American Psychiatric Association, May 20-24

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The 169th American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting

The annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association was held from May 20 to 24 in San Diego and attracted approximately 10,000 participants from around the world, including clinicians, academicians, allied health professionals, and others interested in psychiatry. The conference highlighted recent advances in the prevention, detection, and treatment of psychiatric conditions.

In an effort to determine whether cyberbullying exacerbates mental health conditions among adolescents, Samantha B. Saltz, M.D., of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, and colleagues collected data on the prevalence of social media utilization and cyberbullying victimization in adolescent psychiatric inpatients between the ages of 13 and 16 at Four Winds Hospital in Katonah, N.Y.

"Fifty adolescents who met criteria completed two surveys assessing childhood trauma (the Trauma Symptom Checklist for Children and the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire) and a cyberbullying questionnaire. Twenty percent of children endorsed a history of cyberbullying," Saltz said. "Children who were cyberbullied reported significantly higher levels of depression (P = 0.024), anger (P = 0.016), and dissociation (P = 0.044) than those who were not victims of cyberbullying."

In addition, the investigators found that a history of emotional abuse was significantly associated with being a victim of cyberbullying (P = 0.013).

"Cyberbullying can lead to significant mental health impairments compared to other adolescents treated in an inpatient psychiatric ward," Saltz said. "Considering that adolescents who are admitted to these facilities likely have higher depression and anger symptoms at baseline than adolescents living in the community, we suggest that cyberbullying may exacerbate their existing mental health issues."

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In another study, Cynthia L. Arfken, M.D., of Wayne State University in Detroit, and colleagues found that recently-resettled refugee families from Syria experienced high levels of distress. Specifically, the investigators found that Syrian refugee children who had recently arrived in the United States reported high levels of anxiety symptoms, with 61 percent potentially having an anxiety disorder and 85 percent reporting symptoms of separation anxiety. The level of anxiety was highest among children whose mothers had probable posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD); 58 percent of the mothers had probable PTSD, as did 29 percent of the fathers.

"Mental health and primary care providers need to know that Syrian refugees are experiencing high levels of distress, and that providers have to be sensitive and alert about exploring trauma exposure and consequences, especially separation anxiety," Arfken said. "Although this study cannot state that the children require therapy and/or medications, interventions aimed at reassuring that the refugees are welcomed and improving their coping with the multitude of losses are clearly needed."

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Robert Fuchs, a medical student at the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in Baton Rouge, and colleagues found that adolescents exposed to natural disasters were more prone to alcohol misuse and emotional trauma compared to their peers with limited exposure to natural disasters. The researchers surveyed more than 450 high school students, age 14 to 18 years, in Louisiana who had been exposed to hurricane Katrina and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill as adolescents.

The investigators found that adolescents exposed to these natural disasters demonstrated higher levels of alcohol misuse and emotional trauma than their peers who were not exposed to these events.

"Chronic disaster exposure has had lasting effects on the mental health of many Louisiana residents, with youths being particularly vulnerable," said Joy Osofsky, Ph.D., of the Louisiana State University in New Orleans, who presented the study. "Communities in disaster prone regions should ensure that exposed youths have access to behavioral health services and increased social support to minimize the likelihood of developing long-standing psychiatric issues, including drug addiction and chronic anxiety."

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APA: Internet-Based CBT Can Be Helpful in Depression

FRIDAY, June 2, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Online cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) programs can help some people with mild or moderate depression, according to research presented recently at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association, held from May 20 to 24 in San Diego.

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