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Latest News Around the Web

Over 50% Opioid Prescriptions Written For People With Mental Health Disorders

STAT (6/26, Caruso) reports that over half of all prescriptions for opioid pain medications in the US “are written for people with anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders,” according to a study [pdf] published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine. According to the study, 19 percent “of the 38.6 million Americans with mood disorders use prescription opioids, compared to 5 percent of the general population — a difference that remained even when the researchers controlled for factors such as physical health, level of pain, age, sex and race.”

Kaiser Health News (6/26, Connor) reports that patients with mental health disorders are particularly vulnerable to developing addiction to opioid pain medications. One of the study’s authors “suggested that physicians consider using different criteria when prescribing opioids for people with mental illness.”

Related Links:

— “51 percent of opioid prescriptions go to people with depression and other mood disorders,” CATHERINE CARUSO, STAT, June 26, 2017.

Moderate-Intensity Physical Activity Can Protect The Brain From Alzheimer’s Disease

TIME (6/26, MacMillan) reports a study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found “people who did more moderate-intensity physical activity were more likely to have healthy patterns of glucose metabolism in their brains—a sign of healthy brain activity—than those who did less.” The authors found large doses of high-intensity exercise may be needed to offer the benefits of “a modest increase” in moderate activity, “suggesting that you don’t have to exercise to the extreme to get brain benefits.” Lead author Ozioma Okonkwo, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine and Public, says, in general, the evidence suggests that “light activity is insufficient, and vigorous activity might be unnecessary.”

Related Links:

— “How Exercise May Protect the Brain From Alzheimer’s Disease,” Amanda MacMillan, Time, June ,26 2017.

Some Patients With Anxiety Or Depression May Have An Undiagnosed Physical Disorder.

In “Well,” The New York Times (6/26, Brody, Subscription Publication) reports that symptoms of anxiety or depression can “masquerade as an as-yet undiagnosed physical disorder.” Psychiatric Times recently published a “partial listing” of 47 medical illnesses that may first present as anxiety and a “partial listing” of 30 categories of medications that could cause anxiety, including antidepressants like SSRIs. The lists were included in an article “meant to alert mental health practitioners to the possibility that some patients seeking treatment for anxiety or depression may have an underlying medical condition that must be addressed before any emotional symptoms are likely to resolve.”

Related Links:

— “When Anxiety or Depression Masks a Medical Problem,” JANE E. BRODY, New York Times, June 26, 2017.

Fewer US Teens, Young Adults Are Binge Drinking

HealthDay (6/23, Dotinga) reported that “a new federal report finds that fewer U.S. teens and young adults are indulging in frat-party style drinking because their levels of binge drinking have gone down over the past six years.” However, “fourteen percent of young people from 12 to 20 years old reported binge drinking at least once within the past four weeks.” Frances Harding, director of the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention at the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration, said, “We’ve made plenty of progress through prevention efforts, yet the work still needs to continue.”

Related Links:

— “Fewer U.S. Kids Binge Drinking,” Randy Dotinga, HealthDay, June 22, 2017.

Deaths Directly Related To Electroconvulsive Therapy Found To Be Rare.

Medscape (6/23, Davenport) reported that a meta-analysis indicates “deaths directly related to electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) are rare events and seem to be decreasing in incidence.” In “the pooled analysis of more than 750,000 ECT procedures performed since the mid-1970s,” investigators found “that the rate of deaths related to ECT itself was only around two per 100,000 treatments – less than that seen with general anesthesia for surgery.” The research was presented at the 13th World Congress of Biological Psychiatry and published in Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica.

Related Links:

Medscape (requires login and subscription)

Foundation News

Foundation Establishes Anti-Stigma Advocacy Award

The Maryland Foundation for Psychiatry has established the Anti-Stigma Advocacy Award. It is designed to recognize a worthy piece published in a major newspaper that accomplishes one or more of the following:

  • Shares with the public their experience with mental illness in themselves, a family member, or simply in the community.
  • Helps others to overcome their inability to talk about mental illness or their own mental illness.
  • Imparts particularly insightful observations on the general subject of mental illness.
  • A Maryland author and/or newspaper is preferred.

The award carries a $500 prize, and has its own dedicated page here.

The winner for 2016 is Amy McDowell Marlow.

My dad killed himself when I was 13. He hid his depression. I won’t hide mine.
Published February 9, 2016 in the Washington Post

In this piece, Ms. Marlow gives a very poignant description of dealing with her own depression and emotional experiences beginning in childhood while dealing with a parent’s depression and eventual suicide.

New PSA Examines Prisons, Inmates and Mental Health

The Maryland Foundation for Psychiatry, Inc.’s latest public service announcement on local Maryland radio stations focuses on mental health care in the United States prison system. It examines the problem of mental illness being the reason for incarceration in the first place, and the lack of care once a person is behind bars.

Prisons, Inmates and Mental HealthPrisons, Inmates and Mental Health

You can listen to the ad using the player in the upper right of the website’s homepage. All past public service spots are also available for listening or to download on our Radio Advertisements page.

Follow the Foundation on Twitter!

The Maryland Foundation for Psychiatry, Inc. now has it’s very own Twitter account. You can follow us there to get the latest news about what we’re doing as well as be notified of the psychiatric news we mention here and when a new radio spot goes online. Just click the button below or in the left column to add us to your Twitter feed!

New MFP Public Service Ad Looks at Civil Unrest Effects on Children

Sadly, the civil unrest in Baltimore this spring has psychologically harmed some of our children. Our latest public service advertisement looks at the effects of civil unrest on young minds, not just from seeing or experiencing actual violence, but also to being exposed to it through the media.

Civil Unrest Effects on ChildrenCivil Unrest Effects on Children

Our full collection of advertisements is online for you to

Dr. Leon Levin, Honorary Director of the Foundation, Passes

[The following obituary is from Cremation and Funeral Alternatives as posted on Legacy.Com. You can find it there as well as a guest book to sign.]

Leon Levin, M.D.: A Life of Meaning May 22,1930-October 18, 2014

For Dr. Leon Levin, 84, finding the meaning in life, relationships, people, literature and film was synonymous with breathing. How could he do otherwise? A psychiatrist, a psychoanalyst, a scholar, a community servant, a film lover, a friend and a quintessential family man – it was the lens through which he looked. He had a natural sensitivity for depth, emotion, conflict, fear, hope, pain and was always curious and empathic. The close relationships with his family, Psychoanalysis and film served as his foundation. Many have echoed that Leon’s belief in them, inspired them to be their best selves. He touched generations in the most understated and gentle manner.
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