Category Archive: Depression

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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Dec 03

Mood Charting for Complicated Problems

Mood Charting for Complicated Problems

Mood Charting for Complicated Problems Lucy is a single woman who is a professor of anthropology at a local university. She is in her late 30s and she was referred to me for a consultation because of a complicated set of potentially interrelated problems with cognitive impairment, sleep disruption, anxiety, depression, a seizure disorder, and migraine headaches. She’s an interesting …

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Nov 23

Bright Light for Non-Seasonal Depression

Light Therapy vs Fluoxetine for Non-Seasonal Depression

Bright light may work for non-seasonal depression. This is the conclusion of a study published in the prestigious psychiatric journal JAMA Psychiatry. Researchers at the University of Toronto and the University of British Columbia in Canada conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo- and sham-controlled, 8-week trial in adults (aged 19-60 years) with major depression of at least …

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Nov 18

Fish Oil for Depression

Fish Oil for Depression

Is fish oil effective for treating depression? Just this past week a new patient in my practice asked me that question and I said that I didn’t know. I mentioned that ever since a study of people with bipolar depression was published in the Archives of General Psychiatry (the leading journal in psychiatry) by Andy Stoll …

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Sep 22

Parity is What We Want

Parity is What We Want

An overwhelming majority of Americans want parity. A large study found that almost 90% of Americans reported that mental health and non-mental health care were equally important to them in terms of their overall well-being. At the same time nearly a third of those Americans surveyed felt that mental health care was inaccessible and 40% felt …

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Sep 20

Self Injury is the 8th Leading Cause of Death

Self Injury is the 8th Leading Cause of Death

An article just published online in the prestigious journal JAMA Psychiatry makes us drawn case that our fascination with trying to come up with clear  answers to questions that may ultimately be impossible to answer (what a person’s intent was when they injured themselves) is obscuring the fact that self-injury is now the eighth leading …

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Aug 05

St. John’s Wort for Depression

st. john's wort for depression

A recently published study raises questions about whether the natural supplement St. John’s wort is actually associated with fewer adverse effects than commonly prescribed SSRIs. Living in the Bay Area it is common for me to run into a strong conviction that any natural supplement is bound to be safer than any manufactured medication. Perhaps …

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Jun 30

Prefrontal Cortex and Limbic System

Prefrontal Cortex and Limbic System

A very bright young man who has a great potential as the therapist but who is wrestled with chronic depression for years and has developed a pattern of avoiding doing things that he knows he has to do in order to move ahead with his life led me to talk again about the relationship between depression, …

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Jun 11

Bipolar Depression Webinar

Bipolar Depression with Dr. Peter Forster and Dr. Kelsey Schraufnagel Please join us for a Webinar on June 24th, 2015 at 9:00 am PT. For many people with bipolar, it is depression that is the source of most of their difficulties. Considerable controversy has surrounded to the question of how to treat bipolar depression. New …

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May 30

Herd Instinct in Humans

Herd Instinct in Humans: The Source of Anxiety and Depression? Jeffrey Kahn has written a fascinating book (Angst: Origins of Anxiety and Depression in Oxford Press) suggesting an evolutionary source for much of human psychopathology. He gave a Grand Rounds presentation at UCLA in February of 2015 that outlined some of his theories and that …

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May 26

Facebook Causes Depression

facebook causes depression

How Can Facebook Usage Cause Depression? Today, social technology is commonplace. It’s practically unavoidable, and we rarely think of it as something that is risky, but, rather, as useful or fun (…and maybe a little addictive). But social researchers at University of Houston and Palo Alto University have found evidence that social technologies, like Social …

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May 15

Treating Mother’s Depression Helps Kids

treating mother's depression

Sometimes the very best way that mothers can help their children is by helping themselves. Fascinating study just published in the American Journal of Psychiatry by renowned psychologist Myrna Weissman adds to an extensive literature showing that maternal depression affects children in negative ways and that treating maternal depression can have profound benefits for the …

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Apr 04

Romance and Depression

Romance and Depressin

Jack is a delightful older gentleman who loves sailing and beautiful women, but who has also been wrestling with depression for a year or more. We recently had a fascinating conversation about how romance and depression relate to each other in his life. He has a loving girlfriend who’s been very supportive to him during …

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Mar 23

Attentional Bias Modification Prevents Depression

Attentional Bias Modification

A middle-aged nurse wrestling with depression said she want to do “everything” that she possibly could to improve her mood. She doesn’t have access to therapy through her insurance, and she’s already vigorously pursuing mindfulness practice, but her request reminded me of an article I recently read on Attentional Bias Modification as both a possible …

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Mar 21

Faith and Depression

Depression wears down our sense of trust and faith. Biologically, depression involves activating parts of the brain that search for problems. What is faith? It is an experience more than a specific belief. You can try an experiment by completing this sentence a few times (in your mind or out loud): “I have faith in …

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Mar 16

Chronotherapy for Depression

Chronotherapy for Depression results

Chronotherapy for depression was recently shown to be effective in a fairly large and well designed study from New Zealand. What is chronotherapy? As discussed in the article, which appeared in Acta Scandanavica Psychiatrica, chronotherapy involves some combination of three separate sleep and wakefulness related interventions: Wake therapy. Wake therapy (previously known as “sleep deprivation” therapy, …

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Jan 18

THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS: 2 – Depression Assessment

Cartoon

  …I’m returning to do the test suggested by my therapist in our previous meeting – the Beck Depression Inventory II. Tremendous. Doing a test sounds like something you see in those silly magazines that tell you how good a lover you are are some such other rubbish, but apparently this test is rather serious. So I …

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Jan 16

Sleep Fatigue and Depression

sleep fatigue and depression

Yesterday I gave a presentation at UCSF to the Mood Disorder Clinic psychiatrists and residents: An Update on Bipolar Depression.  Much of that material is focused on psychopharmacology and so I will be writing about that on the gatewaypsychiatric.com blog. However, one important pearly derives from a series of studies that identify a strong link between …

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Dec 24

Sad Christmas

sad christmas

This will be a sad Christmas or some of those reading this post. You should not feel alone. I think that all of us can recall past Christmases there were disappointing or sad. We pass over these memories quickly sometimes. It’s not okay to be sad at Christmas time. Exactly how that should work, how …

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Dec 12

Depression Described

Depression Described - The Secret We Share

It can be extremely difficult trying to describe depression and therefore make the experience meaningful to loved ones, colleagues, etc. As it happens there is a TED talk by Andrew Solomon entitled, “Depression, The Secret We Share,” that is an excellent discussion and description of depression. In addition to the video itself, there’s a fascinating …

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