The Link Between Smoking and Cognitive Functioning in People with Psychosis

The study findings indicate that smoking is associated with poorer cognitive performance and smoking cessation may improve processing speed in patients.
The study findings indicate that smoking is associated with poorer cognitive performance and smoking cessation may improve processing speed in patients.

The tobacco epidemic is one of the biggest public health threats the world has ever faced, killing more than 7 million people a year (WHO).

People with psychosis are more likely to smoke compared to the general population and it is believed that this could have a negative impact on cognitive functioning.

A recent study, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, has analysed the association between peoples’ current smoking behaviour and performance on cognitive tasks, whether a longitudinal link between smoking behaviour and cognitive functioning exists, and smoking cessation can improve peoples’ cognitive functioning.

The researchers compared people with non-affective psychosis, their unaffected siblings and healthy individuals.

Results found that:

  • At baseline, 66.6% of the patients smoked, compared with 38.3% of the siblings and 25.2% of the control subjects.
  • Among the patients, there was a link between smoking and lower performance on cognitive processing speed
  • Within the unaffected sibling group, there exists a negative link between smoking status and working memory, reasoning and problem-solving.
  • Within the health control group, there was a significant association between smoking behaviour and lower cognitive processing speed.
  • There is an association between smoking cessation and better performance on processing speed among the patients who quit smoking. The results show that even changes in the number of cigarettes smoked per day were linked with cognitive functioning improvement.

Overall the results show that smoking is positively linked with lower performance in many cognitive functions for all of the groups tested. The evidence for the link between smoking cessation/ reduction and cognitive functioning improvement highlights the benefits of incorporating smoking cessation support into evidence-based interventions for people with psychosis.

Hazardous Alcohol Use among Patients with Schizophrenia and Depression

Harmful alcohol use is known to increase the risk of alcohol dependence as well as physical conditions such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and cirrhosis.

Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a common co-occurring disorder in people with mental health conditions. This can negatively impact the course and treatment outcomes.

Researchers in Singapore have investigated the prevalence and nature of hazardous alcohol use among those with schizophrenia and depressive disorders taking into account sociodemographic and clinical factors, and severity of depression and anxiety. They also assessed the link between alcohol use and the quality of life of psychiatric patients. 

A total of 310 patients participated in the study which involved completing a set of clinical measures. 

Results found that:

  • The prevalence of hazardous alcohol use was 18.8% among patients with depression and 6.4% among patients with schizophrenia. 
  • Patients who were unemployed were more likely to engage in hazardous drinking compared to participants who were students or employed.
  • Patients with severe anxiety were 9 times more likely to engage in hazardous alcohol use than those with mild anxiety
  • Patients with severe depression were 5 times more likely to engage in hazardous alcohol use than those with minimal depression
  • Current smokers and ex-smokers were about 15 times and 13 times more likely to engage in hazardous alcohol use as compared to non-smokers
  • Harmful alcohol consumption was particularly associated with lower quality of life in the physical health domain.

Overall the research emphasised the link between severity of depression and the risk of hazardous alcohol intake. This highlights the importance of both conditions to be treated jointly and for thorough screening to help with early identification of issues.

Together Against Stigma 2019

Event Date

The Together Against Stigma (TAS) conference is an international platform to discuss stigma issues that continue to plague people with mental health conditions, preventing them from seeking help, gaining acceptance in society and leading a productive life that they deserve. Uniting against mental health stigma, the global community looks forward to keeping abreast of the latest developments, research outcomes and best practices in this field.

Deadline for abstract submission: 15th April 2019

Confluence of Suicide and Drug Overdose Epidemics in Young Australian Males

Event Date

Young adult males experience higher mortality than females, and in age groups immediately younger and older, and with considerable variation in death rates over time. Trends in mortality and the causal structure of deaths among young adult Australian males over 1979–2011 are investigated, with a focus on suicide and drug overdose.

This seminar discusses trends in mortality among young adult Australian males with a focus on suicide and drug overdose.

Speaker: Professor Richard Taylor

Date And Time

Thu., 28 February 2019

3:00 pm – 4:00 pm AEDT

Comorbidity Infographic and Report

The term “comorbidity” describes two or more disorders or illnesses occurring in the same person. They can occur at the same time or one after the other. Comorbidity also implies interactions between the illnesses that can worsen the course of both. 

