Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences; Director, OCD Clinic; author (Virtually You: The Dangerous Powers of the e-Personality, Compulsive Acts: A Psychiatrist's Tales of Ritual and Obsession, Mental Health in the Digital Age: Grave Dangers, Great Promise, Impulse Control Disorders).
- OCD, impulse control disorders, anxiety disorders, problematic use of electronic media, telepsychiatry
Clinical Professor, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Residency:Stanford University School of Medicine (2002) CA
Board Certification: Psychiatry, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (2004)
Internship:UCSF Medical Center (1999) CA
Medical Education:Stanford University School of Medicine (1998) CA
Current Research and Scholarly Interests
OCD, impulse control, problematic Internet use, telemedicine, telepsychiatry
Internet addiction: reappraisal of an increasingly inadequate concept.
2017; 22 (1): 7-13
This article re-examines the popular concept of Internet addiction, discusses the key problems associated with it, and proposes possible alternatives. The concept of Internet addiction is inadequate for several reasons. Addiction may be a correct designation only for the minority of individuals who meet the general criteria for addiction, and it needs to be better demarcated from various patterns of excessive or abnormal use. Addiction to the Internet as a medium does not exist, although the Internet as a medium may play an important role in making some behaviors addictive. The Internet can no longer be separated from other potentially overused media, such as text messaging and gaming platforms. Internet addiction is conceptually too heterogeneous because it pertains to a variety of very different behaviors. Internet addiction should be replaced by terms that refer to the specific behaviors (eg, gaming, gambling, or sexual activity), regardless of whether these are performed online or offline.
View details for DOI 10.1017/S1092852915000863
View details for PubMedID 26831456
Theory-Based Formative Research on an Anti-Cyberbullying Victimization Intervention Message.
Journal of health communication
2017; 22 (2): 124-134
Cyberbullying is a common byproduct of the digital revolution with serious consequences to victims. Unfortunately, there is a dearth of empirically based methods to confront it. This study used social cognitive theory to design and test an intervention message aimed at persuading college students to abstain from retaliation, seek social support, save evidence, and notify authorities-important victim responses identified and recommended in previous research. Using a posttest-only control group design, this study tested the effectiveness of an intervention message in changing college students' perceived susceptibility to and perceived severity of cyberbullying as well as their self-efficacy, response efficacy, attitudes, and behavioral intentions toward each recommended response in future episodes of cyberbullying. Results indicated that the intervention message caused participants in the experimental condition to report significantly higher susceptibility, but not perceived severity, to cyberbullying than those in the control condition. The intervention message also caused expected changes in all outcomes except self-efficacy for not retaliating and in all outcomes for seeking social support, saving evidence, and notifying an authority. Implications for message design and future research supporting evidence-based anti-cyberbullying health communication campaigns are discussed.
View details for DOI 10.1080/10810730.2016.1252818
View details for PubMedID 28103179
- The rise of online impulsivity: a public health issue. The lancet. Psychiatry 2016; 3 (11): 1014-1015
Naltrexone: A Pan-Addiction Treatment?
2016; 30 (8): 719-733
Addiction is a major public health problem with few efficacious and safe treatments. The goal of this review is to provide an evidence-based assessment of the therapeutic role of the opioid antagonist naltrexone across the addiction spectrum-substance-based and behavioral. The PubMed database was searched for randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials that investigated the oral or intramuscular long-acting formulation of naltrexone in substance use disorders or behavioral addictions such as pathological gambling, kleptomania, and trichotillomania. Thirty-nine efficacy studies were retrieved, covering alcohol use disorder (n = 22), opioid use disorder (n = 6), nicotine use disorder (n = 5), stimulant use disorder (n = 2), gambling disorder (n = 2), trichotillomania (n = 1), and kleptomania (n = 1). Despite the very different presentations within and between both addiction categories, the data, as a whole, show consistency in favor of naltrexone's relative efficacy and safety. Given the potential benefit and good tolerability revealed in the studies, the high morbidity associated with addiction, and the dearth of alternate treatments, naltrexone would seem like an underutilized treatment option. Further, naltrexone's seemingly broad anti-addiction efficacy supports a shared role for brain opioid pathways in the pathophysiology of addiction, broadly defined. More studies investigating the efficacy and tolerability of naltrexone and other opioid modulators are warranted. Studies should also further examine the effect of combining psychotherapy with naltrexone, as well as the potential role of naltrexone in treating comorbid addictions.
