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36 CBT & psychotherapy relevant abstracts: July '17 newsletter

This blog post is downloadable as a Word doc.


Ali, S., L. Rhodes, et al. (2017). "How durable is the effect of low intensity CBT for depression and anxiety? Remission and relapse in a longitudinal cohort study." Behaviour Research and Therapy 94: 1-8. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0005796717300840

            AbstractBackground Depression and anxiety disorders are relapse-prone conditions, even after successful treatment with pharmacotherapy or psychotherapy. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is known to prevent relapse, but there is little evidence of the durability of remission after low intensity forms of CBT (LiCBT). Method This study aimed to examine relapse rates 12 months after completing routinely-delivered LiCBT. A cohort of 439 LiCBT completers with remission of symptoms provided monthly depression (PHQ-9) and anxiety (GAD-7) measures during 12 months after treatment. Survival analysis was conducted to model time-to-relapse while controlling for patient characteristics. Results Overall, 53% of cases relapsed within 1 year. Of these relapse events, the majority (79%) occurred within the first 6 months post-treatment. Cases reporting residual depression symptoms (PHQ-9 = 5 to 9) at the end of treatment had significantly higher risk of relapse (hazard ratio = 1.90, p < 0.001). Conclusions The high rate of relapse after LiCBT highlights the need for relapse prevention, particularly for those with residual depression symptoms.


Ballesio, A., M. R. J. V. Aquino, et al. (2017). "The effectiveness of behavioural and cognitive behavioural therapies for insomnia on depressive and fatigue symptoms: A systematic review and network meta-analysis." Sleep Medicine Reviews. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.smrv.2017.01.006

            This review aimed to assess the impact of behavioural therapy for insomnia administered alone (BT-I) or in combination with cognitive techniques (cognitive-behavioural therapy for insomnia, CBT-I) on depressive and fatigue symptoms using network meta-analysis. PubMed, Scopus and Web of Science were searched from 1986 to May 2015. Studies were included if they incorporated sleep restriction, a core technique of BT-I treatment, and an adult insomnia sample, a control group and a standardised measure of depressive and/or fatigue symptoms. Face-to-face, group, self-help and internet therapies were all considered. Forty-seven studies were included in the meta-analysis. Eleven classes of treatment or control conditions were identified in the network. Cohen?s d at 95% confidence interval (CI) was calculated to assess the effect sizes of each treatment class as compared with placebo. Results showed significant effects for individual face-to-face CBT-I on depressive (d= 0.34, 95% CI: 0.06 - 0.63) but not on fatigue symptoms, with high heterogeneity between studies. The source of heterogeneity was not identified even after including sex, age, comorbidity and risk of bias in sensitivity analyses. Findings highlight the need to reduce variability between study methodologies and suggest potential effects of individual face-to-face CBT-I on daytime symptoms.


Boelen, P. A. and G. E. Smid (2017). "Disturbed grief: Prolonged grief disorder and persistent complex bereavement disorder." BMJ 357. http://www.bmj.com/content/bmj/357/bmj.j2016.full.pdf

            What you need to know: When confronted with the death of a loved one, most people experience transient rather than persistent distress, and do not develop a mental health condition.  Bereavement, specifically the sudden, unexpected death of a loved one is associated with an elevated risk for multiple psychiatric disorders.  Consider prolonged grief disorder (PGD) in people with ongoing separation distress beyond the first six to 12 months of bereavement.  PGD occurs in approximately 10% of bereaved individuals, with an increased risk following the death of a partner or child and loss to unnatural or violent circumstances, and among people vulnerable to mental health conditions.  Psychological treatments addressing the pain and consequences associated with the irreversibility of the separation can be effective.  Emerging evidence provides limited support for pharmacological interventions. [Note Kathy Shear’s helpful & detailed response to this article].


Bouchard, S., S. Dumoulin, et al. (2017). "Virtual reality compared with in vivo exposure in the treatment of social anxiety disorder: A three-arm randomised controlled trial." The British Journal of Psychiatry 210(4): 276-283


            Background People with social anxiety disorder (SAD) fear social interactions and may be reluctant to seek treatments involving exposure to social situations. Social exposure conducted in virtual reality (VR), embedded in individual cognitive–behavioural therapy (CBT), could be an answer.AimsTo show that conducting VR exposure in CBT for SAD is effective and is more practical for therapists than conducting exposure in vivo.MethodParticipants were randomly assigned to either VR exposure (n = 17), in vivo exposure (n = 22) or waiting list (n = 20). Participants in the active arms received individual CBT for 14 weekly sessions and outcome was assessed with questionnaires and a behaviour avoidance test. (Trial registration number ISRCTN99747069.)ResultsImprovements were found on the primary (Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale) and all five secondary outcome measures in both CBT groups compared with the waiting list. Conducting exposure in VR was more effective at post-treatment than in vivo on the primary outcome measure and on one secondary measure. Improvements were maintained at the 6-month follow-up. VR was significantly more practical for therapists than in vivo exposure.ConclusionsUsing VR can be advantageous over standard CBT as a potential solution for treatment avoidance and as an efficient, cost-effective and practical medium of exposure.


Carter, G., A. Milner, et al. (2017). "Predicting suicidal behaviours using clinical instruments: Systematic review and meta-analysis of positive predictive values for risk scales." The British Journal of Psychiatry 210(6): 387-395


            Background Prediction of suicidal behaviour is an aspirational goal for clinicians and policy makers; with patients classified as ‘high risk’ to be preferentially allocated treatment. Clinical usefulness requires an adequate positive predictive value (PPV).  Aims To identify studies of predictive instruments and to calculate PPV estimates for suicidal behaviours.MethodA systematic review identified studies of predictive instruments. A series of meta-analyses produced pooled estimates of PPV for suicidal behaviours.  Results For all scales combined, the pooled PPVs were: suicide 5.5% (95% CI 3.9–7.9%), self-harm 26.3% (95% CI 21.8–31.3%) and self-harm plus suicide 35.9% (95% CI 25.8–47.4%). Subanalyses on self-harm found pooled PPVs of 16.1% (95% CI 11.3–22.3%) for high-quality studies, 32.5% (95% CI 26.1–39.6%) for hospital-treated self-harm and 26.8% (95% CI 19.5–35.6%) for psychiatric in-patients.  Conclusions No ‘high-risk’ classification was clinically useful. Prevalence imposes a ceiling on PPV. Treatment should reduce exposure to modifiable risk factors and offer effective interventions for selected subpopulations and unselected clinical populations.


