The field of psychiatry has always been one of the most interesting fields of science, and it is a discipline that is constantly changing and developing. More importantly, psychiatrists around the world are striving to help people every day. Unlike other scientific fields that are purely theoretically and confined to labs, the field of psychiatry has a real, genuine impact on people’s lives.
Psychiatrists are constantly learning new things every day, and this field continues to evolve around the world. With new methods and strategies, these professionals can make themselves even more effective when helping people who may be dealing with mental health issues. Some of the most exciting developments in this field have come about within the last few years. Of course, if you struggle with mental health issues, you should always seek psychiatry advice from a reputable online source, such as BetterHelp.
Brain Imaging Could Help Predict PTSD After Brain Injury
PTSD is one of the most complex psychiatric disorders, and many people around the world struggle with it. Many researchers are still puzzled about how its symptoms arise, and the onset of PTSD can be quite unpredictable. Some of the most troubling symptoms of PTSD include anxiety and depression, as well as cognitive disturbances. PTSD can be triggered by both physical and psychological trauma (or both).
A 2020 study found that magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can find the signs of PTSD among people with traumatic brain injury (TBI). Researchers used MRI to search for specific biomarkers that they believed were indicative of PTSD. It is believed that early detection of these biomarkers can aid psychiatrists as they treat people with PTSD, leading to earlier intervention and better overall outcomes.
Psychiatry “Bible” Called Into Question
Otherwise known as the “DSM,” the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is now in its fifth edition. Dubbed the “Psychiatry Bible” by many, the DSM is the product of more than ten years of research, and it serves as a reference point for countless psychiatrists around the globe. Despite the “gold standard” reputation of the DSM, many leading psychiatrists are now asking questions about whether this manual is truly effective.
Among those who have criticized the DSM are former NIHM director Thomas Insel and many other leading figures. These individuals have criticized the DSM for several reasons, but the most common sources of concern include vague symptom lists, ambiguous diagnoses, and an overall lack of reliability. These concerns largely stem from the fact that the DSM’s diagnoses are determined by consensus within the psychiatric community and not genuine scientific discoveries. Although huge portions of the DSM are not based on scientific data, many organizations and leading figures continue to argue for its continued use in the wider psychiatric community.
New Treatment Arises for Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia is one of the most serious psychiatric disorders, and it is associated with severe hallucinations and psychosis. Treatment options for schizophrenia are quickly advancing. Many patients can live relatively normal lives with the help of medication. One of the newest treatment options is a transdermal patch, the first of its kind for schizophrenia treatment.
Designed for the treatment of adults with the disorder, the SECUADO asenapine transdermal system was developed by Noven Pharmaceuticals. The treatment is now in phase 3 of its trials. This approach proves to be quite effective, with significant improvement in the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale. One of the most promising aspects of this treatment system is the fact that it is extremely non-intrusive. Many other treatment options involve injections and other less convenient delivery methods.
Maladaptive Daydreaming is the New Buzzword for Psychiatry
Almost everyone daydreams, and at first, it might seem like there’s nothing harmful about it. However, the psychiatric community has put forth a new “buzzword” taking the internet by storm: maladaptive daydreaming. Simply put, this type of daydreaming is harmful. Spending too much time in the “fantasy world” can be incredibly disruptive, and it’s quite unhealthy. Unfortunately, people find themselves engaging in maladaptive daydreaming more than ever due to the rise of Covid-19 and subsequent quarantines.
While leading psychiatrists agree that daydreaming is healthy, they also state that it can become unhealthy when it interferes with your ability to function normally. Some are even suggesting that maladaptive daydreaming is a form of mental disorder in and of itself in the field of psychiatry. For some patients, maladaptive daydreaming begins to take up hours and hours of their time each day. Engaging in these maladaptive daydreams can become addictive and compulsive. Some patients may get angry when they are forced to leave their fantasies and engage in the real world. Researchers still aren’t sure why maladaptive daydreaming occurs, but there is a link between this behavior and anxiety, depression, ADHD, or OCD.
The Role of Machine Learning in Psychiatry
Artificial intelligence and machine learning have the potential to transform virtually every aspect of our society. The field of psychiatry is certainly no exception. Many researchers are now using machine learning to predict psychosis in patients, and this method can be quite accurate. One study examined high-risk clinical patients with machine learning technology called NeuroMiner to calculate various risk factors.
The results were quite promising, as this machine learning system could predict with 75% accuracy the onset of psychosis. Currently, only 22% of patients classified as clinically high-risk develop symptoms of psychosis within three years. The machine learning software looked for several indicators of possible psychosis, including motor disturbance, nonsupportive family environment during childhood, and reduced facial emotion.
The field of psychiatry is rapidly advancing. These innovations could provide help to millions or even billions of people around the globe. Ensuring positive mental health should be a priority for our world going forward. The onset of the pandemic has shown just how important this is for the average person. Investing in the future of psychiatry is critical. We need to ensure the physical health of our community and its mental health.