Aggressive and disruptive behaviours often precede the onset of serious mental illnesses. Fire-setting is a type of crime that is associated with psychotic disorders.
The aim of this prospective follow-up study was to investigate if fire-setting performed in adolescence or early adulthood was associated with future diagnoses of schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder.
The consecutive sample consisted of 111 Finnish 15-25-year old males with fire-setting crimes, decreed to a pre-trial forensic psychiatric examination in 1973-1998, and showing no past nor current psychosis at the time of examination. For each firesetter, four age-, gender-, and place of birth-matched controls were randomly selected from the Central Population Register. The subjects were followed until the death of the individual, until they moved abroad, or until the end of 2012.
Fourteen firesetters (12.6%) and five controls (1.1%) were diagnosed with either schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder later in life, corresponding to a hazard ratio of 12.5. The delay between the fire-setting offense and the future diagnosis was on average nearly 10 years.
Young male offenders undergoing a forensic psychiatric examination because of fire-setting crimes had a significant propensity for schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder. Accurate assessments should be made both during imprisonment and later in life to detect possible psychotic signs in these individuals.
The role of the serotonin (5-HT) system in the neurobiology and treatment of panic disorder (PD) remains unproven. Previously we detected lower brain 5-HT transporter (SERT) availability in PD, but the findings were preliminary and mainly limited to female patients. The aim of this study was to assess non-displaceable brain SERT binding potential (BP (ND)) in male and female patients with PD. The SERT BP (ND) was measured in groups of patients with PD (five males and six females) and matched healthy control subjects (12 males and 12 females) using positron emission tomography (PET) and [Â¹Â¹C]MADAM tracer. SERT BP (ND) were significantly higher in 13 of 20 studied brain regions, including several cortical and raphe areas, but lower in the hippocampus in males with PD as compared with healthy males. No significant differences in SERT BP (ND) were observed between female patients and controls. The results suggest gender-dependent regional differences in brain SERT availability and converge with previous PET findings of reduced 5-HT(1A) receptor binding in similar brain areas in PD. Distinctive functioning of the 5-HT system in males and females may underlie certain gender-dependent differences in expressions of PD.
Psychoeducation is now commonly provided in forensic settings, but its effectiveness among long-term offender patients with schizophrenia has not yet been established in randomised controlled trials (RCTs).
To test the effects of a brief group psychoeducation programme for offenders with schizophrenia (n = 39) resident in a high-security hospital (Niuvanniemi Hospital, Finland).
High-security hospital patients were randomised into either eight sessions of group psychoeducation or 'treatment as usual' (TAU). Outcome measures, made at baseline, immediately post-treatment, and 3 months after that, included knowledge about illness, insight, compliance, attitudes towards medication, psychiatric symptoms and ward behaviour, self-esteem, health-related quality of life and perceived stigma.
Three months after completing treatment, or an equivalent time under TAU, patients in the intervention group showed a positive treatment effect in terms of knowledge about illness, self-esteem and insight into the illness. The only possible adverse effect was a slight increase in irritability, but this did not translate into behaviour of concern to staff.
Our sample size was small, and the findings must be regarded as preliminary, but the positive treatment effect of psychoeducation, and the absence of alarming side effects, suggests a full scale trial would be worthwhile. Most encouraging was that even the most severely ill patients were able to join the groups.
Illicit drug use is associated with various health problems that result in inpatient hospital admissions. The primary objective of this study was to examine all-cause and cause-specific hospitalizations by gender. The cohort comprised 4817 drug users (3365 males and 1452 females) who sought treatment in Helsinki between 1997 and 2008. Data on hospitalizations that occurred among these clients were extracted from the National Hospital Discharge Register. Crude hospitalization rates (CHRs) and standardized hospitalization ratios (SHRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated, and Kaplan-Meier analysis with Log-Rank test was used to compare survival in terms of time to hospitalization between males and females. At the end of the follow-up period, 84.5% of females and 73.3% of male clients were hospitalized at least once. Female clients had higher CHR (607.6/1000 person-years, 95%CI: 594.1-621.4) than males (511.0/1000, 95% CI: 502.9-519.3), and had significantly poorer survival than males (Log-Rank test, P
High rates of attempted and completed suicide have been reported among offenders, but there has been little attention in this respect to fire setters specifically. Aim Our aim was to investigate hospital-treated suicide attempts among male fire setters.
