Psychiatry - Research Publications

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    A Pilot Study of the Efficacy of the Unified Protocol for Transdiagnostic Treatment of Emotional Disorders in Treating Posttraumatic Psychopathology: A Randomized Controlled Trial
    O'Donnell, ML ; Lau, W ; Chisholm, K ; Agathos, J ; Little, J ; Terhaag, S ; Brand, R ; Putica, A ; Holmes, ACN ; Katona, L ; Felmingham, KL ; Murray, K ; Hosseiny, F ; Gallagher, MW (WILEY, 2021-01-16)
    The Unified Protocol for Transdiagnostic Treatment of Emotional Disorders (UP) is an intervention that targets common mechanisms that maintain symptoms across multiple disorders. The UP has been shown to be effective across many disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder, major depressive episode (MDE), and panic disorder, that commonly codevelop following trauma exposure. The present study represented the first randomized controlled trial of the UP in the treatment of trauma-related psychopathology, including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and anxiety symptoms. Adults (N = 43) who developed posttraumatic psychopathology that included PTSD, MDE, or an anxiety disorder after sustaining a severe injury were randomly assigned to receive 10-14 weekly, 60-min sessions of UP (n = 22) or usual care (n = 21). The primary treatment outcome was PTSD symptom severity, with secondary outcomes of depression and anxiety symptom severity and loss of diagnosis for any trauma-related psychiatric disorder. Assessments were conducted at intake, posttreatment, and 6-month follow-up. Posttreatment, participants who received the UP showed significantly larger reductions in PTSD, Hedges' g = 1.27; anxiety, Hedges' g = 1.20; and depression symptom severity, Hedges' g = 1.40, compared to those receiving usual care. These treatment effects were maintained at 6-month follow-up for PTSD, anxiety, and depressive symptom severity. Statistically significant posttreatment loss of PTSD, MDE, and agoraphobia diagnoses was observed for participants who received the UP but not usual care. This study provides preliminary evidence that the UP may be an effective non-trauma-focused treatment for PTSD and other trauma-related psychopathology.
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    Depression, fatigue and neurocognitive deficits in chronic hepatitis C
    Yeoh, SW ; Holmes, ACN ; Saling, MM ; Everall, IP ; Nicoll, AJ (SPRINGER, 2018-07-01)
    Patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection experience a range of symptoms including depression, fatigue and neurocognitive deficits, impairing quality of life. Depression, in particular, may be reactive to increased psychosocial stress, and the physical symptoms of advanced HCV or associated comorbidities. However, even patients at an early stage of HCV infection, with minimal hepatic inflammation or comorbidities, report more depressive symptoms and fatigue than the general population. Similarly, specific neurocognitive deficits occur in early stage HCV infection and are independent of the presence of depression or encephalopathy. Therefore, intracerebral neurobiological changes associated with HCV may potentially explain these symptoms. These changes may arise from infiltration of the brain by peripherally induced cytokines, as well as direct neuropathic effects of HCV viral particles penetrating the blood-brain barrier. These phenomena parallel those reported in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. HCV-associated intracerebral changes include upregulated inflammatory responses, altered neurotransmitter levels, hormonal dysregulation, and release of neurotoxic substances. These may subsequently lead to abnormal neuronal conduction and function in areas of the brain governing affective responses, emotional processing, motivation, attention and concentration. Although direct-acting antiviral medications lead to high rates of HCV clearance, intracerebral changes may not be subsequently reversed and symptoms of depression, fatigue and neurocognitive deficits may persist. There is an ongoing role for multidisciplinary care and pharmacotherapy to manage these symptoms in HCV patients. Furthermore, there may be opportunities for future therapies to specifically target and ameliorate HCV-associated intracerebral changes.
