Antibiotic Prescriptions and Psychology

In a new article, (Sirota, Round, Samaranayaka, and Kostopoulou, 2017), we find that prescribing (or perhaps overprescribing) of antibiotics can be affected by a patient, or parent’s, expectations for an antibiotic, has an impact on the willingness of a PCP to write a prescription for them.  The study is one more way that we see how Behavioral Health and medicine relate (see APA Center for Psychology and Health)

In the study, they found that this expectation “manipulation” didn’t seem to affect the PCP’s sense of how likely there was a bacterial infection, but did make them more willing to write the script for antibiotics. In addition, the more experienced the PCP, the less likely the willingness to write the script for an antibiotic without an increased likelihood of bacterial infection.

The study shows us that behavioral healthcare providers can intervene with patients to reduce their expectations that antibiotics are needed when there may be no infection. Too, the study shows that educating PCPs about a) the impact of their own beliefs about an antibiotic, and b) methods for managing their own expectations, would have a decent chance to reducing the overprescribing of an antibiotic.

The role of beliefs and expectation on health has long been well known.  But, this study is one of the first to show how an epidemic of overprescribing of an antibiotic stems, at least in part, for both the patients’ and the PCPs’ beliefs.  We can see that creating rational beliefs about antibiotics, and ways to challenge unrealistic expectations, can help both the patient and the physician.  Having co-located Behavioral Health in a PCP office has many benefits, well beyond sticking to a post-heart-attack exercise program. This study shows how Behavioral Health can improve a public health problem, and make it more likely that all of us will benefit from an antibiotic when we really need one. 

For more interesting information about the interface between psychology and healthcare, check out the Society for Health Psychology.

Parenting Children with ADHD

In 2016, Dr. Bill Pelham and his team put out a great paper. In it, he compared teaching parents behavioral skills or using medicine for ADHD children. What he found was the order you first use the parenting skills and medicine matters.  Parenting benefits children with ADHD when it includes direct behavioral strategies. For example, parents must be more […]

Behavioral Interventions and ADHD

A new study (Pelham, et al., 2016) published in the Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology reports that when children with ADHD receive behavioral therapy, particularly along with medication therapy, they follow the classroom rules better and receive better ratings from adults.  The abstract states “The group beginning with behavioral treatment displayed significantly lower […]

Think Your Child Has ADHD?

ADHD includes problems with controlling attention, being over-active, or both: Trouble directing attention to things that must be done Problems focusing on tasks that aren’t as interesting as other things going on at the time Difficulty shifting attention when doing something fun Hard time organizing and planning ahead Impulsive behaviors that can sometimes be risky […]

Provider Spotlight

Professional Clinical Counselor Bob Forte has been in private practice since 1980. He is a graduate from Gestalt Institute of Central Ohio where he was also a part of their clinical faculty from 1994-2009. Bob primarily works with adults, individually or in couples, in addition to families. He works with depression, anxiety disorders, relationships, anger […]