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1.  Paternal and maternal bonding styles in childhood are associated with the prevalence of chronic pain in a general adult population: the Hisayama Study 
BMC Psychiatry  2015;15:181.
Previous research has suggested that extraordinary adverse experiences during childhood, such as abuse, are possible risk factors for the development of chronic pain. However, the relationship between the perceived parental bonding style during childhood and chronic pain has been much less studied.
In this cross-sectional study, 760 community-dwelling Japanese adults were asked if they had pain that had been present for six months or more. They completed the Parental Bonding Instrument (PBI), a self-administrated questionnaire designed to assess perceived parental bonding, and the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 to assess current depressive symptoms. The PBI consists of care and overprotection subscales that are analyzed by assigning the parental bonding style to one of four quadrants: Optimal bonding (high care/low overprotection), neglectful parenting (low care/low overprotection), affectionate constraint (high care/high overprotection), and affectionless control (low care/high overprotection). Logistic regression analysis was done to estimate the contribution of the parental bonding style to the risk of chronic pain, controlling for demographic variables.
Compared to the optimal bonding group, the odds ratios (ORs) for having chronic pain were significantly higher in the affectionless control group for paternal bonding (OR: 2.21, 95 % CI: 1.50-3.27) and for maternal bonding (OR: 1.60, 95 % CI: 1.09-2.36). After adjusting for depression, significance remained only for paternal bonding.
The results demonstrate that the parental bonding style during childhood is associated with the prevalence of chronic pain in adults in the general population and that the association is more robust for paternal bonding than for maternal bonding.
PMCID: PMC4520085
Affectionless control; Care; Chronic pain; Optimal bonding; Overprotection; Parental bonding; Population; Prevalence
2.  Parental intimate partner homicide and its consequences for children: protocol for a population-based study 
BMC Psychiatry  2015;15:177.
The loss of a parent due to intimate partner homicide has a major impact on children. Professionals involved have to make far-reaching decisions regarding placement, guardianship, mental health care and contact with the perpetrating parent, without an evidence base to guide these decisions. We introduce a study protocol to a) systematically describe the demographics, circumstances, mental health and wellbeing of children bereaved by intimate partner homicide and b) build a predictive model of factors associated with children’s mental health and wellbeing after intimate partner homicide.
This study focuses on children bereaved by parental intimate partner homicide in the Netherlands over a period of 20 years (1993 – 2012). It involves an incidence study to identify all Dutch intimate partner homicide cases between 1993 and 2012 by which children have been bereaved; systematic case reviews to describe the demographics, circumstances and care trajectories of these children; and a mixed-methods study to assess mental health, wellbeing, and experiences regarding decisions made and care provided.
Clinical experience and initial research suggest that the children involved often need long-term intensive mental health and case management. The costs of these services are extensive and the stakes are high. This study lays the foundation for an international dataset and evidence-informed decision making.
PMCID: PMC4517407  PMID: 26216212
Bereavement; Child; Domestic violence; Femicide; Grief; Homicide; Intimate partner violence; Mental health; PTSD; Quality of life; Traumatic stress; Uxoricide; Wellbeing
3.  What are the factors associated with depressive symptoms among orphans and vulnerable children in Cambodia? 
BMC Psychiatry  2015;15:178.
Compared to general children, orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) are more exposed to negative outcomes in life such as abuse and neglect. Consequently, OVC are more susceptible to depression. This paper investigated factors associated with depressive symptoms among OVC in Cambodia.
In this cross-sectional study, data of 606 OVC from the Sustainable Action against HIV and AIDS in Communities (SAHACOM) project were analyzed. The data were collected from five provinces and analyzed separately for boys and girls. Multiple linear regression analysis was used to identify factors independently associated with levels of depressive symptoms.
Both boys and girls who reported having been too sick making them unable to attend school or go to work in the past six months (boys: B = 3.5; 95 % CI = 0.7, 6.2; girls: B = 5.7; 95 % CI = 2.9, 8.5) and who had witnessed violence in the family (boys: B = 5.6; 95 % CI = 1.6, 9.6; girls: B = 5.8; 95 % CI = 1.7, 9.9) had a higher level of depressive symptoms. Girls who were older (B = 8.5; 95 % CI = 3.0, 14.0), who did not have enough food in the past six months (B = −8.7; 95 % CI = −13.7, −3.7) and whose parents were separated, divorced or dead (B = 3.9; 95 % CI = 0.5, 7.2) had a higher level of depressive symptoms. Higher level of school attachment was negatively associated with depressive symptoms in both genders (boys: B = −1.4; 95 % CI = −2.0, −0.9; girls: B = −1.4; 95 % CI = −2.0,-0.9).
Factors such as physical health and exposure to violence may affect mental health of OVC in Cambodia. As health is of utmost importance, better healthcare services should be made easily accessible for OVC. Schools have the potential to act as a buffer against depressive symptoms. Therefore, efforts should be made to keep OVC in school and to improve the roles of school in Cambodia.
PMCID: PMC4517410  PMID: 26220677
Orphans and vulnerable children (OVC); Depressive symptoms; Mental health; Cambodia
4.  Exploring the relation between childhood trauma, temperamental traits and mindfulness in borderline personality disorder 
BMC Psychiatry  2015;15:180.
Deficits in mindfulness-related capacities have been described in borderline personality disorder (BPD). However, little research has been conducted to explore which factors could explain these deficits. This study assesses the relationship between temperamental traits and childhood maltreatment with mindfulness in BPD.
A total of 100 individuals diagnosed with BPD participated in the study. Childhood maltreatment was assessed using the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ-SF), temperamental traits were assessed using the Zuckerman-Khulman Personality Questionnaire (ZKPQ), and mindfulness capabilities were evaluated with the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ).
