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 presentation has been the subject …

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 Networking Sites (SNS) and texting, …

Treating Mother’s Depression Helps Kids

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 kids. In this article a …

Attentional Bias Modification Prevents Depression

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 treatment of depression and as …

Chronotherapy for Depression

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, a harder sell to patients) …

Travel and Mood

Travel and mood are very much related. Often a trip is associated with a significant change in mood. This can be due to many factors. Getting out of a rut, experiencing new locations and meeting new people can bring you out of the depression. However there is also the possibility that travel may disrupt circadian rhythms in a way that leads …

Clutter Stress Depression

My post about getting things done sparked a lively interest and a bit of controversy. One of the careful readers of this site sent me a link to an article about clutter causing stress, particularly in women. The article was on the HouseLogic site which is devoted to helping people organize and de-clutter their house. Which made me wonder… But the …

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 sleep and depression. There is frequent …

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 it is that we should …

Depression Described

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 website that has quotes from …

Stigma and Depression

Robin William’s death seemed to unleash a new level of openness to discussing depression and the ways that it affects the lives of so many of us. A Nature editorial (Nature is perhaps the premier scientific journal in the world) got me thinking about next steps… What would it take to eliminate the impact of stigma, and shame, and therefore …

Depression and the Tech Industry

It is no secret to us that depression and bipolar are extremely common among those who work in the tech industry. In fact, that is why we opened our Mountain View office. However this issue is not often discussed publicly. We were excited when we were given a link to a wonderful video on the topic. Check it out!

Risk Factors for Depression are Different for Men and Women

Risk Factors for Development of Major Depression Differ Among Genders, Study Reports   Kenneth Kendler, M.D., a professor in the departments of Psychiatry and Human and Molecular Genetics at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, led a study identifying factors that distinguish the onset of major depression between men and women. The study, “Sex Differences in the Pathways to Major …

Bipolar or Unipolar Depression?

Bipolar or unipolar depression: How to distinguish between these two conditions, which can have very different treatment response remains a difficult question without really satisfying answers. As noted in the picture to the right, misdiagnosis is common and can have serious consequences. An article in European Psychiatry adds to the literature pointing to certain features that increase the odds that someone …

Exercise and Stress – How Exercise Prevents Depression

Exercise seems to reduce stress. But how does this work? And what about exercise effects on depression? An article in the New York Times summarizes a recent publication in the journal Cell which may explain how exercise prevents depression. A wealth of research shows that regular exercise reduces the risk of depression. A very large study in Britain, for example, suggested that …

Suicide in Young Adults

Suicide in young adults and adolescents is one of the most troubling issues facing any of us dealing with depression. This post, provided by Yellowbrick, speaks specifically to parents; however, we find that it is a useful resource for all of us who have adolescents and young adults in our lives. Of particular importance is point number 8; it can be …

Stop Smoking – Antidepressant Effects

Stop smoking – antidepressant effects? Smoking cessation is associated with improved mental health, even among patients with psychiatric conditions, according to a BMJ meta-analysis. Researchers reviewed 26 longitudinal studies that measured mental health immediately before smoking cessation and at least 6 weeks afterward. Average follow-up periods in these studies ranged from 6 to 12 months. Compared with those who continued to smoke, those who …

Are Negative Ions Antidepressants?

Are negative ions antidepressants? This has been the topic of an extensive discussion among a group of psychiatrists with an interested in pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic treatment of depression recently. Negative ions can be generated by negative ion machines, but they are formed naturally where water mixes with air, such as at the seaside (waves), near waterfalls, and after a rainstorm. And …