Brain Shrinkage in First-Time Dads: It’s a Good Thing

First-time fathers appear to experience a loss of cortical volume following the birth of their child, new research suggests. Investigators associated with the Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria Gregorio Marañón in Madrid, Spain, and the University of Southern California compared MRIs of the brains of 40 new fathers (half located in the United States and the … Read more

Mental Health Toll of COVID-19 Pandemic Varied Worldwide

People across the world have experienced elevated mental health concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic, with major differences seen across several countries and continents, according to a new report. North Americans reported more symptoms of anxiety, depression, and posttraumatic stress disorder, whereas Europeans had more insomnia and Latin Americans had more psychological distress. Anxiety and depression … Read more

Detachment Predicts Worse Posttraumatic Outcomes

Feelings of detachment following a traumatic event are a marker of more severe psychiatric outcomes, including depression and anxiety, new research suggests. The results highlight the importance of screening for dissociation in patients who have experienced trauma, study investigator Lauren AM Lebois, PhD, director of the Dissociative Disorders and Trauma Research Program at McLean Hospital … Read more

Sleep Loss Linked to Reduced Generosity, Even at a Neuronal Level

Sleep loss, ranging from the individual level of missing a night’s sleep to a societal level of losing an hour’s sleep because of Daylight Saving Time, is associated with reduced altruism or an inclination to help others, new research suggests. These effects were observed even at the neurologic level on brain MRIs, investigators report. “In … Read more

‘Doomscrolling’ Takes a Toll on Both Mental and Physical Health

“Doomscrolling” or “doomsurfing” the news is fairly common and raises the risk for poor mental health as well as poor physical health, new research suggests. The past 2 years have been filled with worrisome global events, from the pandemic to the war in Ukraine, large-scale protests, mass shootings, and devastating wildfires. The 24-hour media coverage … Read more

What Ketamine and Psilocybin Can and Cannot Do in Depression

Recent studies with hallucinogens have raised hopes for an effective drug-based therapy to treat chronic depression. At the German Congress of Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy, Torsten Passie, MD, PhD, professor of psychiatry and psychotherapy at the Hannover Medical School, gave a presentation on the current state of psilocybin and ketamine/esketamine research. Passie, who also is … Read more

Diagnostic Criterion May Hide Borderline Personality Disorder

The absence of self-harm does not preclude a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder (BPD), in new findings that may have potential implications for changes to diagnostic criteria for the disorder. Investigators compared to characteristics of almost 400 psychiatric outpatients diagnosed with BPD. About half of the participants met the suicidality/self-injury diagnostic criterion for the disorder … Read more

Does Schizophrenia Need a Name Change?

The term schizophrenia carries an incredible load with it. It is not just a moniker for a serious mental condition but also a tool to support discrimination, shame, and condemnation, as multiple recent studies and surveys have shown. The evidence suggests that many of the insensitivities of decades and centuries past, though certainly much improved, … Read more

Addressing Disparities at Psychiatry’s Biggest Meeting

This year’s 2022 American Psychiatric Association (APA) annual meeting was the first since the pandemic to be in-person. It had a virtual component also, but it wasn’t live, so the meeting wasn’t a truly hybrid meeting. The virtual attendees were given access for 1 week in early June, a few weeks after the live meeting. … Read more

Hypervigilance and Helplessness in Facing Death of a Patient

It’s an early Friday morning during the pandemic. I arrive at my clinic to find my 8 o’clock slot booked with a same-day patient. As a clinical psychologist embedded within a primary care team, I meet with patients at varying frequency. I had just met with this patient on Monday — twice in one week … Read more