Mental Health in the Headlines: Week of January 23, 2012
MENTAL HEALTH IN THE HEADLINES
Week of January 23, 2012
One in five adults in the U.S. experienced a mental illness in 2010, and 5 percent experience a serious disorder…more
IN THE NEWS
Soldier Suicides Level Off, But Violence Increases: Although the number of soldier suicides has stopped rising, there has been an increase in domestic violence and cases of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), the Army reports. The number of active duty soldiers who took their own life declined by 9 percent from 2010. But violent sex crimes and domestic violence rose more than 20 percent from 2006 to 2010. Cases of child abuse increase 43 percent during the same period. The report also estimates that as many as 472,000 service members have PTSD. And the Army had over 126,000 diagnosed cases of traumatic brain injury from 2000 to 2010. (Los Angeles Times, 1/19/12)
One in Five Adults Experienced a Mental Illness in 2010: One in five adults in the U.S. experienced a mental illness in 2010, and 5 percent experience a serious disorder, according to a new government survey. The report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration finds that people ages 18 to 25 have the highest rates. According to the study, slightly less than half the people with any mental illness—and only 60 percent of those with serious, disabling ones—get treatment each year. Whites and Native Americans are more likely to get treatment than blacks, Hispanics or Asians. (Los Angeles Times, 1/19/12)
New Definition of Autism Might Exclude Availability of Services for Many—Study: The new edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders would change the definition of autism and reduce the rate at which the disorder is diagnosed. That might make it harder for many people to get health, educational and social services, according to a new analysis. The new definition is being reviewed by an expert panel appointed by the American Psychiatric Association, which is completing work on the revision of the DSM. (The New York Times, 1/19/12)
Co-occurring Disorders May Explain Change in Autism Diagnosis: Additional mental health conditions and developmental disabilities might explain why children might grow out of their autism diagnosis as they age, according to a new study. Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health studied more than 1,300 children who had been diagnosed with autism. The disorders varied for autistic children of different ages. In children ages 3 to 5, those with autism were 11 times as likely to have a learning disability and nine times as likely to have a developmental delay as those children who had grown out of an official autism diagnosis. Autistic children ages 6 to 11 were nearly four times as likely to have past speech problems and 3.5 times as likely to have moderate to severe anxiety. (HealthDay News, 1/23/12)
CDC—One in Six Adults Binges on Alcohol: About one in every six U.S. adults—38 million Americans—binge on alcohol, according to the Centers for Disease Control. And among those who do, the binges occur roughly once a week on average and include an average of eight drinks each time, the agency reported. The problem is likely larger because the data is self-reported; asking people to self-report drinking behavior captures less than one-third of presumed consumption. (CBS News, 1/10/12)
Medical Schools Promise Increased Training on TBI, PTSD: More than 100 medical schools have promised to increase training and research for the treatment of U.S. veterans with traumatic brain injuries (TBI), Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other mental health issues. The commitment is part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Joining Forces campaign, which highlights issues that affect veterans and their families. The participating medical schools will improve training in how to treat PTSD and TBI, boost research into the conditions, and share new information and best practices. (The Huffington Post, 1/11/12)
Salon reports on cuts to mental health services.
The Wall Street Journal examines deep brain stimulation.
NPR looks at depression and serotonin.
WBUR Radio reports on a new study on how creating a narrative can improve mental health.
VOICES AND VIEWPOINTS
Michael Friedman writes in The Huffington Post on “Meet the Mental Health Needs of People With Dementia.”
Richard Friedman argues in The New York Times against the view that depression is natural or positive.
Jamie Stiehm writes in The New York Times on “My So-Called Bipolar Life.”
Adolescent Victims of Abuse, Neglect Have Fewer Brain Cells: Adolescents who experienced abuse or neglect as children have fewer brain cells than teens that did not experience such maltreatment, a new study finds. Published in the Archives of Pediatric Adolescent Medicine, the study found that adolescents who were exposed to maltreatment as children showed a reduction in gray matter in areas of the brain that control emotions and impulses, though they had not been diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder. It found that the specific brain areas affected may differ according to whether adolescents reported experiencing abuse or neglect, whether the maltreatment was physical or emotional, and whether they were male or female. Experts cautioned that the results of the study were only an association, and longer-term studies were needed. (Yale Daily News, 1/10/12)
Stress May Cause Brain to Shrink: Experiencing stressful life events, such as a divorce or job loss, can reduce gray matter in critical regions of the brain that regulate emotion and important physiological functions, researchers report. A brain imaging study of more than 100 healthy subjects suggests these differences are apparent soon after stressful events occur and may serve as warning signals of future psychiatric disorders and chronic diseases, such as hypertension and diabetes. Reported in the Journal of Biological Psychiatry, the study found that even the brains of subjects who had only recently experienced a stressful life event showed markedly lower gray matter in portions of the medial prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain that regulates not only emotions and self-control, but physiological functions such as blood pressure and glucose levels. (Time, 1/9/12)
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