Chatterton, M. L., E. Stockings, et al. (2017). "Psychosocial therapies for the adjunctive treatment of bipolar disorder in adults: Network meta-analysis." The British Journal of Psychiatry 210(5): 333-341


            Background Few trials have compared psychosocial therapies for people with bipolar affective disorder, and conventional meta-analyses provided limited comparisons between therapies.  Aims To combine evidence for the efficacy of psychosocial interventions used as adjunctive treatment of bipolar disorder in adults, using network meta-analysis (NMA).  Method Systematic review identified studies and NMA was used to pool data on relapse to mania or depression, medication adherence, and symptom scales for mania, depression and Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF).  Results Carer-focused interventions significantly reduced the risk of depressive or manic relapse. Psychoeducation alone and in combination with cognitive–behavioural therapy (CBT) significantly reduced medication non-adherence. Psychoeducation plus CBT significantly reduced manic symptoms and increased GAF. No intervention was associated with a significant reduction in depression symptom scale scores.  Conclusions Only interventions for family members affected relapse rates. Psychoeducation plus CBT reduced medication non-adherence, improved mania symptoms and GAF. Novel methods for addressing depressive symptoms are required.


Cristea, I. A., S. Stefan, et al. (2017). "The effects of cognitive behavioral therapy are not systematically falling: A revision of johnsen and friborg (2015)." Psychol Bull 143(3): 326-340. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28230413

            In a meta-analysis, Johnsen and Friborg (2015) reported a significant negative relationship between publication year and the effect sizes (ESs) of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) for depressive disorders, suggesting its effectiveness was falling. We identified a series of methodological and conceptual caveats and consequently redid the meta-analysis. We used the same inclusion criteria, but only included randomized controlled trials and searched for additional eligible trials. We computed both within-group and between-group ESs for the CBT arm for the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HRSD). We assessed risk of bias, sample size, type of control group, and the study's country of origin and conducted subgroup, single, and multiple meta-regression analyses including publication year and other moderators. We identified 30 additional eligible trials. Within-group ESs presented huge heterogeneity estimates (I2 around 90%). Year of publication was significant in some single meta-regression analyses on the BDI, but not significant in others, in most analyses on the HRSD, and in any of the analyses on between-group ESs. Multiple regression models indicated that either year was not significantly related or that both year and country were significantly related to outcomes, with a temporal trend present solely in US studies. Year of publication does not appear to be a reliable and independent moderator of the effectiveness of CBT for depression. The linear "fall" reported by Johnsen and Friborg (2015) is most likely a spurious finding.


Dethier, V. and P. Philippot (2017). "Attentional focus during exposure in spider phobia: The effect of valence and schematicity of a partial distractor." Behaviour Research and Therapy 93: 104-115. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0005796717300633

            This study examines the impact of partial distractor valence and schematicity (i.e., their relation to fear representation) on exposure efficacy. One hundred forty-one spider phobics were exposed to spider pictures and asked, in a between-subjects experimental design, to form mental images of words that were fear related (to spiders) and negative (schematic negative), fear unrelated and negative (non-schematic negative) or fear unrelated and positive (non-schematic positive). Multilevel measures of anxiety were performed at pre-exposure, post-exposure and 6 days' follow-up. Results show that both of the negative condition groups displayed similar results on all outcome variables and systematically differed from the positive condition group. While the latter group displayed a stronger decline in distress during exposure itself, the other groups showed greater exposure benefits: a stronger decline in emotional and avoidance responses and skin conductance responses from pre- to post-exposure and more approach behaviours when confronted with a real spider. The critical feature of distraction thus seems not to be the fact of being distracted from the phobic stimulus, but rather the fact of performing emotional avoidance by distracting oneself from negative affect. The results highlight that the acceptance of aversive emotional states is a critical active process in successful exposure.


Dunlop, B. W., M. E. Kelley, et al. (2017). "Effects of patient preferences on outcomes in the predictors of remission in depression to individual and combined treatments (predict) study." American Journal of Psychiatry 174(6): 546-556. http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/doi/abs/10.1176/appi.ajp.2016.16050517

            Objective: The Predictors of Remission in Depression to Individual and Combined Treatments [PReDICT] study aimed to identify clinical and biological factors predictive of treatment outcomes in major depressive disorder among treatment-naive adults. The authors evaluated the efficacy of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and two antidepressant medications (escitalopram and duloxetine) in patients with major depression and examined the moderating effect of patients’ treatment preferences on outcomes.  Method: Adults aged 18–65 with treatment-naive major depression were randomly assigned with equal likelihood to 12 weeks of treatment with escitalopram (10–20 mg/day), duloxetine (30–60 mg/day), or CBT (16 50-minute sessions). Prior to randomization, patients indicated whether they preferred medication or CBT or had no preference. The primary outcome was change in the 17-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D), administered by raters blinded to treatment.  Results: A total of 344 patients were randomly assigned, with a mean baseline HAM-D score of 19.8 (SD=3.8). The mean estimated overall decreases in HAM-D score did not significantly differ between treatments (CBT: 10.2, escitalopram: 11.1, duloxetine: 11.2). Last observation carried forward remission rates did not significantly differ between treatments (CBT: 41.9%, escitalopram: 46.7%, duloxetine: 54.7%). Patients matched to their preferred treatment were more likely to complete the trial but not more likely to achieve remission.  Conclusions: Treatment guidelines that recommend either an evidence-based psychotherapy or antidepressant medication for nonpsychotic major depression can be extended to treatment-naive patients. Treatment preferences among patients without prior treatment exposure do not significantly moderate symptomatic outcomes.


Freidl, E. K., O. M. Stroeh, et al. (2017). "Assessment and treatment of anxiety among children and adolescents." FOCUS 15(2): 144-156. http://focus.psychiatryonline.org/doi/abs/10.1176/appi.focus.20160047

            Among children and adolescents, anxiety disorders are common psychiatric disorders that confer risk of comorbid psychiatric disorders and social and academic impairment. This review focuses on the assessment and treatment of anxiety disorders among children and adolescents, with attention to separation anxiety disorder, social phobia disorder (social anxiety disorder), panic disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder. Comprehensive assessment of child and adolescent anxiety disorders benefits from a multimethod approach to evaluation and diagnosis, including semistructured interviews; child and informant questionnaires; collateral information from parents, teachers, pediatricians, and school psychologists; and behavioral observations. Because anxiety symptoms can include avoidance behaviors, somatic complaints, social difficulties, and sleep disturbances, consideration of a differential diagnosis is important. Among the available psychosocial interventions, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and exposure-based therapies have emerged as the most well-established treatment approaches for addressing anxiety disorders among children and adolescents. Pharmacologically, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) have been established to be safe and efficacious for the treatment of pediatric anxiety and are considered the medications of choice for this population. Research indicates that CBT plus SSRI medication is the most effective treatment of anxiety for youths ages seven to 17, compared with either CBT or medication alone. Medication monotherapy and CBT monotherapy have also been demonstrated to be effective treatments.


