Psychiatric Disorders


Schizophrenia is a serious and complex mental disorder that is characterized by positive symptoms (e.g. hallucinations, delusions, racing thoughts), negative symptoms [e.g. blunted affect, alogia (reduction in quantity of words spoken), avolition (reduced goal-directed activity due to decreased motivation), asociality, and anhedonia (reduced experience of pleasure)] and cognitive deficits. This chronic and disabling disorder is thought to result from a complex interplay of genetic and environmental risk factors.  People suffering from schizophrenia are treated with a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy and antipsychotic medications that block certain neurotransmitter function.

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Treatment-Resistant Depression

More than 260 million people worldwide are affected by depression, a mental health disorder characterized by a persistently depressed mood or loss of interest  in daily activities that can impact normal daily functioning, relationships and overall quality of life. Treatments range from selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) and antidepressants. Along with behavioral therapy, these medications benefit between 40–70% of people suffering from depression. One third of patients do not benefit adequately from these treatments, which is often referred to as difficult-to-treat or treatment-resistant depression (TRD).

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Anhedonia is a major depressive disorder that results in an inability to gain pleasure from normally enjoyable experiences. It is a core symptom in depression and is also frequently seen in people suffering with bipolar depression, schizophrenia, substance-abuse disorders, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes and coronary artery disease. Anhedonia has been associated with changes in neurotransmitter levels involved in the brain’s reward system.

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