Gender risk for mood disorders in adolescients
Monique Ernst, MD, PhD
Increasing evidence shows that modifications in the development of the adolescent brain varies between boys and girls placing women at an increased risk for mood disorders. Dr. Ernst discusses evidence showing differences in intrinsic functional connectivity between adolescent boys and girls and supporting the hypothesis that girls may have a vulnerability to be less in control of their emotions than boys. She closes with examples of preventative interventions which can be taken to improve mental health outcomes later in life, including delaying school start times to better adapt to adolescent sleep patterns.
Melancholia modulators: rediscovering opioids and psychedelics for the treatment of depression
David Nutt, DM, FRCP, FRCPSYCH, FSB, FMEDSCI
Recently, opioid modulators and psychedelics are being reconsidered for the treatment of depression, however controversy still remains, due to fear of substance abuse.
Dr. Nutt discusses the latest research supporting the endogenous opioid system as a viable treatment target in mood disorders, specifically kappa-receptor antagonists. He also shares neuropharmacological and scientific underpinnings on the use of psychedelics as having potential benefits for the patients with mood disorders, however he believes these mechanisms are largely misunderstood and understudied. Dr. Nutt stresses the importance of continued development of new treatments for mood disorders, along with adequate clinician education on the potential risks and benefits associated with each new option.
Anxiety symptoms in MDD: a predictor of treatment outcomes?
Masaki Kato, MD, PhD
Patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) frequently have comorbid anxiety, which is associated with greater severity of illness, longer duration of illness, and
more severe functional impairment compared with MDD patients without anxiety. Dr. Kato explains the importance of focusing on the individual patient when developing a treatment plan for them; for example, in his research findings, focusing on clustering MDD patients with different levels of comorbid anxiety, targeting these symptoms lead to improved response. He puts an emphasis on serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) as being an appropriate pharmacological option for these patients. His research also supports the presence of anxiety symptoms at baseline as predictors of treatment outcomes in MDD patients.
Targeting mental health disorders to reduce the burden of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs)
Stephen Stahl, MD, PhD
Dr. Stahl presents some of the key points discussed during the ECNP live expert panel exchange, where renowned speakers explored the bidirectional link between mental health and noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). He provides a summary of the benefits of exercise, diet and sleep on mental and physical health, and urges all clinicians to start verbally prescribing a healthier lifestyle to their patients.
Is obesity a choice?
Giles Yeo, PhD
Obesity is a rapidly growing public health problem affecting approximately 13% of the adult population worldwide. It is often believed that the cause of obesity is a result of eating more calories than you burn, but is it a choice? Dr. Yeo discusses the variability of genetic and lifestyle factors which impact our food habits, and potentially lead to obesity. He stresses the importance of understanding obesity without implying that the patient is to blame. Learning why people behave differently towards food can lead to better treatment outcomes. He then covers what “dieting” means and discusses how clinicians should approach treatment options for obese patients.
Dialogue deregulation: targeting the interplay between brain and metabolism to better understand eating disorders
Janet Treasure OBE, PhD, FRCP, FRCPsych
Anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa have been recognised as eating disorders (ED) for many decades but there has recently been a great expansion of the definition of ED. Dr. Treasure presents recent evidence showing links between ED and metabolic profiles such as insulin sensitivity, encouraging the reconceptualization of ED as psychosomatic disorders. She provides a summary of treatments currently available and guidance for clinicians treating these patients.
Teaming up with patients - shared goal setting
Mark G.A. Opler, PhD, MPH
As the treatment landscape moves towards a more patient centric view and adopts shared decision-making paradigms, it is time for clinicians to implement new personalized approaches into their everyday practice. Dr. Opler discusses promising tools to individualize care and integrate patient’s needs, including the Measure Based Care and the Goal Attainment Scaling (GAS). He concludes by stressing the importance of encouraging a constant dialogue between physicians and patients throughout the treatment journey.
Negative symptoms, patient functioning and changing the trajectory of schizophrenia outcomes
Stefano Pallanti, MD, PhD
Negative symptoms of schizophrenia are the most debilitating for patients, and can be misdiagnosed. While positive symptoms can generally be well controlled, negative symptoms are more challenging to target via pharmacological intervention, and have a severe impact on quality of life. Dr. Pallanti emphasizes the importance of treating negative symptoms and provides an overview of current and future treatments available for functional recovery in patients with schizophrenia.