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May 3, 2006 15:51 - The Depression Information News Blog is back.

Although this is the first post on this blog page, The Depression Information News Blog is not new.

It does have a new look, however. That is because new software is being used to create the blog.

If you are interested in reading previous posts, they are now located at The Depression Information News Clips. I had to rename the page to keep the new software from over-writing the previous entries. You can go the News Clips by clicking on the link below.

With the new software I will be able to make more frequent blog posts. Thus, I will be better able to keep you up-to-date on the latest depression information news.

I hope you find these posts interesting and helpful.

Now, if you want to read the News Clips, here is the link. (Click here to read more.)

May 4, 2006 23:03 - To Be Bullied Is Depressing

Being bullied in school is a world wide problem. A student can be bullied by being called names, being ignored, or being shoved or hit.

  • 8% of children report being bullied at least once a week in Germany
  • 11% of children in the US report being bullied at least once a week
  • 30 % of children report having been bullied at sometime

This is a serious situation because children who are bullied are likely to develop problems including depression, anxiety, bedwetting, abdominal pain, tension and headaches.

An important question is do these problems follow the bullying or precede the bullying?

A study recently conducted in the Netherlands explored this very question. The study involved 1,118 children, ages 9 to 11, from 18 elementary schools in the Netherlands.

The results may surprise you. It was found that bullying precedes these symptoms in some children. In fact, children who were being bullied were four times more likely to develop problems.

But also, children who are already experiencing these problems are more likely to be bullied. It is likely that children who are anxious and depressed are more vunerable because of a lack of confidence. Lacking confidence, they are less likely to stand up for themselves. Thus, they are easy targets.

For source, click here.

Would you like to learn more about how you can help your depression? (Click here to read more.)

May 5, 2006 10:08 - Research again confirms that light can brighten your mood.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression related to a lack of sunlight. People often experience this disorder during winter months when daylight hours are shorter. It is also experienced in parts of the world where sunlight is diminished.

We do not know why the reduced sunlight causes depression. One theory is that light suppresses the release of the hormone melatonin. It may be that with too little sunlight some people produce too much melatonin. The evidence supporting this theory is mixed, however.

Patients with SAD have been treated with exposure to full-spectrum natural light, antidepressant medication, or both. Exposure to light, or light therapy, is administered by having the patient sit in front of a full-spectrum light for a period of time each day. Little research had been done to compare the effectiveness of these two treatments.

Recently, a three-year research project was carried out by Raymond W. Lam, in four Canadian treatment centers, to compare the effectiveness of light therapy with the effectiveness of Prozac (Fluoxetine). The results of this study found light therapy to be as effective as Prozac. A plus for the light therapy was that it did not produce the side effects of antidepressant medication.

For source, click here.

Want to learn more about SAD? (Click here to read more.)

May 6, 2006 14:58 - Depression Invervention Extends Life

Previous evidence has shown that depression in the elderly is related to death. An unanswered question is, can life be extended by treating the depression?

Hillary R. Bogner, MD, MSCE, from the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia designed a study to answer this question.

Dr. Bogner and colleagues had a masters level depression specialist consult with primary care physicians. The depression specialist provided education concerning depression to both the physicians and the patients' family. They also worked to improve the patients' compliance with treatment. General treatment recommendations were made by a depression care manager. The care manager did not make specific recommendations for individual patients. The researchers then compared depressed elderly patients who received depression treatment with non-depressed patients who received usual care treatment.

The depressed patients who received treatment were found to be less likely to die during a 4-year follow-up. Dr. Dogner concluded that depression treatment can reduce disability and impact mortality.

For source, click here.

May 7, 2006 16:16 - Over the counter supplement may help Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a depression disorder which affects from 6 to 20 percent of the population. The disorder usually occurs in the winter or in northern laditudes where sunlight is diminished.

Although no one knows what causes SAD, some believe it is because the changes in sunlight cause a change in the amount of melatonin the body produces. This theory is not accepted by all depression experts and research evidence is mixed.

