ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
Know Your Asthma Triggers
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Naprapathy: A Hands-On Approach to Pain Management
Soybean Chemicals May Reduce Effects of Menopause
Licorice May Block Absorption of Organ Transplant Drug
ANIMAL CARE
Beware of Dog Bites
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
BONES & JOINTS
New Clues to How Fish Oils Help Arthritis Patients
More Faces Being Spared in Motor Vehicle Accidents
Improved Hip Implants Can Last 20 Years
CANCER
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
Lifting Weights Can Ease Arm Swelling in Breast Cancer Survivors
Antioxidants Pose No Melanoma Threat
CAREGIVING
Bariatric Surgery Centers Don't Deliver Better Outcomes
Baby's Sleep Position May Not Affect Severity of Head Flattening
Undoing the 'Big Baby' Trend
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Review Confirms Links Between Diet, Heart Health
Drink a Little Wine, Live a Little Longer
Migraines in Pregnancy Boost Vascular Risks
COSMETIC
Health Tip: After Liposuction
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
DENTAL, ORAL
Good Oral Hygiene May Protect Against Heart Infections
Study Links Osteoporosis Drugs to Jaw Trouble
Dental Implants Need More Work Than Root Canals
DIABETES
Fructose-Sweetened Drinks Up Metabolic Syndrome Risk
Laughter May Lower Heart Attack Risk in Diabetics
Patients' Photos Help Boost Radiologists' Accuracy
DIET, NUTRITION
Occaisonal Dieting May Cut Breast Cancer, Study Says
10 Beginner Tips for Fast Weight Loss, the Low-Carb Way!
Mediterranean Diet Enriched With Nuts Cuts Heart Risks
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Greenhouse Gases Hazardous to Your Health
Dementia Underestimated in Developing Countries
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
EYE CARE, VISION
Too Much Sun, Too Few Antioxidants Spell Eye Trouble
Decorative Halloween Eye Lenses May Pose Serious Risks
Don't Lose Sight of Halloween Safety
FITNESS
Exercise Keeps the Brain Young
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Have Fun This Summer, But DO Be Careful
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
GENERAL HEALTH
Sun, Smoke, Extra Weight Add Years to Skin
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Eating Nuts May Help Cholesterol Levels
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Kids With Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Heart Trouble
B-Vitamins Help Protect Against Stroke, Heart Disease
A Little Chocolate May Do the Heart Good
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Scorpion Anti-Venom Speeds Children's Recovery
Teen Stress May Have Roots in First Three Years of Life
Teen Internet Addicts More Likely to Self-Harm: Study
MEN'S HEALTH
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
Low Vitamin D Levels May Boost Men's Heart Attack Risk
MENTAL HEALTH
Meditation, Yoga Might Switch Off Stress Genes
Keeping Mentally Active Seems To Keep The Brain Active
The 3LS Wellness Program for Reversing Chronic Symptoms and Creating Lasting Health
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Placebo Acupuncture Tied to Higher IVF Pregnancies
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
SENIORS
Friends, Not Grandkids, Key to Happy Retirement
As You Age, Better Health Means Better Sex
Community Exercise Programs Boost Seniors' Strength
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Natural Childbirth Moms More Attuned to Babies' Cry
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
Bitter Melon Extract May Slow, Stop Breast Cancer
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U.S. Mental Health Spending Rises, But Many Still Left Out

TUESDAY, May 5 (HealthDay News) -- Mental health spending in the United States increased 65 percent in the past decade, and many more Americans are using mental health services, but there's still a big difference between access to care and quality of mental health care received, new research shows.

In a special edition of the May/June issue of Health Affairs focusing on mental health care in the United States, one study found that about half of Americans suffering from mental illness in a given year don't receive treatment, and another 25 percent receive treatment that's not consistent with evidence-based guidelines.

Some patients may receive inappropriate treatments, simply because doctors lack the evidence to make an informed decision about appropriate care, noted Philip Wang, acting deputy director of the National Institute of Mental Health, and colleagues.

Another study suggested that even when doctors have information about best practices, patients don't always receive the correct treatments. That's because financial incentives, regulations, the quality of the mental health workforce, and drug company marketing strategies have a major impact on doctors' treatment decisions, said Marcela Horvitz-Lennon, of the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic in Pittsburgh, and colleagues.

They said underuse of effective treatments and overuse of ineffective treatments undermine the quality of care and lead to poor patient outcomes. For people with severe mental illness, that can result in increasing isolation, repeated hospitalizations, inability to get or hold a job, and even suicide.

Another study found that the number of seniors receiving psychotropic drugs to treat Alzheimer's and other mental health disorders doubled between 1996 and 2006, and the number of adults and children using the drugs increased by 73 percent and 50 percent, respectively.

The use of psychotropic drugs has increased, because primary-care doctors have become more familiar with these types of drugs and lower-cost drugs have become more available, said Sherry Glied, chair of health policy and management at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, and colleague Richard Frank.

The researchers also found that access to mental health care has improved for many Americans, but challenges persist for many groups of people. Between 1996 and 2006, treatment declined for elderly people with mental limitations that make it difficult for them to do daily living tasks such as dressing, eating and bathing without assistance.

Glied and Frank also found that more people with serious mental illnesses are being imprisoned or incarcerated. About 7 percent of people with persistent mental illnesses are put in jail or prison every year.

Another study found that many members of the military and veterans get inadequate treatment or no care at all for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression. The Rand Corp. researchers said more needs to be done to better prepare community health providers to help veterans with mental health problems when they return home.

In addition, the Department of Defense needs to reduce institutional and cultural barriers to seeking mental health care, especially for active-duty military personnel.

A study by Robert Drake, a psychiatry professor at Dartmouth Medical School, and colleagues concluded that a national program to help mentally ill people on Social Security disability programs find jobs could save the federal government $368 million a year.

The researchers noted that about 27 percent of people receiving Social Security Disability Insurance benefits are mentally ill, and that up to 70 percent of people with mental illnesses want to work.

"Giving people with mental disabilities the power to build financial security will help improve their quality of life significantly by encouraging self-sufficiency and building self-esteem, which can ultimately help move their treatment forward as well," Drake said.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about mental health.



-- Robert Preidt



SOURCE: Health Affairs, news release, May 5, 2009

Last Updated: May 05, 2009

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