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Psychiatric Congress Opens Amid Growing Climate of Economy-Driven Anxieties

Experts see surge in cases of depression based on financial woes

SAN DIEGO, Oct. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- An expected 2,500 mental health professionals will convene at the San Diego Convention Center today for the 2008 U.S. Psychiatric and Mental Health Congress amid a deepening economic crisis causing new waves of anxiety disorders to ripple through American society.

The 21st annual Congress runs through Sunday. More than 100 sessions and symposia are scheduled throughout the four-day Congress, all of which will provide practice-related, clinically relevant information designed to help increase the quality of patient care. The emotional toll of the nation's cascading economic problems provides a stark backdrop for the event, which is focused on depression and related disorders.

"Diagnosis and treatment of depression is an increasingly important concern for today's psychiatrist," said William Soliman, PhD, vice president of medical and scientific affairs, CME LLC, host organization of the Congress. "External events like our current mortgage and investment crises can lead to a spike in new cases of depression. Psychiatrists have the responsibility of treating these new cases in their practices every day, and at the same time staying current with new clinical trials.

"The Congress will provide the most up-to-date education possible on several pressing topics, helping clinicians make informed decisions about providing the best treatments possible."

Evidence of rising anxiety disorders is described throughout the popular media. USA Today recently cited mental health experts who note "the escalating pace of foreclosures and rising fears among some homeowners about keeping up with their mortgages are creating a range of emotional problems, (including) anxiety disorders, depression, and addictive behaviors such as alcoholism and gambling."

And CBS reported, "More than 18 million Americans are affected by depression yearly, and our economic crisis is only making matters worse. A study by the American Psychological Association revealed that 52 percent of Americans are lying awake at night -- and worries about finances are one thing that prevents shut-eye."

Bloomberg reported, "In New York, the number of calls to the Hopeline network from people with depression or suicidal thoughts leaped to 10,368 in July, 75 percent more than in August of 2007. Chicago-based ComPsych Corp., the world's largest provider of employee assistance programs, logged 21 percent more calls seeking help for stress from financial pressures in July than a year earlier, and claims submitted to UnitedHealth Group Inc., the largest U.S. health insurer, show hospital admissions for psychiatric services are up 10 percent this year over last."

Among the U.S. Psychiatric and Mental Health Congress sessions focusing on depression during today's opening schedule are Cognitive Therapy for Depression: Where it Began -- an Update; Improving Outcomes in the Treatment of Major Depressive Disorder: Augmenting Traditional Therapies with Atypical Antipsychotics; and Do Antidepressants Increase the Risk of Suicide?

Other session categories include: addiction psychiatry; child and adolescent psychiatry; complementary and alternative medicine; geriatric psychiatry; neuropsychiatry; practical issues, ethics and forensic psychiatry; psychiatric disorders; psychopharmacology; psychosomatic medicine; psychotherapy; social and community psychiatry; and violence and trauma.

Sessions and symposia are presented by renowned faculty who are authorities on various topics at the forefront of contemporary psychiatry. The event also features an Exhibit Hall with representatives from over 80 psychiatry-related companies and organizations.

About U.S. Psychiatric and Mental Health Congress

The annual U.S. Psychiatric and Mental Health Congress is the nation's largest independent conference and exhibition designed to meet the continuing medical educational needs of U.S.-based mental health care professionals. This four-day event offers over 100 sessions and symposia dedicated to the most pressing topics in psychiatry, all presented by renowned faculty from the nation's leading institutions. Attendees have the opportunity to earn up to 30 hours of continuing medical education credits from the educational programming, which is designed specifically to help improve patient care. For more information, visit


CME LLC is a leading provider of innovative, evidence-based and clinically relevant continuing medical education programs. In addition to the U.S. Psychiatric and Mental Health Congress, the company offers a wide range of live events, print publications and online symposia -- all designed to improve patient care. Healthcare professionals in psychiatry, oncology, primary care and other specialty areas benefit from CME LLC's variety of informational and educational resources. Based in Jersey City, N.J., CME LLC is accredited by the ACCME and ACPE. For more information, visit

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