Social media has emerged as a pivotal source of real-world evidence, especially in understanding patient experiences and perceptions regarding the treatment of severe mental disorders such as Schizophrenia and related psychotic disorders (SRD) and Bipolar Disorder (BD).
Leveraging advanced artificial intelligence (AI) techniques, a comprehensive analysis of 893,289 tweets between 2008 and 2022 revealed significant insights into the public discourse surrounding the pharmacological treatment of these conditions.
This study underscores the potential of social media listening in bridging the gap between clinical practice and patient experiences, offering a unique window into the societal and emotional underpinnings of medication adherence and public perception.
- Extensive Data Analysis: 893,289 tweets related to SRD and BD treatment were analyzed using advanced AI techniques, uncovering patterns in medication mentions and associated emotions.
- Diverse Medication Discussions: Second-generation antipsychotics were predominantly mentioned in English tweets, while mood stabilizers were more common in Spanish tweets, highlighting cultural and linguistic differences in public discussions on mental health treatments.
- Emotional Insights: The analysis revealed distinct emotional tones in tweets, with English tweets about economic and legal issues expressing negative emotions, and Spanish tweets on medication shortages evoking anger, indicating varied concerns across languages.
- Social Media as a Research Tool: The study demonstrates the value of social media research in understanding patient and public perceptions, potentially guiding clinicians towards more patient-centered care.
Source: Journal of Affective Disorders (2024)
Findings: Sentiment Analysis of Antipsychotics & Mood Stabilizers via Twitter/X (2024)
The study’s findings offer a comprehensive insight into the public discourse surrounding the pharmacological treatment of severe mental disorders, specifically through the lens of Twitter.
1. Frequency of Mentions & Language Differences
Second-Generation Antipsychotics vs. Mood Stabilizers
The analysis of 893,289 tweets revealed that second-generation antipsychotics were more frequently mentioned in English tweets.
This includes medications such as Quetiapine, Risperidone, and Aripiprazole, indicating a significant discussion surrounding these drugs among English-speaking users.
Conversely, Spanish tweets showed a higher frequency of mentions for mood stabilizers, including Lamotrigine, Carbamazepine, and Lithium, suggesting different treatment preferences or experiences among Spanish-speaking communities.
A notable increase in tweets mentioning these medications was observed over the study period, with a significant rise post-2020.
This trend aligns with the global increase in mental health issues and changes in prescription patterns due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
2. Thematic Content & Emotional Analysis
Economic and Legal Aspects: English tweets often highlighted concerns related to the economic and legal aspects of mental health treatments. These discussions displayed predominantly negative emotions, such as fear and sadness, reflecting concerns over the affordability and legality of medications.
Advice Seeking and Medication Shortages: In contrast, Spanish tweets frequently sought advice regarding treatments and highlighted issues related to medication shortages. These tweets evoked strong feelings of surprise and anger, underscoring the impact of accessibility issues on patients’ emotional well-being.
Recurring Themes: Among Spanish tweets, a significant recurring theme was the shortage of medications, which not only generated discussions about the practical challenges faced by patients but also evoked feelings of anger, pointing to a critical area of concern for healthcare systems in Spanish-speaking regions.
3. Medication Discussions
Quetiapine, Risperidone, Aripiprazole: These medications garnered the highest number of mentions among English tweets, with Quetiapine being the most discussed drug overall. This indicates a broad public interest and potentially reflects the widespread use of these medications in English-speaking countries.
Lithium: Notably, Lithium saw a significant increase in mentions since 2020. Discussions around Lithium were particularly focused on its role in the treatment of Bipolar Disorder, with the increase in mentions possibly related to the ongoing debates about its underutilization and side effects.
Drug Shortages: Spanish tweets specifically highlighted the issue of drug shortages, particularly for mood stabilizers like Carbamazepine, which saw peaks in discussion corresponding to reported shortages in various Spanish-speaking regions.
4. Sentiment Analysis (Emotional Landscape)
Negative Emotions in Economic & Legal Discussions: The analysis found that tweets in English discussing economic and legal issues associated with mental health treatments predominantly conveyed negative emotions. This suggests a significant level of concern and discontent among patients and the public regarding the financial and regulatory landscape of mental health care.
Anger & Surprise in Spanish Tweets: Spanish tweets discussing medication shortages and seeking advice displayed emotions of anger and surprise. This reflects the frustration and unexpected challenges faced by patients in accessing their medications, as well as the emotional impact of navigating treatment options and shortages.
Analysis of Antipsychotics & Other Psychiatric Medications via Twitter/X Posts (2024 Study)
- Paper: Areas of interest and sentiment analysis towards second generation antipsychotics, lithium and mood stabilizing anticonvulsants: Unsupervised analysis using twitter (2024)
- Authors: J P Chart-Pascual et al.