Category Archive: Depression

Mar 12

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Part 3: Present Moment Awareness

I hope you have a few minutes to engage in a few exercises with me…. First, I’d like you to take 1 or 2 minutes to imagine that you are sitting on a white sand beach looking at the ocean, watching the waves roll onto the shore. Set your phone timer if that would be …

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Mar 08

Mixed Depression and Anxiety or Bipolar ?

A young man who recently graduated from chiropractic school came in for a second opinion. He has had a many year history of depressive episodes with prominent anxiety symptoms. Is this mixed depression and anxiety? This past summer, he went to see a new psychiatrist to get help with another episode of depression. The psychiatrist started …

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Feb 22

Biological Basis of Depression

Serotonin Circuit

A recent review article in the American Journal of Psychiatry examines data from many functional neuroimaging studies in order to define more clearly the biological basis of depression. Abnormalities in two sets of neural circuits seem to be the most consistent findings in people with depression: Serotonin anxiety and distress circuits that connect the amygdala and …

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Dec 12

Coping with the Holidays – Gina

Coping with the Holidays: Having a Plan The holiday season can be a time of increased stress. It is often said to be the “happiest time of year” when in fact, for many of us, it can be one of the most challenging times of year. Know, you are not alone if this is the case …

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Dec 10

Depression and Reward Insensitivity

Why do some people get depressed and what can be done about it? Studies of brain response to rewards suggests that there is a strong link between depression and reward insensitivity. People who are at risk of depression literally don’t react to rewards in  same way as other people. A large study of adolescent girls without …

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Oct 31

4 Ways You Can Help a Loved One Cope with Addiction and Mental Illness

Mental illness and addiction co-occur more than some people may think. People with a mental illness are more likely to abuse substances while those with addictions are likely to either develop the symptoms of a mental illness or a full-blown mental illness. If there is someone in your life struggling with these two problems here …

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Oct 07

Where is the Outrage about Suicide?

Imagine a world where a silent epidemic was cutting short the lives of young, otherwise healthy people. Imagine that, that deaths in this epidemic were rapidly increasing, while deaths from cancer, heart disease, HIV, and stroke were decreasing. Now imagine that there was no public outrage, not even any clear recognition in the media of what …

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Sep 24

Living Alone and Depression

living alone and depression

“I just really want to live in my own home with my own garden and without having to deal with all of those jerks.” A young woman living with several roommates told me that she was thinking of moving to a house in the country. The idea seemed very appealing to both of us, since we …

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Aug 24

Predicting Depression Recurrence

For people with a history of unipolar depression (episodes in the past of clinically significant depression, but no history of periods of being energized – mania or hypomania) who are no longer experiencing a clinical depression, is it possible to predict whether they will have another episode in the near future? Noted psychiatric researchers Lewis L. …

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Jul 03

Depression and Inflammation Interactions

There has been a lot of interest in the last year in the idea that information or activation of the body’s immune system, might be a cause and/or consequence of depression.  One theory argues that depression might be an inflammatory disorder, more than a disorder of altered neurotransmitter levels. Certainly there’s a fair amount of …

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Jul 02

Mindfulness for Depression -Research Update

Mindfulness has received a lot of attention recently as an approach to improving mental health in a number of conditions. But is it really effective as part of a strategy for treating serious depression? And, if so, how can we best incorporate it into treatment, given the great difficulty that many people with depression have …

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Jun 13

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Part 2: Defusion

Defusion is one of the six core processes that make up Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). These core processes, which also include acceptance (click here to review this process as described in Part 1), present-moment awareness, self-as-context, values, and committed action, are aimed at cultivating psychological flexibility, or the ability to have all of our …

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May 13

Atlas of Emotions

Psychologist Dan Kalb recently posted a link to a wonderful resource for people who are interested in understanding and exploring emotions. In his post, Dan explains a little bit about the background for this site… The Dalai Lama commissioned psychologist Paul Eckman to create a secular interactive map of human emotions. Eckman, in turn, surveyed …

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May 13

Heat for Depression

Many people with depression have found Bikram Yoga to be an extremely helpful way of improving their mood and we are strong proponent of the value of yoga in general. The new article in the prestigious psychiatric journal JAMA Psychiatry raises the possibility that the heat in Bikram Yoga may also be helpful. In this …

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Apr 29

Accepting the Loss

One of my patients wrote to me this morning asking if she could get a medication to help with her anxiety. She has been trying to find a good therapist for quite a while and I think she might have found someone who could really help her. But this is making her feel anxious and …

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Apr 13

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Part 1: Acceptance and Willingness

I recently attended the Anxiety and Depression Association of America conference in Philadelphia, where I offered a two-hour workshop on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and deepening experiential practices in ACT sessions (largely based on the book The Big Book of ACT Metaphors: A Practitioner’s Guide to Experiential Exercises and Metaphors in Acceptance and Commitment …

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Mar 05

Kevin Briggs and the Golden Gate Bridge

I am away at the annual meeting of the Northern California Psychiatric Society this weekend and while taking a break from the presentations I wanted to try to come up with a quick post that might be relevant to this blog. Probably the most moving part of the weekend was last night’s presentation by Kevin …

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Feb 19

Aerobic Exercise Stimulates Neuron Growth

Aerobic Exercise and Neuron Growth

Moderate aerobic exercise appears to be the best form of exercise to stimulate neuron growth. One of the great challenges facing anyone who has wrestled with depression is how best to counteract the negative effects on brain development and cognitive function that have clearly been linked to recurrent depression. Depression leads directly to reductions in …

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Feb 03

Depression Screening Recommended

Although it seems like nothing more than common sense, we were very pleased to see that the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), which is the major organization responsible for guidelines for public health interventions in the United States, added depression screening for adults, in particular for pregnant women and women who recently given birth, …

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Jan 22

Antidepressants in Pregnancy and Autism

Antidepressants in Pregnancy: Is Excess Risk for Autism Spectrum Disorder Believable? Journal Watch Psychiatry editor, Allison Bryant, MD, MPH, reviewed a recent article on this topic Boukhris T et al. JAMA Pediatr 2015 Dec 14. In this study the risk for autism spectrum disorder appeared to be higher in those women who used antidepressants (especially SRIs) during late …

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