View details for DOI 10.1007/s40263-016-0373-0
View details for PubMedID 27401883
- Technology at the Service of Pediatric Mental Health: Review and Assessment. journal of pediatrics 2016; 171: 20-24
- Working towards an international consensus on criteria for assessing internet gaming disorder: a critical commentary on Petry et al. (2014) ADDICTION 2016; 111 (1): 167-175
- The Bergen Shopping Addiction Scale: reliability and validity of a brief screening test FRONTIERS IN PSYCHOLOGY 2015; 6
Cyberbullying: Review of an Old Problem Gone Viral
JOURNAL OF ADOLESCENT HEALTH
2015; 57 (1): 10-18
Despite being relatively new, cyberbullying is now well recognized as a serious public health problem affecting children and adolescents. Scientific exploration has lagged media attention, but a synthesis of studies across several disciplines permits an understanding of its epidemiology, phenomenology, mental health dimensions, and management tools.To assess current knowledge of cyberbullying, we searched the MEDLINE, PubMed and PsycINFO databases for articles on "cyberbullying" and related designations. The Google search engine was used to capture otherwise unpublished legislative, governmental, and community response data and to help identify relevant books and book chapters.A significant proportion of children and adolescents (20%-40%) have been victims of cyberbullying, with females and sexual minorities seemingly at higher risk. Perpetrators are more likely to be male. By nature of the electronic platform, there seems to be an easier path to the bully-victim phenomenon (victims who become bullies or vice versa) than that in traditional bullying. A nonlinear relationship with age is suggested, but demographic data overall are preliminary. Accompanying psychopathology, including an increasingly well-established link to suicidality, is common. Several prevention and management approaches have been proposed to help prevent cyberbullying or mitigate its effects.Cyberbullying's seeming ubiquity, its disproportionate toll on vulnerable populations (e.g., children and sexual minorities), the link with suicidality, and the expected continued rise in Internet penetrance and connectivity make confronting it an urgent matter. A multipronged approach is most likely to succeed and would include: educational media campaigns; school-based programs; parental oversight and involvement; legislative action; and screening and evidence-based interventions by health care providers, especially pediatricians and mental health professionals.More research is needed into cyberbullying, but available data suggest a serious problem whose consequences are real and should not be dismissed as a "virtual" by-product of an increasingly digitalized childhood and adolescence.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2015.04.011
View details for Web of Science ID 000356620100006
View details for PubMedID 26095405
Telemental health: A status update
2015; 14 (2): 223-230
A rather large body of literature now exists on the use of telemental health services in the diagnosis and management of various psychiatric conditions. This review aims to provide an up-to-date assessment of telemental health, focusing on four main areas: computerized CBT (cCBT), Internet-based CBT (iCBT), virtual reality exposure therapy (VRET), and mobile therapy (mTherapy). Four scientific databases were searched and, where possible, larger, better-designed meta-analyses and controlled trials were highlighted. Taken together, published studies support an expanded role for telepsychiatry tools, with advantages that include increased care access, enhanced efficiency, reduced stigma associated with visiting mental health clinics, and the ability to bypass diagnosis-specific obstacles to treatment, such as when social anxiety prevents a patient from leaving the house. Of technology-mediated therapies, cCBT and iCBT possess the most efficacy evidence, with VRET and mTherapy representing promising but less researched options that have grown in parallel with virtual reality and mobile technology advances. Nonetheless, telepsychiatry remains challenging because of the need for specific computer skills, the difficulty in providing patients with a deep understanding or support, concerns about the "therapeutic alliance", privacy fears, and the well documented problem of patient attrition. Future studies should further test the efficacy, advantages and limitations of technology-enabled CBT, as well as explore the online delivery of other psychotherapeutic and psychopharmacological modalities.
