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Mental Health News for February 2008

Depression News, Polls and Quotes

As part of the main Information Centre, this section of the website is intended to provide month-by-month news about depression, anxiety and other related health concerns. Archives from previous months are available, and all polls from previous months remain active if you should wish to vote.

If you would like to help us to produce next month's news, polls and quotes, please click on the links by each applicable section and fill out the accompanying form.

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Quotes and Philosophical Thoughts for February 2008:

> "The antidote to fear: you must make a decision to have FAITH, knowing you've done all you can to prepare for whatever you're fearing, and that most fears in life rarely come to fruition." - Anthony Robbins

> "In the depths of winter I finally learned there was in me an invincible summer." - Albert Camus

> "Befriending myself seems to be about opening my heart as a homeless shelter for all the destituted and prostituted aspects of my being that I have been running from for years without even knowing that's what I have been doing." - Dawna Markova, "I Will Not Die an Unlived Life"

> "If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself but to your own estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment." - Marcus Aurelius

> "Don't dwell on reality; it will only keep you from greatness." - Rev. Randall R. McBride, Jr.

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Genetics May Determine Antidepressants' Effectiveness

Genetic variations that predict patient response to the two common antidepressant drugs citalopram (brand name Celexa) and venlafaxine (Effexor) have been identified by German researchers. The team at the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry in Munich found that 11 variants in the gene for a protective transporter protein called P-gp, which removes drugs and other substances from the brain, compromise the effectiveness of these two drugs. In the first part of the study, the researchers knocked out genes for P-gp in mice and gave them antidepressants. They found that brain concentrations of citalopram and venlafaxine were regulated by P-gp, indicating that the antidepressants were "substrates" of the transporter protein...  Read More   |   Discuss   |   Suggest An Article

Post-Concussion Depression More than Emotional

Post-concussion symptoms of depression may stem from an underlying neurological abnormality caused by the concussion, results of a Canadian study suggest. Depression after a blow to the head may not simply be the individual's emotional or psychological reaction to the injury and their subsequent loss of playing time, as is commonly thought, investigators note in the medical journal, Archives of General Psychiatry. "It seems there is a cerebral dysfunction caused by the injury," Dr. Alain Ptito, of the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital at McGill University in Quebec, told Reuters Health. The injury manifests itself as symptoms of depression, he added... Read More   |   Discuss   |   Suggest An Article 

Antidepressant Studies Unpublished

The makers of antidepressants like Prozac and Paxil never published the results of about a third of the drug trials that they conducted to win government approval, misleading doctors and consumers about the drugs’ true effectiveness, a new analysis has found. In published trials, about 60 percent of people taking the drugs report significant relief from depression, compared with roughly 40 percent of those on placebo pills. But when the less positive, unpublished trials are included, the advantage shrinks: the drugs outperform placebos, but by a modest margin, concludes the new report, which appears Thursday in The New England Journal of Medicine. Previous research had found a similar bias toward reporting positive results for a variety of medications; and many researchers have questioned the reported effectiveness of antidepressants. But the new analysis, reviewing data from 74 trials involving 12 drugs, is the most thorough to date. And it documents a large difference: while 94 percent of the positive studies found their way into print, just 14 percent of those with disappointing or uncertain results did...  Read More   |   Discuss   |   Suggest An Article

Jump Start Your Year with Exercise (Yes, Even if You're Depressed)!

