October 1st, 2014

Study: xenon gas could reduce or omit painful memories

By Rivkela Brodsky

There may be a new treatment for those dealing with posttraumatic stress disorder, according to a study by researchers at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Mass. The study, published Aug. 27 in PLOS ONE, suggests that xenon gas – used as an anesthetic and for diagnostic imaging – could reduce or erase the memories of traumatic events. Researchers studied the use of xenon gas in rats who had been conditioned to fear certain environmental stimuli by foot shocks. “We were able to block this learning and memory phenomenon called reconsolidation,” says Edward G. Meloni, Ph.D., assistant psychologist at McLean Hospital and [More]

July 1st, 2014

Study: Young children benefit from CBT

By Susan Gonsalves

Children ages five to eight with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) can benefit from family-based cognitive behavioral therapy, according to a study from the Bradley Hasbro Children’s Research Center. Jennifer Freeman, Ph.D., staff psychologist at the center and clinical co-director of Bradley’s Intensive Program for OCD, led the five-year project which was conducted at three academic medical centers (Bradley, Duke, University of Pennsylvania) over 14 weeks in 2006-2011. Freeman explains that 127 children in that age range with a primary diagnosis of OCD and their parents were randomized to 12 sessions of either family-based cognitive behavior treatment or family-based relaxation treatment. [More]

January 1st, 2016

Study: Youth bored and stressed

By Catherine Robertson Souter

In perhaps the largest study ever done in such a short time, the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence teamed up with Born This Way Foundation to execute a survey of more than 22,000 high school students conducted over a three-month period. Reaching out to adolescents through schools and through the social media net of the Foundation’s founder, singer Lady Gaga, researchers were able to attract an overwhelming number of responses in the set time period, far more than expected. “We had 45,000 responses in total,” said Marc Brackett, Ph.D., director of the Yale Center, “and for this study, we used [More]

June 1st, 2015

Study: youth with psychopathic traits mask intense emotions

By Susan Gonsalves

Not all psychopaths are cold, callous and unfeeling. Nor are they untreatable. A new study by University of Vermont Professor Timothy Stickle, Ph.D. and graduate student Andrew Gill showed that a subset of youth exhibiting severe anti-social behaviors who were classified as callous and unemotional (CU) are actually highly anxious, depressed and distressed. The researchers studied 150 male and female youth ages 11 to 17 housed in juvenile detention centers whose behavior puts them at risk of developing psychopathic traits as adults. The research subjects were put into three different subgroups. One group, termed “primary psychopathy,” included individuals with low [More]

May 10th, 2018

Submitted for your approval, a reunion in the Twilight Zone

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

Our son and his wife were flying to Tokyo and we had just taken them to Newark airport. They were starting a 14-hour flight that would take them 11,000 miles from home, by any measure an enormous distance. I never suspected that a brief detour on our way back would take me even farther, not just to my childhood home but, through the corridors of memory, to the core of childhood itself. Neither did I expect that, when I arrived, I would be drawn to the house of a friend who, at that very moment a thousand miles away, was [More]

April 1st, 2013

Substance Use Disorder change gets mixed response

By Pamela Berard

One DSM-5 change that has divided mental health experts is the new category of Substance Use Disorder, which combines the DSM-IV Substance Abuse and Substance Dependence categories into a single disorder measured on a continuum of severity. Some say this change may improve early diagnoses/interventions, while others fear it could mislabel or stigmatize normal, transient behavior – for example, by lumping college binge drinkers in with those who have a hard-core dependence. According to one study, the new criteria could increase by more than 60 percent the number of people classified with alcohol problems. According to the DSM-5 Task Force, [More]

June 1st, 2010

Suicide prevention plan updated

By Catherine Robertson Souter

When it comes to suicide, statistics alone don’t tell the whole story. On one hand, New England and the entire Northeast have the lowest overall rates of suicide. In a 2005 study, the Northeast had an average suicide rate of 8.1 compared to a high of 12.1 in the west. Montana had the highest and the District of Columbia the lowest. But, even though Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island came in 44th, 47th and 48th, the more rural New England states had higher rates of suicide. Maine was 18th, Vermont was 22nd and New Hampshire, with its overall ranking of [More]

June 1st, 2016

Summer camp provides emotional support

By Pamela Berard

A residential summer camp in Vermont supports children with a range of social, behavioral and emotional needs. Camp Daybreak, offered to boys and girls 8-11 for one week in August at a Vermont campsite, was founded in 1961. The camp is now a direct service program of the Vermont Association for Mental Health and Addiction Recovery and operates as a strengths-based experience focused on meeting the needs of the young people who attend. Dan Osman, Camp Daybreak director, said the young campers have a range of needs. “In mental health, there’s no cookie-cutter answer; no one fits a specific mold,” [More]

August 18th, 2017

Support increasing for children who witness violence

By Janine Weisman

Rhode Island is now the second state in New England after Connecticut to cover expenses for psychiatric care and mental health counseling for children who witness homicides or domestic violence, regardless of whether or not they are a family member of the victim. On June 27, the General Assembly passed legislation introduced by House Majority Leader K. Joseph Shekarchi (D-Dist. 23, Warwick) and Sen. Hanna M. Gallo (D-Dist. 27, Cranston, West Warwick) that would expand Rhode Island’s Crime Victim Compensation Program to include support for minors who witness homicides or domestic violence. Gov. Gina Raimondo signed the measure into law [More]

February 1st, 2017

Surgeon General report: a call to action on addiction

By Rivkela Brodsky

In November 2016, the U.S. Surgeon General for the first time issued a report on alcohol, drugs, and health – calling addiction, “one of America’s most pressing public health issues.” The report, likened to a Surgeon General report on the dangers of smoking issued 50 years ago, was meant as a call to action. The “report aims to shift the way our society thinks about substance misuse and substance use disorders,” reads the report’s executive summary from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Surgeon General, titled “Facing Addiction in America.” The report also reviews information [More]