Anxiety & Depression Insights
May. 13, 2014

May is mental health month
ADAA is committed to ending stigma and increasing awareness about available treatment for anxiety, depression and related disorders. To highlight the importance of ending stigma, ADAA signed on to support introduction of a resolution by Congressman Scott Peters to designate the first full week of May each year as National Mental Health No Stigma Week. You can contact your Congressman to ask for support of this resolution.

Moving our efforts to educate the public about diagnosis and treatment of anxiety and depression, ADAA partnered with the Andrew Kukes Foundation for Social Anxiety to produce a series of videos about social anxiety disorder. Featuring world expert, Richard Heimberg, the five videos help patients recognize the symptoms and interventions for this disorder. Social anxiety disorders affects over 15 million adults. View the Videos.

Mark Pollack, M.D.
President, ADAA More

Selective mutism podcasts
DSM-5 classifies selective mutism as an anxiety disorder of childhood characterized by the persistent lack of speech in at least one social situation, despite the ability to speak in other situations. Here are two ways to learn more about selective mutism:

Download ADAA’s new podcast on tailored intensive treatment that cures children of selective mutism by Dr. Steven Kurtz, ADAA member at the NYU Child Mind Institute. More

Money for your electronic devices
Donate your old, unused smartphones, Kindles, ipods and ipads to ADAA and we will turn them into money. All funds will support our professional and public education activities. It’s simple. Wipe the device clean and mail it to ADAA. We have partnered with Revivn, a company that repurposes used technology for social good and empowerment, and they will pay ADAA for each device. Learn how.

Andrew Kukes Foundation for Social Anxiety Disorder announces their grant program. Application deadline is Sept. 30. The focus of this program is educational and outreach activities directed at improving knowledge about social anxiety toward a national audience. Read more. More

The anxiety of Facebook
Social media has changed the way people interact. We can now remain in constant contact with hundreds of so-called friends, even ones we rarely see in person. The impact of social media on society has prompted researchers to investigate whether its effect is positive or negative. The findings are mixed, showing both benefits and downsides to the use of social media sites. One area of focus in these studies is the effect of social media on mental health.More

A smartphone application to support recovery from alcoholism
JAMA Network
Patients leaving residential treatment for alcohol use disorders are not typically offered evidence-based continuing care, although research suggests that continuing care is associated with better outcomes. A smartphone-based application could provide effective continuing care. The goal of this study is to determine whether patients leaving residential treatment for alcohol use disorders with a smartphone application to support recovery have fewer risky drinking days than control patients.More

Study: Alcoholic parents up children's suicide risk by 85 percent
Headlines & Global News
Alcoholic parents increase risk of suicide in children by 85 percent, a new study shows. Researchers found that divorced parents up the suicidal risk by 14 percent. However, having alcoholic and divorced parents does not increase the risk of suicide attempts. "These findings underscore the need for comprehensive client and family assessments by clinicians to identify people in particular need of early interventions," lead author Dana Alonzo, Ph.D., of Columbia University, said in a news release. More

Unemployment biggest predictor of PTSD symptom severity
Medscape (free subscription)
Severity of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms appears to be linked to the likelihood of not having a job, according to a new study, which showed that almost two thirds of PTSD patients were unemployed. "What this analysis showed was that it was specifically the severity of PTSD symptoms, meaning recurrent memories or reexperiences of the trauma, or going to great lengths to avoid reminders of the trauma ― those types of core PTSD symptoms ― that were related to unemployment, more than, for example, depression," study investigator James W. Murrough, M.D., assistant professor, Departments of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, and associate director, Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, told Medscape Medical News. More

Neuroscientists find out how to turn off the fear gene
The Economic Times
In a discovery that could spell the end for phobias, neuroscientists may have worked out how to silence the gene that feeds fear. The breakthrough may help loosen the grip of fear-related memories, which are involved in phobias and conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder, scientists say.More

Edinburgh and Aberdeen depression study given $6.486 million funds
BBC News
Scottish researchers have been awarded $6.486 million to study clinical depression. Teams from the universities of Edinburgh and Aberdeen have received the funding from the Wellcome Trust to study the condition in new ways in the hope of developing better treatments. The five-year program will see scientists study people who have what are seen as depression risk factors. These include a family history of low mood, or childhood psychological trauma.More