View details for DOI 10.1002/wps.20218
View details for Web of Science ID 000356015600022
View details for PubMedID 26043340
Compulsive Buying Disorder: A Review and Update
CURRENT PHARMACEUTICAL DESIGN
2014; 20 (25): 4021-4025
View details for Web of Science ID 000338451800005
Compulsive buying disorder: a review and update.
Current pharmaceutical design
2014; 20 (25): 4021-4025
Compulsive buying disorder (CBD) refers to the chronic purchasing of unneeded or unwanted items, causing significant negative consequences. There are no established criteria for CBD, and operational definitions have relied on similarities with OCD, substance use disorders, and impulse control disorders. Compulsive buying disorder is common, affecting 5.8% of the general population, according to one study. Typically, CBD has early onset, frequent comorbidities, and a chronic course. The etiology of CBD is unknown, with biological, psychological and sociocultural factors proposed as likely contributors. Treatment data are limited and suggest addressing comorbid conditions and considering cognitive behavioral therapy, financial and family counseling, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, and naltrexone, among other possible interventions, to target CBD. Beyond treatment, educational, legislative and family-based public policy initiatives can likely help individuals with CBD and other excessive spenders.
View details for PubMedID 24001296
Problematic Internet use: an overview
2010; 9 (2): 85-90
There is wide agreement that the Internet can serve as a tool that enhances well-being. It is more difficult, however, to find consensus around the issue of problematic Internet use. That may be in part because scientific investigation has lagged far behind technological advances and media attention. The diagnostic schemas that have been proposed since 1996, and the screening tools that have been developed, stress similarities with substance use, impulse control disorders, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Prevalence figures vary as a function of the diagnostic definition used, the age group studied, and whether the surveys were conducted online. Studies suggest high comorbidity rates with mood disorders and, among younger individuals, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Treatment should address any comorbid conditions present, as those may be causing, or exacerbating, problematic Internet use. Interventions that may specifically target problematic Internet use include cognitive behavioral therapy and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, but detailed guidelines must await further studies. For a medium that has so radically changed how we conduct our lives, the Internet's effects on our psychology remain understudied. More research is needed into the pathophysiology, epidemiology, natural course, and treatment of problematic Internet use. In addition, the more subtle psychological changes, such as disinhibition, that seem to characterize people's online behavior also deserve attention, even if they cannot be seen as necessarily pathological.
View details for Web of Science ID 000279039200004
View details for PubMedID 20671890
The prevalence of pathologic skin picking in US adults
2010; 51 (2): 183-186
Despite increasing recognition of the potentially severe medical and psychosocial costs of pathologic skin picking (PSP), no large-sample, randomized investigation of its prevalence in a national population has been conducted.Two thousand five hundred and thirteen US adults were interviewed during the spring and summer of 2004 in a random-sample, national household computer-assisted phone survey of PSP phenomenology and associated functional impairment. Respondents were classified for subsequent analysis according to proposed diagnostic criteria.Of all respondents, 16.6% endorsed lifetime PSP with noticeable skin damage; 60.3% of these denied picking secondary to an inflammation or itch from a medical condition. One fifth to one quarter of those with lifetime PSP not related to a medical condition endorsed tension or nervousness before picking, tension or nervousness when attempting to resist picking, and pleasure or relief during or after picking. A total of 1.4% of our entire sample satisfied our criteria of picking with noticeable skin damage not attributable to another condition and with associated distress or psychosocial impairment. Pickers satisfying these latter criteria differed from other respondents in demographics (age, marital status) and both picking phenomenology and frequency.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.comppsych.2009.04.003
View details for Web of Science ID 000285923000014
View details for PubMedID 20152300
Double-Blind Study of Dextroamphetamine Versus Caffeine Augmentation for Treatment-Resistant Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
15th Annual Obsessive Compulsive Foundation Conference
PHYSICIANS POSTGRADUATE PRESS. 2009: 1530–35
