President Obama Signs Mental Health Bill, and Other News

Presidential seal on podiumUnited States President Barack Obama signed the 21st Century Cures Act into law on Tuesday. The package of legislation, which focuses on overhauling treatment and care for both physical and mental health issues, had broad bipartisan support.

The legislation includes $1 billion in funding for opioid abuse prevention and $4.8 billion for medical research funding—$1.8 billion of which is reserved for cancer research. The cancer research provision of the bill was dubbed the “Beau Biden Cancer Moonshot” in honor of Vice President Joe Biden’s son, who died due to a brain tumor.

Senator David Grubb, inspired by his daughter’s experience, spoke on behalf of the bill. Jessica, Grubb’s daughter, was sexually assaulted in college and later developed a heroin addiction. She achieved sobriety in rehab, but was given 50 OxyContin pain pills after a running injury. Jessica died from her addiction, one of thousands of Americans to lose their lives in the midst of an ongoing opioid addiction and overdose epidemic.

Because the legislation loosens Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requirements for drug approval, some consumer groups have criticized it as a pharmaceutical company giveaway. However, supporters say the new legislation could speed the development of medical breakthroughs for many challenging health issues.

Autism and Anxiety Symptoms: How They Differ; New Test Helps Identify Symptoms in Children

Children with diagnosed autism may also be more vulnerable to anxiety. Autism and anxiety tend to have some of the same behavioral symptoms, such as fear of change or social avoidance. Because autism can mask the symptoms of anxiety, researchers have now developed a tool to differentiate the two mental health conditions. The Autism Spectrum Addendum aims to help providers properly identify and discern symptoms of both diagnoses.

Psychologists Analyze Link Between Provider Burnout, Quality of Care, Patient Safety

An analysis of 82 previous studies points to the link between physician burnout and quality of care. Providers experiencing burnout were more likely to report a decrease in quality of care and patient safety. However, patient safety incidents did not increase with burnout, and patient satisfaction appeared unrelated to self-reported physician burnout.

Type of Psychotherapy Matters in Treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Research shows several types of psychotherapy can improve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). But in a new study, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) showed the most promise for helping patients manage symptoms. CBT traditionally helps people disrupt negative thought patterns, giving them alternate ways of thinking and behaving in response to a situation.

Peer Pressure and Festive Food: Who Are You Trying to Impress?

When people eat with others, especially during times of celebration such as the holidays, they may feel peer pressure to conform to certain eating traditions. People may be more willing to overindulge and ignore economic considerations that would usually affect their eating and buying habits. For those who do decide to overindulge, feelings of guilt may develop soon after. Festive food might elevate a person’s mood in the moment, but the effect is usually short-lived.

Is Sex Addiction Real? Depends on Whom You Ask

Therapist opinions on the existence of sex addiction vary. Some believe sex cannot be addictive and implications otherwise are sex-negative and shaming. Others believe it can be as addictive as drugs, pointing to a compulsive approach to sex for some. Those who believe sex can be addictive point to its potentially destructive effects on some people’s lives. Currently, the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual does not recognize sex addiction as a diagnosable mental health condition due to little scientific evidence for the condition.

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  • Joey

    Joey

    December 16th, 2016 at 5:50 PM

    Well of course a provider is not going to provide quality of care if he or she is burned out. Do you perform as well at your job when you feel over worked tired and stressed? Of course you don’t. Why should we expect that they should be able to do more than that just because of the advanced degree? They are still human after all.

  • cameron

    cameron

    December 19th, 2016 at 8:59 AM

    I am loving that it seems to be more of a trend to treat physical ailments with CBT or other forms of mental health therapy. It is important to recognize just how interrelated all of these things are

  • Neal

    Neal

    December 22nd, 2016 at 11:00 AM

    I read something recently that I believe said that those who provide care for an autistic child are more likely to have stress levels that are equivalent to someone with PTSD??

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