Information on the factors associated with anxiety and depression in patients with SpA has been scarce. A questionnaire-based Swedish study that sought to shed light on this issue found the associations to be multifactorial, including patient- and disease-related factors.[5] The study used the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scales (HADS-A and HADS-D) to measure anxiety and depression. It found that higher scores on these scales, as correlated with a higher probability of anxiety and depression, were associated with lower education, more chronic pain problem, more fatigue, lower overall health, lower health-related QoL, lower physical functioning, higher disease activity, and lower self-efficacy.[5] Higher HADS-D scores were also associated with less physical activity. The study authors conclude that since these comorbidities are increased in SpA patients and treatable, they instruments like HADS should be used to screen patients in clinical practice.[5]

Psychological Comorbidities in Spondyloarthritis

Spondyloarthritis (SpA) is an umbrella term used to describe a group of chronic inflammatory diseases involving the joints and entheses. Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is the most common form, affecting 0.2% to 0.5% of the US population.[1] In patients with AS, the spine and vertebrae are typically affected, which can result in back pain, impaired mobility,…

Pros: PTSD

Medical Marijuana in Psychiatry: Weighing the Pros and Cons

As more states legalize the use of medical marijuana, researchers have conducted studies that explore how marijuana use affects various conditions. Individuals with certain psychiatric disorders seem to benefit from marijuana use, while others may experience adverse effects. Read through the slideshow to see how marijuana may positively or negatively affect different psychiatric illnesses based…

Code Blue is designed to provide teenagers struggling from depression or bullying with support when they need it. Users can choose several contacts to be part of their support group. With just a few taps, the app will alert the support group that the user needs immediate help. Members of the support group can then text or call the user. The app can also share the user’s location with the support group, and members can indicate that they are on their way to see the user in person. Code Blue will be free and is expected to launch this spring on both iOS and Android.

Top 10 Mental Health Apps

As the prevalence of mental illnesses like depression and anxiety continues to grow, clinicians have turned to mobile applications as tools for aiding their patients’ treatment. These apps can be especially helpful for teenagers and young adults suffering from mental illness due to their frequent use of technology as a means of communication. The apps…

A company called Psious has developed various virtual/augmented reality programs to treat various phobias, including flying, needles, heights, enclosed spaces, open spaces, public speaking, and driving. Each treatment contains various virtual reality scenarios to elicit elevating levels of anxiety in patients with different phobias. For example, a patient with a fear of heights will first experience a simulation of standing at the edge of a 10-story building, working their way up to a 52-story building. During treatment, the therapist receives biofeedback from their patient and has the ability to control and customize the program to suit the patient. The effectiveness of virtual reality exposure therapy for the treatment of phobias has been shown in many studies, including a meta-analysis of such studies that showed that virtual reality was just as effective, if not slightly more effective, than traditional exposure therapy.

Interactive Media for Mental Health

Virtual reality has been explored for several decades as a treatment for various conditions including anxiety, PTSD, and phobias. Often, researchers use virtual reality devices to immerse patients in virtual exposure therapy, a form of behavior therapy where patients are exposed to feared or traumatic experiences. As advancements make this technology more affordable, virtual reality…

Slightly more providers supported or were neutral on the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

ACA Survey Results: Have Opinions Changed?

Nearly 400 healthcare providers responded to the Affordable Care Act Survey between December 2014 and February 2015, answering questions about how their opinion on health reform has changed since it was signed into law in March 2010.View the slideshow to learn more about how clinicians feel the ACA has influenced how they spend their time,…

Roseroot (Rhodiola rosea) has been used to treat nervous system ailments, including depression, muscle weakness/fatigue, altitude sickness, and Parkinson’s disease. Roseroot is often called an adaptogen, a type of plant that decreases cellular sensitivity to stress. It is believed to optimize serotonin and dopamine levels through monoamine-oxidase inhibition and its influence on opioid peptides.

Alternative Therapies for Psychiatric Conditions

Although pharmacotherapy can be effective in treating many psychiatric disorders, some patients may be looking for a more natural approach to supplement or take the place of other treatments. Many complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) exist for common psychiatric disorders, such as depression, anxiety, and behavioral problems. If your patients ask about CAM, consider these…

OCD typically appears either between the ages of 8 and 12 years or between the late teen years and early adulthood. The exact causes of OCD remain unknown, but scientists believe that both brain structure and genetics play a role in the development of the disorder. Genetics have been shown to play a larger role when OCD begins in childhood compared with OCD that develops later in life.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a psychiatric condition characterized by uncontrollable obsessions. In order to relieve the anxiety caused by these obsessions, a patient with OCD feels compelled to perform specific rituals or routines, called compulsions. This cycle of obsessions and compulsions significantly interferes with daily life. Read through the slideshow to learn more about the…

To improve stroke outcomes, a few hospitals in Germany and the United States are now using mobile stroke treatment units. Each unit, housed in an ambulance-type vehicle, has an onboard paramedic, critical care nurse, EMT, and CT technologist. A portable CT scanner takes brain images in 2 minutes, which are then sent via wireless link to hospital neurologists and neuroradiologists for diagnosis. Doctors then prescribe and direct treatment via a video connection.Mobile stroke treatment units can treat strokes in as little as 11 minutes after arrival. Because the timing of stroke treatment is so crucial, these new units are giving patients the chance for a full recovery that they may not have had with traditional emergency care.

Top 10 Medical Innovations of 2014

The Cleveland Clinic has selected the top 10 medical innovations that they predict will have the biggest impact on improving patient care in 2015. The selections include more effective medications, new vaccines, and novel devices that improve upon existing treatment options. View the slideshow to learn more about each of the 10 innovations.

Overall, social media was used mostly for personal purposes. But nearly 40% of respondents said they used social media for both business and personal reasons.

Psychiatry Advisor Social Media Survey 2014

How do psychiatrists and other mental health professionals use social media? Do you suffer from fear of missing out — also known as FOMO — wondering if your colleagues are getting more out of social media websites than you? Could you advance your career if you networked on LinkedIn? Might you attract more patients by…

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