August 18th, 2017

Study looks at connection between mental illness, opioid addiction

By Catherine Robertson Souter

As the country reels under the spread of opioid addiction and overdosing, a recent study conducted by Dartmouth-Hitchcock and the University of Michigan has brought a new focus to a possible connection between mental illness and addiction. According to the study, the rate of opioid prescriptions in the United States has quadrupled in the past 15 years. The researchers found that more than half of all prescriptions for opioids in the U.S. each year are given to Americans with two of the most prevalent mental health disorders. That means that 60 million of 115 million prescriptions for opioids distributed go [More]

June 1st, 2010

Study on homelessness offers many insights

By Ami Albernaz

As complex and overwhelming an issue as homelessness is, there’s plenty psychologists can do to tackle its separate components and help alleviate the problem. Such were the findings of a report released in February by an APA presidential task force on psychology’s contribution in ending homelessness. The report, commissioned by James Bray, Ph.D., during his tenure as APA president last year, concludes that psychologists can help on both a one-on-one level – helping to treat substance abuse and other mental health disorders – and by serving as liaisons to community services, whether related to housing, employment or other areas. In [More]

April 1st, 2014

Study reports adolescent psychotropic drug use

By Rivkela Brodsky

About six percent of teens use psychotropic drugs, mostly antidepressants and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder medications, according to a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The study, released in December by the CDC, shows 6.3 percent of adolescents aged 12-19 saying they have taken any psychotropic medication within the last month, according to data collected using National Health and Nutrition  Examination Survey data from 2005-2010. The study shows 4.5 percent reporting taking one psychotropic medication, while 1.8 percent reporting taking two or more drugs. Of that, the use of antidepressants and ADHD medication was highest, each [More]

November 1st, 2015

Study sheds light on need for replication

By Catherine Robertson Souter

We don’t always trust what we read and that can be a good thing, according to researchers across the country who have released findings on a large-scale effort to replicate research. Under the guidance of the Center for Open Science at University of Virginia, nearly 100 previous studies were reproduced to take a closer look at the reliability of individual scientific findings. With only about one-third of the studies being replicated, the work shines a light on how psychology and science in general, publicizes individual findings and emphasizes an on-going need for study replication. New England Psychologist’s Catherine Robertson Souter [More]

December 1st, 2014

Study shows access to psychiatric care is difficult

By Rivkela Brodsky

Just getting that first appointment with a private psychiatrist is a difficult process and having insurance doesn’t make it easier, according to a new study by Harvard Medical School researchers. “Having insurance does not mean having access to care,” says J. Wesley Boyd, M.D., Ph.D., senior author of the study, an attending psychiatrist at Cambridge Health Alliance and an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. The study, published online in October by Psychiatric Services, found that access to outpatient psychiatric services in Boston, Houston and Chicago was scarce even if the patient had private insurance or was [More]

January 1st, 2010

Study shows Americans are sleep deprived

By Catherine Robertson Souter

Some say that Americans are less productive than their counterparts in other developed countries, are far too overweight, don’t exercise enough and now, to top it off, don’t sleep enough. A recent study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found that 41 percent of Americans report that they have not had sufficient sleep for nearly half of the past month. Worse, up to 11 percent claim they have not slept enough for any of the past 30 days. Only one-third of adults claim they are getting enough sleep every night. This lack of sleep, say experts, can [More]

June 1st, 2013

Study shows increase of autism, reinforces need for resources

By Jo Kadlecek

When Advocates for Autism Massachusetts (AFAM) organized its “Annual Autism and Acceptance Day” this past April at Boston’s State House, they wanted to achieve two things: a deeper acceptance of people with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) and a push for legislation that assists those affected. The event – which drew nearly 200 state representatives, families and advocates – came just weeks after the Center for Disease Control released a new study, “Changes in Prevalence of Parent-Reported Autism Spectrum Disorder in School-aged Children: 2007 to 2011-2012.” The report, co-authored by the Health Resources and Services Administration, cited an increase of diagnosed [More]

February 1st, 2010

Study shows potential to re-write emotional memory

By Nan Shnitzler

In a new study, researchers have manipulated the brain’s own memory process to extinguish fear. In a series of experiments using only colored squares and skin shocks, a team from New York University and the University of Texas induced a fearful memory and then erased it. Participants remained free of the specific fear memory for at least a year. “It’s the first evidence that emotional memories in humans can be affected without drugs. That’s why it’s so exciting,” says Daniela Schiller, Ph.D., of New York University’s Center for Neural Science and Psychology Department, lead author of the study that appeared [More]

March 5th, 2020

Study shows social media isn’t all negative — or positive

By Margarita Tartakovsky, MS

Is social media helpful or harmful to our mental health? So far, the research has been “contradictory and inconclusive,” according to Mesfin A. Bekalu, Ph.D, a research scientist in the Lee Kum Sheung Center for Health and Happiness at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Bekalu noted that this was his inspiration to conduct a study examining the effects of social media. The study, published in the journal Health Education & Behavior, found a more nuanced response: how individuals used social media had a significant impact on their mental health and social well-being. “In essence, we found that [it] is not [More]

August 24th, 2012

Study to determine fate of Taunton State Hospital

By Phyllis Hanlon

The tug-of-war between state administration and patients, families, health workers and local lawmakers from southeast Massachusetts over the closure of Taunton State Hospital continues to capture headlines and the attention of mental health advocates across the Commonwealth. In July, Gov. Deval Patrick vetoed $5.1 million in funding, which would have kept Taunton State Hospital up and running, although with only 45 of its 169 beds. However, pressure from constituents prompted legislators to unanimously override the governor’s veto. House Speaker Pro Tempore Rep. Patricia Haddad (D-Somerset) reports that she received a phone call from the administration in January informing her that [More]