Two small, double-blind, placebo-controlled, single-dose, crossover studies found dextroamphetamine (d-amphetamine) 30 mg clearly superior to placebo in relieving symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). We conducted a 5-week, double-blind, caffeine-controlled study to test the hypothesis that d-amphetamine, added after an adequate selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) or serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) trial, would be more effective than caffeine in reducing residual OCD symptoms of moderate or greater severity.Between August 2006 and February 2008, we enrolled adults with DSM-IV OCD and a Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale (Y-BOCS) score of >or= 20 after >or= 12 weeks of adequate treatment with an SSRI or SNRI. Subjects were randomly assigned to double-blind d-amphetamine 30 mg/d or caffeine 300 mg/d added to their SSRI/SNRI and other medications. Responders (first week mean Y-BOCS score decrease of >or= 20%) entered the study's 4-week double-blind extension phase.We enrolled 24 subjects, 11 women and 13 men, with a mean (SD) age of 40 (13.2) years and mean baseline Y-BOCS scores of 26.5 (4.1) for the d-amphetamine group (n = 12) and 29.1 (4.0) for the caffeine group (n = 12). At the end of week 1, 6 of 12 d-amphetamine subjects (50%) and 7 of 12 caffeine subjects (58%) were responders. At week 5, the responders' mean Y-BOCS score decreases were, for the d-amphetamine group (last observation carried forward), 48% (range, 20%-80%); and, for the caffeine group, 55% (range, 27%-89%). Obsessive-compulsive disorder and depression improvement were independent. The double-blind remained intact. No subject discontinued the study due to side effects.Larger, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials of both d-amphetamine and caffeine augmentation are needed in OCD subjects inadequately responsive to adequate doses of an SSRI or SNRI.clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT00363298.
View details for DOI 10.4088/JCP.08m04605
View details for Web of Science ID 000272206200007
View details for PubMedID 19573497
Memantine Augmentation in Treatment-Resistant Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder An Open-Label Trial
JOURNAL OF CLINICAL PSYCHOPHARMACOLOGY
2009; 29 (1): 51-55
Data from the fields of genetics, neuroimaging, and animal studies, along with case reports and small clinical trials, point to a role for glutamatergic dysfunction in the pathophysiology of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). We report on the first open-label study to test the hypothesis that memantine, a noncompetitive glutamate antagonist, will result in a clinically meaningful reduction in OCD symptoms in adults with treatment-resistant OCD.We recruited 15 adult subjects with Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition-defined OCD and a baseline Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale (Y-BOCS) of 18 or higher, who had failed to respond to treatment with a serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SRI), given at an adequate and stable dose for at least 12 weeks. The duration of memantine treatment was 12 weeks, and the dose was gradually increased to a target of 20 mg/d. Response was defined as a 25% or greater reduction in the Y-BOCS score at study end and a Clinical Global Impression-Improvement scale rating of "much" or "very much" improved.Data from 14 subjects were analyzable. Mean baseline Y-BOCS score was 27.4 (SD, 5.0). Subjects had failed an average of 2.8 (SD, 1.8) SRI trials; 6 subjects had failed augmentation with atypical antipsychotics. At study end, 6 subjects (42.9%) were responders, and response was achieved by EOW4. Responders had significantly lower baseline Y-BOCS scores (2-tailed t tests, P < 0.05, t = 2.2) and had failed fewer SRIs (P
View details for DOI 10.1097/JCP.0b013e318192e9a4
View details for Web of Science ID 000262558200011
View details for PubMedID 19142108
Duloxetine treatment of dysthymia and double depression: an open-label trial
JOURNAL OF CLINICAL PSYCHIATRY
2007; 68 (5): 761-765
Although not as common as major depressive disorder, dysthymia is not rare and is associated with substantial impairment. Antidepressants and some psychotherapies are often effective. We explored the efficacy of the antidepressant duloxetine, a serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor.Between February 2005 and April 2006, we recruited 24 adults with DSM-IV dysthymia or dysthymia and concurrent major depression ("double depression") who had an entry score of > or = 17 on the clinician-rated Inventory for Depressive Symptomatology (IDS-C). We excluded subjects with significant medical illnesses and those requiring other psychotropic agents or undergoing psychotherapy. Subjects received duloxetine 60 mg/day for 6 weeks, increased as tolerated to 120 mg/day for the remainder of the 12-week trial for those with an inadequate treatment response.The subjects' mean +/- SD IDS-C scores decreased significantly from baseline (27.3 +/- 6.3) to endpoint (7.8 +/- 7.4, Student t = 12.38, df = 23, p < or = .001). The IDS-C response rate (intent-to-treat [ITT]) was 83% (20/24); the remission rate (ITT) was 79% (19/24). Among study completers, these rates were 89% (17/19) and 84% (16/19). Five subjects (21%) discontinued for side effects.Duloxetine appears to be an effective and well-tolerated treatment for dysthymia and double depression. A double-blind, placebo-controlled study is under way. If duloxetine is found to be effective, studies powered to detect potential, clinically important differences between duloxetine and other antidepressants will be needed.ClinicalTrials.gov identifier NCT00185575.