It's 5:30am and it's still dark. For some reason I'm actually awake. Granted, my usual waking time is only half an hour later, but to me, voluntarily getting up early is an idea that just doesn't compute. However, I am deliberately giving up sleep for a good reason. I'm going to do some yoga to help wake myself up and, hopefully, become more flexible and strong. Since I have Multiple Sclerosis, that's very important. I'll also do some walking at lunchtime up a hill on the campus where I work. If you're suffering from depression, you're probably thinking, "How nice for you." After all, you can't even contemplate exercising when you're depressed. Just getting through the day is an accomplishment. Trust me, I do know how you feel. I went through twenty years of untreated depression. But I also know that some of my best periods during those two decades were the times when I was exercising regularly... Read More   |   Discuss   |   Suggest An Article

Anxious Depression Predicts Poorer Treatment Results

A new study examining the results of the STAR*D data has found that people who have “anxious depression” have a more difficult time in treatment than those without. A person with anxious depression experiences a major depressive episode and clinically meaningful levels of anxiety as well. The research examined 2,876 adults who were in treatment for depression in 41 different treatment centers across the U.S. In the first phase of treatment, patients received the antidepressant Celexa (citalopram) to treat their depression. In the second phase of the study, 1,292 of the patients who didn’t feel significantly less depressed after taking Celexa for up to 14 weeks were then randomly assigned to try a different antidepressant, or to try Celexa combined with another antidepressant... Read More   |   Discuss   |   Suggest An Article

Women Who Stay Religious Less Likely to Have Anxiety Disorder

Women who stop being religiously active are three times more likely to suffer generalized anxiety disorder than women who have always been religiously active, researchers report. In contrast, the researchers found that men who stopped being religiously active were less likely to suffer major depression compared with men who had always been religiously active. "One's lifetime pattern of religious service attendance can be related to psychiatric illness," study co-author Joanna Maselko said in a prepared statement. She is an assistant professor of public health at Temple University... Read More   |   Discuss   |   Suggest An Article

Post-Holiday Letdown Can Be Avoided

Eating a balanced diet and staying active are key to beating the blues this holiday season, say mental health experts. "I see more cases of depression in January than any other time of year," Dr. Gary L. Malone, medical director and chief of behavioral health at Baylor All Saints Medical Center at Fort Worth, Texas, said in a prepared statement. Once the party is over, and the wrapping paper has been picked up, many otherwise festive people may feel unusually down. According to Baylor health system experts, the holiday season is fraught with triggers for depression. Eating, drinking and spending too much are among the causes of holiday blues. Add family tension or grief over lost loved ones, and the mix can become potent... Read More   |   Discuss   |   Suggest An Article

Brought on by Darkness, Disorder Needs Light

In a few days, the winter solstice will plunge us into the longest and darkest night of the year. Is it any surprise that we humans respond with a holiday season of relentless cheer and partying? It doesn’t work for everyone, though. As daylight wanes, millions begin to feel depressed, sluggish and socially withdrawn. They also tend to sleep more, eat more and have less sex. By spring or summer the symptoms abate, only to return the next autumn. Once regarded skeptically by the experts, seasonal affective disorder, SAD for short, is now well established. Epidemiological studies estimate that its prevalence in the adult population ranges from 1.4 percent (Florida) to 9.7 percent (New Hampshire). Researchers have noted a similarity between SAD symptoms and seasonal changes in other mammals, particularly those that sensibly pass the dark winter hibernating in a warm hole. Animals have brain circuits that sense day length and control the timing of seasonal behavior. Do humans do the same?... Read More   |   Discuss   |   Suggest An Article

The Experience of Depression During Pregancy

Far from being a time of relaxed contentment, pregnancy can be the first time that some women ever experience depression. The emotional turmoil, shame and embarrassment that accompany this is sometimes misunderstood or not recognized for what it is. Appropriate intervention can help women understand what is happening to them, reduce fears about their pregnancy and provide a structure for regaining control over their life. A great deal of clinical literature exists in relation to the outcomes of maternal depression, but very little is known or understood about women’s own experiences of depression during pregnancy. Major depressive disorder is twice as prevalent in women. The average age of onset also coincides with the time that most women conceive, that is, between their early 20s and 30s. Women with a history of depression are at greater risk of a depressive episode during pregnancy and it is know that some women develop depression for the first time during pregnancy (e.g. Wisner et al, 1999)... Read More   |   Discuss   |   Suggest An Article


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January 2008

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