Engage Aotearoa

Category Archives: Research

World Antipsychotic Withdrawal Survey

Over the last couple of years, I’ve had the privilege of advising on the World Antipsychotic Withdrawal Survey and last week I met with the project lead and the statistics whizz to prepare for data analysis. You can colour me excited because it is shaping up to be huge – 4000 people and counting so far! The NZ sample is still relatively small but the survey is still open, so if this is relevant to you, do take a look and think about getting amongst it if it feels right for you.

This is a PhD research project led by Will Hall under the supervision of Jim van Os and John Read.

Find out more here: https://www.antipsychoticwithdrawalsurvey.com/

An illustrated guide to the positive childhood experiences that build resilience

Many people are familiar with the research showing that Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are strongly predictive of later experiences of mental-health challenges and a whole host of other poor outcomes. But what about the experiences that strengthen our resilience?

A 2019 study looked at the childhood experiences involved in building resilience and experiences of wellbeing. They identified seven childhood experiences shared by resilient adults. Artist and therapist Lindsay Braman has illustrated the key findings so they’re super easy to read and share.

Of course if you missed out on these experiences in childhood, there’s still plenty you can do to build your resilience later. Humans are just so resourceful and creative, it’s amazing how many ways we can find strength.

Read more about the 7 Positive Childhood Experience associated with resilient adults here.

Highlights from Engage on Facebook

We Can’t Keep Treating Anxiety From Complex Trauma the Same Way We Treat Generalized Anxiety: Vicki Peterson writes “I’ve been living with the effects of complex trauma for a long time, but for many years, I didn’t know what it was. […] For those who have experienced trauma, anxiety comes from an automatic physiological response to what has actuallyalready happened. The brain and body have already lived through “worst case scenario” situations, know what it feels like and are hell-bent on never going back there again. The fight/flight/ freeze response goes into overdrive. It’s like living with a fire alarm that goes off at random intervals 24 hours a day. It is extremely difficult for the rational brain to be convinced “that won’t happen,” because it already knows that it has happened, and it was horrific.” Read more here.

Man Lessons – How to make a documentary about transitioning: “Over six years, Ben Sarten filmed Adam Rohe (who was assigned female at birth) on his journey into manhood, forming a friendship that to them has become as important as the documentary itself.” Read more here.

I was diagnosed with acute psychosis at 19. Here’s what came next:Kris Herbert reflects on her tumultuous mental health journey to share what she’s learnt along the way. She writes,”Our mental wellbeing is not fixed. It’s a shifting continuum and at the edges, we each have our limits. We all also have access to tools like exercise and meditation, good food and, hopefully, someone to talk to.” Read more here.

Researchers Find Lack of Evidence, Call for Halt to ECT: “A new review, published in Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry, re-assesses studies that compare electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) with placebo treatment for depression. The analysis also assesses the only five available meta-analyses that claim that ECT is effective.” In a press release, John Read, the lead author says “This body of research is of the lowest quality of any I have seen in my 40-year career.” Read more here. In related news, dozens of people have sued the NHS after experiencing a slew of serious adverse effects that they were not informed of before they consented to ECT procedures.

Inside Internal Family Systems Therapy: In this article, Ben Blum gives a detailed description of Internal Family Systems Therapy (IFS), including both clinician and service-user perspectives. Blum writes,”IFS therapy is upending the thinking around schizophrenia, depression, OCD, and more. […] In IFS, mental health symptoms like anxiety, depression, paranoia, and even psychosis were regarded not as impassive biochemical phenomena but as emotional events under the control of unconscious “parts” of the patient — which they could learn to interact with directly.” Read more here.

Find more on the Engage Facebook page.
www.facebook.com/engageaotearoa/

New issue of the Journal of Contemporary Narrative Therapy out now

The latest issue of the Journal of Contemporary Narrative Therapy is online now, free for anyone to read and full of great reflections like this quote from Rebecca Solnit…

“What’s your story about? It’s all in the telling. Stories are compasses and architecture; we navigate by them, we build our sanctuaries and our prisons out of them, and to be without a story is to be lost in the vastness of a world that spreads in all directions like arctic tundra or sea ice…We tell ourselves stories that save us and stories that are the quicksand in which we thrash and the well in which we drown… We think we tell stories, but stories often tell us … The task of learning to be free requires learning to hear them, to question them, to pause and hear silence, to name them and then to become the storyteller.”

Find the latest issue and an archive of past issues here.

