International Guidelines. The DUI was defined as the interval between age at onset and age at which patients received their first adequate pharmacological treatment. Response rates were compared in subjects with brief (≤24 months) versus long DUI. Logistic regression models predicting response and 12-week Y-BOCS score were run with DUI (among others) as independent variable.
The mean DUI was 106.19 ± 118.14 months, with a mean interval between onset of the disorder and when patients sought professional help of 82.27 ± 112.30 months. Response rates were significantly reduced in subjects with a long DUI, using both the cut-off of 24 months and the median value of 60 months. Regression analyses confirmed that a long (>24 months) DUI predicts poorer response and higher Y-BOCS scores at 12 weeks.
Our results, although preliminary, seem to suggest that a longer duration of untreated illness in OCD is associated with poorer outcome in terms of response to SRI treatments. It is imperative to do all the possible to shorten the DUI, both by improving access to mental health services, improving the ability of primary care physicians and mental health professionals to recognize OCD, and disseminate best-practice prescription guidelines.
Although many investigations into the onset of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) suggest the occurrence of potential life events as triggering factors, such an association has not been well studied to date. The purpose of the present paper is to review the literature on OCD onset in order to determine whether OCD is triggered by recent life events, what specific events may serve as triggers, and the clinical and research implications of these factors. Overall, the available studies do not consistently support the theory that OCD is triggered by specific antecedent life events. However, there is a body of evidence to support the theory that the specific life events of pregnancy and birth of a child can trigger OCD. This apparent association has led to the investigation of certain neurohormonal factors, including changes in estrogen or oxytocin levels, that may be of etiopathogenetic significance in OCD. Confirming such associations may allow clinicians to provide more targeted preventive and therapeutic interventions.
This article focuses on the clinical onset of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), specifically addressing the of onset, gradual and acute onset, and whether there are some types of premorbid conditions or a prodromal phase that predispose individuals to the onset of OCD. Clinical and epidemiological studies have come to different conclusions regarding age at onset as well as regarding differences between the sexes. Data gleaned from research to date have demonstrated a relationship between OCD and obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD), although OCPD does not appear to be the more prevalent personality disorder among patients with OCD. Preliminary research has suggested that Axis I disorders may predispose individuals to OCD onset; however, the significance of this relationship remains to be clarified. Evidence of the association between OCD and subthreshold obsessive-compulsive syndrome suggests that these disorders lie on a continuum of severity, with some cases developing OCD while others do not.
Objective – To evaluate potential differences in socio-demographic and clinical characteristics (obsessivecompulsive symptomatology, axis I and II comorbidity) between OCD adults with an early age at onset (≤18 years) and later onset, (≤18 yrs). Design – Clinical controlled study. Setting – Anxiety and Mood Disorders Unit, Department of Neuroscience, University of Turin. Methods – We included 149 subjects with a principal diagnosis of OCD (DSM-IV) and a Y-BOCS total score ≤ 16 All patients underwent a semistructured clinical interview aimed at investigating sociodemographic characteristics and clinical features of the disorder. Lifetime Axis I comorbidity, according to DSM-IV criteria, was investigated with a structured interview following Othmer & Othmer guidelines (1994; 1999). Personality disorders were assessed using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Axis II Disorders (SCID-II). Results – 39 patients referred age at onset of OCD before 18 years (earlyonset group) and 110 patients at 18 years or later (later-onset group). Significant differences were found between the two groups: early-onset subjects are characterized by a preponderance of males, a chronic course of illness and a strong association with Schizotypal Personality Disorder. Discussion – When subtyping OCD according to age at onset we found significant differences which suggest a possible heterogeneity of the disorder. Our results seem to confirm that early-onset OCD may represent a more severe subgroup, with clinical characteristics such as the chronic course and the high association with Schizotypal PD which are significant in order to apply specific therapeutic strategies.