Friborg, O. and T. J. Johnsen (2017). "The effect of cognitive-behavioral therapy as an antidepressive treatment is falling: Reply to ljotsson et al. (2017) and cristea et al. (2017)." Psychol Bull 143(3): 341-345. http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/bul/143/3/341/

            This article critically reassesses the nonlinear reanalysis by Ljotsson, Hedman, Mattsson, and Andersson (2017) and reviews Cristea et al.'s (2017) extension of our original meta-analysis (Johnsen & Friborg, 2015) reporting a decline in the effects of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) for treating unipolar depression. Ljotsson et al. fitted a piecewise meta-regression model to the data, indicating a halt in the decline from the year 1995 onward, hence concluding that CBT is not gradually losing its efficacy. We reanalyzed the data for nonlinear time trends and replicated their findings for the 34 studies using the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression as the outcome but not for the 67 studies using Beck's Depression Inventory as the outcome. The best nonlinear model was quadratic rather than flat (or linear) from 2001 onward, which opposes the conclusion by Ljotsson et al. of stability in effects. Cristea et al. identified additional studies, but their new analyses provided mixed support for a linear decline in CBT effects. They could not dismiss a decline except only in the most stringent analytic condition-namely, when analyzing only 29 randomized controlled trials based on between-groups effect sizes solely. Their study includes several questionable methodological choices, so we expand on the discussion of these disparate meta-analytic findings. Of particular concern is the tendency to downplay the fact that when looking at all of the studies together, there is a clear decline in the effects of CBT, which should concern therapy researchers within the field rather than being explained away.


Friesen, L. N., H. D. Hadjistavropoulos, et al. (2017). "Examination of an internet-delivered cognitive behavioural pain management course for adults with fibromyalgia: A randomized controlled trial." PAIN 158(4): 593-604. http://journals.lww.com/pain/Fulltext/2017/04000/Examination_of_an_internet_delivered_cognitive.7.aspx

            Abstract: Fibromyalgia (FM) is a common and often debilitating chronic pain condition. Research shows that symptoms of depression and anxiety are present in up to 3 quarters of individuals with FM. Of concern, most adults with FM cannot access traditional face-to-face cognitive behavioural pain management programs, which are known to be beneficial. Given known difficulties with treatment access, the present study sought to explore the efficacy and acceptability of a previously developed Internet-delivered cognitive behavioural pain management course, the Pain Course, for adults with FM. The five-lesson course was delivered over 8 weeks and was provided with brief weekly contact, via telephone and secure email, with a guide throughout the course. Participants were randomized either to the Pain Course (n = 30) or to a waiting-list control group (n = 30). Symptoms were assessed at pre-treatment, post-treatment and 4-week follow-up. Completion rates (87%) and satisfaction ratings (86%) were high. Improvements were significantly greater in treatment group participants compared to waiting-list group participants on measures of FM (Cohen's d = 0.70; 18% reduction), depression (Cohen's d = 0.63-0.72; 20%-28% reduction), pain (Cohen's d = 0.87; 11% improvement) and fear of pain (Cohen's d = 1.61; 12% improvement). Smaller effects were also observed on measures of generalized anxiety and physical health. The changes were maintained at 4-week follow-up. The current findings add to existing literature and highlight the specific potential of Internet-delivered cognitive behavioural pain management programs for adults with FM, especially as a part of stepped-care models of care. Future research directions are described. [Note free courses available from https://ecentreclinic.org/ ].


Genovese, T., K. Dalrymple, et al. (2017). "Subjective anger and overt aggression in psychiatric outpatients." Comprehensive Psychiatry 73: 23-30. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0010440X16302978

            Abstract Background The attention given to anger and aggression in psychiatric patients pales in comparison to the attention given to depression and anxiety. Most studies have focused on a limited number of psychiatric disorders, and results have been inconsistent. The present report from the Rhode Island Methods to Improve Diagnostic Assessment and Services (MIDAS) project sought to replicate and extend prior findings examining which psychiatric disorders and demographic characteristics were independently associated with elevated levels of anger and aggression. Method 3800 individuals presenting to the Rhode Island Hospital Department of Psychiatry outpatient practice underwent a semi-structured interview to determine current Axis I (N = 3800) and Axis II (N = 2151) pathology. Severity of subjective anger and overt aggression within the past week were also assessed for each patient, and odds ratios were determined for each disorder. Multiple regression analyses were conducted to determine which diagnoses independently contributed to increased levels of anger and aggression. Results Almost half of the sample reported moderate-to-severe levels of current subjective anger, and more than 20% endorsed moderate-to-severe levels of current overt aggression. The frequency of anger was similar to the frequencies of depressed mood and psychic anxiety. Anger and aggression were elevated across all diagnoses except adjustment disorder. Anger and aggression were most elevated in patients with major depressive disorder, panic disorder with agoraphobia, post-traumatic stress disorder, intermittent explosive disorder, and cluster B personality disorders. Conclusions Anger is as common as depressed mood and psychic anxiety amongst psychiatric outpatients, and problems with anger cut across diagnostic categories. Given the high prevalence of problems with anger in psychiatric patients, more research should be directed towards its effective treatment.


Gesi, C., C. Carmassi, et al. (2017). "Adult separation anxiety disorder in complicated grief: An exploratory study on frequency and correlates." Comprehensive Psychiatry 72: 6-12. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0010440X15301772

            (Available in free full text) Abstract Introduction Complicated grief (CG) has been the subject of increasing attention in the past decades but its relationship with separation anxiety disorder (SEPAD) is still controversial. The aim of the current study was to explore the prevalence and clinical significance of adult SEPAD in a sample of help-seeking individuals with CG. Methods 151 adults with CG, enrolled in a randomized controlled trial comparing the effectiveness of (CG) treatment to that of interpersonal therapy, were assessed by means of the Inventory of Complicated Grief (ICG), the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV, the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAM-D), the Work and Social Adjustment Scale (WSAS), the Adult Separation Anxiety Questionnaire (ASA-27), the Grief Related Avoidance Questionnaire (GRAQ), the Peritraumatic Dissociative Experiences Questionnaire (PDEQ), and the Impact of Events Scale (IES). Results 104 (68.9%) individuals with CG were considered to have SEPAD (ASA-27 score ≥22). Individuals with SEPAD were more likely to have reported a CG related to the loss of another close relative or friend (than a parent, spouse/partner or a child) (p = .02), as well as greater scores on the ICG (p = <.001), PDEQ (p = .004), GRAQ (p < .001), intrusion (p < .001) and avoidance (p = <.001) IES subscales, HAM-D (p < .001) and WSAS (p = .006). ASA-27 total scores correlated with ICG (p < .0001), PDEQ (p < .001) GRAQ (p < .0001) scores and both the IES intrusion (p < .0001) and IES avoidance (p < .0001) subscale scores. People with SEPAD had higher rates of lifetime post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (p = .04) and panic disorder (PD) (p = .01). Conclusions SEPAD is highly prevalent among patients with CG and is associated with greater symptom severity and impairment and greater comorbidity with PTSD and PD. Further studies will help to confirm and generalize our results and to determine whether adult SEPAD responds to CG treatment and/or moderates CG treatment response.


