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January 3, 2019 by Beth Greenfield | Yahoo! Lifestyle

In recovery — from antidepressants. How patients are helping each other withdraw.

(Yahoo! Lifestyle) – When Sheila Wojciechowski was 21 years old and fresh out of college, she found that her new job — working at a school for kids with autism — made her feel increasingly depressed and anxious.

“I would go home and cry, and feel like I was no good at the job,” she says now, at 35, of her quick spiral downward. “I slowly became less and less functional. I couldn’t get out of bed.” After seeing several psychotherapists and “not clicking” with any, she was taken by her parents, with whom she lived at the time, to a psychiatrist.

“I went in, and after, like, 10 minutes, he said, ‘Clearly, you have major depression disorder with anxiety disorder,” Wojciechowski, of Queens, N.Y., tells Yahoo Lifestyle. The doctor, who was citing an official diagnosis, then wrote her a prescription for the antidepressant Lexapro, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). Sensing her wariness, he asked her, “If you had a headache, wouldn’t you take an Advil?”

To that, Wojciechowski recalls, “I said yes. It made sense, and I tried it — reluctantly. … I knew it was not right from that first pill, but you do what you can with the information you have at the time.”

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January 2, 2019 by Helen Garey | Neuroscience News

Hearing Loss Associated with Increased Risk of Depression in Older Adults

Summary: Researchers report age related hearing loss can increase the risk of older adults experiencing symptoms of depression. The study reports those with mild hearing loss were twice as likely to be depressed, and those with server hearing loss were up to four times more likely to suffer depression than those with normal hearing.

Source: Columbia University Irving Medical Center.

A new study found that elderly individuals with age-related hearing loss had more symptoms of depression; the greater the hearing loss, the greater the risk of having depressive symptoms. The findings suggest that treatment of age-related hearing loss, which is underrecognized and undertreated among all elderly, could be one way to head off late-life depression.

The study was published online in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.

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November 15, 2018 by JASON CHERKIS | Highline

The Best Way To Save People From Suicide

“What if this is what we should be doing?
What if it’s that simple?”

It was still dark outside when Amanda woke up to the sound of her alarm, got out of bed and decided to kill herself. She wasn’t going to do it then, not at 5:30 in the morning on a Friday. She told herself she would do it sometime after work.

Amanda showered. She put on khakis and a sweater. She fed Abby, her little house cat. Before walking out the door, she sent her therapist an email. “Not a good night last night, had a disturbing dream,” she wrote. “Got to try and get through the day, hope I can shift my mind enough to focus. Only plan tonight is to come home and take a nap.”

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October 22, 2018 by Benedict Carey | The New York Times

What’s Life Like After Depression? Surprisingly, Little Is Known

Most research on depression focuses on the afflicted, a new paper argues, overlooking a potentially informative group: people who have recovered.

A generation ago, depression was viewed as an unwanted guest: a gloomy presence that might appear in the wake of a loss or a grave disappointment and was slow to find the door. The people it haunted could acknowledge the poor company — I’ve been a little depressed since my father died — without worrying that they had become chronically ill.

Today, the condition has been recast in the medical literature as a darker, more permanent figure, a monster in the basement poised to overtake the psyche. For decades, researchers have debated the various types of depression, from mild to severe to “endogenous,” a rare, near-paralyzing despair. Hundreds of studies have been conducted, looking for markers that might predict the course of depression and identify the best paths to recovery. But treatment largely remains a process of trial and error. A drug that helps one person can make another worse. The same goes for talk therapies: some patients do very well, others don’t respond at all.

“If you got a depression diagnosis, one of the most basic things you want to know is, what are the chances of my life returning to normal or becoming optimal afterward?” said Jonathan Rottenberg, a professor of psychology at the University of South Florida. “You’d assume we’d have an answer to that question. I think it’s embarrassing that we don’t.”

In a paper in the current issue of Perspectives on Psychological Science, Dr. Rottenberg and his colleagues argue that, in effect, the field has been looking for answers in the wrong place. In trying to understand how people with depression might escape their condition, scientists have focused almost entirely on the afflicted, overlooking a potentially informative group: people who once suffered from some form of depression but have more or less recovered.

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October 19, 2018 by Liam Davenport | Medscape

SSRIs a ‘Double-Edged Sword’ in Major Depression?