For each of a consecutive series of 441 pre-trial fire setters, four controls matched for age, gender and place of birth were randomly selected from the Central Population Register. Data on hospitalisation and causes of death over a 39-year period were obtained from the Finnish national registers.
The prevalence of suicide attempts was significantly higher among fire setters than among controls. Approximately every fifth fire setter had made at least one suicide attempt which had required hospital treatment. The most common method chosen was intentional self-poisoning or exposure to noxious substances. More than 1 in 10 fire setters with at least one hospitalisation for suicide-related behaviour eventually completed suicide.
It is unclear whether buprenorphine abuse is associated with a similar risk of death to other substance abuse. This study examined all-cause mortality rates and causes of deaths among clients seeking treatment for buprenorphine abuse.
Structured clinical interviews were conducted with 4685 clients between January 1998 and August 2008. Records of deaths that occurred among these clients were extracted from the Official Causes of Death Register in Finland. Standardized mortality ratios (SMRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) were computed using national mortality rates over a 13-year follow-up to examine excess mortality. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis was used to compare survival between buprenorphine and other clients.
Sixty-one of 780 (7.8%) clients who sought treatment for buprenorphine abuse and 408 of 3905 (10.4%) other clients died during the 13-year follow-up period. The most common cause of death was drug-related in buprenorphine (n=25, 41.0%) and other clients (n=142, 34.8%). Survival rates were similar among buprenorphine and other clients (log-rank ?[df=1](2)=0.215, p=0.643). The SMR was 3.0 (95% CI 2.3-3.8) and 3.1 (95% CI 2.8-3.4) for buprenorphine and other clients, respectively. Excess mortality was highest among women aged 20-29 years, and more pronounced in buprenorphine clients (SMR 27.9 [95% CI 12.6-49.0]) compared to other clients (SMR 14.0 [95% CI 9.3-19.6]).
Clients seeking treatment for buprenorphine abuse had a three times higher mortality rate than the national average, with the excess risk highest among female clients. Overall mortality rates were similar among clients seeking treatment for buprenorphine and other substance abuse.
Although mortality related to psychotropic medications has received much attention in recent years, little is known about the relationship between risk of death and cumulative antipsychotic load, and even less about the relationship between mortality and cumulative exposure to antidepressants or benzodiazepines. The authors examined these relationships using nationwide databases.
The authors used prospectively collected nationwide databases to identify all individuals 16-65 years of age with a schizophrenia diagnosis (N=21,492) in Sweden. All-cause and cause-specific mortality rates were calculated as a function of cumulative low, moderate, and high exposure to antipsychotics, antidepressants, and benzodiazepines from 2006 through 2010.
Compared with no exposure, both moderate (adjusted hazard ratio=0.59, 95% CI=0.49-0.70) and high (adjusted hazard ratio=0.75, 95% CI=0.63-0.89) antipsychotic exposures were associated with substantially lower overall mortality. Moderate antidepressant exposure was associated with a lower mortality (adjusted hazard ratio=0.85, 95% CI=0.73-0.98), and high exposure, even lower (adjusted hazard ratio=0.71, 95% CI=0.59-0.86). Exposure to benzodiazepines showed a dose-response relationship with mortality (hazard ratios up to 1.74 [95% CI=1.50-2.03]).
Moderate and high-dose antipsychotic and antidepressant use were associated with 15%-40% lower overall mortality, whereas chronic high-dose use of benzodiazepines was associated with up to a 70% higher risk of death compared with no exposure. Since patients with anxiety and depressive symptoms may have a higher intrinsic risk of death, the finding for benzodiazepines may be attributable to some extent to residual confounding.
