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Veteranness : Representations of Combat-related PTSD in U.S. Popular Visual Media

October 20, 2014 Comments off

Veteranness : Representations of Combat-related PTSD in U.S. Popular Visual Media (PDF)
Source: Michigan Technological University (Keranen)

Posttraumatic stress and PTSD are becoming familiar terms to refer to what we often call the invisible wounds of war, yet these are recent additions to a popular discourse in which images of and ideas about combat-affected veterans have long circulated. A legacy of ideas about combat veterans and war trauma thus intersects with more recent clinical information about PTSD to become part of a discourse of visual media that has defined and continues to redefine veteran for popular audiences.

In this dissertation I examine realist combat veteran representations in selected films and other visual media from three periods: during and after World Wars I and II (James Allen from I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang, Fred Derry and Al Stephenson from The Best Years of Our Lives); after the Vietnam War (Michael from The Deer Hunter, Eriksson from Casualties of War), and post 9/11 (Will James from The Hurt Locker, a collection of veterans from Wartorn: 1861-2010.) Employing a theoretical framework informed by visual media studies, Barthes’ concept of myth, and Foucault’s concept ofdiscursive unity, I analyze how these veteran representations are endowed with PTSD symptom-like behaviors and responses that seem reasonable and natural within the narrative arc. I contend that veteran myths appear through each veteran representation as the narrative develops and resolves. I argue that these veteran myths are many and varied but that they crystallize in a dominant veteran discourse, a discursive unity that I term veteranness. I further argue that veteranness entangles discrete categories such as veteran, combat veteran, and PTSD with veteran myths, often tying dominant discourse about combat-related PTSD to outdated or outmoded notions that significantly affect our attitudes about and treatment of veterans.

A basic premise of my research is that unless and until we learn about the lasting effects of the trauma inherent to combat, we hinder our ability to fulfill our responsibilities to war veterans. A society that limits its understanding of posttraumatic stress, PTSD and post-war experiences of actual veterans affected by war trauma to veteranness or veteran myths risks normalizing or naturalizing an unexamined set of sociocultural expectations of all veterans, rendering them voice-less, invisible, and, ultimately disposable.

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Combined impact of healthy lifestyle factors on colorectal cancer: a large European cohort study

October 16, 2014 Comments off

Combined impact of healthy lifestyle factors on colorectal cancer: a large European cohort study
Source: BMC Medicine

Background
Excess body weight, physical activity, smoking, alcohol consumption and certain dietary factors are individually related to colorectal cancer (CRC) risk; however, little is known about their joint effects. The aim of this study was to develop a healthy lifestyle index (HLI) composed of five potentially modifiable lifestyle factors – healthy weight, physical activity, non-smoking, limited alcohol consumption and a healthy diet, and to explore the association of this index with CRC incidence using data collected within the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) cohort.

Methods
In the EPIC cohort, a total of 347,237 men and women, 25- to 70-years old, provided dietary and lifestyle information at study baseline (1992 to 2000). Over a median follow-up time of 12 years, 3,759 incident CRC cases were identified. The association between a HLI and CRC risk was evaluated using Cox proportional hazards regression models and population attributable risks (PARs) have been calculated.

Results
After accounting for study centre, age, sex and education, compared with 0 or 1 healthy lifestyle factors, the hazard ratio (HR) for CRC was 0.87 (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.44 to 0.77) for two factors, 0.79 (95% CI: 0.70 to 0.89) for three factors, 0.66 (95% CI: 0.58 to 0.75) for four factors and 0.63 (95% CI: 0.54 to 0.74) for five factors; P-trend <0.0001. The associations were present for both colon and rectal cancers, HRs, 0.61 (95% CI: 0.50 to 0.74; P for trend <0.0001) for colon cancer and 0.68 (95% CI: 0.53 to 0.88; P-trend <0.0001) for rectal cancer, respectively (P-difference by cancer sub-site = 0.10). Overall, 16% of the new CRC cases (22% in men and 11% in women) were attributable to not adhering to a combination of all five healthy lifestyle behaviours included in the index.