Gloster, A. T., J. Klotsche, et al. (2017). "Increasing valued behaviors precedes reduction in suffering: Findings from a randomized controlled trial using ACT." Behaviour Research and Therapy 91: 64-71. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0005796717300219

            Psychological flexibility theory (PFT) suggests three key processes of change: increases in value-directed behaviors, reduction in struggle with symptoms, and reduction in suffering. We hypothesized that Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) would change these processes and that increases in valued action and decreases in struggle would precede change in suffering. Data were derived from a randomized clinical trial testing ACT (vs. waitlist) for treatment-resistant patients with primary panic disorder with/without agoraphobia (n = 41). Valued behavior, struggle, and suffering were assessed at each of eight sessions. Valued actions, struggle, and suffering all changed over the course of therapy. Overall changes in struggle and suffering were interdependent whereas changes in valued behavior were largely independent. Levels of valued behaviors influenced subsequent suffering, but the other two variables did not influence subsequent levels of valued action. This finding supports a central tenet of PFT that increased (re-)engagement in valued behaviors precedes reductions in suffering. Possible implications for a better understanding of response and non-response to psychotherapy are discussed.


Hirschtritt, M. E., M. H. Bloch, et al. (2017). "Obsessive-compulsive disorder: Advances in diagnosis and treatment." JAMA 317(13): 1358-1367. http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jama.2017.2200

            Importance  Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a neuropsychiatric disorder associated with significant impairment and a lifetime prevalence of 1% to 3%; however, it is often missed in primary care settings and frequently undertreated.Objective  To review the most current data regarding screening, diagnosis, and treatment options for OCD.  Evidence Review  We searched PubMed, EMBASE, and PsycINFO to identify randomized controlled trials (RCTs), meta-analyses, and systematic reviews that addressed screening and diagnostic and treatment approaches for OCD among adults (≥18 years), published between January 1, 2011, and September 30, 2016. We subsequently searched references of retrieved articles for additional reports. Meta-analyses and systematic reviews were prioritized; case series and reports were included only for interventions for which RCTs were not available.  Findings  Among 792 unique articles identified, 27 (11 RCTs, 11 systematic reviews or meta-analyses, and 5 reviews/guidelines) were selected for this review. The diagnosis of OCD was revised for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, which addresses OCD separately from anxiety disorders and contains specifiers to delineate the presence of tics and degree of insight. Treatment advances include increasing evidence to support the efficacy of online-based dissemination of cognitive behavioral therapies, which have demonstrated clinically significant decreases in OCD symptoms when conducted by trained therapists. Current evidence continues to support the use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors as first-line pharmacologic interventions for OCD; however, more recent data support the adjunctive use of neuroleptics, deep-brain stimulation, and neurosurgical ablation for treatment-resistant OCD. Preliminary data suggest safety of other agents (eg, riluzole, ketamine, memantine, N-acetylcysteine, lamotrigine, celecoxib, ondansetron) either in combination with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or as monotherapy in the treatment of OCD, although their efficacy has not yet been established.  Conclusions and Relevance  The dissemination of computer-based cognitive behavioral therapy and improved evidence supporting it represent a major advancement in treatment of OCD. Although cognitive behavioral therapy with or without selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors remains a preferred initial treatment strategy, increasing evidence that supports the safety and efficacy of neuroleptics and neuromodulatory approaches in treatment-resistant cases provides alternatives for patients whose condition does not respond to first-line interventions.


Hunter, E. C. M., J. Charlton, et al. (2017). "Depersonalisation and derealisation: Assessment and management." BMJ 356. http://www.bmj.com/content/356/bmj.j745

            What you need to know - Depersonalisation and derealisation symptoms include having a sense of unreality and detachment; patients may describe using phrases such as “it is as if . . . ”.  Symptoms are often triggered by adverse life events, severe anxiety, or cannabis use.  Transient symptoms of less than a couple of weeks’ duration are common and need no intervention.  Distinguish symptoms of depersonalisation and derealisation that are secondary to another medical or psychiatric diagnosis and treat the underlying problem.  Refer those who appear to have persistent symptoms to a psychiatrist for consideration of primary depersonalisation derealisation disorder.


Kelleher, I. and J. E. DeVylder (2017). "Hallucinations in borderline personality disorder and common mental disorders." The British Journal of Psychiatry 210(3): 230-231   http://bjp.rcpsych.org/content/210/3/230

            Hallucinations are classically associated with psychotic disorders. Recent research, however, has highlighted that hallucinations frequently occur outside of the context of psychosis. Despite this, to our knowledge, there has been no epidemiological research to compare the prevalence of hallucinations across common mental disorders with the prevalence in borderline personality disorder (BPD). Using data from the Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey (n = 7403), we investigated the prevalence of hallucinations in individuals with a range of mental disorders and BPD. Hallucinations were prevalent in all disorders (range 11–24%). Hallucinations were no more prevalent in individuals with BPD (13.7%) than in individuals with a (non-psychotic) mental disorder (12.6%) (χ2 = 0.03, P = 0.92).


Ljotsson, B., E. Hedman, et al. (2017). "The effects of cognitive-behavioral therapy for depression are not falling: A re-analysis of johnsen and friborg (2015)." Psychol Bull 143(3): 321-325. http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/bul/143/3/321/

            Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) has a solid evidence base as an effective treatment for depression. However, a recent meta-analysis (Johnsen & Friborg, 2015) including 70 studies, showed that the effect sizes of CBT for depression have been falling between 1977 and 2014. A possible important limitation in the Johnsen and Friborg (2015) study was that they did not investigate a leveling off in the decline over time of the effectiveness of CBT for depression. We therefore reanalyzed the data reported by Johnsen and Friborg (2015) using meta-analytic regression models that allowed for a curvilinear effect of publication year and also modeled separate estimates of the decline of treatment effect before and after 1995. Our analyses showed that adding a quadratic effect of time to a linear effect of time significantly improved the meta-analytic regression models (p = .017-.027). Furthermore, significant declines were only observed between 1977 and 1995 (p = .001-.009) and not between 1995 to 2014 (p = .987-.785). We conclude that the declining effect of CBT for depression observed by Johnsen and Friborg (2015) was highly influenced by 22 studies published before 1995 and that the 48 studies published after 1995 did not demonstrate such a decline. Thus, there are no indications that CBT for depression is gradually losing its value.