Hierarchical regression analyses were performed including only those CTQ-SF and ZKPQ subscales that showed simultaneous significant correlations with mindfulness facets. Results indicated that neuroticism and sexual abuse were predictors of acting with awareness; and neuroticism, impulsiveness and sexual abuse were significant predictors of non-judging. Temperamental traits did not have a moderator effect on the relationship between childhood sexual abuse and mindfulness facets.
These results provide preliminary evidence for the effects of temperamental traits and childhood trauma on mindfulness capabilities in BPD individuals. Further studies are needed to better clarify the impact of childhood traumatic experiences on mindfulness capabilities and to determine the causal relations between these variables.
PMCID: PMC4518520  PMID: 26220555
Borderline personality disorder; Mindfulness; Childhood maltreatment; Temperament
5.  Aripiprazole for the treatment of tic disorders in children: a systematic review and meta-analysis 
BMC Psychiatry  2015;15:179.
Tic disorders (TDs) are common neuropsychiatric disorders in children. Typical antipsychotics, such as haloperidol and pimozide have been prescribed to control tic symptoms as first-line agents. However, adverse effects have led to the use of newer atypical antipsychotics. Aripiprazole is one of alternatives. The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy and safety of aripiprazole for children with TDs.
Randomized controlled trials (RCTs), quasi-RCTs and control studies evaluating aripiprazole for children with tic disorders were identified from PubMed, Embase, Cochrane library, Cochrane Central, four Chinese database and relevant reference lists. Quality assessment referred to the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions.
Twelve studies involving 935 participants were included. The general quality of included studies was poor. Only one study used placebo as a control and others used positive drug controls. Participants were aged between 4 and 18 years. The period of treatment ranged from 8 to 12 weeks. Seven studies (N = 600 patients) used the YGTSS scale as the outcome measurement, and there was no significant difference in reduction of the total YGTSS score between the aripiprazole and positive control groups (MD = −0.48, 95 % CI [−6.22, 5.26], P = 0.87, I2 = 87 %). Meta-analysis of four of the studies (N = 285 patients) that compared aripiprazole with haloperidol showed that there was no significant difference in reduction of the total YGTSS score (MD = 2.50, 95 % CI [−6.93, 11.92], P = 0.60, I2 = 88 %). Meta-analysis of two studies (N = 255 patients) that compared aripiprazole with tiapride showed that there was no significant difference in reduction of the total YGTSS score (MD = −3.15, 95 % CI [−11.38, 5.09], P = 0.45, I2 = 86 %). Adverse events (AEs) were reported in 11 studies. Drowsiness (5.1 %–58.1 %), increased appetite (3.2 %–25.8 %), nausea (2 %–18.8 %) and headache (2 %–16.1 %) were common AEs.
In conclusion, aripiprazole appears to be a promising therapy for children with TDs. Further well-conducted RCTs are required to confirm this issue.
PMCID: PMC4518630  PMID: 26220447
Aripiprazole; Tic disorders; Children; Systematic review
6.  The pain of a heart being broken: pain experience and use of analgesics by caregivers of patients with Alzheimer’s disease 
BMC Psychiatry  2015;15:176.
It has been observed that psychical suffering (e.g. the feeling of losing a significant person) tends to reduce the physical pain tolerance threshold, as well as to increase the subjective sense of painfulness. The purpose of this study was to assess pain sensation among a group of caregivers of patients with Alzheimer’s disease, and to determine the psychological factors (emotional and relational) that contribute to both pain perception and coping with pain via the use of analgesics.
The study comprised 127 caregivers of patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Questionnaires were used to elicit pain intensity, strength of emotional relationship between caregiver and patient, sense of painfulness of the loss experienced, depression level, and somatic ailments.
A large majority (87.4 %) of participants reported pain complaints, while 93 % took analgesics without a doctor’s recommendation at least once a week; 8 % took painkillers daily. The strongest predictors of both perceived pain and tendency to use analgesics were sense of loss and painfulness of loss in relation to the patient’s deteriorating condition.
The pain experienced by caregivers may be connected to social pain resulting from the experience of losing someone they are close to. Caregivers may resort to excessive use of analgesics as a pain-coping strategy.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12888-015-0571-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4515928  PMID: 26215039
Pain; Caregiver; Alzheimer’s disease; Social pain; Analgesic
7.  Driving behaviour in adults with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder 
BMC Psychiatry  2015;15:175.
Little is known about the impact of cognitive impairments on driving in adults with ADHD. The present study compared the performance of adults with and without ADHD in a driving simulator on two different routes: an urban route which we hypothesised would exacerbate weak impulse control in ADHD and a motorway route, to challenge deficits in sustained attention.
Adults with (n = 22, 16 males) and without (n = 21, 18 males) ADHD completed a simulated driving session while eye movement data were recorded simultaneously. Participants also completed the Manchester Driving Behaviour Questionnaire (DBQ) and the Conners Adult ADHD Rating Scale (CAARS). Measures of driving performance included average speed, proportion distance travelled over speed limit (speeding) and lane deviation. These variables and the eye movement measures (spread of fixations, mean fixation duration) were compared between groups and routes. Also, driving behaviours, including responses to programmed events, were categorised and the frequencies within categories were compared between groups. Finally, speech analysis was performed to compare emotional verbal expressions during driving between groups.
ADHD participants reported significantly more Violations and Lapses on the DBQ than control participants and significantly more accidents. Average speed and speeding were also higher but did not interact with route type. ADHD participants showed poorer vehicle control, greater levels of frustration with other road users (including greater frequencies of negative comments) and a trend for less safe driving when changing lanes/overtaking on the motorway. These effects were predicted by hyperactive/impulsive CAARS scores. They were also more likely to cause a crash/near miss when an event occurred on the urban route.
