Leading Stories, Articles

June 1st, 2010

Recognizing and treating adult ADHD

By Nan Shnitzler

Thomas E. Brown, Ph.D., recalls how one adult patient described a case of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: erectile dysfunction of the mind. “That captures the sense of helplessness and puzzlement folks have about this disorder,” says Brown, associate director of the Yale Clinic for Attention and Related Disorders. “Normal people can make themselves focus. For ADHD sufferers, it’s really tough. Everyone gets down on them, parents, teachers, bosses, spouses, even themselves.” The estimated prevalence of adult ADHD is 4.4 percent, according to the National Comorbidity Survey. Only about 11 percent of eligible patients receive treatment. The disorder typically starts in [More]

June 1st, 2010

Mass. joins lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson

By Elinor Nelson

Massachusetts is joining a U.S. Attorney-filed federal lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson. It alleges that the drug company paid kickbacks to boost the number of elderly nursing home patients taking anti-psychotic drugs like Risperdal. According to the complaint, the company’s actions during 1999 to 2004 violated the federal anti-kickback statute and False Claims Act. It alleges Johnson & Johnson paid its customer Omnicare, Inc., the nation’s largest long-term care pharmacy, tens of millions of dollars to have Omnicare pharmacists recommend Risperdal for nursing home patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia symptoms. The payments, it alleges, were structured to subvert federal law [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, 2010

Number of homeless youth on the rise

By Ami Albernaz

The APA task force report on homelessness offered a sobering picture of homeless youth, noting that around 7.6 percent of young people ages 12-20 spend at least one night per year in a shelter. That statistic, though, is from 1998; in recent years – particularly given the downturn in the economy – the numbers of teens and young adults without homes appears to be growing. For the 2008-2009 school year, the number of homeless youth enrolled in schools nationwide increased 17 percent. In Massachusetts, there are now around 12,000 homeless teenagers, of whom 5,000 are unaccompanied (meaning not in the [More]

June 1st, 2010

Maine passes assisted outpatient treatment law

By Phyllis Hanlon

In April, Maine enhanced its existing Progressive Treatment Plan, which authorized two public hospitals – Dorothea Dix Psychiatric Center in Bangor and Riverview Psychiatry Center in Augusta – to ask the courts for a commitment order of community-based treatment for six months with services provided by the Assertive Community Treatment program. Some of the provisions in the new law include expanding the criteria for involuntary commitment, extending the treatment timeframe from six to 12 months and allowing licensed physicians, registered physician’s assistants, certified psychiatric clinical nurse specialists, nurse practitioners and licensed clinical psychologists to sign involuntary commitment papers. Maine’s assisted [More]

June 1st, 2010

Safety standards passed in school use of restraints, seclusion

By Pamela Berard

The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation aimed at preventing and reducing the use of physical restraint and seclusion techniques in schools. “The Keeping All Students Safe Act” was passed in March, outlining federal minimum safety standards in schools, similar to protections currently in place for hospitals and other community-based facilities. Sen. Chris Dodd, (D-Conn.) introduced the Senate version, “Preventing Harmful Restraint and Seclusion in Schools Act,” in December and hopes to move this legislation by the end of this Congressional session, whether as a stand-alone bill or part of a larger piece of legislation. Dodd wrote and helped pass [More]

June 1st, 2010

Rhode Island program helps siblings of special needs kids

By Jennifer E Chase

At the beginning of her career, Debra Lobato, Ph.D., was an intern in a program that provided in-home services for very young children diagnosed with special needs. While Lobato consulted the parents of children newly diagnosed with illnesses that were already wreaking havoc on the family, the same thing happened, a lot: “I’d have the other little kids jumping all over me.” The “other little kids” were the siblings of the diagnosed child, but that wasn’t the scenario in every household. Other times she’d meet with the parents and diagnosed child privately, while the siblings peeked around corners to catch [More]

June 1st, 2010

Fourth recovery high school planned for Massachusetts

By Jennifer E Chase

Hearing the concerns of his community, Brockton, Mass. superintendent Matthew Malone, Ph.D., is supporting a regional initiative to bring a high school for students with addiction to his corner of the Bay State. Recovery high schools, sometimes called “sobriety high schools,” operate under the premise that students leaving a detox or similar program who return to the same environment from which they came have a harder time staying clean. But, surround them in a drug-free environment staffed by teachers and psychology professionals and you strengthen their chance for success. Three such programs are in Massachusetts – Northshore Recovery High School [More]

June 1st, 2010

Q&A: Self destructive behavior analyzed

By Catherine Robertson Souter

Scars, burn marks, and teens who wear long-sleeved shirts in 90 degree weather – what do they have in common? Hint, it’s a behavior that is reported by one support group to affect up to 20 percent of adolescents. The answer? Self injury. Self-injury, which often takes the form of cutting and primarily occurs in adolescents, is nothing new. In fact, according to Matthew Nock, Ph.D, self injury has been around for thousands of years but it has only recently been looked at closely by mental health researchers. A professor of psychology and director of the Laboratory for Clinical and [More]

May 1st, 2010

Sex addiction: bona fide condition or excuse for bad behavior?

By Ami Albernaz

It’s often helpful to have a celebrity spokesperson for a disorder: Doug Flutie for autism; Patty Duke for bipolar disorder. Yet when it comes to sex addiction, the star connection may hurt. Who wouldn’t be a sex addict, some may argue, given money, power and unlimited access to beautiful women? Some psychologists argue the condition is indeed real and that the recent spate of celebrity “sex addicts” are clouding what’s in fact a very painful reality for some. “You see these very rich, very handsome superstars and your perceptions of them are that they’re on top of the world,” says [More]