Recently, a study conducted by Oregon Health & Science University supported melatonin as a factor. This research also indicateed that someone suffering from SAD could benefit from taking low dose melatonin.

The researchers studied 68 people with SAD for 4 years. The individuals with SAD were given either a placebo, melatonin in the morning, or melatonin in the afternoon.

Some of the research subjects were found to respond more to the morning dose of melatonin. These people were more attuned to sunrise. Others seemed to be more attuned to sunset. They responded better to melatonin taken in the afternoon. This was the most common group.

Melatonin was found to yeild added benefit to those being treated with light therapy.

If you are suffering from SAD, you may want to try taking melatonin. You can purchase melatonin at many drug stores, grocery stores and health food stores without a prescription.

Be sure to consult with you physician before you start taking the supplement. This is very important if you are taking medication. The melatonin may interact with your medication and produce unwanted effects.

You may have to experiment with the time of day that you take the melatonin to find what is best for you.

For source, click here.

If you want to learn more about SAD, click on the following link. (Click here to read more.)

May 7, 2006 16:52 - Medication Is Not The Only Treatment For Teenage Depression

Often, when a physician encounters a depressed patient, medication is the first -- and many times the only -- treatment offered. This is true for teenagers and adults.

Anti-depressants prescribed for teenagers during the 1990s and 2001 tripled. During 2002 over 11 million anti-depressants were prescribed to children and adolescents in the US. This trend was slowed somewhat in 2004 when it was suggested that the use of anti-depressant medication may possibly contribute to suicidal thoughts and behaviors in adolescents.

Nevertheless, anti-depressants are still used as the first and only treatment for depression by many doctors. About 2% of adolescents are taking an anti-depressant.

Is all of this medication really necessary?

Medication may be needed to treat a teenager's depression. But, medication is not the only treatment available. There are other things that adolescents can do to help their depression. Sometimes the alternatives are successful without medication.

When you consider that medication has many side-effects, it seems that other treatments should be tried first. Medication should only be used when other treatments have failed.

Also, when medication is the first and only treatment, other important factors are probably not being addressed. Such factors could include poor self-esteem, conflicts in family relationships, conflicts with peers, poorly developed coping skills, academic problems, and so on.

Some of the alternative treatments that have been found effective in helping depression are...

  • cognitive behavioral psychotherapy
  • involvement in enjoyable activities
  • relationship counseling
  • supportive counseling
  • exercise
  • yoga and meditation

The Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders at Boston University reports that they are 60% to 90% successful in treating children and teenagers without medication. Treatments last from 3 to 6 months.

A study reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association provided 400 depressed teenagers with 12 weeks of cognitive behavioral therapy, Prozac, a combination of Prozac and cognitive behavioral trreatment, or a placebo group.

  • The combination treatment was the most effective with 70% responding.
  • The Prozac group came in second with 60% responding.
  • The cognitive behavioral treatment was found to be 43% effective.
  • The placebo group was 35% effective.

If you -- or someone you know -- are depressed why not give the alternatives a try first. You may help your depression and avoid a lot of unwanted side-effects.

For source, click here.

To learn more about depression treatment click on this link. (Click here to read more.)

May 8, 2006 17:33 - The New Baby May Not Be The Only One Crying

Recent research has shown that the mothers of colicky babies are at greater risk for postpartum depression that other mothers.

The research was conducted by Dr. Pamela High at Brown Medical School and the Rhode Island Department of Health. More than 2,900 mothers were involved.

Those with babies that were reported to be difficult-to-console were more than twice as likely to experience depression. Also, mothers with postpartum depression reported having difficult-to-console babies two times as often.

This research does not prove that having a colicky baby causes mom to be depressed or that having a depressed mom causes a baby to be colicky. There may be another factor that is having an impact on both the baby and his or her mother.

One such factor could be lack of sleep. Colicky babies and their mothers both find it difficult to get a good night's sleep.

Another factor could be hormonal changes in both the mother and in the baby following the baby's birth.