The results suggest that difficulty regulating and controlling impulsive behavior, reflected in speeding, frustration with other road users, less safety when changing lanes on the motorway and a greater likelihood of an accident following an unexpected event, underlie impaired driving in ADHD. Hyperactivity/impulsivity symptoms correlated with these indices. Deficits in sustained attention seemed to play a lesser role in this particular study, although further research is needed to determine whether effects on attention emerge over longer periods of time and/or are influenced by the novelty of the simulator environment.
PMCID: PMC4515938  PMID: 26216345
ADHD; Driving; Cognition; Road safety; Hyperactivity-impulsivity; Inattention
8.  Effect of religiosity/spirituality and sense of coherence on depression within a rural population in Greece: the Spili III project 
BMC Psychiatry  2015;15:173.
Recent research has addressed the hypothesis that religiosity/spirituality and sense of coherence buffer the negative effects of stress on numerous health issues. The aim of the current study was to further this work by exploring potential links between psycho-social factors such as religiosity/spirituality and sense of coherence with depression.
A total number of 220 subjects of the SPILI III cohort (1988–2012) attending a primary care setting in the town of Spili on rural Crete represented the target group. All participants underwent a standardized procedure. Validated questionnaires were used to evaluate sense of coherence, depression levels and religious and spiritual beliefs. A multiple linear regression analysis of the Beck Depression Inventory Scale (BDI) in relation to demographic characteristics, scores on the Royal Free Interview for Spiritual and Religious Beliefs scale (RFI-SRB) and Sense of Coherence scale (SOC) was performed.
A significant inverse association was found between BDI and RFI-SRB scale (B-coef = −0.6999, p < 0.001), as well as among BDI and SOC scale (B-coef = −0.556, p < 0.001).
The findings of the current observational study indicate that highly religious participants are less likely to score high in the depression scale. Furthermore, participants with high SOC scored significantly lower in the BDI scale. Further research is required in order to explore the potential effect of SOC and religiosity/spirituality on mental health.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12888-015-0561-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4513393  PMID: 26205468
Beliefs; Religious; Spirituality; Sense of coherence; Depression
9.  Skating on thin ice: pragmatic prescribing for medication refractory schizophrenia 
BMC Psychiatry  2015;15:174.
Clozapine is the treatment of choice for medication refractory psychosis, but it does not benefit half of those put on it. There are numerous studies of potential post-clozapine strategies, but little data to guide the order of such treatment in this common clinical challenge. We describe a naturalistic observational study in 153 patients treated by a specialist psychosis service to identify optimal pharmacotherapy practice, based on outcomes.
Medication and clinical data, based on the OPCRIT tool, were examined on admission and discharge from the national psychosis service. The primary outcome measure was the percentage change in mental state examination symptoms between admission and discharge and the association with medication on discharge. Exploratory analyses evaluated the specificity of individual medication effects on symptom clusters.
There were fewer drugs prescribed at discharge relative to admission, suggesting an optimisation of medication, and a doubling of the number of patients treated with clozapine. Treatment with clozapine on discharge was associated with maximal decrease in symptoms from admission. In the group of patients that did not respond to clozapine monotherapy, the most effective drug combinations were clozapine augmentation with 1) sodium valproate, 2) lithium, 3) amisulpride, and 4) quetiapine. There was no support for a dose–response relationship for any drug combination.
Clozapine monotherapy is clearly the optimal medication in medication refractory schizophrenia and it is possible to maximise its use. In patients unresponsive to clozapine monotherapy, augmentation with sodium valproate, lithium, amisulpride and quetiapine, in that order, is a reasonable treatment algorithm. Reducing the number of ineffective drugs is possible without a detrimental effect on symptoms. Exploratory data indicated that clozapine was beneficial across a range of symptoms domains, whereas olanzapine was beneficial specifically for hallucinations and lamotrigine for comorbid affective symptoms.
PMCID: PMC4513623  PMID: 26205327
Schizophrenia; Psychosis; Refractory; Treatment
10.  Light therapy for better mood and insulin sensitivity in patients with major depression and type 2 diabetes: a randomised, double-blind, parallel-arm trial 
BMC Psychiatry  2015;15:169.
Major depression and type 2 diabetes often co-occur. Novel treatment strategies for depression in type 2 diabetes patients are warranted, as depression in type 2 diabetes patients is associated with poor prognosis and treatment results. Major depression and concurrent sleep disorders have been related to disturbances of the biological clock. The biological clock is also involved in regulation of glucose metabolism by modulating peripheral insulin sensitivity. Light therapy has been shown to be an effective antidepressant that ‘resets’ the biological clock. We here describe the protocol of a study that evaluates the hypothesis that light therapy improves mood as well as insulin sensitivity in patients with a major depressive episode and type 2 diabetes.
This study is a randomised, double-blind, parallel-arm trial in 98 participants with type 2 diabetes and a major depressive episode, according to DSM-IV criteria. We will assess whether light therapy improves depressive symptoms and insulin sensitivity, our primary outcome measures, and additionally investigate whether these effects are mediated by restoration of the circadian rhythmicity, as measured by sleep and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis activity. Participants will be randomly allocated to a bright white-yellowish light condition or dim green light condition. Participants will undergo light therapy for half an hour every morning for 4 weeks at home. At several time points, namely before the start of light therapy, during light therapy, after completion of 4 weeks of light therapy and after 4 weeks follow-up, several psychometrical, psychophysiological and glucometabolic measures will be performed.
