NAC Reduces Alcohol Cravings, If Not Use

May 23, 2016 · Posted in Potential Treatments · Comment 

alcohol dependence

The antioxidant N-acetylcysteine (NAC) has been found to reduce many types of habitual behavior, from gambling to drug use to compulsive hair-pulling. A recent study by researcher Gihyun Yoon and colleagues, which was presented at a 2015 scientific meeting, found that while NAC and placebo reduced days of heavy drinking by about the same rates, NAC significantly reduced alcohol cravings and quality of life compared to placebo among participants with alcohol dependence.

In the 8-week study, 44 participants aged 18–65 received either 3600mg/day of NAC or a placebo. This dose of NAC was higher than the 600mg–2400mg doses that have typically been used in research settings, and there were few side effects, confirming that NAC is a safe treatment.

The authors are not sure how NAC produces this effect, but it may be by regulating the neurotransmitter glutamate.

Family Environment, Cognitive Functioning, and Quality of Life Among Depressed Adolescents with Bipolar Disorder

January 9, 2013 · Posted in Current Treatments, Risk Factors · Comment 

family argument

At the 2012 meeting of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Arman Danielyan presented a poster on psychosocial, cognitive, and behavioral characteristics of youth in a depressive phase of bipolar disorder. These adolescents had lower scores on a variety of measures.

Adolescents with bipolar depression had significantly lower scores on 7 of 10 family environment scales measuring the quality of family interaction, communication, and emotional tone. They also exhibited significant impairment in cognitive function, particularly executive functioning, and all domains of psychosocial health were substantially lower than US normative data.

The authors concluded that bipolar depression affects multiple domains of adolescents’ lives including their cognitive, psychosocial, and family functioning. This suggests that the involvement of the whole family in the treatment process would be beneficial.

The impaired cognitive functioning these young people face is associated with lower quality of life, and ways of addressing this better are clearly needed.

Editor’s Note: In a previous BNN we reported on the efficacy of Family Focused Therapy (FFT), which was pioneered by David Miklowitz. This therapy is effective for adolescents and adults with bipolar disorder and for adolescents who are at high risk for the disorder because of two factors: having a parent with the disorder and having preliminary symptoms of bipolar disorder not otherwise specified (BP-NOS), depression, or an anxiety disorder. Kiki Chang, a respected authority on child and adolescent psychiatry, recommends FFT for children and adolescents with bipolar disorder and those at high risk for it.

Persistence of Mild Depression Is Risk Factor for Relapse into Full-Blown Episodes

July 11, 2010 · Posted in Risk Factors · Comment 

In naturalistically treated bipolar patients, depression is three times more prevalent than manic symptoms  (according to studies by Judd et al., Kupka et al., and Ezquiaga et al.). The occurrence of even residual depression or subsyndromal symptoms can be highly impairing, and is a predictor of increased likelihood for subsequent relapse, according to a poster presented by Gitlin et al. at the American Psychiatric Association meeting in San Francisco in May 2009.

These new data support that of a large number of other investigators who have made similar observations, all indicating the importance of attempting to achieve full remission as a major goal of clinical therapeutics in order to decrease likelihood of relapse. Gitlin’s study further indicated that impairment of quality of life in bipolar patients was closely related to the degree of their subsyndromal symptomatology.