January 1st, 2016

Study evaluates drug, alcohol use and related conditions

By Pamela Berard

A  recent study found that about 10 percent of Americans met the DSM-5 diagnostic criteria for drug use disorder at some point in their lives and about four percent of Americans met the criteria in the past year. The study, funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, part of the National Institutes of Health, also demonstrated high comorbidity and that the majority of those who met the criteria never received treatment. The study, which was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Psychiatry, was led by Bridget Grant, Ph.D., Ph.D., (doctorates in psychology and epidemiology), [More]

December 1st, 2010

Study examines potential of psychedelic drugs to relieve distress

By Ami Albernaz

Psychedelic drugs such as LSD and psilocybin, which largely fell out of favor among researchers in the early 1970s, have re-emerged in studies of severe depression and anxiety. Scientists at UCLA, New York University, Johns Hopkins and other institutions have been quietly studying the drugs’ potential to help relieve mental distress in terminally ill patients, with so far promising results. The research has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, though funding has come from private entities. In a current double-blind study, Stephen Ross, M.D., an addiction expert at New York University, is testing psilocybin (the active ingredient in [More]

February 1st, 2014

Study examines teen sexual violence

By Janine Weisman

Nearly one in 10 young people between ages 14 and 21 say they have committed sexual violence, often toward a date, in a national study that found links to exposure to violent pornography. The study published online last Oct. in JAMA Pediatrics highlights how sexual violence may be different for older and younger adolescents and for males and females: 98 percent of those reporting sexual perpetration before age 16 were male but at ages 18 and 19, males and females are equally represented as perpetrators. Females were more likely to target older victims while males were more likely to go [More]

May 12th, 2019

Study finds lack of data a barrier to systems-level research on patient safety

By Janine Weisman

Morgan Shields admits she was naive in the summer of 2017 when she first submitted an online public records request for all substantiated complaints against inpatient psychiatric facilities in Massachusetts. The paralegal from the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health (DMH) who called her told her it would cost more than $100,000 to provide the records. “I thought what he was saying was it would cost the state that much money to redact all of the information, just go through all the files,” recalled Shields, a Ph.D. candidate and National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism fellow at the Institute for [More]

October 1st, 2012

Study focuses on explosive disorder in teens

By Pamela Berard

Nearly two-thirds of adolescents admitted to having anger attacks that involved destroying property or threatening or engaging in violence and one-in-12 of those adolescents meet criteria for Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED), according to a recent study. The study, funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, is among the first to measure the prevalence of IED in teens. The survey of teens 13-17 and their parents published this summer in the Archives of General Psychiatry found that the disorder has an early age onset – age 12 on average. Study leader and epidemiologist Ronald C. Kessler, Ph.D., department of health [More]

November 8th, 2018

Study gives insight into how people experience emotion

By Phyllis Hanlon

Emotions run the gamut, from sadness and grief to happiness and euphoria and many others in between. But little is known about how and why those emotions change at different times and during different stages of life. A team of researchers at Harvard University recently conducted a study to explore these questions. Leah Somerville, Ph.D, associate professor psychology, and director, Affective Neuroscience and Development Lab, oversaw the study, which involved 143 subjects between the age of five and 25. Clinical psychologist graduate student Erik Nook, the “resident expert” on this work – according to Somerville – has long been interested [More]

August 21st, 2013

Study highlights prevalence of children with mental disorders

By Janine Weisman

Up to one in five U.S. children experience a mental disorder, finds a new U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report reviewing various federal efforts tracking childhood mental health. “Mental Health Surveillance Among Children – United States, 2005-2011,” the first comprehensive report on children’s mental health released last May, estimates $247 billion annually is spent on the 13 to 20 percent of American children living with mental disorders. ADHD (6.8 percent) was the most prevalent parent-reported diagnosis among children aged 3-17 followed by behavioral or conduct problems such as ODD or conduct disorder (3.5 percent), anxiety (3 percent), depression [More]

December 1st, 2012

Study identifies happiness as worthy public policy goal

By Janine Weisman

Moving from a bad neighborhood to a less distressed one can improve a low-income family’s physical and mental health over time even without raising financial status, a new study finds. Public housing families relocated in a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development sponsored large-scale, randomized housing mobility experiment called Moving to Opportunity ultimately didn’t achieve economic self-sufficiency, a team of social scientists that examined data collected over a 10-15 year period found. But the families reported greater levels of happiness and less obesity and diabetes. The results raise important implications for policymakers, who have only focused on income changes [More]

November 4th, 2019

Study identifies resiliency strategies for family members of violent patients

By Susan Gonsalves

Family members of people with severe mental illness and violent tendencies often feel confused and isolated. Mental health professionals can help them by increasing their knowledge of mental illness and introducing them to strategies to ease the burden. That conclusion came from research led by Karyn Sporer, Ph.D., assistant professor of sociology at the University of Maine. She and her team used in-depth, ethnographic interviews with 42 parents and siblings of violent children with severe mental illness to generate data and identify coping methods. Her results, published in the Journal of Family Issues, highlighted ways that families said they are [More]

June 1st, 2013

Study links childhood autism to mothers’ abuse

By Rivkela Brodsky

Abused girls who go on to become mothers are more likely to have children with autism, suggests a new study by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health. And women who experienced the most severe physical, emotional, and sexual abuse in childhood are 3.5 times more likely to have children with autism as women who didn’t experience any abuse, according to the study. While about two percent of women reported the most serious abuse, even women in the top 25 percent of abuse severity – which included mostly women who experienced more moderate levels of abuse – were 60 [More]