Lopresti, A. L. (2017). "Cognitive behaviour therapy and inflammation: A systematic review of its relationship and the potential implications for the treatment of depression." Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry 0(0): 0004867417701996. http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0004867417701996

            Objective: There is growing evidence confirming increased inflammation in a subset of adults with depression. The impact of this relationship has mostly been considered in biologically based interventions; however, it also has potential implications for psychological therapies. Cognitive behaviour therapy is the most commonly used psychological intervention for the treatment of depression with theories around its efficacy primarily based on psychological mechanisms. However, cognitive behaviour therapy may have an effect on, and its efficacy influenced by, physiological processes associated with depression. Accordingly, the purpose of this systematic review was to examine the relationship between cognitive behaviour therapy and inflammation.  Method: Studies examining the anti-inflammatory effects of cognitive behaviour therapy in people with depression and other medical conditions (e.g. cancer, diabetes and heart disease) were examined. In addition, the relationship between change in inflammatory markers and change in depressive symptoms following cognitive behaviour therapy, and the influence of pre-treatment inflammation on cognitive behaviour therapy treatment response were reviewed.  Results: A total of 23 studies investigating the anti-inflammatory effects of cognitive behaviour therapy were identified. In 14 of these studies, at least one reduction in an inflammatory marker was reported, increases were identified in three studies and no change was found in six studies. Three studies examined the relationship between change in inflammation and change in depressive symptoms following cognitive behaviour therapy. In two of these studies, change in depressive symptoms was associated with a change in at least one inflammatory marker. Finally, three studies examined the influence of pre-treatment inflammation on treatment outcome from cognitive behaviour therapy, and all indicated a poorer treatment response in people with higher premorbid inflammation.  Conclusion: Preliminary evidence suggests inflammation should be considered within the context of cognitive behaviour therapy, although robust studies examining the relationship are sparse, and heterogeneity between studies and populations examined was high. The potential treatment implications of the bi-directional relationship between inflammation and cognitive behaviour therapy are discussed, and recommendations for future research are proposed.


Lüdtke, J., B. Weizenegger, et al. (2017). "The influence of personality traits and emotional and behavioral problems on repetitive nonsuicidal self-injury in a school sample." Comprehensive Psychiatry 74: 214-223. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0010440X16306290

            Abstract Background Nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI) is highly prevalent among adolescents and associated with various mental health problems and suicidality. Previous studies have found that certain personality traits are related to NSSI behavior, however only few studies examined personality traits in adolescents with NSSI. Our study aimed to assess the relationship between personality traits and emotional and behavioral problems in predicting repetitive NSSI among adolescents from a school sample. Methods Four hundred and forty-seven students (M = 14.95 years, SD = 0.74, 52% male) completed self-report measures on NSSI, personality traits, and emotional and behavioral problems. Results The past year prevalence of occasional and repetitive NSSI was 4.9% and 6.3% respectively. Repetitive NSSI was significantly associated with female gender, higher levels of age, novelty seeking, harm avoidance, self-transcendence, antisocial behavior, and positive self and lower levels of persistence and self-directedness in univariate analyses. However, multivariate logistic regression analyses indicated that only high levels of antisocial behavior and low levels of self-directedness significantly predicted repetitive NSSI. Conclusions The association between a lack of self-directedness and NSSI emphasizes the significance of targeting self-directedness in psychotherapy by strengthening self-awareness, affect tolerance and emotion regulation, as well as establishing and pursuing long-term goals.


Lundorff, M., H. Holmgren, et al. (2017). "Prevalence of prolonged grief disorder in adult bereavement: A systematic review and meta-analysis." Journal of Affective Disorders 212: 138-149. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0165032716318651

            Background Prolonged grief disorder (PGD) is a bereavement-specific syndrome expected to be included in the forthcoming ICD-11. Defining the prevalence of PGD will have important nosological, clinical, and therapeutic implications. The present systematic review and meta-analysis aimed to estimate the prevalence rate of PGD in the adult bereaved population, identify possible moderators, and explore methodological quality of studies in this area. Methods A systematic literature search was conducted in PubMed, PsycINFO, Embase, Web of Science, and CINAHL. Studies with non-psychiatric, adult populations exposed to non-violent bereavement were included and subjected to meta-analytic evaluation. Results Fourteen eligible studies were identified. Meta-analysis revealed a pooled prevalence of PGD of 9.8% (95% CI 6.8–14.0). Moderation analyses showed higher mean age to be associated with higher prevalence of PGD. Study quality was characterized by low risk of internal validity bias but high risk of external validity bias. Limitations The available studies are methodologically heterogeneous. Among the limitations are that only half the studies used registry-based probability sampling methods (50.0%) and few studies analyzed non-responders (14.3%). Conclusions This first systematic review and meta-analysis of the prevalence of PGD suggests that one out of ten bereaved adults is at risk for PGD. To allocate economic and professional resources most effectively, this result underscores the importance of identifying and offer treatment to those bereaved individuals in greatest need. Due to heterogeneity and limited representativeness, the findings should be interpreted cautiously and additional high-quality epidemiological research using population-based designs is needed.


Manning, R. P. C., J. M. Dickson, et al. (2017). "A systematic review of adult attachment and social anxiety." Journal of Affective Disorders 211: 44-59. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0165032716313738

            Background Attachment has been implicated in the development of social anxiety. Our aim was to synthesise the extant literature exploring the role of adult attachment in these disorders. Method Search terms relating to social anxiety and attachment were entered into MEDLINE, PsycINFO and Web of Science. Risk of bias of included studies was assessed using and adapted version of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality assessment tool. Eligible studies employed validated social anxiety and attachment assessments in adult clinical and analogue samples. The review included cross sectional, interventional and longitudinal research. Results Of the 30 identified studies, 28 showed a positive association between attachment insecurity and social anxiety. This association was particularly strong when considering attachment anxiety. Cognitive variables and evolutionary behaviours were identified as potential mediators, concordant with psychological theory. Limitations Due to a lack of longitudinal research, the direction of effect between attachment and social anxiety variables could not be inferred. There was substantial heterogeneity in the way that attachment was conceptualised and assessed across studies. Conclusions The literature indicates that attachment style is associated with social anxiety. Clinicians may wish to consider attachment theory when working clinically with this population. In the future, it may be useful to target the processes that mediate the relationship between attachment and social anxiety.


Ophuis, R. H., J. Lokkerbol, et al. (2017). "Cost-effectiveness of interventions for treating anxiety disorders: A systematic review." Journal of Affective Disorders 210: 1-13. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0165032716313192

            Background Anxiety disorders are highly prevalent mental disorders that constitute a major burden on patients and society. As a consequence, economic evaluations of the interventions have become increasingly important. However, no recent overview of these economic evaluations is currently available and the quality of the published economic evaluations has not yet been assessed. Therefore, the current study has two aims: to provide an overview of the evidence regarding the cost-effectiveness of interventions for anxiety disorders, and to assess the quality of the studies identified. Methods A systematic review was conducted using PubMed, PsycINFO, NHS-EED, and the CEA registry. We included full economic evaluations on interventions for all anxiety disorders published before April 2016, with no restrictions on study populations and comparators. Preventive interventions were excluded. Study characteristics and cost-effectiveness data were collected. The quality of the studies was appraised using the Consensus on Health Economic Criteria. Results Forty-two out of 826 identified studies met the inclusion criteria. The studies were heterogeneous and the quality was variable. Internet-delivered cognitive behavioural therapy (iCBT) appeared to be cost-effective in comparison with the control conditions. Four out of five studies comparing psychological interventions with pharmacological interventions showed that psychological interventions were more cost-effective than pharmacotherapy. Limitations Comparability was limited by heterogeneity in terms of interventions, study design, outcome and study quality. Conclusions Forty-two studies reporting cost-effectiveness of interventions for anxiety disorders were identified. iCBT was cost-effective in comparison with the control conditions. Psychological interventions for anxiety disorders might be more cost-effective than pharmacological interventions.