If light therapy effectively improves mood and insulin sensitivity in type 2 diabetes patients with a major depressive episode, light therapy may be a valuable patient friendly addition to the currently available treatment strategies. Additionally, if our data support the role of restoration of circadian rhythmicity, such an observation may guide further development of chronobiological treatment strategies in this patient population.
Trial registration
The Netherlands Trial Register (NTR) NTR4942. Registered 13 January 2015.
PMCID: PMC4513382  PMID: 26204994
11.  Prevalence of depression and associated factors among Somali refugee at melkadida camp, southeast Ethiopia: a cross-sectional study 
BMC Psychiatry  2015;15:171.
Psychological distress, psychosomatic complaints and clinical mental disorders such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder are highly prevalent among refugees than other populations. Even though there were several studies done on mental health of refugees globally, there is very few in Ethiopia regarding the mental health of these vulnerable populations. Thus we aimed at determining the prevalence of depression and identifying determinants of depression among refugees.
A community based cross-sectional multistage survey with 847 adult refugees was conducted in May 2014 at Melkadida camp, Southeast Ethiopia. Data were collected by face to face interviews on socio demographic by using structured questionnaire, level of exposure to trauma by Harvard Trauma Questionnaire and depression symptoms by using Patient Health Questionnaire. Data entry and clearance were carried out by EpInfo version 7 and analysis was carried out by Statistical Package for Social Sciences version-20 software package. Data was examined using descriptive statistics and logistic regression, odds ratios and 95 % confidence intervals.
Over one third (38.3 %) of respondents met the symptoms criteria for depression. Gender, marital status, displaced previously as refugee, witnessing murderer of family or friend, lack of house or shelter and being exposed to increased number of cumulative traumatic events were significantly associated with depression among Somali refugees in Melkadida camp.
The study revealed a relatively high prevalence of depression episode among refugees. Being female, divorced, deprived of shelter and witnessing the murder of family are most determinants of depression in refugees. Strengthening the clinical set up and establishing good referral linkage with mental health institutions is strongly recommended.
PMCID: PMC4513619  PMID: 26204950
Depression; Refugee
12.  Prevalence and factors associated with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder seven years after the conflict in three districts in northern Uganda (The Wayo-Nero Study) 
BMC Psychiatry  2015;15:170.
Research on the prevalence of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is still limited in low income countries yet PTSD can be a public health problem in post conflict areas. In order to respond to the burden of PSTD in northern Uganda, an area that experienced civil strife for over two decades, we need accurate data on its (PTSD) prevalence and the associated risk factors to facilitate public mental health planning.
This study employed a cross-sectional study design and data collection was undertaken in three districts in northern Uganda: Gulu, Amuru and Nwoya. Respondents were aged 18 years and above and were randomly selected at community level. A total of 2400 respondents were interviewed using a structured questionnaire in the three study districts. In this study, multivariate logistic regression was employed to analyze the associations of socio-demographic factors, trauma related variables and the outcome of PTSD.
The prevalence of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in the study population was 11.8 % (95 % CI: 10.5 %, 13.1 %) with a prevalence of 10.9 % (95 % CI: 9.3 %, 12.5 %) among female respondents and 13.4 % (95 % CI: 11.2 %, 15.7 %) among male respondents. Quite a number of factors were strongly associated with PTSD. Overall, a respondent had experienced 9 negative life events. In a multivariate logistic regression, the factors that were strongly associated with PTSD were: exposure to war trauma events, childhood trauma, negative life events, negative copying style and food insecurity. The findings also indicate no association between sex, age and PTSD.
The prevalence rate of PTSD in the study communities is unacceptably high. Quite a number of factors were associated with PTSD. Effective public mental health services are needed that combine treatment (medical) psychological and social welfare programs especially at community level to address the high burden of PTSD. Longitudinal studies are also recommended to continuously assess the trends in PTSD in the study communities and remedial action taken.
PMCID: PMC4513792  PMID: 26205192
Posttraumatic stress disorder; Post conflict northern Uganda; Associated factors
13.  The self-management of longer-term depression: learning from the patient, a qualitative study 
BMC Psychiatry  2015;15:172.
Depression is a common mental health condition now viewed as chronic or long-term. More than 50 % of people will have at least one further episode of depression after their first, and therefore it requires long-term management. However, little is known about the effectiveness of self-management in depression, in particular from the patients’ perspective. This study aimed to understand how people with longer-term depression manage the condition, how services can best support self-management and whether the principles and concepts of the recovery approach would be advantageous.
Semi-structured in depth interviews were carried out with 21 participants, recruited from a range of sources using maximum variation sampling. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis was used by a diverse team comprised of service users, practitioners and academics.
Four super-ordinate themes were found: experience of depression, the self, the wider environment, self-management strategies. Within these, several prominent sub-themes emerged of importance to the participants. These included how aspects of themselves such as hope, confidence and motivation could be powerful agents; and how engaging in a wide range of chosen activities could contribute to their emotional, mental, physical, social, spiritual and creative wellbeing.
Services in general were not perceived to be useful in specifically facilitating self-management. Increased choice and control were needed and a greater emphasis on an individualised holistic model. Improved information was needed about how to develop strategies and locate resources, especially during the first episode of depression. These concepts echoed those of the recovery approach, which could therefore be seen as valuable in aiding the self-management of depression.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12888-015-0550-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4513949  PMID: 26205099
Depression; Patients’ perspective; Qualitative research; Recovery; Self-help; Self-management
14.  Broad autism phenotype features of Chinese parents with autistic children and their associations with severity of social impairment in probands 
BMC Psychiatry  2015;15:168.
Parents of children with autism have higher rates of broad autism phenotype (BAP) features than parents of typically developing children (TDC) in Western countries. This study was designed to examine the rate of BAP features in parents of children with autism and the relationship between parental BAP and the social impairment of their children in a Chinese sample.
