Healthcare Overhaul Could Reverse Progress In Mental Health Access

NPR (7/9, Smart) reports in its “Shots” blog that a “little-talked-about” aspect of the Affordable Care Act was increased “access to mental health care for the poor.” The author says that for some individuals, “access to mental health care can mean the difference between” working and not working. In the article, several members of the mental health industry express concern that Medicaid “rollbacks” proposed by Congress could reverse the progress made for people suffering from mental illness.

Related Links:

— “For Many, Medicaid Provides The Only Route To Mental Health Care,” ALISON KODJAK, NPR, July 9, 2017.

Patients With Severe Affective Disorder Less Likely To Require Psychiatric Inpatient Readmission After ECT, Research Suggests.

MD Magazine (7/9, Bender) reported, “Patients with severe affective disorder are less likely to require psychiatric inpatient readmission within 30 days of discharge if they have received electroconvulsive therapy (ECT),” researchers found after analyzing data from “inpatient databases across nine states in” the US. The findings of the study, which included data on some 162,691 patients, were published online June 28 in JAMA Psychiatry.

Related Links:

— “ECT Reduces Hospitalizations Along with Depression,” Kenneth Bender, MD Magazine, July 9, 2017.

Lithium Significantly Reduced Suicidal Behavior Among People With BD

Healio (6/30, Oldt) reported that “lithium, but not valproate, significantly reduced suicidal behavior among individuals with bipolar disorder [BD],” researchers concluded after using “Swedish national register data to follow 51,535 individuals with bipolar disorder from 2005 to 2013 for treatment with lithium and valproate,” then tracking the number of “suicide-related events.” The findings were published online June 9 in the American Journal of Psychiatry, a publication of the American Psychiatric Association.

Related Links:

— “Lithium superior to valproate for suicide in bipolar disorder,” Song J, et al., Healio, June 30, 2017.

Dealing With Compulsive Hoarding Requires Special Expertise

On the front of its Real Estate section, the New York Times (7/2, RE1, Laterman, Subscription Publication) reported in a 1,900-word article that it appears compulsive hoarding “may be more widespread than previously believed, and that dealing with hoarders requires not just caution and care but special expertise.” For this reason, “many building managers and co-op boards confronted with this problem are now turning to clinicians for help.”

The Times pointed out, “The American Psychiatric Association estimates that 2 to 5 percent of the population could be classified as compulsive hoarders.” The Times added, “Once a subcategory of obsessive-compulsive disorder, hoarding received its own designation in the 2013 Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the go-to reference book for mental health professionals published annually by the” APA.

Related Links:

— “Helping Those Who Hoard,” KAYA LATERMAN, New York Times, June 30, 2017.

Experts Warn $45 Billion For Opioid Treatment In ACA Repeal Is Not Enough

The New York Times (6/30, Goodnough, Subscription Publication) reported that although the Senate is considering “adding $45 billion for states to spend on opioid addiction treatment” to shore up GOP support for the healthcare bill, “addiction specialists said it was drastically short of what would be needed to make up for the legislation’s deep cuts to Medicaid, which has provided treatment for hundreds of thousands of people caught up in a national epidemic of opioid abuse.” The Times added that public health experts are particularly “concerned that grants aimed at treatment and recovery would not address a multitude of other physical health problems associated with addiction.”

Related Links:

— “$45 Billion to Fight Opioid Abuse? That’s Much Too Little, Experts Say,” ABBY GOODNOUGH, New York Times, June 30, 2017.

Over 1 In 5 Patients Insured By Blue CrossPrescribed An Opioid In 2015

The Wall Street Journal (6/29, Steele, Subscription Publication) reports a Blue Cross Blue Shield Association analysis of more than 30 million claims shows opioid use disorder diagnoses increased nearly 500% between 2010 and 2016. The analysis, which reviewed BCBS claims, also shows that patients who were prescribed high opioid doses were much more likely to develop the disorder.

NBC News (6/29, Fox) reports on its website that over one in five patients with Blue Cross and Blue Shield insurance were prescribed an opioid pain medication during 2015, according to the company. In addition, “claims for opioid addiction and dependence spiked nearly six-fold between 2010 and 2016, the company said.”

Vox (6/29, Lopez) reports that the same data from Blue Cross and Blue Shield reveal “a 493 percent increase in people diagnosed with opioid use disorders from 2010 through 2016,” compared to only a 65 percent increase “in the number of people using medication-assisted treatment” during the same time period. Modern Healthcare (6/29, Livingston, Subscription Publication) also covers the story.

Related Links:

— “Lots of Americans Prescribed Opioids, Insurance Survey Shows,” MAGGIE FOX, NBC News, June 29, 2017.

Cyberbullying May Be Associated With An Increased Risk for Mental Health Disorders Among Its Victims, Study Suggests.

Fortune (6/29) reports, “A recent study presented at the American Psychiatric Association’s annual meeting found that inpatients at a psychiatric hospital were prone to cyberbullying, and that the bullying was associated with an increased risk for mental health disorders among” those who were bullied.

Related Links:

— “How Cyberbullying and Twitter Attacks Can Wreck Your Mental Health,” Sy Mukherjee, Fortune, June 29, 2017.

Numerous Physical Health Conditions May Be Associated With Increased Risk For Suicide

Healio (6/29, Oldt) reports, “Numerous physical health conditions were associated with increased risk for suicide…particularly traumatic brain injury, HIV/AIDS and sleep disorders,” researchers found after analyzing “electronic health record and insurance claims data for 2,674 individuals who died by suicide between 2000 and 2013 and 267,400 controls,” then adjusting for confounding factors. The findings were published online June 12 in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Related Links:

— “Physical health conditions may increase suicide risk,” Ahmedani BK, et al., Healio, June 29, 2017.

Depression May Be Linked To Worse Health In Cancer Caregivers

HealthDay (6/29, Dallas) reports that “depression is known to be linked to worsening physical health, and” research published online June 29 in the journal Cancer suggests “this may be especially true for cancer caregivers.” Investigators looked at the survey responses of 664 caregivers. The investigators found that “two years after the diagnoses, the caregivers’ health was slightly better than the national average,” but “their health declined a small but notable amount over the next six years.” The study indicated that depression seemed to be the sole “predictor of worsening physical health.”

Related Links:

— “Depression May Worsen Health for Cancer Caregivers,” Mary Elizabeth Dallas, HealthDay, June 29, 2017.

Sleep duration predicts treatment success in comorbid insomnia, depression

Healio (6/28, Oldt) reports, “Individuals with comorbid insomnia and depression who slept seven hours or more and received” cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) “for insomnia were significantly more likely to achieve remission,” researchers found after evaluating “104 study participants from the Treatment of Insomnia and Depression Study (TRIAD).” The findings were presented at the recent American Academy of Sleep Medicine Annual Meeting.

Related Links:

— “Sleep duration predicts treatment success in comorbid insomnia, depression,” Jack D. Edinger, PhD, Healio, June 28, 2017.