Research has shown a correlation between schizophrenia and exposure to cat bites or scratches. This has been theorized to be due to the effects of Toxoplasmosis Gondii, a parasite that can cause changes in behavior, including a reduction of fear and an increase in impulsiveness. Popular Science considers research that extends this connection to depression, with speculation on other reasons that cat fellowship may correlate with changes in behavior.
Salon magazine reflects on “The Puzzling Reality . . . that human depression is increasing in an era when environmental conditions are relatively benign. The average citizen in Western society now lives longer, is less likely to starve, and enjoys considerably greater wealth than his sixteenth-century counterpart. Presumably these objective conditions for survival and reproduction would cause depression rates to fall, not rise to nearly one in five citizens.”
In a few days, I will turn 65. Aside from asking myself, “Where did the time go?” I am reminded that my becoming a senior citizen is a part of a greater phenomenon–the aging of the baby boomer generation. While much attention has been focused on the rise of dementia and Alzheimer’s that will accompany the graying of America, there exists another equally significant hazard of growing old in our culture – the increasing number of older Americans who are attempting suicide – and succeeding. Given that I have battled depression my entire life, this trend takes on personal significance for me. Full Article →
TMS is a psychiatric treatment that uses a rapidly alternating magnetic field to induce electric currents in the brain. These currents stimulate neurons, causing them to “fire.” When used repetitively, TMS is said to alter the excitability of the brain area that has been stimulated. In the psychiatric field, TMS is being used increasingly as a treatment for depression, particularly with so-called treatment-resistant clients. I Googled the string “TMS + depression” and got 1.35 million hits. So the idea is attracting attention. Full Article →
Recently, I have been the target of much wooing by my local Sunovion rep. I think he leaves messages for me almost weekly and he sends me missives – glossy brochures and reprints from major psychiatric journal. What is the subject of this attention? The drug – lurasidone (Latuda). Full Article →
Research from the Universities of Birmingham, Nottingham, Oxford and King’s College find that quitting smoking is associated with reduced depression, anxiety & stress and improved mood & quality of life. ”The effect size seems as large for those with psychiatric disorders as those without,” the study concludes, “The effect sizes are equal or larger than those of antidepressant treatment for mood and anxiety disorders.”
MiA blogger Jeffrey Lacasse‘s study of psychiatric prescribing in response to perinatal/neonatal death (co-authored with Joanne Cacciatore) finds that 37% of participants in an online bereavement support community were prescribed meds. Of those, 80% were prescribed antidepressants, and 20% were prescribed benzodiazepines. 32% of prescriptions were written within 48 hours, 44% within a week and 75% within a month. Most of the prescriptions given shortly after the loss were prescribed by obstetricians or gynecologists, and most who were prescribed antidepressants ended up taking them long-term.
One day after the bodies of her son and estranged husband were discovered on December 18 of last year, Christina Schumacher was declared “a danger to herself and others” and hospitalized against her will, without a judge’s review. She remains there still. ”I am not ill,” she told the Burlington Free Press, “I am simply a mother who is grieving the tragic loss of her young son . . . This is my journey, and in no way is it up to anyone to judge how I mourn.” A Vermont Superior Court judge is expected to review the clinical order this month.
Researchers from Johns Hopkins, publishing in the Journal of the American Medical Association, reviewed the research literature on mindfulness meditation to find that it is effective in addressing negative dimensions of psychological stress. ”For depression, we found a roughly 10 to 20 percent improvement in depressive symptoms compared to the placebo groups. This is similar to the effects of antidepressants in similar populations,” says lead author Madhav Goyal.
A study of 1,128 adults drawn from Canada’s National Population Health Survey finds that more than three quarters (77%) recovered from depression in 2 years, and nearly all (94%) had recovered by 12 years. However, a history of adverse childhood experiences predicted a longer time to remission. The study appears in January’s Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology.
A study in Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology finds that in a sample of 641 adopted adolescents, an increase in the level of ADHD symptoms was predicted by the duration of exposure to early attachment deprivation.
Christopher Dowrick and Allen Frances write, in an article for the British Medical Journal, that though the prevalence of major depressive disorder in the U.S. has remained static, its diagnosis has doubled in 20 years. “Turning grief and other life stresses into mental disorders represents medical intrusion on personal emotions. It adds unnecessary medication and costs, and distracts attention and resources from those who really need them,” they conclude.
A blog in Scientific American reviews sleep’s role in “Obesity, Schizophrenia, Diabetes… Everything”. The article notes a tight link between depression and sleep apnea, including the fact that surgery to correct enlarged adenoids and tonsils (the usual cause of sleep apnea in children) causes a greater reduction in ADHD symptoms than Ritalin. The author notes his recent paper on the connection between sleep cycle irregularities and positive symptoms of schizophrenia.
Salon magazine reports on an article in October’s Translational Psychiatry that finds “rather than a shortage of serotonin, a lack of synaptogenesis (the growth of new synapses, or nerve contacts) and neurogenesis (the generation and migration of new neurons) could cause depression.”
In my work facilitating depression support groups, I have discovered three essential factors to healing from depression, which I call ”the three pillars of mental health recovery.” In my earlier blogs for Mad in America I wrote about two of these pillars –connecting with community and using a holistic approach to treat symptoms. Now I would like to present the first and MOST IMPORTANT pillar — Setting the Intention to Heal. Full Article →
A review of the literature from 2001 to 2011 on child abuse, neglect, and psychiatric disorders finds that early life stress subtypes can predict the development of psychopathology subtypes in adults. Physical & sexual abuse and unspecified neglect were associated with mood & anxiety disorders. Emotional abuse was associated with personality disorders and schizophrenia, and physical neglect with personality disorders. The research appears in the December issue of the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease.
Britain’s HealthTalkOnline.org offers videotaped interviews with 36 people in their homes, talking about their decision to take antidepressants and the impact of that decision on their work and lifestyle, “both good and bad, the side effects, the things that went well, the things that went less well, the journeys that some of them had to go on to find the right treatment for them.”
The New York Times reports on new research from multiple sources that finds focused attention on insomnia is proving to be a “cheap, relatively brief and usually effective” approach to treating depression. ”If the figures continue to hold up, the advance will be the most significant in the treatment of depression since the introduction of Prozac in 1987.”
“Rising Up,” a report by the British campaign “Real Bread”, finds that 88% of those with mental health issued surveyed report bread making helps with a sense of achievement, 87% report feeling happier, and 73% felt calmer or more relaxed. “When I’m in the kitchen, measuring the amount of sugar, flour, or butter I need for a recipe or cracking the exact number of eggs — I am in control,” says John Whaite, winner of the U.K.’s Great British Bake-Off. “That’s really important as a key element of my condition is a feeling of no control.”
This blog was prompted by an invitation to do a guest post on the site of one of my favorite bloggers, 1 Boring Old Man. This is my response to the notion that there are certain conditions – Schizophrenia among them – that correspond more directly to biomedical conditions Full Article →
Research from Harvard finds that living in states with higher income inequality makes people, especially women, more susceptible to major depression. The study drew on data regarding 34,653 respondents to the National Epidemiological Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions.
Research from UCLA finds that rats exposed to early life trauma showed aberrations of stress hormones, receptors in the amygdala, and inhibited or avoidant behavior, without indications of remembering the specific trauma (foot shock) they had experienced. The researchers conclude “traumatic experience during developmental periods of hippocampal immaturity can promote lifelong changes in symptoms and neuropathology associated with human PTSD even if there is no explicit memory of the early trauma.”