Little is known about mortality among firesetters. However, they hold many risk factors associated with elevated mortality. This study aimed to investigate mortality rates and patterns in the course of a 39-year follow-up of a consecutive sample (n=441) of pretrial male firesetters evaluated in a forensic psychiatric unit in Finland. For each firesetter, four controls matched for age, sex and place of birth were randomly selected from the Central Population Register. Mortality data was obtained from the Causes of Death statistics. By the end of the follow-up period, 48.0% of the firesetters and 22.0% of the controls had died (OR 2.47, 95% CI 2.00-3.05). Altogether, 24.1% of the firesetters and 17.6% of the control subjects had died of natural causes (OR 1.49, 95% CI 1.16-1.92), whereas 20.9% and 3.8% respectively, died an unnatural death (OR 6.71, 95% CI 4.79-9.40). Alcohol-related deaths were more frequent among firesetters than controls. Our findings confirm that fire-setting behavior is associated with high mortality. More attention must be paid to the treatment of suicidality, psychiatric comorbidities and alcohol use disorders within this group both during and after their sentences.
Data on the effectiveness of antipsychotics in the early phase of schizophrenia are limited. The authors examined the risk of rehospitalization and drug discontinuation in a nationwide cohort of 2,588 consecutive patients hospitalized for the first time with a diagnosis of schizophrenia between 2000 and 2007 in Finland.
The authors linked national databases of hospitalization, mortality, and antipsychotic prescriptions and computed hazard ratios, adjusting for the effects of sociodemographic and clinical variables, the temporal sequence of the antipsychotics used, and the choice of the initial antipsychotic for each patient.
Of 2,588 patients, 1,507 (58.2%) collected a prescription for an antipsychotic during the first 30 days after hospital discharge, and 1,182 (45.7%, 95% confidence interval [CI]=43.7-47.6) continued their initial treatment for 30 days or longer. In a pairwise comparison between depot injections and their equivalent oral formulations, the risk of rehospitalization for patients receiving depot medications was about one-third of that for patients receiving oral medications (adjusted hazard ratio=0.36, 95% CI=0.17-0.75). Compared with oral risperidone, clozapine (adjusted hazard ratio=0.48, 95% CI=0.31-0.76) and olanzapine (adjusted hazard ratio=0.54, 95% CI=0.40-0.73) were each associated with a significantly lower rehospitalization risk. Use of any antipsychotic compared with no antipsychotic was associated with lower mortality (adjusted hazard ratio=0.45, 95% CI=0.31-0.67).
In Finland, only a minority of patients adhere to their initial antipsychotic during the first 60 days after discharge from their first hospitalization for schizophrenia. Use of depot antipsychotics was associated with a significantly lower risk of rehospitalization than use of oral formulations of the same compounds. Among oral antipsychotics, clozapine and olanzapine were associated with more favorable outcomes. Use of any antipsychotic was associated with lower mortality.
Comment In: Evid Based Ment Health. 2011 Nov;14(4):9621954155
Substance abuse worsens the course of schizophrenia, but it is not known whether or not there are differences between specific substances concerning their association with the hospitalizations of patients with schizophrenia.
The primary aims of this study were to examine the possible associations between amphetamine, cannabis, and opioid abuse, and the risk of hospitalizations among patients with schizophrenia.
The study population consisted of 146 patients with ICD-defined schizophrenia from two different geographical sites in Finland, and it included both inpatients and outpatients. Data were collected retrospectively from the patients' medical files. Substance abuse was defined as either harmful use or dependence according to ICD-10.
The cumulative prevalence of substance abuse was 10.9% (16/146) for cannabis, 8.9% (13/146) for amphetamine, and 4.1% (6/146) for opioids. Among patients with schizophrenia and abuse of any substance, the number of hospitalizations was about 1.5-fold when compared to those without substance abuse. The incidence rate ratio for hospitalizations was 2.9 (95% CI 2.47-3.63) for opioids, 2.0 (1.71-2.41) for amphetamine, and 1.6 (1.33-1.84) for cannabis, when compared with no abuse of each substance. The risk of hospitalizations was significantly higher for opioids when compared with amphetamine (p