"This study is important in many ways," Michelle Riba, M.D., a former APA president, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Michigan, and a psycho-oncologist, told Psychiatric News. "It looked at a population of patients—those with head and neck cancer—in whom depression is a very prominent and serious condition. It studied a way to help patients in a preventive paradigm, using [the SSRI antidepressant] escitalopram. Furthermore, even though the study wasn't designed to study quality of life, patients in the escitalopram arm had an overall improved quality of life during the study and three months consecutively after the cessation of drug therapy."
More information about how psychiatrists can help cancer patients can be found in Psychiatric News. Information about the mental health challenges that cancer patients and survivors face is presented in the new American Psychiatric Publishing book, Psycho-Oncology.
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