Conclusions
Combined lifestyle factors are associated with a lower incidence of CRC in European populations characterized by western lifestyles. Prevention strategies considering complex targeting of multiple lifestyle factors may provide practical means for improved CRC prevention.

Leading Change 2.0: Advancing the Behavioral Health of the Nation 2015-2018

October 15, 2014 Comments off

Leading Change 2.0: Advancing the Behavioral Health of the Nation 2015-2018
Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Introduces six Strategic Initiatives that will guide SAMHSA through 2018 in leading change to increase awareness and understanding of mental illness and substance use disorders, promote wellness, increase access to effective treatment, and support recovery.

Sleep Quality during Exam Stress: The Role of Alcohol, Caffeine and Nicotine

October 14, 2014 Comments off

Sleep Quality during Exam Stress: The Role of Alcohol, Caffeine and Nicotine
Source: PLoS ONE

Academic exam stress is known to compromise sleep quality and alter drug consumption in university students. Here we evaluated if sleeping problems and changes in legal drug consumption during exam stress are interrelated. We used the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) to survey sleep quality before, during, and after an academic exam period in 150 university students in a longitudinal questionnaire study. Self-reports of alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine consumption were obtained. The Perceived Stress Questionnaire (PSQ-20) was used as a measure of stress. Sleep quality and alcohol consumption significantly decreased, while perceived stress and caffeine consumption significantly increased during the exam period. No significant change in nicotine consumption was observed. In particular, students shortened their time in bed and showed symptoms of insomnia. Mixed model analysis indicated that sex, age, health status, as well as the amounts of alcohol and caffeine consumed had no significant influence on global sleep quality. The amount of nicotine consumed and perceived stress were identified as significant predictors of diminished sleep quality. Nicotine consumption had a small-to-very-small effect on sleep quality; perceived stress had a small-to-moderate effect. In conclusion, diminished sleep quality during exam periods was mainly predicted by perceived stress, while legal drug consumption played a minor role. Exam periods may pose an interesting model for the study of stress-induced sleeping problems and their mechanisms.

Impact of socioeconomic deprivation on rate and cause of death in severe mental illness

October 13, 2014 Comments off

Impact of socioeconomic deprivation on rate and cause of death in severe mental illness
Source: BMC Psychiatry

Background
Socioeconomic status has important associations with disease-specific mortality in the general population. Although individuals with Severe Mental Illnesses (SMI) experience significant premature mortality, the relationship between socioeconomic status and mortality in this group remains under investigated. We aimed to assess the impact of socioeconomic status on rate and cause of death in individuals with SMI (schizophrenia and bipolar disorder) relative to the local (Glasgow) and wider (Scottish) populations.

Methods
Cause and age of death during 2006-2010 inclusive for individuals with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder registered on the Glasgow Psychosis Clinical Information System (PsyCIS) were obtained by linkage to the Scottish General Register Office (GRO). Rate and cause of death by socioeconomic status, measured by Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD), were compared to the Glasgow and Scottish populations.

Results
Death rates were higher in people with SMI across all socioeconomic quintiles compared to the Glasgow and Scottish populations, and persisted when suicide was excluded. Differences were largest in the most deprived quintile (794.6 per 10,000 population vs. 274.7 and 252.4 for Glasgow and Scotland respectively). Cause of death varied by socioeconomic status. For those living in the most deprived quintile, higher drug-related deaths occurred in those with SMI compared to local Glasgow and wider Scottish population rates (12.3% vs. 5.9%, p?=?<0.001 and 5.1% p?=?0.002 respectively). A lower proportion of deaths due to cancer in those with SMI living in the most deprived quintile were also observed, relative to the local Glasgow and wider Scottish populations (12.3% vs. 25.1% p?=?0.013 and 26.3% p?=?<0.001). The proportion of suicides was significantly higher in those with SMI living in the more affluent quintiles relative to Glasgow and Scotland (54.6% vs. 5.8%, p?=?<0.001 and 5.5%, p?=?<0.001).