Pybis, J., D. Saxon, et al. (2017). "The comparative effectiveness and efficiency of cognitive behaviour therapy and generic counselling in the treatment of depression: Evidence from the 2nd UK national audit of psychological therapies." BMC Psychiatry 17(1): 215. http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12888-017-1370-7

            (Available in free full text) Background Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) is the front-line psychological intervention for step 3 within UK psychological therapy services. Counselling is recommended only when other interventions have failed and its effectiveness has been questioned.  Method A secondary data analysis was conducted of data collected from 33,243 patients across 103 Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services as part of the second round of the National Audit of Psychological Therapies (NAPT). Initial analysis considered levels of pre-post therapy effect sizes (ESs) and reliable improvement (RI) and reliable and clinically significant improvement (RCSI). Multilevel modelling was used to model predictors of outcome, namely patient pre-post change on PHQ-9 scores at last therapy session.  Results Counselling received more referrals from patients experiencing moderate to severe depression than CBT. For patients scoring above the clinical cut-off on the PHQ-9 at intake, the pre-post ES (95% CI) for CBT was 1.59 (1.58, 1.62) with 46.6% making RCSI criteria and for counselling the pre-post ES was 1.55 (1.52, 1.59) with 44.3% of patients meeting RCSI criteria. Multilevel modelling revealed a significant site effect of 1.8%, while therapy type was not a predictor of outcome. A significant interaction was found between the number of sessions attended and therapy type, with patients attending fewer sessions on average for counselling [M = 7.5 (5.54) sessions and a median (IQR) of 6 (3–10)] than CBT [M = 8.9 (6.34) sessions and a median (IQR) of 7 (4–12)]. Only where patients had 18 or 20 sessions was CBT significantly more effective than counselling, with recovery rates (95% CIs) of 62.2% (57.1, 66.9) and 62.4% (56.5, 68.0) respectively, compared with 44.4% (32.7, 56.6) and 42.6% (30.0, 55.9) for counselling. Counselling was significantly more effective at two sessions with a recovery rate of 34.9% (31.9, 37.9) compared with 22.2% (20.5, 24.0) for CBT.  Conclusions Outcomes for counselling and CBT in the treatment of depression were comparable. Research efforts should focus on factors other than therapy type that may influence outcomes, namely the inherent variability between services, and adopt multilevel modelling as the given analytic approach in order to capture the naturally nested nature of the implementation and delivery of psychological therapies. It is of concern that half of all patients, regardless of type of intervention, did not show reliable improvement.


Quinlivan, L., J. Cooper, et al. (2017). "Predictive accuracy of risk scales following self-harm: Multicentre, prospective cohort study." The British Journal of Psychiatry 210(6): 429-436. http://bjp.rcpsych.org/content/210/6/429

            (Available in free full text) Background Scales are widely used in psychiatric assessments following self-harm. Robust evidence for their diagnostic use is lacking.  Aims To evaluate the performance of risk scales (Manchester Self-Harm Rule, ReACT Self-Harm Rule, SAD PERSONS scale, Modified SAD PERSONS scale, Barratt Impulsiveness Scale); and patient and clinician estimates of risk in identifying patients who repeat self-harm within 6 months.  Method A multisite prospective cohort study was conducted of adults aged 18 years and over referred to liaison psychiatry services following self-harm. Scale a priori cut-offs were evaluated using diagnostic accuracy statistics. The area under the curve (AUC) was used to determine optimal cut-offs and compare global accuracy.  Results In total, 483 episodes of self-harm were included in the study. The episode-based 6-month repetition rate was 30% (n = 145). Sensitivity ranged from 1% (95% CI 0–5) for the SAD PERSONS scale, to 97% (95% CI 93–99) for the Manchester Self-Harm Rule. Positive predictive values ranged from 13% (95% CI 2–47) for the Modified SAD PERSONS Scale to 47% (95% CI 41–53) for the clinician assessment of risk. The AUC ranged from 0.55 (95% CI 0.50–0.61) for the SAD PERSONS scale to 0.74 (95% CI 0.69–0.79) for the clinician global scale. The remaining scales performed significantly worse than clinician and patient estimates of risk (P&lt;0.001).  Conclusions Risk scales following self-harm have limited clinical utility and may waste valuable resources. Most scales performed no better than clinician or patient ratings of risk. Some performed considerably worse. Positive predictive values were modest. In line with national guidelines, risk scales should not be used to determine patient management or predict self-harm.


Riblet, N. B. V., B. Shiner, et al. (2017). "Strategies to prevent death by suicide: Meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials." The British Journal of Psychiatry 210(6): 396-402    http://bjp.rcpsych.org/content/210/6/396

            Background Few randomised controlled trials (RCTs) have shown decreases in suicide.AimsTo identify interventions for preventing suicide.  Method We searched EMBASE and Medline from inception until 31 December 2015. We included RCTs comparing prevention strategies with control. We pooled odds ratios (ORs) for suicide using the Peto method. Results Among 8647 citations, 72 RCTs and 6 pooled analyses met inclusion criteria. Three RCTs (n = 2028) found that the World Health Organization (WHO) brief intervention and contact (BIC) was associated with significantly lower odds of suicide (OR = 0.20, 95% CI 0.09–0.42). Six RCTs (n = 1040) of cognitive–behavioural therapy (CBT) for suicide prevention and six RCTs of lithium (n = 619) yielded non-significant findings (OR = 0.34, 95% CI 0.12–1.03 and OR = 0.23, 95% CI 0.05–1.02, respectively).  Conclusions The WHO BIC is a promising suicide prevention strategy. No other intervention showed a statistically significant effect in reducing suicide.


Ritterband, L. M., F. P. Thorndike, et al. (2017). "Effect of a web-based cognitive behavior therapy for insomnia intervention with 1-year follow-up: A randomized clinical trial." JAMA Psychiatry 74(1): 68-75. http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2016.3249