BARCELONA, Spain – Use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) appears to amplify the living environment of patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) in a dose-dependent manner, so that those in more positive situations are more likely to achieve remission compared with their counterparts living in less favorable conditions, new research shows.

Investigators led by Igor Branchi, PhD, Center for Behavioral Sciences and Mental Health, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy, explored the hypothesis that SSRIs may not “affect mood per se but [may amplify] the influence of living conditions on mood.”

The clinical implications of the finding are “tricky,” Branchi told Medscape Medical News. One potential implication may be that “patients living in adverse environments should not be treated with SSRIs because they may not benefit.” However, he added, further study is needed before any firm conclusions can be drawn about the drugs’ use in particular patient groups.

The findings were presented here at the 31st European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP) Congress.

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October 17, 2018 by

Can Antidepressants Make You Less Attractive?

( – In recent years, there has been increasing concern about the problem of antidepressants finding their way into the environment. These drugs aren’t fully absorbed by the body and are present in human waste. Small concentrations are then flowing into rivers via wastewater treatment facilities where wildlife can be affected.

In August 2018, several media outlets reported that antidepressants were having a negative effect on the courting behavior of starlings (birds), specifically that males were singing less to females and showed signs of decreased interest.

A cursory glance of the headlines suggested that this might be the issue of antidepressants causing reduced sexual interest and disruption of normal social behaviors. Almost everyone who takes an SSRI or SNRI will be affected sexually to some degree, and these drugs can also cause emotional blunting, potentially affecting feelings of love towards a partner. But in this case, there was an unexpected twist to the story.

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October 17, 2018 by Peter Simons |

Pooling Data May Hide Negative Outcomes for Antidepressants

A new study finds evidence that pooling data distorts the evidence about antidepressant efficacy.

( – A new study, published in Psychological Medicine, found evidence for a specific type of publication bias distorting the evidence about antidepressant efficacy. Negative studies (studies that found that antidepressants were ineffective) were far more likely to be published only in pooled-trials studies, usually addressing secondary questions. On the other hand, positive studies were likely to be published as stand-alone publications touting the effectiveness of antidepressants, in addition to pooled-trials studies. This skews the published evidence for the primary question of antidepressant efficacy.

Pooling data is when researchers combine the results from several trials into one analysis. For instance, a company may conduct nine experiments of its medication, which may be pooled together into one report. This way, even if, say, four of the trials are negative, it may still appear to be a useful product. Additionally, pooled-trials studies often look at different questions. That is, instead of asking “is this antidepressant effective,” a pooled-trials study may ask about other outcome measures, adverse events, or may address questions about dosage or particular groups for whom the medication might be more effective. While this can be useful information, it cannot replace the initial question of whether the antidepressant outperforms placebo.

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October 2, 2018 by Dr. James Davies & Prof. John Read

Professor John Read on antidepressant withdrawal & rethinking mental “illness”

A systematic review into the incidence, severity and duration of antidepressant withdrawal effects: Are guidelines evidence-based?

James Davies, John Read, Addictive Behaviors

Full Article

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September 28, 2018 by Pauline Anderson | Medscape

More Evidence Links Mediterranean Diet to Less Depression


(Medscape) – Adherence to a healthy diet, particularly the plant-rich Mediterranean diet, and avoidance of sugary processed foods that promote inflammation are associated with a reduced risk for depression, a new systematic review and meta-analysis suggest.

This is yet more confirmation that a healthy diet not only improves physical health but also mental health, lead author Camille Lassale, PhD, research associate, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, United Kingdom, told Medscape Medical News.

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September 17, 2018 by Dr Chris van Tulleken | BBC News

Can cold water swimming treat depression?

(BBC News) – Jumping into the sea in winter is the most alive and present I ever feel. I get in fast – a dangerous approach if you’re a beginner – when the cold shock response provokes an uncontrollable urge to inhale.

Underwater, I feel an intense mixture of burning pain and, even after doing this for years, a little panic. But it’s the only time the anxious negative chatter in my head is truly silenced.

After two minutes, as my skin reaches the same temperature as the water, I start to feel comfortable and my breathing slows. After even a brief swim, I feel elated for hours and calm for days.

Like many other people who swim in cold water regularly, I love it, but I also believe it has mental health benefits.

And the first case report on cold water swimming published in British Medical Journal Case Reports shows that it may be an effective treatment for depression.

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