A total of 299 families with autistic children and 274 families with TDC participated in this study. Parents were assessed using the Broad Autism Phenotype Questionnaire (BAPQ), which includes self-report, informant-report, and best-estimate versions. Children were assessed using the Chinese version of the Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS).
Parents of children with autism were significantly more likely to have BAP features than were parents of TDC; mothers and fathers in families with autistic children had various BAP features. The total scores of the informant and best-estimate BAPQ versions for fathers were significantly associated with their children’s SRS total scores in the autism group, whereas the total scores of the three BAPQ versions for mothers were significantly associated with their children’s SRS total scores in the TDC group. In the autism group, the total SRS scores of children with “BAP present” parents (informant and best-estimate) were higher than the total SRS scores of children with“BAP absent” parents. In the TDC group, the total SRS scores of children with “BAP present” parents were higher than the total SRS scores of children with“BAP absent” parents (best-estimate).
Parents of autistic children were found to have higher rates of BAP than parents of TDC in a sample of Chinese parents. The BAP features of parents are associated with their children’s social functioning in both autism families and TDC families, but the patterns of the associations are different.
PMCID: PMC4511534  PMID: 26202327
Broad autism phenotype; Parent; Autism; Social Adjustment; Chinese
15.  Association between suicidal behaviour and impaired glucose metabolism in depressive disorders 
BMC Psychiatry  2015;15:163.
Disturbances in lipid metabolism have been linked to suicidal behaviour, but little is known about the association between suicide risk and abnormal glucose metabolism in depression. Hyperglycaemia and hyperinsulinaemia may increase the risk of depression and also the risk for suicide, we therefore studied associations between suicidal behaviour and disturbances in glucose metabolism in depressive patients who had been referred to depression nurse case managers.
Patients aged 35 years and older (N = 448, mean age 51 years) who were experiencing a new depressive episode, who were referred to depression nurse case managers in 2008–2009 and who scored ≥10 on the Beck Depression Inventory were enrolled in this study. The study was conducted in municipalities within the Central Finland Hospital District (catchment area of 274 000 inhabitants) as part of the Finnish Depression and Metabolic Syndrome in Adults study. The patients’ psychiatric diagnoses and suicidal behaviour were confirmed by the Mini-International Neuropsychiatric Interview. Blood samples, for glucose and lipid determinations, were drawn from participants after 12 h of fasting, which was followed by a 2-hour oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) when blood was drawn at 0 and 2 h. Insulin resistance was measured by the Quantitative Insulin Sensitivity Check Index (QUICKI) method.
Suicidal ideation (49 %) and previous suicide attempts (16 %) were common in patients with major depressive disorder or dysthymia. Patients with depression and suicidal behaviour had higher blood glucose concentrations at baseline and at 2 hours in the OGTT. Glucose levels associated positively with the prevalence of suicidal behaviour, and the linearity was significant at baseline (p for linearity: 0.012, adjusted for age and sex) and for 2-hour OGTT glucose (p for linearity: 0.004, adjusted for age and sex). QUICKI levels associated with suicidal behavior (p for linearity across tertiles of QUICKI: 0.026). Total and LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels were also higher in those patients with suicidal behaviour. Multivariate analysis revealed that blood glucose levels, BDI scores and antidepressive medications associated with suicidal behaviour.
Insulin resistance and disturbances in glucose and lipid metabolism may be more common in middle-aged depressive patients with suicidal behaviour.
PMCID: PMC4509469  PMID: 26199013
Cholesterol; Depression; Glucose; Insulin resistance; Suicidal behaviour; Ideation; Suicidality; Suicide attempt; Triglyceride
16.  Effectiveness of the Comprehensive Approach to Rehabilitation (CARe) methodology: design of a cluster randomized controlled trial 
BMC Psychiatry  2015;15:165.
There is an increasing amount of evidence for the effectiveness of rehabilitation interventions for people with severe mental illness (SMI). In the Netherlands, a rehabilitation methodology that is well known and often applied is the Comprehensive Approach to Rehabilitation (CARe) methodology. The overall goal of the CARe methodology is to improve the client’s quality of life by supporting the client in realizing his/her goals and wishes, handling his/her vulnerability and improving the quality of his/her social environment. The methodology is strongly influenced by the concept of ‘personal recovery’ and the ‘strengths case management model’. No controlled effect studies have been conducted hitherto regarding the CARe methodology.
This study is a two-armed cluster randomized controlled trial (RCT) that will be executed in teams from three organizations for sheltered and supported housing, which provide services to people with long-term severe mental illness. Teams in the intervention group will receive the multiple-day CARe methodology training from a specialized institute and start working according the CARe Methodology guideline. Teams in the control group will continue working in their usual way. Standardized questionnaires will be completed at baseline (T0), and 10 (T1) and 20 months (T2) post baseline. Primary outcomes are recovery, social functioning and quality of life. The model fidelity of the CARe methodology will be assessed at T1 and T2.
This study is the first controlled effect study on the CARe methodology and one of the few RCTs on a broad rehabilitation method or strength-based approach. This study is relevant because mental health care organizations have become increasingly interested in recovery and rehabilitation-oriented care.
Trial registration
The trial registration number is ISRCTN77355880.
PMCID: PMC4510908  PMID: 26198855
Severe mental illness; Recovery; Recovery-oriented care; Rehabilitation; Strengths; CARe methodology
17.  Symptom profile and short term outcome of catatonia: an exploratory clinical study 
BMC Psychiatry  2015;15:164.
Catatonia is a potentially life-threatening but treatable neuropsychiatric condition. Although considered more common in low income countries, data is particularly sparse in these settings. In this study we explore the symptomatology, treatment, and short-term outcome of catatonia in Ethiopia, a low income country.