Editors: Tom Stone Carlson, Sanni Paljakka, marcela polanco, and David Epston

Clinical experiences of supporting people to taper off antipsychotic medication

Tapering Antipsychotic Treatment
Mark Abie Horowitz, Robin M. Murray, David Taylor, JAMA Psychiatry. Published online August 5, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2020.2166

In this paper three leading researchers in the field of psychiatric drug withdrawal summarise their clinical experience in supporting people to taper off antipsychotic medication.

You can request a full-text copy of this short, peer-reviewed opinion piece directly from the authors on Research Gate here: www.researchgate.net/publication/343467517_Tapering_Antipsychotic_Treatment

More results from The Experiences of Antipsychotic Medication Study

Read online at Science Direct
or request a copy of the full-text on Research Gate

New Research: Support makes a difference in antipsychotic medication withdrawal

An important part of my doctoral research and some further analysis has just been published in Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology. You can follow this link to view a copy of the full text online, but will need a subscription to download a pdf copy to keep:  https://rdcu.be/MpKs

Here’s a screenshot of the abstract for quick reference…

Abstract Attempting to Stop Antipsychotic Medication Success Supports and Efforts to Cope

Robert Whitaker reviews the evidence on antidepressants

Robert Whitaker has written a critical review of the antidepressant literature for the Mad in America website.

The review has three parts.

  • “The evidence for the efficacy of antidepressants over the short term in RCTs, which is the evidence that psychiatry relies on to claim that the drugs “work.”
  • The evidence for the effectiveness of antidepressants over the short term in “real-world” patients.
  • The evidence regarding their long-term effectiveness in real-world patients.

This broader review of the research literature does then lead to a dichotomous question for society. Do antidepressants, as they are being prescribed now, “work” for society? Do they produce a public health benefit?”

Read the full article Do Antidepressants Work: A People’s Review of the Evidence here.

The efficacy of a text messaging intervention for anxiety and depression among young people

One of Engage Aotearoa’s recovery resources, the Small Victories challenge, was included in the pilot of a text-messaging programme for young people with depression and anxiety at Youthline. The results of the evaluation were published last year in the Children and Youth Services Review.

Abstract
Background: Depression and anxiety are among the most commonly experienced mental health issues faced by young people in Aotearoa, New Zealand. Considerable barriers exist that prevent young people from engaging with face-to-face mental health services. Young people’s preference for technology-based counselling mediums such as text messaging opens up new pathways for intervention. Objective: A pilot text message-based intervention package was trialed for use by young people to evaluate the potential efficacy of the text package as an intervention for depression and anxiety symptoms.
Method: The text package was piloted using a 10-week longitudinal cohort pilot with 21 young participants (12– 24 years) who demonstrated mild to moderate anxiety and/or depression symptoms.
Results: Participants’ post-package scores were significantly lower than their pre-package scores for both anxiety (Z = −2.83, p = .005, r = −0.65) and depression (Z = −2.49, p = .013, r = −.056). ‘Feeling encouraged and supported’ increased as a result of receiving support from a trained supporter (Z = −2.06, p = .039, r = −0.45), but not from friends/family (Z = −1.72, p = .130, r = −0.37). Anxiety and depression scores did not change as a result of support from either trained supporters or friends/family.
Conclusions: Findings support the potential efficacy of the text package, justify wider trials of the text package, and support the use of text message-based interventions as potentially effective therapies for young people.

Read the full-text article by David Anstiss and Amber Davies here.

New Research Articles in Psychosis Journal

New articles available in Psychosis are online now on Taylor & Francis Online:

A qualitative study of refugees with psychotic symptoms
J.E. Rhodes, N.S. Parrett & O.J. Mason
DOI: 10.1080/17522439.2015.1045547

Does childhood bullying lead to the development of psychotic symptoms? A meta-analysis and review of prospective studies
Twylla Cunningham, Katrina Hoy & Ciaran Shannon
DOI: 10.1080/17522439.2015.1053969

Tales from the madhouse: an insider critique of psychiatric services
William Park
DOI: 10.1080/17522439.2015.1055784

Psychological approaches to understanding and treating auditory hallucinations: From theory to therapy
Lony Schiltz
DOI: 10.1080/17522439.2015.1049199

Together we stand in the bottomless pit – When trauma hits the therapeutic dyad
Y. Spinzy & G. Cohen-Rappaport
DOI: 10.1080/17522439.2015.1052007