View details for Web of Science ID 000246740300033
View details for PubMedID 17503986
Escitalopram treatment of kleptomania: An open-label trial followed by double-blind discontinuation
18th Congress of the European-College-of-Neuropsychopharmacology
PHYSICIANS POSTGRADUATE PRESS. 2007: 422–27
Kleptomania has no definitive treatment. Mixed reports of benefit from openly prescribed selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors led us to design a double-blind, placebo-controlled discontinuation trial of escitalopram.Between December 2002 and March 2005, we recruited 24 subjects aged >or=20 years with DSM-IV kleptomania of >or=1 year's duration. We excluded subjects with organic mental disorders, psychoses, substance or alcohol abuse, suicidal risk, bipolar I or II disorder, anorexia nervosa, or antisocial personality disorder and subjects requiring other psychotropic medications. Our primary outcome measure was theft episodes per week. A responder was defined as a subject having a > 50% decrease in theft episodes per week and a Clinical Global Impressions-Improvement scale score of "much improved" or "very much improved." Escitalopram was started at 10 mg/day and increased as necessary and tolerated after week 4 to 20 mg/day. At the end of week 7, responders were randomly assigned to a 1-week taper followed by 16 weeks of placebo or to continuation of treatment for 17 weeks at their week 7 escitalopram dose.Nineteen subjects (79%) were week 7 responders and 15 were randomly assigned. Five subjects (4 responders) withdrew early: 1 for unrelated illness, 1 for protocol deviation, 2 for side effects, and 1 for withdrawn consent. Three (43%) of 7 escitalopram subjects relapsed compared with 4 (50%) of 8 placebo subjects (Fisher exact test p = .38).The high response rate during open-label escitalopram treatment was not better maintained by double-blind escitalopram than by placebo. Kleptomania may be a heterogeneous pathological behavior better treated with pharma-cotherapy in some cases and psychologically or with combined treatment in others.
View details for Web of Science ID 000245338200011
View details for PubMedID 17388713
Potential markers for problematic Internet use: A telephone survey of 2,513 adults
2006; 11 (10): 750-755
The Internet has positively altered many aspects of life. However, for a subset of users, the medium may have become a consuming problem that exhibits features of impulse control disorders recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition.This is the first large-scale epidemiological study of problematic Internet use through a random-digit-dial telephone survey of 2,513 adults in the United States. Given the lack of validated criteria, survey questions were extrapolated from established diagnostic criteria for impulse control disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and substance abuse. Four possible diagnostic criteria sets were generated. The least restrictive set required the respondent to report an unsuccessful effort to reduce Internet use or a history of remaining online longer than intended, Internet use interfering with relationships, and a preoccupation with Internet use when offline.The response rate was 56.3%. Interviews averaged 11.3 minutes in duration. From 3.7% to 13% of respondents endorsed > or =1 markers consistent with problematic Internet use. The least restrictive proposed diagnostic criteria set yielded a prevalence of problematic Internet use of 0.7%.Potential markers of problematic Internet use seem present in a sizeable proportion of adults. Future studies should delineate whether problematic Internet use constitutes a pathological behavior that meets criteria for an independent disorder, or represents a symptom of other psychopathologies.
