Mental illness care 'close to a revolution'
Jeremy Laurance is a writer on health issues. He is former health editor of The Independent and the i and has covered the specialism for more than 20 years. He thinks the harm medicine does is under-appreciated, the harm it prevents over-rated, and that cycling works better than most drugs. He was named Specialist Journalist of the Year in the 2011 British Press Awards.
Thursday 01 September 2011
A revolution in the treatment of psychiatric disorders involving the use of video games, brain surgery, new forms of therapy and drugs will transform the care of the mentally ill in the coming decades, America's leading expert in the field has said.
Professor Thomas Insel, director of the National Institutes of Mental Health, the world's largest psychiatric research organisation which distributes $1.5bn (£1bn) annually in research grants, said mental disorders were now being seen as disorders of the brain and the change was having a profound effect on how they were diagnosed and treated. "We are at a tipping point," he said. "We are close to a revolution in how we think about these disorders. Things are changing in a very profound way. The entire intellectual ground is shifting."
Anti-depressant drugs used to treat depression worked only against the symptoms, not the cause, and treatment mostly came too late to affect the course of the disease. But advances in imaging had enabled researchers to see problems in brain circuits which could be mapped, opening up new possibilities for treatment.
Experiments had shown that the powerful veterinary tranquilliser ketamine lifted depression within hours compared with the four to six weeks for traditional anti-depressants, suggesting new treatment pathways could be explored, he said.
Jo from Northern Ireland was less than impressed by Russell Brand's attempt to stage a publicity stunt
Life & Style blogs
Alexander McQueen at auction: What makes a really great piece of fashion?
A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
No female ejaculation, please, we’re British: a history of porn and censorship
Stressed nurses are 'forced to choose between health of patients and their own'
Pornhub: Kim Kardashian's sex tape is the most-watched porn video of all-time
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
£20000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to recent expansion and gro...
£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...
£9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: A rewarding opportunity to work with an easy-...