Research in the News: After a rough period, new era for psychiatry is at hand

Contemporary psychiatry, many contend, is in the midst a difficult transition. New findings in a host of scientific disciplines are challenging long-held assumptions regarding the classification and treatment of mental illnesses, among the most common and disabling of all medical conditions.

But psychiatry is on the verge of a golden age, according to a review in the prestigious journal Cell, written by Dr. John Krystal, chair of the Department of Psychiatry at Yale, and Dr. Matthew State, former Yale professor of child psychiatry, psychiatry, and genetics at Yale and now chair of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California-San Francisco.

For instance, they argue, the advances in molecular genetics and neuroimaging that have challenged criteria for the diagnosis of mental illness are also beginning to reveal potential new therapies. And innovative new treatments — such as deep-brain stimulation for mood and obsessive-compulsive disorders, a new generation of fast-acting anti-depressants, and combination drug and psychotherapies that activate the same neural networks — have been or are close to being adopted, add the researchers

“These advances in neuroimaging and genetics are providing powerful insights into the biology of psychiatric disorders, revolutionizing clinical research, and are poised to lead to novel and more effective treatments,” the authors say.

To read more, visit the journal's website.