            Importance  Although cognitive behavior therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) has been established as the first-line recommendation for the millions of adults with chronic insomnia, there is a paucity of trained clinicians to deliver this much needed treatment. Internet-delivered CBT-I has shown promise as a method to overcome this obstacle; however, the long-term effectiveness has not been proven in a representative sample with chronic insomnia.Objective  To evaluate a web-based, automated CBT-I intervention to improve insomnia in the short term (9 weeks) and long term (1 year).  Design, Setting, and Participants  A randomized clinical trial comparing the internet CBT-I with internet patient education at baseline, 9 weeks, 6 months, and 1 year. Altogether, 303 adults with chronic insomnia self-referred to participate, of whom 151 (49.8%) reported at least 1 medical or psychiatric comorbidity.Interventions  The internet CBT-I (Sleep Healthy Using the Internet [SHUTi]) was a 6-week fully automated, interactive, and tailored web-based program that incorporated the primary tenets of face-to-face CBT-I. The online patient education program provided nontailored and fixed online information about insomnia.  Main Outcomes and Measures  The primary sleep outcomes were self-reported online ratings of insomnia severity (Insomnia Severity Index) and online sleep diary–derived values for sleep-onset latency and wake after sleep onset, collected prospectively for 10 days at each assessment period. The secondary sleep outcomes included sleep efficiency, number of awakenings, sleep quality, and total sleep time.  Results  Among 303 participants, the mean (SD) age was 43.28 (11.59) years, and 71.9% (218 of 303) were female. Of these, 151 were randomized to the SHUTi group and 152 to the online patient education group. Results of the 3 primary sleep outcomes showed that the overall group × time interaction was significant for all variables, favoring the SHUTi group (Insomnia Severity Index [F3,1063 = 20.65, P < .001], sleep-onset latency [F3,1042 = 6.01, P < .001], and wake after sleep onset [F3,1042 = 12.68, P < .001]). Within-group effect sizes demonstrated improvements from baseline to postassessment for the SHUTi participants (range, Cohen d = 0.79 [95% CI, 0.55-1.04] to d = 1.90 [95% CI, 1.62-2.18]). Treatment effects were maintained at the 1-year follow-up (SHUTi Insomnia Severity Index d = 2.32 [95% CI, 2.01-2.63], sleep-onset latency d = 1.41 [95% CI, 1.15-1.68], and wake after sleep onset d = 0.95 [95% CI, 0.70-1.21]), with 56.6% (69 of 122) achieving remission status and 69.7% (85 of 122) deemed treatment responders at 1 year based on Insomnia Severity Index data. All secondary sleep outcomes, except total sleep time, also showed significant overall group × time interactions, favoring the SHUTi group.  Conclusions and Relevance  Given its efficacy and availability, internet-delivered CBT-I may have a key role in the dissemination of effective behavioral treatments for insomnia.


Schaefer, J. D., A. Caspi, et al. (2017). "Enduring mental health: Prevalence & prediction." Journal of Abnormal Psychology 126(2): 212-224. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5304549/

            (Available in free full text) We review epidemiological evidence indicating that most people will develop a diagnosable mental disorder, suggesting that only a minority experience enduring mental health. This minority has received little empirical study, leaving the prevalence and predictors of enduring mental health unknown. We turn to the population-representative Dunedin cohort, followed from birth to midlife, to compare people never-diagnosed with mental disorder (N=171; 17% prevalence) to those diagnosed at 1-2 study waves, the cohort mode (N=409). Surprisingly, compared to this modal group, never-diagnosed Study members were not born into unusually well-to-do families, nor did their enduring mental health follow markedly sound physical health, or unusually high intelligence. Instead, they tended to have an advantageous temperament/personality style, and negligible family history of mental disorder. As adults, they report superior educational and occupational attainment, greater life satisfaction, and higher-quality relationships. Our findings draw attention to “enduring mental health” as a revealing psychological phenotype and suggest it deserves further study. GENERAL SCIENTIFIC SUMMARY: This study reviews evidence indicating that the experience of a diagnosable mental disorder at some point during the life course is the norm, not the exception. Our results suggest that the comparatively few individuals who manage to avoid such conditions owe their extraordinary mental health to an advantageous personality style and lack of family history of disorder, but not to childhood socioeconomic privilege, superior physical health, or high intelligence.


Spence, S. H., C. L. Donovan, et al. (2017). "Generic versus disorder specific cognitive behavior therapy for social anxiety disorder in youth: A randomized controlled trial using internet delivery." Behaviour Research and Therapy 90: 41-57. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0005796716302121

            The study examined whether the efficacy of cognitive behavioral treatment for Social Anxiety Disorder for children and adolescents is increased if intervention addresses specific cognitive and behavioral factors linked to the development and maintenance of SAD in young people, over and above the traditional generic CBT approach. Participants were 125 youth, aged 8–17 years, with a primary diagnosis of SAD, who were randomly assigned to generic CBT (CBT-GEN), social anxiety specific CBT (CBT-SAD) or a wait list control (WLC). Intervention was delivered using a therapist-supported online program. After 12-weeks, participants who received treatment (CBT-SAD or CBT-GEN) showed significantly greater reduction in social anxiety and post-event processing, and greater improvement in global functioning than the WLC but there was no significant difference between CBT-SAD and CBT-GEN on any outcome variable at 12-weeks or 6-month follow-up. Despite significant reductions in anxiety, the majority in both treatment conditions continued to meet diagnostic criteria for SAD at 6-month follow-up. Decreases in social anxiety were associated with decreases in post-event processing. Future research should continue to investigate disorder-specific interventions for SAD in young people, drawing on evidence regarding causal or maintaining factors, in order to enhance treatment outcomes for this debilitating condition.


Staczan, P., R. Schmuecker, et al. (2017). "Effects of sex and gender in ten types of psychotherapy." Psychotherapy Research 27(1): 74-88. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10503307.2015.1072285

            Objective: This paper addresses the results of two samples of a large naturalistic (effectiveness study) outpatient process-outcome study in Switzerland (Practice-Oriented Outpatient Psychotherapy Study). Ten different types of psychotherapy were investigated by looking at the role of the sex or gender of therapists and patients with regard to treatment outcome by including several nonspecific therapeutic factors. Method: Ten different types of psychotherapy, 237 patients, and 68 therapists were included in the study. A subsample of 116 cases was analyzed with regard to therapists' technical interventions. Results: Sex and gender issues of both therapists and patients did not play a crucial role in any type of psychotherapy investigated. Gender issues appeared to play an indirect role. Female therapists intervene more empathically, whereas male therapists tend to use more confrontational techniques. Conclusions: Since the results show that therapists differ substantially with regard to their intervention techniques due to their sex, they should become more conscious of their interventions by considering patients' severity of psychological problems and patients' level of psychological functioning so as to not over or underchallenge them.


Ustun, B., L. A. Adler, et al. (2017). "The world health organization adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder self-report screening scale for DSM-5." JAMA Psychiatry. http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2017.0298

