The full programme 'Trust Me I'm a Doctor: Mental Health Special' will be available shortly after broadcast, 1 Nov 2017, 9pm.
'Psychosis caused by an immune disorder'. Watch the clip here:
Professor Belinda Lennox's work can be explained more in this article about the findings in a Lancet Psychiatry paper: 'New study finds antibodies that may be the cause of schizophrenia in some patients'.
For further information about research into Antibody Mediated Research please visit
www.antibodymediatedpsychosis.org/ produced by the McPin Foundation.
The influence of sleep on mood and mistrustful thoughts:
To find out more about research about sleep see this article: 'Treating insomnia may reduce mental health problems'
For tips on how to sleep better see our Top Ten Tips on sleep.
Doctoral student Sarah Reeve, featured in the Mental Health Special, has also written this special blog:
Insomnia has traditionally been thought of as a consequence of mental health problems such as psychosis and schizophrenia.
By Sarah Reeve
Sleep problems are extremely common among people with psychosis, and there is some evidence that they occur prior to psychotic symptoms themselves. Therefore there is a possibility that insomnia may contribute to the emergence of symptoms like paranoia and hallucinations.
A new study published in Schizophrenia Bulletin directly tested this causal role for insomnia in psychosis. Sixty -eight non-clinical volunteers who slept well were asked to restrict their sleep down to just four hours a night for three nights, in order to simulate some of the impact of insomnia. Paranoia, hallucinations, depression, anxiety, memory, and a range of other psychological factors were assessed online before and after the sleep restriction, and also before and after a week of normal sleep.
The volunteers went about their normal activities in the day even while they were getting less sleep, further increasing the realism of the simulation to people’s actual experiences of insomnia. Their sleep was also monitored remotely in order to check that they were sleeping less as asked.
The results showed that, while all symptoms remained extremely mild, even this amount of sleep loss led to significant increases in sub-clinical paranoia and hallucinations. Increases in depression, anxiety, and memory deficits were also found. Further analysis demonstrated that the increases in depression and anxiety following sleep loss were responsible to the increases in paranoia, but less strongly linked with the increases in hallucinations.
The study clearly demonstrates that insomnia itself can contribute to the development of symptoms like paranoia and hallucinations. This improves our understanding of the causes of psychotic symptoms, but also indicates that by treating insomnia, this may improve psychosis.