View details for Web of Science ID 000241447100017
View details for PubMedID 17008818
Estimated prevalence of compulsive buying behavior in the United States
AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PSYCHIATRY
2006; 163 (10): 1806-1812
Compulsive buying (uncontrolled urges to buy, with resulting significant adverse consequences) has been estimated to affect from 1.8% to 16% of the adult U.S. population. To the authors' knowledge, no study has used a large general population sample to estimate its prevalence.The authors conducted a random sample, national household telephone survey in the spring and summer of 2004 and interviewed 2,513 adults. The interviews addressed buying attitudes and behaviors, their consequences, and the respondents' financial and demographic data. The authors used a clinically validated screening instrument, the Compulsive Buying Scale, to classify respondents as either compulsive buyers or not.The rate of response was 56.3%, which compares favorably with rates in federal national health surveys. The cooperation rate was 97.6%. Respondents included a higher percentage of women and people ages 55 and older than the U.S. adult population. The estimated point prevalence of compulsive buying among respondents was 5.8% (by gender: 6.0% for women, 5.5% for men). The gender-adjusted prevalence rate was 5.8%. Compared with other respondents, compulsive buyers were younger, and a greater proportion reported incomes under 50,000 US dollars. They exhibited more maladaptive responses on most consumer behavior measures and were more than four times less likely to pay off credit card balances in full.A study using clinically valid interviews is needed to evaluate these results. The emotional and functional toll of compulsive buying and the frequency of comorbid psychiatric disorders suggests that studies of treatments and social interventions are warranted.
View details for Web of Science ID 000240906800026
View details for PubMedID 17012693
Pulse-loaded intravenous clomipramine in treatment-resistant obsessive-compulsive disorder
JOURNAL OF CLINICAL PSYCHOPHARMACOLOGY
2006; 26 (1): 79-83
Small studies have suggested that intravenous clomipramine (CMI) may be more effective and induce faster improvement in obsessive-compulsive disorder than do orally administered serotonin reuptake inhibitors.To test these hypotheses, we conducted a randomized, double-blind, double-dummy study of pulse-loaded intravenous versus oral CMI, followed by open-label oral CMI for 12 weeks.We enrolled a volunteer and referred group of 34 adults with a primary diagnosis of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition obsessive-compulsive disorder of > or =1-year duration and Yale-Brown Obsessive Scale score of > or =20. Eligible subjects had failed > or =2 adequate serotonin reuptake inhibitor trials. Subjects received pulse loaded CMI 150 mg by vein or by mouth on day 1 and 200 mg on day 2. Oral CMI began on day 6 at 200 mg/d and was increased by 25 mg every 4 days to 250 mg/d, as tolerated, for 12 weeks.Adverse events led to one withdrawal during oral pulse loading and 5 during open-label oral treatment. Intravenous pulse loading did not induce a more rapid or greater Yale-Brown Obsessive Scale score decrease than oral pulse loading at day 6 or by week 12. Day 6 and week 12 improvement were unrelated to plasma drug or metabolite concentrations. Pulse loading itself seemed to induce more rapid and greater improvement than expected in treatment-resistant obsessive-compulsive disorder.Further investigation of oral pulse-loading regimens in treatment-resistant obsessive-compulsive disorder is warranted.