The study was a prospective evaluation of patients admitted with a DSM-IV diagnosis of catatonia. Diagnosis of Catatonia and its severity were further assessed with the Bush-Francis Catatonia Rating Scale (BFCRS).
Twenty participants, 5 male and 15 female, were included in the study: 15 patients (75 %) had underlying mood disorders, 4 patients (20 %) had schizophrenia and 1 patient (5 %) had general medical condition. The most common catatonic symptoms, occurring in over two-thirds of participants, were mutism, negativism, staring and immobility (stupor). Eighteen (90 %) of the twenty patients were on multiple medications. Antipsychotics were the most commonly prescribed medications. ECT was required in seven patients (35.0 %). Dehydration, requiring IV rehydration, and infections were the most important complications ascribed to the catatonia. These occurred in seven patients (25 %). Almost all patients (n = 19/20) were discharged with significant improvement.
This study supports the growing consensus that catatonia is most often associated with mood disorders. Overall prognosis appears very good although the occurrence of life-threatening complications underlines the serious nature of catatonia. This has implication for “task-shifted” service scale up plans, which aim to improve treatment coverage by training non-specialist health workers to provide mental health care in low income countries. Further larger scale studies are required to clarify the nature and management, as well as, service requirements for catatonia.
PMCID: PMC4511031  PMID: 26198581
Catatonia; Catatonia syndrome; Low and middle income country; Ethiopia
18.  Extracting antipsychotic polypharmacy data from electronic health records: developing and evaluating a novel process 
BMC Psychiatry  2015;15:166.
Antipsychotic prescription information is commonly derived from structured fields in clinical health records. However, utilising diverse and comprehensive sources of information is especially important when investigating less frequent patterns of medication prescribing such as antipsychotic polypharmacy (APP). This study describes and evaluates a novel method of extracting APP data from both structured and free-text fields in electronic health records (EHRs), and its use for research purposes.
Using anonymised EHRs, we identified a cohort of patients with serious mental illness (SMI) who were treated in South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust mental health care services between 1 January and 30 June 2012. Information about antipsychotic co-prescribing was extracted using a combination of natural language processing and a bespoke algorithm. The validity of the data derived through this process was assessed against a manually coded gold standard to establish precision and recall. Lastly, we estimated the prevalence and patterns of antipsychotic polypharmacy.
Individual instances of antipsychotic prescribing were detected with high precision (0.94 to 0.97) and moderate recall (0.57-0.77). We detected baseline APP (two or more antipsychotics prescribed in any 6-week window) with 0.92 precision and 0.74 recall and long-term APP (antipsychotic co-prescribing for 6 months) with 0.94 precision and 0.60 recall. Of the 7,201 SMI patients receiving active care during the observation period, 338 (4.7 %; 95 % CI 4.2-5.2) were identified as receiving long-term APP. Two second generation antipsychotics (64.8 %); and first -second generation antipsychotics were most commonly co-prescribed (32.5 %).
These results suggest that this is a potentially practical tool for identifying polypharmacy from mental health EHRs on a large scale. Furthermore, extracted data can be used to allow researchers to characterize patterns of polypharmacy over time including different drug combinations, trends in polypharmacy prescribing, predictors of polypharmacy prescribing and the impact of polypharmacy on patient outcomes.
PMCID: PMC4511263  PMID: 26198696
Antipsychotic polypharmacy; Electronic health records; Precision; Recall
19.  Evaluating a selective prevention program for substance use and comorbid behavioral problems in adolescents with mild to borderline intellectual disabilities: Study protocol of a randomized controlled trial 
BMC Psychiatry  2015;15:167.
Substance use and abuse is a growing problem among adolescents with mild to borderline intellectual disabilities (ID). Substance use patterns in general population are similar to patterns among non-disabled peers, but substance use has more negative consequences for adolescents with mild to borderline ID, and they are at an increased risk for developing a substance use disorder. Nevertheless, effective and evidence based prevention programs for this groups are lacking. The study described in this protocol tested the effectiveness of a selective intervention aimed at reducing substance use in adolescents with mild to borderline ID and behavioral problems. In the intervention, participants acquire competences to deal with their high-risk personality traits.
A randomized controlled trial will be conducted among 14–21-year old adolescents with mild to borderline ID and behavioral problems admitted to treatment facilities in the Netherlands. Inclusion criteria are previous substance use and personality risk for substance use. Participants will be individually randomized to the intervention (n = 70) or control (n = 70) groups. The intervention group will be exposed to six individual sessions and five group sessions carried out by two qualified trainers over six-week period. Primary outcomes will be the percentage reduction in substance use (for alcohol: percentage decrease of binge drinking, weekly use and problematic use, for cannabis: the percentage decrease of lifetime cannabis use and weekly use and for hard drug: the percentage decrease of lifetime use). Secondary outcomes will be motives for substance use, intention to use, and internalizing and externalizing behavioral problems. All outcome measures will be assessed after two, six, and twelve months after the intervention.
This study protocol describes the design of an effectiveness study of a selective prevention program for substance use in adolescents with mild to borderline ID and behavioral problems. We expect a significant reduction in alcohol, cannabis and hard drug use among adolescents in the intervention group compared with the control group.
Trial registration
This trial is registered in the Dutch Trial Register (Cochrane Collaboration) as NTR5037 registered at 15 April 2015.
PMCID: PMC4511537  PMID: 26198744
Substance use; Intellectual disabilities; Intervention; Adolescents; Study protocol
20.  Assessing health status in informal schizophrenia caregivers compared with health status in non-caregivers and caregivers of other conditions 
BMC Psychiatry  2015;15:162.
