Hello and welcome back to another edition of Best 5 Reads! I hope you enjoyed your weekend and had enough time to recharge yourself for a busy week ahead.
Much of modern life, though seeming to promote connectivity, has had the opposite effect of fostering social isolation and loneliness, experts say.
According to the foundation, “Internet and social media engagement exacerbates feelings of loneliness, depression and anxiety.” People rarely relate intimate tales of misery and isolation on Facebook. Rather, social media postings typically feature fun and friendship, and people who lack them are likely to feel left out and bereft. Electronic communications often replace personal, face-to-face interactions and the subtle signals of distress and messages of warmth and caring such interactions can convey.
The Attempted Suicide Short Intervention Program, initially developed in Switzerland in 2013 at Bern University, is the first of its kind to be introduced in the United States. Made possible by a grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association, the program has already found success in Finland, Sweden, and Lithuania. The initial study was promising: It reduced suicidal behavior by 80 percent and hospitalizations by 72 percent.
ASSIP involves three sessions. In the first meeting, the patient is recorded on video telling what researchers call the “narrative,” or the details of the patient’s suicide attempt and any relevant mental health history; the second involves the patient and doctor watching and discussing the recording and filling in gaps as needed; the third produces an individualized treatment plan with coping strategies. Following the last meeting, the doctor sends the patient a personalized handwritten letter every three months for a year, and one letter every six months in the second year. The letters strengthen the patient-doctor relationship and may reduce future suicide risk: In the two-year follow-up to the study, the group receiving letters made only five suicide attempts, compared to the control group, which made 41.
Ketamine has been used as an anesthetic for 50 years, and for decades the clinicians prescribing it have noticed sudden, appreciable anti-suicide and antidepressant effects in their patients. Case reports of desperate suicidal depression relieved within half an hour were discussed in the waning years of the 20th century, but actual research papers with small trials have only started trickling in within the last two decades.
An exploration of findings from contemporary research that hint at the unexplored hallucinogenic potential of ketamine and considerations for future investigation.
These data may be useful to clinicians in gaining insight on the potential risks of cannabis use among their patients with anxiety or mood disorders.
Thank you and see you tomorrow for another edition of Best of 5 Reads.