Why SSRI Anti-depressants Cause Emotional Numbing

Scientists have discovered why common antidepressants cause approximately half of their users to feel emotionally “blunted.” According to a new study, the drugs have an effect on reinforcement learning, an important behavioural process that allows people to learn from their surroundings. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are a popular class of antidepressants, especially for chronic…

Clonidine For PTSD Treatment Holds Promise – New Evidence

There is new evidence that a blood pressure medicine that has been around for 50 years could be used to treat the life-changing effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which is becoming more common. Clonidine is frequently prescribed to treat hypertension and ADHD. Because clonidine works on adrenergic receptors in the brain, which are probably…

Ketamine Vs Electroshock Therapy – ECT More Effective Depression Treatment

A new meta-analysis has shown that electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is better at quickly relieving major depression than ketamine. Most of the time, a person with depression is first prescribed an oral antidepressant medication, along with psychotherapy. But if oral antidepressants don’t work or if the person is in danger of hurting themselves right away, there…

Prucalopride May Boost Hippocampal-dependent Memory

Prucalopride, which targets the 5-HT4 receptor, may improve cognition and memory, a group of UK researchers has found. Even when the low mood associated with depression is well-treated with conventional antidepressants, many patients continue to experience problems with their memory. Our study provides exciting early evidence in humans of a new approach that might be…

Blood Biomarkers For Mood Disorders Offer Precision-medicine Approach

An extensive push to identify and validate blood biomarkers for mood disorders has resulted in a blood test, composed of RNA biomarkers, that can distinguish how severe a patient’s depression is. The test also can predict their risk of severe depression in the future, and their risk of future bipolar disorder, or manic-depressive illness, as…

Gene Changes Linked To Severe Repetitive Behaviors

Extreme repetitive behaviors such as hand-flapping, body-rocking, skin-picking, and sniffing are common to a number of brain disorders including autism, schizophrenia, Huntington’s disease, and drug addiction. These behaviors, termed stereotypies, are also apparent in animal models of drug addiction and autism. In a new study1, researchers at the McGovern Institute for Brain Research have identified…

Why 22q11 Deletion Syndrome Raises Schizophrenia Risk 30X

One out of every 3,000 people carries a genetic defect known as 22q11.2 deletion syndrome, or 22q11DS. It is one of the most widespread chromosomal deletions known to occur in humans. People carrying 22q11DS are at a 30-times higher risk for schizophrenia than those in the general population. This dwarfs the magnitude of all other…

Is Psychiatry Shrinking What Is Considered Normal?

Psychiatric classifications catalogue the many forms of mental ill-health. They define what counts as a disorder and who counts as disordered, drawing the boundary between psychological normality and abnormality. In the past century that boundary has shifted radically. Successive classifications have added new disorders and revised old ones. Diagnoses have increased rapidly as new forms…