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Science News About Psychotherapies

Brain Imaging Predicts Psychotherapy Success in Patients with Social Anxiety Disorder

Science Update

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Brain imaging might soon predict which treatment options would work best for patients with social phobia.

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President Obama Signs Executive Order to Improve Access to Mental Health Services for Veterans, Service Members, and Military Families

Science Update

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President Obama signed an Executive Order directing key federal departments to expand suicide prevention strategies and take steps to meet the current and future demand for mental health and substance abuse treatment services for veterans, service members, and their families.

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Couple’s Therapy Appears to Decrease PTSD Symptoms, Improve Relationship

Science Update

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Among couples in which one partner was diagnosed as having posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), participation in disorder-specific couple therapy resulted in decreased PTSD symptom severity and increased patient relationship satisfaction, compared with couples who were placed on a wait list for the therapy, according to a study in the August 15 issue of JAMA, a theme issue on violence and human rights.

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Coordinated Treatment Approach Improves Anxiety Symptoms

Science Update

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A coordinated, multi-component treatment approach was more effective in treating anxiety disorders than usual care found in primary care settings, according to an NIMH-funded study published May 19, 2010, in a special issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association devoted to mental health.

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Behavioral Intervention Effectively Controls Tics in Many Children with Tourette Syndrome

Science Update

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A comprehensive behavioral therapy is more effective than basic supportive therapy and education in helping children with Tourette syndrome manage their tics, according to a study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). The study was published May 19, 2010, in a special issue of the Journal of the American Medication Association dedicated to mental health.

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Teaching Teens About Abstinence May Delay Sexual Activity, Reduce Risk Behaviors

Science Update

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Teens who received a behavioral intervention centered on abstinence were more likely to delay first sexual contact than teens who received a control intervention focusing on general health promotion, according to an NIMH-funded study. Though differing from federally funded abstinence-only programs, the researchers describe how an abstinence-based intervention may help delay sexual activity among adolescents in the February 2010 issue of the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.

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Behavioral Training Improves Connectivity and Function in the Brain

Press Release

Changes in white matter of poor readers compared to average readers

Children with poor reading skills who underwent an intensive, six-month training program to improve their reading ability showed increased connectivity in a particular brain region, in addition to making significant gains in reading, according to a study funded in part by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). The study was published in the Dec. 10, 2009, issue of Neuron.

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Autism Intervention for Toddlers Improves Developmental Outcomes

Science Update

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Children with autism who receive a high intensity developmental behavioral intervention starting by age 18–30 months show major improvements in IQ, language, adaptive behavior, and severity of their diagnosis, according to an NIMH-funded study.

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PTSD Treatment Efforts for Returning War Veterans to be Evaluated

Science Update

man and woman in individual therapy

Joan Cook, Ph.D., of Yale University and colleagues have been awarded funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to evaluate the implementation of two evidence-based psychotherapies for treating post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among veterans. The grant addresses the NIH Challenge Grant topic “Strategies to Support Uptake of Interventions within Clinical Community and Settings.”

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Re-shaping Negative Thoughts Shields At-Risk Teens from Depression

Science Update

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At-risk teens exposed to a program that teaches them to counteract their unrealistic and overly negative thoughts experienced significantly less depression than their peers who received usual care, NIMH-funded researchers have found. However, the cognitive behavioral prevention program failed to similarly help adolescents prone to the mood disorder if their parents were currently depressed.

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Pilot Study Will Test New Treatment to Reduce Self-Harm in Borderline Personality Disorder

Science Update

NIMH recently funded Kim Gratz, Ph.D., University of Mississippi Medical Center, and colleagues to continue to test a new group therapy to help women with borderline personality disorder reduce self-harm behaviors and to improve functioning.

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New NIMH Research to Test Innovative Treatments for Children with ADHD

Science Update

Two new grants funded by NIMH will focus on novel and innovative approaches to treating children who have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

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NIMH Funds Research to Find Best Treatments for Children with Autism and ADHD Symptoms

Science Update

A new NIMH-funded study will help guide the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD).

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Journal Highlights Effectiveness of Research Based Psychotherapies for Youth

Science Update

Reviews of the current research on psychosocial and behavioral therapies, or psychotherapies, for children and adolescents found a number of well established and probably efficacious treatments for many mental disorders. For example, six were probably efficacious for anxiety disorders, and two were well established for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to scientists funded by NIMH and the National Institute on Drug Abuse, divisions of the National Institutes of Health.

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New Research to Help People with Mental Disorders Quit Smoking

Science Update

A new grant funded by NIMH will develop an intervention designed to help people with serious mental illness (SMI) quit smoking. The addiction is very common among people with SMI, and contributes significantly to deteriorating health and higher costs for care. But it is difficult to treat among people with SMI because they require a tailored approach that is incorporated into their existing mental health treatment.

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Group Therapy Program Offers Meaningful Gains for People with Borderline Personality Disorder

Science Update

A 20-week group therapy program focusing on cognitive behavioral and skills training, when used in conjunction with usual care, helped reduce symptoms of borderline personality disorder and improve overall functioning, reported NIMH-funded researchers.

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Internet-based PTSD Therapy May Help Overcome Barriers to Care

Science Update

NIMH-funded researchers recently completed a pilot study showing that an Internet-based, self-managed cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can help reduce symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression, with effects that last after treatment has ended.

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Family Involvement and Focused Intervention May be Key to Helping Teens with Bulimia

Science Update

Family-based treatment for adolescent bulimia nervosa (FBT-BN) is more effective than an individual-based therapy called supportive psychotherapy (SPT) in helping teens overcome bulimia according to an NIMH-funded study.

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In Second Try to Treat Depression, Cognitive Therapy Generally As Effective As Medication

Science Update

Switching to or adding cognitive therapy (CT) after a first unsuccessful attempt at treating depression with an antidepressant medication is generally as effective as switching to or adding another medication, but remission may take longer to achieve

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Intensive Psychotherapy More Effective Than Brief Therapy for Treating Bipolar Depression

Press Release

Patients taking medications to treat bipolar disorder are more likely to get well faster and stay well if they receive intensive psychotherapy, according to results from the Systematic Treatment Enhancement Program for Bipolar Disorder (STEP-BD), funded by the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

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College Women at Risk for Eating Disorder May Benefit From Online Intervention

Press Release

A long-term, large-scale study has found that an Internet-based intervention program may prevent some high risk, college-age women from developing an eating disorder.

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Targeted Therapy Halves Suicide Attempts in Borderline Personality Disorder

Science Update

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) reduced suicide attempts by half compared with other types of psychotherapy available in the community in patients with borderline personality disorder, an NIMH-funded study has found.

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