Research indicates schizophrenia is a cause of burden for patients and caregivers. This study examined health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and comorbidities experienced by informal schizophrenia caregivers compared with non-caregivers and caregivers of adults with other conditions (e.g., Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, and stroke).
Data were obtained from the 5EU (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, UK) National Health and Wellness Survey, an online questionnaire that is representative of the total 5EU adult (18+ years) population. Respondents provided information on HRQoL (SF-36v2: mental and physical component summary (MCS, PCS) and SF-6D (health utility) scores), items from the Caregiver Reaction Assessment (strongly disagree to strongly agree) and comorbidities (sleep difficulties, insomnia, pain, headaches, heartburn, anxiety, depression) experienced in the past 12 months. Schizophrenia caregivers (n = 398) were matched to non-caregivers (n = 158,989) and caregivers of other conditions (n = 14,341) on baseline characteristics via propensity scores. Chi-square tests and ANOVAs were used to determine significant differences across groups.
The average age of schizophrenia caregivers was 45.3 years (SD = 15.8), and 59.6 % were female. After matching, schizophrenia caregivers reported lower MCS (40.3 vs. 45.9), PCS (46.8 vs. 49.0), and health utilities (0.64 vs. 0.71) compared with non-caregivers (all p < 0.001). Schizophrenia caregivers were more likely to experience sleep difficulties (42.7 % vs. 28.5 %), insomnia (32.4 % vs. 18.5 %), pain (39.7 % vs. 30.4 %), headaches (48.0 % vs. 42.0 %), heartburn (31.7 % vs. 22.9 %), anxiety (37.9 % vs. 23.6 %), and depression (29.4 % vs. 19.4 %) than non-caregivers. Comparing schizophrenia caregivers and other caregivers, schizophrenia caregivers reported lower MCS (40.3 vs. 42.7, p < 0.001), and health utilities (0.64 vs. 0.67, p < 0.001). Schizophrenia caregivers were more likely to experience sleep difficulties, insomnia, pain, and anxiety than other caregivers. Almost 60 % of schizophrenia caregivers agree/strongly agree that caring for the patient is important to them, but only 31.9 % agree/strongly agree that they have the financial resources to provide adequate care.
Schizophrenia caregivers reported worse HRQoL than non-caregivers and caregivers of other conditions. Providing care for an adult relative with schizophrenia is important to caregivers, but caregivers need more resources to provide adequate care. Providing informal schizophrenia caregivers with support services to help better manage patients may improve their health status.
PMCID: PMC4509463  PMID: 26194890
Caregivers; Schizophrenia; Health-Related Quality of Life; Comorbidities; Health Utilities; Depression
21.  Study protocol: a randomised controlled trial testing the effectiveness of ‘Op Volle Kracht’ in Dutch residential care 
BMC Psychiatry  2015;15:161.
Although adolescents are often referred to residential treatment centres because of severe externalizing behaviours, a vast majority demonstrated comorbid symptoms of depression and anxiety. Covert internalizing symptoms in these adolescents might be easily unrecognized and therefore untreated. Adolescents with mild intellectual disability (MID) are overrepresented among youth with both externalizing and internalizing problems. There are yet few treatment programs available for adolescents with both externalizing and internalizing problems.
The CBT-based resiliency program, Op Volle Kracht (OVK), which is based on the US Penn Resiliency Program (PRP), was adapted to suit the needs of adolescents with both externalizing and internalizing problems, either with or without MID, in Dutch residential treatment centres. The effectiveness of this group intervention program of eight sessions will be tested in a randomised controlled trial (RCT) with N = 182 adolescents aged 12–16, allocated to either the target intervention plus treatment as usual (OVK + TAU) or treatment as usual only (TAU). The main outcome variables include depressive symptoms (primary), anxiety, behavioural problems, and group therapeutic climate. Cognitive styles and coping styles will be included as possible mediators. Assessments take place at baseline (T1), one week before the start of the program (T2), immediately after the program (T3), and at three months follow-up (T4).
The program assets include its wide implementation possibilities due to low costs, the short duration of the program and the delivery by group care workers, and its suitability for adolescents with MID. Further strengths of the present study design include its robust method (RCT), the ecological validity, and the inclusion of possible mediators of treatment effect. The program emphasizes individual risk factors for depression rather than social and family factors. Implications for practice and future research are discussed.
Trial registration
Dutch Trial Register NTR4836
PMCID: PMC4509693  PMID: 26194791
Residential treatment; Adolescents; Resilience; Depression; Comorbidity; Mild intellectual disability
22.  The situation of former adolescent self-injurers as young adults: a follow-up study 
BMC Psychiatry  2015;15:160.
Nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI) in adolescence has been described as comorbid condition in affective or anxiety disorders, as well as borderline personality disorder (BPD) and is a risk factor for later suicide attempts. Prevalence rates of NSSI decline steeply from adolescence to young adulthood. Yet, to the best of our knowledge, the longitudinal development of adolescent psychiatric patients with NSSI into their young adulthood has not been investigated. The aim of this study was to assess current NSSI and psychological impairment of young adults, who had been in treatment for NSSI in their adolescence.
Former patients of the departments of child and adolescent psychiatry and psychotherapy in Ulm and Ravensburg, Germany (N = 52), who presented with NSSI in their adolescence, were recruited (average age: 21.5 years (SD = 2.6)). Data was assessed using questionnaires and structured clinical interviews. Two groups of participants with prevailing NSSI and ceased NSSI were compared concerning their current psychological impairment, history of NSSI, suicide attempts, and BPD diagnosis.