            Importance  Recognition that adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is common, seriously impairing, and usually undiagnosed has led to the development of adult ADHD screening scales for use in community, workplace, and primary care settings. However, these scales are all calibrated to DSM-IV criteria, which are narrower than the recently developed DSM-5 criteria.Objectives  To update for DSM-5 criteria and improve the operating characteristics of the widely used World Health Organization Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale (ASRS) for screening.Design, Setting, and Participants  Probability subsamples of participants in 2 general population surveys (2001-2003 household survey [n = 119] and 2004-2005 managed care subscriber survey [n = 218]) who completed the full 29-question self-report ASRS, with both subsamples over-sampling ASRS-screened positives, were blindly administered a semistructured research diagnostic interview for DSM-5 adult ADHD. In 2016, the Risk-Calibrated Supersparse Linear Integer Model, a novel machine-learning algorithm designed to create screening scales with optimal integer weights and limited numbers of screening questions, was applied to the pooled data to create a DSM-5 version of the ASRS screening scale. The accuracy of the new scale was then confirmed in an independent 2011-2012 clinical sample of patients seeking evaluation at the New York University Langone Medical Center Adult ADHD Program (NYU Langone) and 2015-2016 primary care controls (n = 300). Data analysis was conducted from April 4, 2016, to September 22, 2016.Main Outcomes and Measures  The sensitivity, specificity, area under the curve (AUC), and positive predictive value (PPV) of the revised ASRS.Results  Of the total 637 participants, 44 (37.0%) household survey respondents, 51 (23.4%) managed care respondents, and 173 (57.7%) NYU Langone respondents met DSM-5 criteria for adult ADHD in the semistructured diagnostic interview. Of the respondents who met DSM-5 criteria for adult ADHD, 123 were male (45.9%); mean (SD) age was 33.1 (11.4) years. A 6-question screening scale was found to be optimal in distinguishing cases from noncases in the first 2 samples. Operating characteristics were excellent at the diagnostic threshold in the weighted (to the 8.2% DSM-5/Adult ADHD Clinical Diagnostic Scale population prevalence) data (sensitivity, 91.4%; specificity, 96.0%; AUC, 0.94; PPV, 67.3%). Operating characteristics were similar despite a much higher prevalence (57.7%) when the scale was applied to the NYU Langone clinical sample (sensitivity, 91.9%; specificity, 74.0%; AUC, 0.83; PPV, 82.8%).  Conclusions and Relevance  The new ADHD screening scale is short, easily scored, detects the vast majority of general population cases at a threshold that also has high specificity and PPV, and could be used as a screening tool in specialty treatment settings.


van de Wal, M., B. Thewes, et al. (2017). "Efficacy of blended cognitive behavior therapy for high fear of recurrence in breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer survivors: The SWORD study, a randomized controlled trial." Journal of Clinical Oncology 35(19): 2173-2183. http://ascopubs.org/doi/abs/10.1200/JCO.2016.70.5301

            (Available in free full text) Fear of cancer recurrence (FCR) is a common problem experienced by cancer survivors. Approximately one third of survivors report high FCR. This study aimed to evaluate whether blended cognitive behavior therapy (bCBT) can reduce the severity of FCR in cancer survivors curatively treated for breast, prostate, or colorectal cancer.  Patients and Methods This randomized controlled trial included 88 cancer survivors with high FCR (Cancer Worry Scale score ≥ 14) from 6 months to 5 years after cancer treatment. Participants were randomly allocated (ratio 1:1, stratified by cancer type) to receive bCBT, including five face-to face and three online sessions (n = 45) or care as usual (CAU; n = 43). Participants completed questionnaires at baseline (T0) and 3 months later (T1). The intervention group completed bCBT between T0 and T1. The primary outcome was FCR severity assessed with the Cancer Worry Scale. Secondary outcomes included other distress-related measures. Statistical (one-way between-group analyses of covariance) and clinical effects (clinically significant improvement) were analyzed by intention to treat.  Results Participants who received bCBT reported significantly less FCR than those who received CAU (mean difference, –3.48; 95% CI, –4.69 to –2.28; P < .001) with a moderate-to-large effect size (d = 0.76). Clinically significant improvement in FCR was significantly higher in the bCBT group than in the CAU group (13 [29%] of 45 compared with 0 [0%] of 43; P < .001); self-rated improvement was also higher in the bCBT group (30 [71%] of 42 compared with 12 [32%] of 38 in the CAU group; P < .001).  Conclusion bCBT has a statistically and clinically significant effect on the severity of FCR in cancer survivors and is a promising new treatment approach.


Van der Gucht, K., J. W. Griffith, et al. (2017). "Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) for adolescents: Outcomes of a large-sample, school-based, cluster-randomized controlled trial." Mindfulness 8(2): 408-416. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12671-016-0612-y

            The purpose of this study was to examine the efficacy of an abbreviated, classroom-based, teacher-taught Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) program as an intervention to improve mental health in adolescents. In a group-randomized controlled trial, students (N = 586, age 14–21) were nested within 34 classes, which were in turn nested within 14 schools. Individual classes were randomly assigned to either a four-session ACT program or a usual-curriculum control condition. Students were assessed using questionnaires at pre- and post-treatment, and a 12-month follow-up. Questionnaires assessed quality of life, internalizing and externalizing problems, thought and attention problems, and psychological inflexibility. Hierarchical linear modeling showed no significant improvements on any of the outcome measures compared with the control group. No substantive effect sizes for ACT across time were observed. These findings failed to support ACT in the format that was used in this current study, which was as an abbreviated, classroom-based, teacher-taught program to improve mental health for all students. We had a large sample and many outcome variables, but failed to find any statistically significant effects or substantive effect sizes. In this study, ACT was delivered by teachers as opposed to mental health professionals, so it is possible that professionally trained therapists are needed for ACT to be efficacious.


van Straten, A., T. van der Zweerde, et al. (2017). "Cognitive and behavioral therapies in the treatment of insomnia: A meta-analysis." Sleep Med Rev. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28392168

            Insomnia is a major public health problem considering its high prevalence, impact on daily life, co-morbidity with other disorders and societal costs. Cognitive behavioral treatment for insomnia (CBTI) is currently considered to be the preferred treatment. However, no meta-analysis exists of all studies using at least one component of CBTI for insomnia, which also uses modern techniques to pool data and to analyze subgroups of patients. We included 87 randomized controlled trials, comparing 118 treatments (3724 patients) to non-treated controls (2579 patients). Overall, the interventions had significant effects on: insomnia severity index (g = 0.98), sleep efficiency (g = 0.71), Pittsburgh sleep quality index (g = 0.65), wake after sleep onset (g = 0.63) and sleep onset latency (SOL; g = 0.57), number of awakenings (g = 0.29) and sleep quality (g = 0.40). The smallest effect was on total sleep time (g = 0.16). Face-to-face treatments of at least four sessions seem to be more effective than self-help interventions or face-to-face interventions with fewer sessions. Otherwise the results seem to be quite robust (similar for patients with or without comorbid disease, younger or older patients, using or not using sleep medication). We conclude that CBTI, either its components or the full package, is effective in the treatment of insomnia.


Zimmerman, M., M. D. Multach, et al. (2017). "Clinically useful screen for borderline personality disorder in psychiatric out-patients." The British Journal of Psychiatry 210(2): 165-166   http://bjp.rcpsych.org/content/210/2/165

            A total of 3674 psychiatric out-patients were evaluated with a semi-structured diagnostic interview for DSM-IV borderline personality disorder (BPD). The affective instability criterion had a sensitivity of 92.8%, higher than the sensitivities of the other eight BPD criteria. The negative predictive value of the affective instability criterion was 99%. We recommend that clinicians screen for BPD in the same way that they screen for other psychiatric disorders: by enquiring about a single feature of the disorder (i.e. affective instability), the presence of which identifies most patients with the disorder and the absence of which rules out the disorder.



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