Many individuals who develop substance use disorders (SUD) are also diagnosed with mental disorders, and vice versa. 

A report produced by NIDA provides definitions, treatment options and barriers that might prevent people receiving the help they need, and the infographic summarises data on the comorbidity between substance use and mental disorders and the rates at which people get treatment for these conditions.

ESCAP: 18th International Congress of European Society for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

Event Date

The ESCAP 2019 Congress in Vienna, Austria is co-organized by the Austrian Society of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychosomatics and Psychotherapy (ÖGKJP). Planning is well under way and there are key dates to keep in mind. The Congress will take place June 30 - July 2, 2019 and will explore topics related to Developmental Psychiatry in a Globalized World. Registration is now open.

“The Vienna Congress will express how strongly child and adolescent psychiatry is linked to society, and how treatment is affected by knowledge sharing across our borders”, says professor Andreas Karwautz (Medical University of Vienna), co-organizer of the 2019 ESCAP conference on behalf of the Austrian Society of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychosomatics and Psychotherapy (ÖGKJP).

Click here for more information and registration details!

14th World Congress of Biological Psychiatry

Event Date

The 14th World Congress of Biological Psychiatry, a biennial conference of the World Federation of the Societies of Biological Psychiatry (WFSBP), will take place in Vancouver, Canada, from 2 - 6 June 2019.

The theme of the congress “Neuroscience Discoveries and Translation to Clinical Practice” was chosen to address two major challenges plaguing the field of mental health i.e. slow progress in new discoveries and barriers to evidence based application of new discoveries in day-to-day clinical practice to improve patient care.

The congress will address cutting edge topics through plenaries, roundtable debates, workshops, symposia and short oral presentation sessions. Priority will be given to symposia and workshop proposals that report on new methods and tools in biological psychiatry and psychopharmacology and their translational aspects.

Mental Health of Children and Youth

Event Date

The Association for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Allied Professions of Serbia is very pleased to inform you that the 5th Congress of DEAPS will be held on Zlatibor in the ’’Čigota’’ Institute from 23rd to 26th of May 2019.

The theme of the event is Mental Health of Children and Youths - a view to the future.

The Congress will provide you with the opportunity to exchange experiences, knowledge, skills and solutions to the challenges that we encounter in clinical practice, and to hear and share the latest scientific achievements.

Jose Luis Vazquez Martinez

Source: Borges, G., Orozco, R., Villatoro, J., Medina-Mora, M., Fleiz, C., & Díaz-Salazar, J. (2018). Suicide ideation and behavior in Mexico: Encodat 2016. Salud Pública de México, 61(1, ene-feb), 6-15.

Sex-Specific Association of Depressive Disorder and Transient Emotional States with Alcohol Consumption in Male and Female Alcoholics


  • Negative and positive mood differentially impact alcohol use in males and females.
  • Previous research did not differentiate impact of mood states vs lifetime diagnoses.
  • This study confirmed positive association of mood with alcohol use in both sexes.
  • Yet, in alcoholic men, MDD correlated negatively with the frequency of alcohol use.
  • This difference should be accounted for in clinical practice and research.



We assessed the impact of comorbid depression and anxiety disorders as well as positive and negative emotional states on alcohol consumption in alcohol dependent men and women.


Per day alcohol consumption during 90 days before enrolment was assessed by the Time Line Follow Back (TLFB) in 287 men and 156 women meeting DSM-IV-TR criteria for alcohol dependence. Propensity to drink in negative/positive emotional states was assessed using the Inventory of Drug Taking Situations (IDTS). Psychiatric comorbidities, including major depressive disorder (MDD), substance-induced depression (SID), anxiety disorders (AnxD), or substance-induced anxiety (SIA) were identified by Psychiatric Research Interview of Substance and Mood Disorders (PRISM).


In the combined group, increased number of drinks per day and number of heavy drinking days correlated with increased IDTS scores (all p < 0.0001), while the lifetime history of MDD was associated with fewer drinking days (p = 0.045) but not average number of drinks per day. Male sex was associated with higher alcohol consumption per day (p < 0.0001), but not with the number of drinking days (p > 0.05). Lifetime MDD history was associated with less drinking days (p = 0.0084) and less heavy drinking days (p = 0.021) in alcohol dependent men, while current MDD was associated with higher alcohol use per day in alcohol dependent women (p = 0.044).