Around half of all participants had engaged in NSSI within the last year, and around half met diagnostic criteria for BPD. Although there was no significant association between current NSSI and BPD, an earlier age of onset of NSSI and a longer duration of NSSI during adolescence was significantly predictive of adult BPD. Two thirds of participants still met criteria of an axis 1 psychiatric disorder. Suicide attempts were reported by 53.8 % of all participants. Participants with current NSSI were more likely to meet criteria for a current axis 1 disorder, had engaged in NSSI more often in their lifetime, and reported more suicide attempts.
Reduction of NSSI from adolescence to young adulthood was lower than described in previous community samples. This may be due to the initial high psychiatric impairment of this sample in adolescence. Early onset of NSSI seemed to be a risk factor for a longer duration of NSSI during adolescence but not for NSSI prevailing into adulthood. However, it was a risk factor for adult BPD. Furthermore, the occurrence of suicidal thoughts and behaviors and prevailing NSSI was highly associated.
PMCID: PMC4506399  PMID: 26187150
Non-suicidal self-injury; NSSI; Longitudinal; Follow-up
23.  The prevalence and correlates of alcohol use and alcohol use disorders: a population based study in Colombo, Sri Lanka 
BMC Psychiatry  2015;15:158.
Alcohol use is increasing in non-Western countries. However, the effects of this increase on the prevalence of alcohol use disorders (AUD) remains unknown, particularly in South Asia. This study aimed to estimate the prevalence of alcohol use and AUD in the Colombo District, Sri Lanka. Environmental risk factors and psychiatric correlates were also examined.
The Composite International Diagnostic Interview was used to assess alcohol use and psychiatric disorders in a population based sample of 6014 twins and singletons in the Colombo region of Sri Lanka.
Lifetime alcohol use on 12 or more occasions was estimated at 63.1 % (95 % CI: 61.3-64.9) in men and 3.7 % (95 % CI: 3.0-4.3) in women. Prevalence of lifetime alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence in men was 6.2 % (95 % CI: 5.3-7.1) and 4.0 % (95 % CI: 3.3-4.7) respectively. Lower standard of living was independently associated with alcohol use and dependence but not abuse. Significant associations between lifetime AUD and other psychiatric disorders were observed.
Lower prevalence of alcohol use and AUD was observed compared to Western countries. Prevalence of alcohol use and AUD were higher than previous reports. Socio-demographic and environmental risk factors appear to be similar across cultures as were associations between AUD and other psychiatric disorders.
PMCID: PMC4499892  PMID: 26169683
Alcohol use; Alcohol use disorders; Sri Lanka; Comorbidity
24.  Coping styles in substance use disorder (SUD) patients with and without co-occurring attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or autism spectrum disorder (ASD) 
BMC Psychiatry  2015;15:159.
Patients with a substance use disorder (SUD) and co-occurring attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often start using substances in an attempt to cope with the stress related to their ADHD or ASD. To improve treatment for these patient groups, it is important to identify and compare the various coping styles between SUD patients with and without ADHD or ASD and with subjects from a general population sample.
Cross-sectional study using the Utrecht Coping List (UCL) in 50 SUD patients, 41 SUD + ADHD patients, 31 SUD + ASD patients and 1,200 railway employees.
Compared with the reference group, all three SUD groups showed a significant higher mean on the Palliative reaction, Avoidance, and Passive reaction subscales of the UCL. The scores for all UCL subscales of the SUD and the SUD + ADHD groups were very similar. However, the SUD + ASD group scored higher on Passive reaction and lower on Reassuring thoughts than the SUD and the SUD + ADHD groups and lower on Expression of emotions subscale in comparison with the SUD + ADHD group.
Regardless of the presence of a co-occurring disorder, SUD patients reported more palliative, avoidant and passive coping when confronted than people in the general population. In addition, SUD patients with co-occurring ASD were different from other SUD patients in their coping and professionals should take this into account when working on more adaptive coping strategies with these patients.
PMCID: PMC4501102  PMID: 26169586
Coping styles; Substance Use Disorder; Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder; Autism Spectrum Disorder
25.  Drug-induced cerebral glucose metabolism resembling Alzheimer’s Disease: a case study 
BMC Psychiatry  2015;15:157.
With aging of society the absolute number and the proportion of patients with cognitive deficits increase. Multiple disorders and diseases can foster cognitive impairment, e.g., Alzheimer’s disease (AD), depressive disorder, or polypharmacy.
Case presentation
A 74 year old man presented to the Old Age Psychiatry Service with cognitive deficits while being treated for recurrent depressive episodes and essential tremor with Venlafaxine, Lithium, and Primidone. Neuropsychological testing revealed a medio-temporal pattern of deficits with pronounced impairment of episodic memory, particularly delayed recall. Likewise, cognitive flexibility, semantic fluency, and attention were impaired. Positron emission tomography (PET) with fluorodeoxyglucose was performed and revealed a pattern of glucose utilization deficit resembling AD. On cessation of treatment with Lithium and Primidone, cognitive performance improved, particularly episodic memory performance and cognitive flexibility. Likewise, glucose metabolism normalized. Despite normalization of both, clinical symptoms and glucose utilization, the patient remained worried about possible underlying Alzheimer’s disease pathology. To rule this out, an amyloid-PET was performed. No cortical amyloid was observed.
Pharmacological treatment of older subjects may mimic glucose metabolism and clinical symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. In the present case both, imaging and clinical findings, reversed to normal on change of treatment. Amyloid PET is a helpful tool to additionally rule out underlying Alzheimer’s disease in situations of clinical doubt even if clinical or other imaging findings are suggestive of Alzheimer’s disease.
PMCID: PMC4498558  PMID: 26163145
Alzheimer’s disease; Recurrent depressive episode; Lithium; Primidone; FDG-PET; Amyloid PET

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