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    A pilot randomized controlled trial of a tailored cognitive behavioural therapy based intervention for depressive symptoms in those newly diagnosed with multiple sclerosis
    Kiropoulos, LA ; Kilpatrick, T ; Holmes, A ; Threader, J (BIOMED CENTRAL LTD, 2016-12-07)
    BACKGROUND: To examine the effectiveness and acceptability of an 8-week individual tailored cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) intervention for the treatment of depressive symptoms in those newly diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. METHODS: The current study presents a pilot, parallel group randomized controlled trial (RCT) with an allocation ratio of 1:1 conducted in a large research and teaching hospital in Melbourne, Australia. 30 individuals with a mean age of 36.93 years (SD = 9.63) who were newly diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) (X = 24.87 months, SD = 15.61) were randomized to the CBT intervention (n = 15) or treatment as usual (TAU) (n = 15). The primary outcome was level of depressive symptoms using the Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II). Secondary outcomes were level of anxiety, fatigue and pain impact, sleep quality, coping, acceptance of MS illness, MS related quality of life, social support, and resilience. Tertiary outcomes were acceptability and adherence to the intervention. RESULTS: Large between group treatment effects were found for level of depressive symptoms at post and at 20 weeks follow-up (d = 1.66-1.34). There were also small to large group treatment effects for level of anxiety, fatigue and pain impact, sleep quality, MS related quality of life, resilience, and social support at post and at 20 weeks follow-up (d = 0.17-1.63). There were no drop-outs and participants completed all treatment modules. All participants reported the treatment as 'very useful', and most (73.4%) reported that the intervention had addressed their problems 'completely'. CONCLUSIONS: These data suggest that the tailored early intervention is appropriate and clinically effective for the treatment of depressive symptoms in those newly diagnosed with MS. A larger RCT comparing the CBT intervention with an active comparative treatment with longer term follow-up and cost effectiveness analyses is warranted. The pilot trial has been retrospectively registered on 28/04/2016 with the ISRCTN registry (trial ID ISRCTN10423371).
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    Can depressed patients make a decision to request voluntary assisted dying?
    Holmes, A ; Lange, P ; Stewart, C ; White, B ; Willmott, L ; Dooley, M ; Philip, J ; La Brooy, C ; Komesaroff, P (WILEY, 2021-10-01)
    Depressive symptoms, including those as part of a major depressive disorder, are common at the end of life. A number of psychiatrists consider that a diagnosis of major depression precludes the capacity to make a decision to request voluntary assisted dying (VAD), although this is not a unanimous view. This paper uses a case of a patient in which two different psychiatric opinions were formed regarding her capacity to make the decision to request VAD. The difference of view can be related to whether major depression was diagnosed and the association made between depression and the capacity to request VAD. The view that an absence of major depression is required in order to establish the capacity to request VAD is potentially at odds with the legal definition and not necessarily in keeping with the patient's experience at the end of life.
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    The role of post-traumatic stress disorder and depression in predicting disability after injury
    O'Donnell, ML ; Holmes, AC ; Creamer, MC ; Ellen, S ; Judson, R ; McFarlane, AC ; Silove, DM ; Bryant, RA (AUSTRALASIAN MED PUBL CO LTD, 2009-04-06)
    OBJECTIVES: To examine the relationship between psychological response to injury at 1 week and 3 months, and disability at 12 months. DESIGN: Multisite, longitudinal study. PARTICIPANTS AND SETTING: 802 adult patients admitted to trauma services at four Australian hospitals from 13 March 2004 to 21 February 2006 were assessed before discharge and followed up at 3 and 12 months. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Disability, measured with the 12-item version of the World Health Organization Disability Assessment Schedule II. RESULTS: Logistic regression identified the degree to which high levels of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at 1 week and at 3 months predicted disability at 12 months. After controlling for demographic variables and characteristics of the injury, patients with PTSD or subsyndromal PTSD at 1 week were 2.4 times more likely, and those with depression at 1 week were 1.9 times more likely to have high disability levels at 12 months. PTSD at 3 months was associated with 3.7 times, and depression at 3 months with 3.4 times the risk of high disability at 12 months. CONCLUSIONS: PTSD and depression at 1 week and at 3 months after injury significantly increased the risk of disability at 12 months. Routine assessment of symptoms of depression and PTSD in patients who have been physically injured may facilitate triage to evidence-based treatments, leading to improvement in both physical and psychological outcomes.