Study: Anger, anxiety and depression may lead to a heart attack
Deccan Chronicle
Anger, anxiety and depression not only affect the functioning of the heart, but also increase the risk for heart disease, scientists have warned. Stroke and heart attacks are the end products of progressive damage to blood vessels supplying the heart and brain, a process called atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis progresses when there are high levels of chemicals in the body called pro-inflammatory cytokines. It is thought that persisting stress increases the risk for atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease by evoking negative emotions that, in turn, raise the levels of pro-inflammatory chemicals in the body. More

Early depression, anger may taint love life even 20 years later, study shows
Medical Xpress
A University of Alberta study is helping crack the code to happiness by exploring the long reach of depression and anger over more than two decades. The study, published recently in the Journal of Family Psychology, followed 341 people for 25 years, and found that negative emotions they may have suffered as young adults can have a lasting grip on their couple relationships, well into middle age.More

Study shows infantry soldiers more susceptible to suicide
The Florida Times-Union
A sweeping new Army study has found that some of America’s fiercest warriors experience the highest risk of suicide: the infantry. From their psychological make-up and their training to their combat experience, a growing body of research suggests the very qualities and training that enable them to kick down doors in trouble-spots around the globe could create a perfect storm for suicide. “We found that the infantry military occupational specialty and a few others involving combat arms had a significantly elevated suicide risk,” said Dr. Michael Schoenbaum, one of the scientific leaders of the Army STARRS study that focuses on suicide risk and resilience among soldiers. More

New blood and urine tests find 5 distinct types of depression, researcher says
Most psychiatrists believe that depression is caused by low levels of the chemical serotonin. This is why the treatment for depression is often selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, which boost serotonin levels in the brain. But a new study suggests that there are at least five biotypes of clinical depression. William J. Walsh, Ph.D., president of the Walsh Research Institute, and his team looked at about 300,000 blood and urine chemistry test results and 200,000 medical history factors from approximately 2,800 patients diagnosed with depression. They found that five major depression biotypes represented about 95 percent of the patients.More

How will identifying biomarkers for depression improve patients' lives?
Medical News Today
In recent months Medical News Today has looked at studies investigating biomarkers that can be used to test concussion severity, the relationship between Alzheimer's biomarkers and severity of symptoms and biomarkers as a fast, non-invasive test for brain cancer. But can biomarkers be used to diagnose or improve treatment for patients with psychiatric disorders? More

Family-based therapy found to help young children with OCD
A new study has found that family-based cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is beneficial for children between the ages of five and eight with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). The study, from researchers at the Bradley Hasbro Children’s Research Center in Rhode Island, found family-based CBT that included exposure/response prevention was more effective in reducing OCD symptoms for these children than a relaxation program. More

Study finds less depression in older persons who use the Internet
Digital Journal
A recent study in the Journals of Gerontology has found older people who use the Internet are less prone to depression than those who don't. The study found 8.4 percent of older persons using the 'net to be depressed, while 12.9 percent of those not using it are. The author, Dr. Shelia R. Cotton, a professor in Michigan State University's Telecom, Information Studies and Media Dept., said those numbers are the "equivalent of a 33 percent reduction in depression" between the two categories.More

Menopause may dramatically up depression, mania risk in bipolar disorder
Medscape (free subscription)
The late menopausal transition (MT) period and early postmenopausal time point may severely increase risk for depression as well as mania, new research suggests. An observational study of 56 women between the ages of 40 and 60 years with bipolar disorder showed that the participants in these stages had significantly higher depression and mood elevation scores than those who were in the early MT stage.More

Studies reveal major breakthroughs in treating PTSD with ecstasy
Those soldiers and veterans who are struggling with chronic, treatment-resistant PTSD have some hope on the horizon. Research studies have shown that the drug 3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine, better known as MDMA (or ecstasy), is having a remarkable effect on PTSD sufferers. The researchers and study participants say that they are finding relief from the gut wrenching anxiety and other symptoms associated with PTSD that have plagued them for years.More