Our findings suggest that emotional states and lifetime MDD history have sex-specific impact on alcohol use in alcohol dependent men and women. The mechanisms underlying these findings and their relevance to treatment outcomes need to be examined in future studies.

28th World Congress on Neurology and Therapeutics (CSE)

Event Date

The International Neurology conference entitled 28th World Congress on Neurology and Therapeutics will take place  February 28 – March 01, 2019 in Berlin, Germany. The event is designed for researchers, physicians, academics and students from all over the world.

This meeting deals with the current research developments in the field of Neurology and also about the new treatment methods which are devised by scientists to treat various diseases in easier way. It would be promisingly the best platform for everyone joining to learn something new about the recent trends in Neuroscience research and development.

The 28th World Congress on Neurology and Therapeutics is a unique forum to bring together worldwide distinguished academics in the field of neuroscience and neurology, brain researchers, scientists, public health professionals, industrial researchers to exchange about state of the research and technologies.

Jose Luis Vazquez Martinez

Source: Patel, V., D. Chisholm., T. Dua, R. Laxminarayan, and M. E. Medina-Mora, editors. 2015. Mental, Neurological, and Substance Use Disorders. Disease Control Priorities, third edition, volume 4. Washington, DC: World Bank. doi:10.1596/978-1-4648-0426-7.

Atlas of Mental Health of the Americas 2017 / Atlas de salud mental de las Américas 2017


The data in this report show that there has been a gradual development of mental health policies, laws, programs, and services in the Region of the Americas. However, major efforts, commitments, and resources are still needed to meet the regional objectives. The findings set forth in the 2017 Atlas confirm a trend reflected in previous editions: resources are still insufficient to meet the growing burden of mental illness, and are unevenly distributed. Furthermore, the existing services need to be transformed in order to increase coverage and improve access to mental health care, and to ensure that mental health is an integral part of national policies for universal health coverage. At the same time, a potentially positive finding in the Region is that resources and services are gradually being shifted from psychiatric hospitals to community services. This indicates that the countries are moving towards developing community-based mental health programs, a key recommendation of the Pan American Health Organization. The Atlas of Mental Health of the Americas 2017 should help the countries’ health planners and policy makers to identify areas that require urgent attention. In addition, researchers will find the data in the 2017 Atlas useful for research on health services. The Atlas will continue to be of use to health professionals and nongovernmental organizations in their efforts to advocate for more and better mental health resources.


Los datos incluidos en este informe demuestran que en la Región de las Américas existe un desarrollo progresivo en relación con las políticas, leyes, programas y servicios de salud mental. Sin embargo, se necesitan aun grandes esfuerzos, compromisos y recursos para alcanzar los objetivos regionales. Los resultados del Atlas 2017 confirman una tendencia ya percibida en ediciones anteriores: los Recursos siguen siendo insuficientes para satisfacer la creciente carga de la enfermedad mental, y su distribución es heterogénea. Además, los servicios existentes requieren una transformación que permita mejorar la cobertura y el acceso a la atención en salud mental, asegurando que salud mental sea a todos los efectos parte de las políticas nacionales de cobertura universal en salud. Sin embargo, un hallazgo potencialmente positivo en la región es que hay un pasaje gradual de recursos y servicios desde los hospitales psiquiátricos hacia servicios comunitarios. Este hallazgo indica que los países están avanzando hacia el desarrollo de una salud mental basada en la comunidad, una recomendación clave de la Organización Panamericana de la Salud...Confiamos en que el Atlas de Salud Mental de las Américas 2017 ayude a los planificadores de salud y a los creadores de políticas de los países a identificar las áreas que requieren una atención urgente. Además, los investigadores encontrarán los datos de Atlas 2017 útiles para la investigación en servicios de salud. También esperamos que los profesionales de la salud mental y las organizaciones no gubernamentales continúen utilizando el Atlas de Salud Mental en sus esfuerzos para abogar por más y mejores recursos para la salud mental.

Jose Luis Vazquez Martinez


The prevalence of smoking among those with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is 2–6 times higher than the general adult population. Smoking intensifies PTSD symptoms, which in turn, contribute to heavier smoking and even more difficulty quitting.

