By BENEDICT CAREYOne of the most widely used treatments for the eating disorder anorexia nervosa, the antidepressant Prozac, works no better than dummy pills in preventing recurrence in young women who have recovered from it, researchers are reporting today.The study, the most rigorous to date to test the use of medication for anorexia, should alter treatment for an illness that is often devastatingly chronic and that has a higher mortality than any other psychiatric disorder, experts said. Fewer than a third of the study's participants, who also received regular psychotherapy, remained healthy for a year or more, whether they received drug treatment or not, the study found. An estimated 1 percent of Americans, or about three million people, mostly young women, will at some point suffer from the self-starvation and obsessive anxiety about weight that characterize anorexia, and surveys find that about two-thirds of them receive treatment with Prozac or similar antidepressants, which are considered generally interchangeable. Research suggests that the drugs can be useful in helping people recover from bulimia nervosa, an eating disorder involving bingeing and purging that causes less dramatic weight loss than anorexia. But the new findings put to rest hopes from earlier work that these benefits might carry over to anorexia, experts said."Physicians who are trying to help people with anorexia remain symptom-free should not count on getting substantial benefits from antidepressants," said Dr. B. Timothy Walsh, the lead author of the study, who is director of eating disorders research at the New York State Psychiatric Institute at the Columbia University Medical Center."Doctors should be looking at other things, like good psychological treatments," Dr. Walsh said.In the study, appearing in The Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers from Columbia and the University of Toronto monitored 93 women, ages 16 to 45, who, after receiving intensive psychotherapy, gained enough weight to fall into the normal range. Half the group then received daily doses of Prozac, and the other half took dummy pills. All of them continued in weekly psychotherapy, where they practiced techniques to examine and diffuse irrational assumptions about weight and body image. After a year, 26 percent of those on Prozac and 31 percent of those taking placebo pills remained in a healthy weight range, the study found. The differences between the two groups, in weight and on measures of beliefs about food and weight gain, were not large enough to be significant."This study will change practice, beginning with the community of doctors who specialize in eating disorders and spreading more broadly" to other doctors, said Dr. Scott Crow, a psychiatrist at the University of Minnesota, who wrote an editorial accompanying the study. Dr. Walter Kaye, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh, said the new findings should not rule out the use of antidepressant treatment altogether. In 2001, Dr. Kaye published a small study suggesting that Prozac did help some young women who had recovered from anorexia keep on weight. They were women who did not binge — they ate very little — and did not receive psychotherapy. "For patients like these, who don't have access to psychological treatments, who have a choice between medication or nothing at all, I think the medication could help," Dr. Kaye said. All agree that the new findings emphasize the importance of thinking creatively about treatment. The best psychotherapy available, said Dr. Crow, helps only about a third of anorexia patients recover. Another third learn to moderate and live with their aversions to food, while the rest develop a chronic disorder, putting them at high risk for suicide or death from starvation.Researchers are experimenting with several new therapeutic techniques. One is a type of family therapy for adolescents, in which parents take charge of all meals. The parents decide how much their daughter or son should eat — based on specific guidelines — and reward good behavior, if appropriate. Several studies suggest that this approach can lead to sustained recovery in some teenagers. Some evidence suggests that this kind of close monitoring by a therapist can also help adults with the disorder. Psychiatrists have experimented, so far in vain, with a wide variety of drugs for treatment, including antipsychotic medications, so-called mood-stabilizing drugs like lithium and agents similar to the active ingredients in marijuana. "It's disappointing, really," Dr. Walsh said. "We would like to do better. We need to do better."
IN THE WORKPLACE
Research on Depression in the Workplace.
For more information please click here
Mental Health Matters Journal for Psychiatrists & GP's
Click here for more info
If you are a journalist writing a story contact Kayla on 011 234 4837 firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s the small things that make a BIG difference. Sign up for the “My School | My Village | My Planet” Card and start making a difference to Mental Health in South Africa today.
Literacy is a luxury that many of us take for granted. That is why SADAG created SPEAKING BOOKS and revolutionized the way healthcare information is delivered to low literacy communities.
The customizable 16-page book, read by local celebrity audio recordings, ensures that vital health and social messages can be seen, heard, read and understood by everyone across the world.
We started with books on Teen Suicide prevention , HIV, AIDS and Depression, Understanding Mental Health and have developed over 100+ titles, such as TB, Malaria, Polio, Vaccines for over 45 countries.
- Click here to see speaking books in action
- Click here for sample book on clinical trials
- Click here to connect to international site
- Speaking books for Health Care YouTube
Dr Reddy's Help Line
0800 21 22 23
Cipla 24hr Mental Health Helpline
0800 456 789
Pharmadynamics Police &Trauma Line
0800 20 50 26
Adcock Ingram Depression and Anxiety Helpline
0800 70 80 90
0800 55 44 33
Department of Social Development Substance Abuse Line 24hr helpline
0800 12 13 14
Suicide Crisis Line
0800 567 567
SADAG Mental Health Line
011 234 4837
Akeso Psychiatric Response Unit 24 Hour
0861 435 787
Cipla Whatsapp Chat Line
(9am-4pm, 7 days a week)
076 882 2775
24 hour Healthcare Workers Care Network Helpline
0800 21 21 21
0800 515 515
EMERGENCY Contact Numbers for Students in South Africa - Click here
MENTAL HEALTH CALENDAR 2021
Teen Suicide Prevention Week
14 - 21 February
World Bipolar Day
SA Bipolar Awareness Day
Substance Abuse Awareness Day
Mental Health Awareness Month
1 – 31 July
Panic Awareness Day
World Suicide Prevention Day
World Mental Health Day
World Mental Awareness Month
1 - 31 October
View our list of informative Infographics.
SADAG KZN Branch
SADAG has an office in Durban with the support of Psychiatrist Dr Suvira Ramlall and Clinical Psychologist, Suntosh Pillay. Administrated by Lynn Norton
The KZN Branch is deeply committed to:
- Launching new Support Groups
- Workshops on Mental Health
- School Talks on Suicide Prevention
- Corporate Wellness For KZN companies
Want to become a volunteer counsellor? Contact Senzi 011 234 4837
Click here for more information.
If you are interested in starting a Support Group, please contact Krystle on 0800 21 22 23.
To find a Support Group in your area, please phone SADAG on 0800 21 22 23.
Click here for more information
Mental Health & Depression Book
A book called Surfacing, in which Marion Scher has sat down with a number of South Africans to share their stories of their personal struggles with mental health issues.
Want to know more? Click Here