Conclusions
Excess mortality in those with SMI occurred across all socioeconomic quintiles compared to the Glasgow and Scottish populations but was most marked in the most deprived quintiles when suicide was excluded as a cause of death. Further work assessing the impact of socioeconomic status on specific causes of premature mortality in SMI is needed.

Increases in Heroin Overdose Deaths — 28 States, 2010 to 2012

October 13, 2014 Comments off

Increases in Heroin Overdose Deaths — 28 States, 2010 to 2012
Source: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (CDC)

Nationally, death rates from prescription opioid pain reliever (OPR) overdoses quadrupled during 1999–2010, whereas rates from heroin overdoses increased by <50%.* Individual states and cities have reported substantial increases in deaths from heroin overdose since 2010. CDC analyzed recent mortality data from 28 states to determine the scope of the heroin overdose death increase and to determine whether increases were associated with changes in OPR overdose death rates since 2010. This report summarizes the results of that analysis, which found that, from 2010 to 2012, the death rate from heroin overdose for the 28 states increased from 1.0 to 2.1 per 100,000, whereas the death rate from OPR overdose declined from 6.0 per 100,000 in 2010 to 5.6 per 100,000 in 2012. Heroin overdose death rates increased significantly for both sexes, all age groups, all census regions, and all racial/ethnic groups other than American Indians/Alaska Natives. OPR overdose mortality declined significantly among males, persons aged <45 years, persons in the South, and non-Hispanic whites. Five states had increases in the OPR death rate, seven states had decreases, and 16 states had no change. Of the 18 states with statistically reliable heroin overdose death rates (i.e., rates based on at least 20 deaths), 15 states reported increases. Decreases in OPR death rates were not associated with increases in heroin death rates. The findings indicate a need for intensified prevention efforts aimed at reducing overdose deaths from all types of opioids while recognizing the demographic differences between the heroin and OPR-using populations. Efforts to prevent expansion of the number of OPR users who might use heroin when it is available should continue.

See also: Heroin overdose deaths increased in many states through 2012

A Systematic Review of Economic Evaluations of Treatments for Borderline Personality Disorder

October 10, 2014 Comments off

A Systematic Review of Economic Evaluations of Treatments for Borderline Personality Disorder
Source: PLoS ONE

Purpose
The borderline personality disorder is a common mental disorder. It is frequently associated with various mental co-morbidities and a fundamental loss of functioning. The borderline personality disorder causes high costs to society. The aim of this study was to perform a systematic literature review of existing economic evaluations of treatments for borderline personality disorder.

Materials and Methods
We performed a systematic literature search in MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO and NHSEED for partial and full economic evaluations regarding borderline personality disorder. Reported cost data were inflated to the year 2012 and converted into US-$ using purchasing power parities to allow for comparability. Quality assessment of the studies was performed by means of the Consensus on Health Economic Criteria checklist, a checklist developed by a Delphi method in cooperation with 23 international experts.

Results
We identified 6 partial and 9 full economic evaluations. The methodical quality was moderate (fulfilled quality criteria: 79.2% [SD: 15.4%] in partial economic evaluations, 77.3% [SD: 8.5%] in full economic evaluations). Most evaluations analysed psychotherapeutic interventions. Although ambiguous, most evidence exists on dialectical-behavioural therapy. Cognitive behavioural therapy and schema-focused therapy are cost-saving. Evidence on other interventions is scarce.

Conclusion
The economic evidence is not sufficient to draw robust conclusions for all treatments. It is possible that some treatments are cost-effective. Most evidence exists on dialectical-behavioural therapy. Yet, it is ambiguous. Further research concerning the cost-effectiveness of treatments is necessary as well as the identification of relevant cost categories and the validation of effect measures.

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