SOCIAL ANXIETY DISORDER (social phobia)

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It’s normal to feel nervous and awkward in some social situations?

Going on a first date or giving a presentation may give you that uncomfortable feeling of having butterflies in your stomach, for instance.  For some people, though, common, everyday social situations cause extreme anxiety, fear and self-consciousness, and they may become impossible to engage in.

You may go to great lengths and come up with many excuses to avoid dating or giving presentations. You may not even be able to eat with acquaintances or write a check at the grocery store, let alone go to a party with lots of strangers.

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CHILD ABUSE: A Cause of Borderline Personality Disorder?

Traumatic events in childhood — such as physical or sexual abuse — increase the risk of Borderline Personality Disorder and other personality disorders.  But the exact cause of borderline personality disorder isn’t known.  Most likely, it’s caused by a combination of heredity and environmental factors.

Borderline personality disorder is a serious emotional disturbance that’s characterized by unsatisfactory and unstable personal relationships, intense anger, impulsive actions, feelings of emptiness, and real or imagined fears of abandonment.  It may be that emotional trauma at a time when the brain isn’t fully developed alters something in the brain that decreases the ability to effectively deal with subsequent stressful situations.

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1 in 5 U.S. Adults Suffers Mental Illness

THURSDAY, Jan. 19 (HealthDay News) — Nearly 46 million American adults have had a mental illness in the past year, a new government report shows.

Almost 30 percent of those aged 18 to 25 experienced a mental illness, twice as many as those aged 50 and older at just over 14 percent. And more women than men suffered a mental illness in the last year (23 percent vs. nearly 17 percent), according to the report released Thursday from the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

“We all know people who have had a depression or an anxiety disorder, maybe something more serious like a bipolar disorder, but this is a pretty big number,” said Peter Delany, director of SAMHSA’s Office of Applied Studies.

“This is only the second year where we have done this as a separate report and the findings were not significantly different from last year,” Delany noted, so there are not enough data to see a trend.

The reasons why so many people are suffering from these problems cannot be easily summed up, he said.

The recent economic downturn may be a factor for some, he said. “But these conditions are multifactorial — there are genetic issues, there are biological issues, there are social issues and also personal issuers,” Delany explained.

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Walgreen, others sue Pfizer over depression drug

(Reuters) – November 01, 2011Pfizer Inc and Teva Pharmceutical Industries Ltd were sued by Walgreen Co and four other large retailers, accused of violating U.S. antitrust law by conspiring to keep generic versions of a popular antidepressant off the shelves.

Walgreen, Kroger Co, Safeway Inc, Supervalu Inc and HEB Grocery Co accused Pfizer’s Wyeth unit of conducting an “overarching anticompetitive scheme” to prevent and delay the approval and marketing of generic versions of the prescription drug Effexor XR, causing them to overpay.

In a complaint made public on Thursday by the U.S. District Court in Trenton, New Jersey, the retailers said Wyeth kept generic equivalents off the market for at least two years after its marketing exclusivity for the original Effexor compound patent lapsed in June 2008.

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Health Tip: Managing an Anxiety Disorder

anxiety If you think you may have an Anxiety Disorder — characterized by an intense fear of a person, place or situation — you should visit your doctor to have your condition evaluated and confirmed. Once an anxiety disorder has been confirmed, the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health suggests how to manage:

  • Join a support or self-help group.
  • Take anti-anxiety medication that your doctor prescribes. Do not stop the medication before you speak with your doctor.
  • Share your feelings and experiences with a mental health professional or clergy member.
  • Practice meditation or another form of stress management.
  • Get regular aerobic exercise.
  • Avoid caffeine, illegal drugs and over-the-counter cold medications.
  • Seek support of family members and close friends.

Source for article: HealthDay News

Antipsychotics get mixed review for unapproved use

(Reuters) – September 28, 2011 –  Newer antipsychotic drugs are often prescribed for conditions they aren’t approved to treat, with questionable benefits, according to a study.

The medications, known as atypical antipsychotics, include risperidone, sold in the United States as Risperdal, aripiprazole (Abilify), olanzapine (Zyprexa) and quetiapine (Seroquel).

While those drugs have been approved in the United States for a few psychiatric conditions, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, doctors may also prescribe them “off-label” to other patients, including people with substance abuse and eating disorders, typically when they haven’t responded to more standard treatments.

“There are several conditions in psychiatry that are pretty difficult to treat,” said Alicia Ruelaz Maher from RAND Health in Santa Monica, California, the study author.

