Friday, December 25, 2009

Friday News Roundup

Grocery Chain's Decision to Drop Mental Health Coverage Raises Concerns

As I feared, the loopholes in the coming requirement for health insurance plans to offer parity for mental health treatment are starting to cause problems. One Wisconsin supermarket chain has cut the mental health portion of its health care benefit "because it will be too costly due to the passage of the federal mental health parity law." Shame on them!

Could Acetaminophen Ease Psychological Pain?

A team of researchers at the University of Kentucky uncovered evidence indicating that acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol, may blunt social pain. On a self-report measure of hurt feelings, participants taking the medicine reported lower levels of social pain than those who were not taking the medication. Watch out for side effects: too much acetaminophen can be toxic!

How Psychotherapy Works

Bruce Wampold, Ph.D. is the author of the recent book, "The Great Psychotherapy Debates." In that book he puts together empirical research on psychotherapy using rather sophisticated methods. He even places that research in an historical and anthropological context. In this article, he answers questions about how psychotherapy helps people. He notes the differences between different treatments in terms of benefit to patients are small if not negligible as long as the treatments are intended to be therapeutic, are delivered by competent therapists, have a cogent psychological rational, and contain therapeutic actions that lead to health and helpful changes in a patient's life.

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