View details for DOI 10.1097/01.jcp.0000195112.24769.b3
View details for Web of Science ID 000234773700017
View details for PubMedID 16415712
Mirtazapine for obsessive-compulsive disorder: An open trial followed by double-blind discontinuation
JOURNAL OF CLINICAL PSYCHIATRY
2005; 66 (4): 515-520
Many patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) experience little response to standard treatment with serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Mirtazapine enhances serotonergic function by a mechanism distinct from reuptake inhibition. Because a pilot study suggested effectiveness of mirtazapine in OCD, we conducted a controlled trial.We recruited 30 subjects, 15 treatmentnaive and 15 treatment-experienced, with DSM-IV OCD of > or =1 year's duration and a Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale (YBOCS) score of > or =20. In the 12-week, open-label phase, subjects received mirtazapine starting at 30 mg/day and titrated over 2 weeks as tolerated to 60 mg/day. At week 12, responders (YBOCS score decrease > 25%) were randomly assigned, double-blind, to continue mirtazapine or switch to placebo for 8 weeks, including a 1-week, double-blind taper week for placebo subjects.In the open-label phase, the mean +/-SD YBOCS score fell from 28.3 +/-3.7 to 20.3 +/-8.5 (paired samples t = 4.81, p < .0001). Four subjects (13.3%) discontinued for side effects. Sixteen subjects (53.3%) (8 treatmentnaive, 8 treatment-experienced) were responders and 15 agreed to randomization. Response was independent of comorbid mood disorders. In the 8-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled discontinuation phase, the mirtazapine group's mean YBOCS score fell a mean +/-SD of 2.6 +/-8.7 points while the placebo group's mean score rose a mean +/-SD of 9.1 +/-7.5 points (Mann Whitney U = 6.5, p = .005, 1-tailed). All other outcome measures were consistent with mirtazapine's superiority versus placebo.Mirtazapine may be an effective pharmacotherapy for OCD. If our results are replicated, larger double-blind studies would be indicated.
View details for Web of Science ID 000228491400015
View details for PubMedID 15816795
Double-blind treatment with oral morphine in treatment-resistant obsessive-compulsive disorder
JOURNAL OF CLINICAL PSYCHIATRY
2005; 66 (3): 353-359
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) often responds inadequately to serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SRIs). A case series reported substantial response to once-weekly oral morphine. We conducted a placebo-controlled, double-blind trial to investigate whether once-weekly oral morphine is effective in SRI-resistant OCD.Subjects with DSM-IV-defined OCD for > or =3 years who had failed > or =2 adequate SRI trials and had a Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale (Y-BOCS) score of > or =20 were recruited. Current medications were continued. Subjects were randomly assigned to random-order, 2-week blocks of once-weekly morphine, lorazepam, and placebo. Week 2 dosage was increased, decreased, or maintained depending on response and side effects.We enrolled 23 subjects, who had failed 2 to 6 SRI trials. The median screening Y-BOCS score was 29. The median Y-BOCS score after morphine (highest dose) was 25 (median decrease = 13%). Seven subjects (30%) were responders (Y-BOCS decreases > or =25%). The median Y-BOCS score after lorazepam (highest dose) was 27 (median decrease = 6%). Four subjects (17%) responded to lorazepam; 1 was a morphine responder. The median Y-BOCS score after placebo (highest dose) was 27 (median decrease = 7%), and no subject responded. Responses differed significantly among the 3 conditions (Friedman 2-way analysis of variance, chir(2) = 13.92, df = 2, p = .01). Wilcoxon matched-pairs signed-rank tests (T = 56.5, p = .05) showed significance for morphine versus placebo but not lorazepam versus placebo.Our results support the hypothesis that once-weekly oral morphine can reduce symptoms in some treatment-resistant OCD patients. The mechanism of action is unknown. Further studies of mu-agonists and glutamate antagonists are warranted.
View details for Web of Science ID 000227744700011
View details for PubMedID 15766302
- A case of kleptomania correlating with premenstrual dysphoria JOURNAL OF CLINICAL PSYCHIATRY 2004; 65 (5): 725-726
Overview of Kleptomania and Phenomenological Description of 40 Patients.
Primary care companion to the Journal of clinical psychiatry
2004; 6 (6): 244-247
BACKGROUND: Despite its considerable personal toll and its impact on the economy and the legal system, kleptomania is an understudied psychiatric disorder. METHOD: We review what is known about the epidemiology, course, and treatment of kleptomania and describe 40 patients meeting DSM-IV criteria for the disorder. RESULTS: Our data suggest a female preponderance, with an early age at onset and most often a continuous course. No other gender-based differences were seen. The majority of our subjects had not received treatment for kleptomania despite often having sought help for comorbid psychiatric conditions, most commonly major depressive disorder. Our data confirm kleptomania's devastating effects on personal and professional lives and serious legal consequences, reflected in high arrest and incarceration rates. Because patients with kleptomania rarely seek psychiatric help for the disorder, we indicate how other health care providers can screen for it, possibly as part of taking patients' legal and social histories, and suggest treatments. CONCLUSION: Awareness of kleptomania, empathy toward those afflicted, and rigorous research into treatment options are needed to mitigate kleptomania's personal and societal costs.