Dispelling Myths about Smoking, Mental Health/Substance Use Disorders and Recovery

Event Date

Adults with mental illness, including substance use disorder (SUD,) are at risk of dying 25 years earlier than the general population. The major contributor to this premature mortality is smoking-related disease. While cigarette smoking has trended downward in recent years, it is still highly prevalent in adults with mental health and/or substance use disorder (MH/SUD). 

This program will shed light on popularly-cited “facts” about smoking, reinforced by both consumers and care professionals alike. Attendees will not only gain a deeper understanding of the extent of this public health problem, but also understand how they can be a part of the solution.

Finding Ambivalence and 10 Other Things About Motivational Interviewing

Event Date

The greatest challenge using motivational interviewing (MI) may be finding the “true” ambivalence it’s supposed to address. This webinar is designed to assist clinicians who want to use MI effectively with clients with co-occurring disorders. By returning to the basics and exploring the areas of focus and evocation, each participant will learn when it’s appropriate to use MI. By helping the client reveal what they are conflicted about, they begin to make their own arguments for change. It is particularly effective with those presenting with co-occurring disorders since their resistance to change is often quite challenging.

Learning Objectives
  • Apply the theory and methods of motivational interviewing (MI) to the therapeutic relationship with clients with co-occurring disorders.
  • Demonstrate specific motivational interviewing skills to respond to resistance and overcome obstacles to recovery.
  • Synthesize motivational interviewing techniques with other evidence-based approaches to improve patient outcomes.

Mental Health and Associated Stress Factors in Accompanied and Unaccompanied Refugee Minors Resettled in Germany



Studies throughout Europe have shown that asylum-seeking children and adolescents (ASC) are at risk of developing mental disorders. The most common mental-health problems in ASC include posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS), internalizing symptoms such as depression and anxiety, and externalizing behaviour. Being an unaccompanied refugee minor (URM) was found to be highly predictive for higher levels of psychological distress within ASC. Nevertheless, and even though Germany is Europe’s biggest host country for ASC, studies that reliably examine the mental health of both URM and accompanied refugee minors (ARM) in Germany with psychometrically tested measures are still lacking.


A cross-sectional survey in 19 facilities for minor refugees in Bavaria, Germany, screening for PTSS, depression, anxiety, externalizing behaviour, and post-migration factors was conducted. Participants were 98 ASC (URM, n = 68; ARM, n = 30) primarily from Afghanistan, Syria, and Eritrea. In 35.7% of interviews, interpreters were involved.


Both URM and ARM reported high levels of psychological distress and large numbers of potentially traumatic events, with 64.7% of URM and 36.7% of ARM scoring above the clinical cut-off for PTSS, 42.6% of URM and 30% of ARM for depression, and 38.2% of URM and 23.3% of ARM for anxiety. The total number of traumatic experiences was found to be the most robust predictor for PTSS, depression, and anxiety. Lower levels of individual resources, lower levels of social support in the host country, and poorer German language proficiency were associated with higher levels of psychological distress within both groups. URM reported significantly more traumatic events than ARM.


ASC in Germany are severely distressed and burdened by the experiences of various types of potentially traumatic events. The levels of distress found in the current study correspond with rates that have been reported in previous studies with ASC throughout Europe. Limitations of the present study include the convenience sample and the cross-sectional nature of findings.

Adfam Survey: State of the Family Support Sector

Adfam is running an important survey to examine the state of drug and alcohol family support sector and provide important data for Adfam’s advocacy and influencing work. The survey asks about funding, partnerships, and the kind of support being provided to families nationally.

The survey can be completed by anyone who manages or works within a service supporting families affected by someone else’s drug or alcohol use. 

This survey is open until Thursday 28 February 2019, after which point the findings will be written up into a report and disseminated nationally. 

It will take around 15-20 minutes to complete.

Website: End of Life Care for People with Problematic Substance Use

This website offers resources developed from a two-year research programme on end of life care for people with alcohol and other drug problems. The research programme was the first of its kind to explore current practice and service experience from a range of perspectives.

The findings have been used to develop information and resources on how best to support people with substance use problems, or how substance use services can support people with serious and life-limiting conditions.