Department/Unit:Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Youth Top Problems in an Acute Psychiatric Sample: Describing Consumer-Nominated Treatment Needs in an Adolescent Partial Hospital Setting
Given the wide range of diagnostic presentations treated in partial hospital programs, finding efficient ways to identify and measure progress on the chief concerns of consumers in these settings is important. The current study uses a self-administered version of the Top Problems Assessment to describe treatment targets identified by youth and their caregivers presenting for care at an adolescent partial hospital setting. Caregiver-youth agreement on these chief concerns upon admission and predictors of agreement were explored. About one-third (34.65%) of caregiver-youth pairs did not match on any target problems. Although anxiety and depression were the most commonly cited top problems in this sample, caregivers and youth exhibited disagreement on these domains. Treatment teams in acute care settings such as a partial hospital program can benefit from careful assessment surrounding the initial goals of treatment as youth and their caregivers may not agree on the referral problems upon entering a program.
Just Let Me Sleep in: Identifying and Treating Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder in Adolescents
Individuals with delayed sleep phase disorder (DSPD) are unable to naturally fall asleep and awake at conventional times; for this reason, DSPD is often mistaken for insomnia. However, unlike many patients with insomnia, those with DSPD struggle to get up at appropriate times. DSPD is associated with school refusal, academic difficulties, and lower employment rate. DSPD in youth has prevalence as high as 16%, and is often comorbid with other psychiatric disorders. Treatments include appropriate light exposure during the day, melatonin use, developing an evening routine that minimizes arousal-increasing activities, and gradually shifting sleep-wake times toward more functional ones.
An examination of episodic future thinking in the emergency department among youth experiencing suicidal thoughts and behaviors
Youth experiencing suicidal thoughts and/or behaviors (STBs) frequently present to emergency departments for acute psychiatric care. These settings offer a transitory yet pivotal opportunity to assess, intervene on, and plan continued care for STBs. This study examined a clinically relevant, understudied aspect of psychological functioning among youth experiencing STBs in the emergency department: episodic future thinking, or the ability to imagine discrete autobiographical future events. A sample of 167 youths (10-17 years) presenting to a pediatric psychiatric emergency department for STBs completed a performance-based measure of episodic future thinking assessing richness in detail and subjective characteristics of imagined future events. STB recurrence was assessed 6 months later. Immediately following a suicide-related crisis, youth demonstrated mixed abilities to imagine their future: they generated some concrete future event details but did not subjectively perceive these events as being very detailed or likely to occur. Older adolescents (i.e., 15-17) generated more episodic details than pre-/younger adolescents (i.e., 10-14), particularly those pertaining to actions or sensory perceptions. There was no evidence linking less detailed episodic future thinking and greater likelihood of STBs following the emergency department visit; instead, hopelessness was a more robust risk factor. Findings underscore the importance and clinical utility of better understanding the psychological state of youth during or immediately following a suicide-related crisis. In particular, assessing youths' future thinking abilities in the emergency department may directly inform approaches to acute care delivery.
When Night Falls Fast: Sleep and Suicidal Behavior Among Adolescents and Young Adults
Sleep disturbances have been linked to suicidal ideation and behaviors in adolescents. Specifically, insomnia and nightmares are associated with current suicide risk and predict future ideation. Associations between hypersomnia, sleep apnea, and suicide remain inconclusive. Potential biological mechanisms underlying these relationships include executive functioning deficits and hyperarousal. Related psychological factors may include thwarted belongingness, perceived burdensomeness, and negative appraisals. Assessing suicide risk in patients with sleep disturbances, and vice versa, is needed. Therapeutic interventions such as cognitive behavior therapy for insomnia and imagery rehearsal treatment, as well as pharmacologic treatments, show promise in treating sleep disorders and suicidal behavior.
Pediatric Sleep as the Foundation for Healthy Sleep Across the Life Span [Editorial]
Restless Legs Syndrome in Children and Adolescents
Children with psychiatric comorbidities frequently are referred for evaluation of sleep complaints. Common sleep symptoms can include difficulty falling asleep, frequent nocturnal awakening, restless sleep, and symptoms of restless legs syndrome (RLS). The understanding of the sleep condition in relation to the psychiatric comorbidity often is a challenge to the physician and often sleep disorders remain undiagnosed, untreated, or undertreated. Restless legs syndrome has been associated with psychiatric comorbidities and with certain medications, such as antidepressants, antihistamines, and antipsychotics. This article reviews the presentation of RLS and restless sleep, the association with psychiatric comorbidities, and treatment options.
Sleep-Related Problems and Pediatric Anxiety Disorders
Sleep-related problems are highly prevalent among childhood and adolescent anxiety disorders. The objective of this review was to summarize the relevant clinical research literature as it pertains to the nature of the association between sleep-related problems and youth anxiety, developmental factors relevant to this association, and intervention efforts to target comorbid sleep challenges and anxiety. Limitations of the literature and future directions are discussed.
Afraid and Awake: The Interaction Between Trauma and Sleep in Children and Adolescents
Traumatic experiences and sleep disturbances are both common in children and adolescents. Because of the reciprocal relationship between sleep complaints and trauma, a mental health evaluation should include not only an assessment of posttraumatic stress disorder and other trauma symptoms but also a specific evaluation of sleep-related complaints. Similarly, if a history of both trauma and sleep complaints is identified, an effective trauma-informed intervention, whether psychological, psychopharmacologic, or a combination of the two, should directly address sleep issues.
Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder among all ages; unfortunately, however, child and adolescent insomnia is infrequently addressed. Given the importance of adequate sleep for proper brain development, pediatric populations are particularly vulnerable to the negative effects of insomnia. Therefore, proper clinical assessment and treatment of pediatric insomnia is crucial. This article is the result of a comprehensive literature review and serves as a guide to the disorder and how it presents differently across child development.
Engaging Black youth in depression and suicide prevention treatment within urban schools: study protocol for a randomized controlled pilot
BACKGROUND:Depression continues to be an ongoing threat to adolescent well-being with Black adolescents being particularly vulnerable to greater burdens of depression as well as lower mental health service utilization. Black adolescents are likely to have untreated depression due to social network influences, varied perceptions of services and providers, or self-stigma associated with experiencing depressive symptoms. Furthermore, if or when treatment is initiated, low engagement and early termination are common. To address this gap, a trial is being conducted to preliminarily test the effectiveness of an engagement intervention targeting Black adolescents with depression in school mental health services in New York City. METHODS:A total of 60 Black middle and high school adolescents displaying depressive symptoms are equally randomized (based on school site) to the treatment arms. Both trial arms deliver Interpersonal Psychotherapy for Depressed Adolescents (IPT-A), a time-limited, evidence-based treatment for depression. Additionally, one arm pairs IPT-A with a brief, multi-level engagement intervention, the Making Connections Intervention (MCI), involving adolescents, caregivers, and clinicians. Outcomes of interest are group differences in depression and suicide ideation, adolescent and caregiver engagement, and mental health service use. DISCUSSION/CONCLUSIONS:This trial will serve as an efficacy assessment of the MCI among a sample of Black adolescent students with depressive symptoms. Clinical and implementation results will be used to inform future research to further test the MCI intervention in a larger sample. TRIAL REGISTRATION/BACKGROUND:Registered by ClinicalTrials.gov on May 3, 2019, identifier: NCT03940508.