View details for PubMedID 15614312
A 1-year naturalistic follow-up of patients with compulsive shopping disorder
JOURNAL OF CLINICAL PSYCHIATRY
2003; 64 (8): 946-950
Compulsive shopping disorder is increasingly recognized as a treatable impulse-control disorder. We report the first long-term, naturalistic follow-up of patients with compulsive shopping disorder, which examined the course of illness over 1 year in a cohort that had completed up to 3 months of open-label treatment with citalopram, 20 mg/day to 60 mg/day. In that trial, 17 (71%) of 24 subjects who met McElroy and colleagues' diagnostic criteria for compulsive shopping disorder were responders (Clinical Global Impressions-Improvement scale rating of much or very much improved and Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale-Shopping Version score decrease of >/= 50%).Follow-up interviews occurred 3, 6, 9, and 12 months after study end. Data gathered included comorbid conditions, estimated total debt, 2-week spending, whether the patient was taking citalopram, and illness versus remission status. Remission was defined as no longer meeting diagnostic criteria for compulsive shopping disorder. Data were gathered between March 2000 and January 2002.Of responders at trial end, 81% (13/16), 71% (10/14), 71% (10/14), and 73% (11/15) were in remission at 3, 6, 9, and 12 months. Mean 2-week compulsive shopping expenditures decreased from 773 US dollars (median = 500 US dollars) at baseline to 351 US dollars (median = 0 US dollars) at month 12, and mean total debt decreased from 17,833 US dollars (median = 20,000 US dollars) to 16,752 US dollars (median = 14,000 US dollars). No clear association was seen between taking citalopram and remission status (p =.55, p =.08, p =.58, and p =.60 at 3, 6, 9, and 12 months, respectively; Fisher exact test). The majority of trial nonresponders remained ill at each follow-up point.An acute response to citalopram predicts a greater likelihood of continued remission over 1 year, although the mechanisms that maintain remission require further investigation.
View details for Web of Science ID 000184920400014
View details for PubMedID 12927011
- The psychiatric hospital of the cross: A sane asylum in the Middle East AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PSYCHIATRY 2002; 159 (12): 1982-1982
ASSAYS OF OXIDATIVE DNA-DAMAGE BIOMARKERS 8-OXO-2'-DEOXYGUANOSINE AND 8-OXOGUANINE IN NUCLEAR-DNA AND BIOLOGICAL-FLUIDS BY HIGH-PERFORMANCE LIQUID-CHROMATOGRAPHY WITH ELECTROCHEMICAL DETECTION
OXYGEN RADICALS IN BIOLOGICAL SYSTEMS, PT D
1994; 234: 16-33
High-performance liquid chromatography with electrochemical detection is a highly sensitive and selective method for detecting oxo8dG and oxo8Gua, biomarkers of oxidative DNA damage. When employed together with the DNA isolation and monoclonal antibody-based immunoaffinity purification methods described, oxo8dG and oxo8Gua in DNA and urine can be readily detected and quantitated, offering a powerful approach for assessing oxidative DNA damage in vivo. Application of the technique to the detection of oxo8dG from DNA permits quantitation of the steady-state levels of this oxidatively modified deoxynucleoside and overcomes the detection problems associated with the extremely low levels present in DNA. In addition, the selectivity gained by this detection method eliminates the problem of separating the signal for oxo8dG from those of normal deoxynucleosides. The quantitation of oxo8dG and oxo8Gua in biological fluids is noninvasive and complements the measurement of oxo8dG in DNA by estimating the rate of oxidative DNA damage occurring within the body or in a population of cells. This analytical approach may allow one to estimate oxidative DNA damage in an animal or individual exposed to prooxidant conditions associated with lifestyle, genetic predisposition, degenerative diseases, or environmental toxins. Furthermore, these assays may allow one to assess the potentially beneficial effects of intervention strategies that protect DNA from such damage.
View details for Web of Science ID A1994BB09L00002
View details for PubMedID 7808289