“Often in psychiatry we think, if something works for one condition, it could possibly be effective for another one.”

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New Therapy May Help People With Unexplained Symptoms of Pain, Weakness and Fatigue

ScienceDaily (July 28, 2011) — A new type of therapy may help people with symptoms such as pain, weakness, or dizziness that can’t be explained by an underlying disease, according to a study published in the July 27, 2011, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. These symptoms, which can also include fatigue, tingling and numbness, are also known as functional or psychogenic symptoms.

“People with these symptoms make up one-third of all clinic visits, but the outcomes are poor,” said study author Michael Sharpe, MD, of the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.

Previous studies have shown that intense cognitive behavioral therapy can reduce the symptoms, distress and disability in people with these symptoms, but there are obstacles to providing this therapy. Many people do not feel psychological treatment is appropriate and resist referrals to mental health services, and therapists trained in cognitive behavioral therapy are not available in all communities.

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Narcotic Pain Relief Drug Overdose Deaths a National Epidemic

ScienceDaily (Apr. 25, 2011) — Unintentional overdose deaths in teens and adults have reached epidemic proportions in the U.S. In some 20 states in 2007 the number of unintentional drug poisoning deaths exceeded either motor vehicle crashes or suicides, two of the leading causes of injury death. Prescription opioid pain medications are driving this overdose epidemic. Opioid pain medications were also involved in about 36 percent of all poisoning suicides in the U.S. in 2007.

In a commentary article released ahead of the print version in the April 19, 2011 online issue of the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, physicians affiliated with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine and Duke University Medical Center cite data noting that in 2007 unintentional deaths due to prescription opioid pain killers were involved in more overdose deaths than heroin and cocaine combined.

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ANXIETY: When Is It A Problem?

What is the difference between normal worrying and an anxiety disorder?

Mayo Clinic psychiatrist Daniel Hall-Flavin, M.D., and colleagues answer.

Answer:

Anxiety is a normal reaction to stress. It helps you cope with tense situations. It also helps you focus on the task at hand and motivates you. Almost everyone experiences anxiety from time to time. Typically, anxiety goes away when the triggering event is over.

However, anxiety is a problem when it becomes an excessive, irrational dread of everyday situations, such as riding an elevator or leaving your house.

People with anxiety disorder experience excessive fear and worry that are out of proportion to the situation. These feelings are more intense and last longer than normal feelings of anxiety.

If you find it difficult to control your worry or stress or if anxiety interferes with your daily activities, consult your doctor or a mental health professional. If you are diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, effective treatment is available.

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/anxiety-disorder/AN01139

Erasing Bad Memories?

Study takes step toward erasing bad memories

LONDON (Reuters) – Feb. 15, 2008 – A widely available blood pressure pill could one day help people erase bad memories, perhaps treating some anxiety disorders and phobias, according to a Dutch study published on Sunday.

 The generic beta-blocker propranolol significantly weakened people’s fearful memories of spiders among a group of healthy volunteers who took it, said Merel Kindt, a psychologist at the University of Amsterdam, who led the study.

 “We could show that the fear response went away, which suggests the memory was weakened,” Kindt said in a telephone interview.

 The findings published in the journal Nature Neuroscience are important because the drug may offer another way to help people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and other problems related to bad memories.

 Traditionally, therapists seek to teach people with such disorders strategies to build new associations and block bad memories. The problem, Kindt said, is the memories remain and people often relapse.

 Animal studies have shown that fear memories can change when recalled, a process known as reconsolidation. At this stage they are also vulnerable to beta-blockers like propranolol, which target neurons in the brain, the researchers said.

 Kindt and her team’s experiment included 60 men and women who learned to associate pictures of spiders with a mild shock. This experience created a fearful memory, the researchers said.

 Other participants saw the same picture but did not receive an electrical shock. For these people this established a “safe” association without a fear response or bad memory.

 One day later people given the drug had a greatly decreased fear response compared with people on the placebo when shown the picture and given a mild shock, the researchers said.

 “There was no difference to the fear spider and the safe spider,” Kindt said. “This shows it is possible to weaken the underlying memory by interfering with it.”

 The next steps are to look at how long the drug’s effects on memory last, and testing the treatment in people who actually are suffering from some kind of disorder or phobia, Kindt said.

http://www.reuters.com/article/healthNews/idUSTRE51E1H520090215

 (Reporting by Michael Kahn; Editing by Maggie Fox and Elizabeth Piper)