Learned helplessness may play a role. It is clear that people are likely to become depressed when they feel helpless. The mothers of colicky babies may feel helpless to adequately care for her baby. This could contribute to the mother experiencing depression.To learn more about learned helplessness and depression, click here.

Regardless of what is causing the depression, the depressed mothers need help and support. There is much others can do to help someone who is depressed. To learn more ,click here.

For source, click here.

May 9, 2006 21:00 - When Mom's Happy Everyone's Happy

First the bad news: A mother's depression increases the risk that her children will experience depression.

Now for the good news: If the mother's depression is successfully treated her children's risk of becoming depressed decreases.

The study was published in the April 2006 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association and conducted by Erin Malloy, MD, a psychiatrist at the University of North Carolina. One hundred and fifty mothers were involved.

The children of depressed mothers that did not improve with treatment began to have increased problems When the mothers' depression improved, their children's problems also improved.

Thus, it is important that depressed mothers address their depression -- both for their own sake and for the sake of their children.

There is a lot a mother can do to help depression. To learn more, Click here.

For source, click here.

May 10, 2006 15:59 - A Laugh A Day May Well Keep The Doctor Away

Several years ago researchers at the University of Maryland Medical Center found that laughter helps prevent heart disease by impacting blood vessels and increasing blood flow. This health benefit is a response to mirthful laughter, not a nervous or self-conscious laugh.

More recent research conducted by Lee Berk and colleagues at Loma Linda University has confirmed the health benefits of laughter.

Forty-eight heart patients were divided into two groups. Both groups received regular cardiac care. One of the two groups watched 30 minutes of comedy daily in addition to the cardiac treatment.

One year later only two patients in the group that watched the comedy had experienced heart attacks, compared to ten in the other group.

The Loma Linda researchers followed-up with another study. This study suggested that the benefits of laughter are not just physical, but are also emotional.

In this study 16 healthy males were divided into two groups. One group watched a funny video for one hour. The other group did not watch the tape.

Blood was taken from the individuals in both groups one time before the video, four times during the video, and three times following the video. By testing and comparing the blood taken from each group, the researchers found that the blood of those watching the videos changed and the changes lasted for hours.

  • Beta-endorphins increased 27 percent. Endorphins are chemicals produced by the body that are very similar to morphine. They make you feel good emotionally and physically. They, also, slow down the heart which reduces blood pressure. In addition, they open air passages.

  • Human growth hormone increased 87 percent. Growth hormone helps the immune system function more efficiently.

So, if you are feeling down physically or emotionally, a funny movie may be just the medicine you need.

To learn more about how you can transform yourself, click here.

For source, click here.

May 15, 2006 17:39 - New Information About How Antidepressants Work

How antidepressants work is somewhat of a mystery.

Psychiatrists will tell you that your depression is because of a chemical imbalance and that the antidepressants increase certain chemicals in the brain. However, no one knows for sure what is happening in the brain as a result of antidepressant medication.

New research is beginning to show that another process may be the key to how antidepressants work.

Researcher Grigori Enikolopov and his collegues, at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York, are studying how Prozac (fluoxetine) effects the brains of mice. They discovered how the medication impacts the growth of neurons. They also learned what stage of cell growth is affected.

Prozac was found to stimulate the division of cells that would eventually become neurons. Thus, the medication caused more neurons to develop.

These new cells were located in the hippocampus. The hippocampus is a part of the limbic system, which is an emotional center in the brain. It is related to memory.

Enikolopov and his associates are now exploring how other treatments affect this process. They are also studying the impacts of antidepressants on pup mice.

It is their hope that the research will lead to more tailored treatments with fewer side-effects. It may also yeild information about how medication affects individuals at different ages, including adolescants and children.

To learn more about antidepressant medication, click here.

For source, click here.

May 17, 2006 19:32 - Could Music Be A Depression Treatment

I often talk with groups of depressed patients asking them, "What helps you feel better when you are down?"

Music is frequently mentioned as a coping resource when the patients brainstorm.

Research confirms that music is indeed a healthy coping resource. There is more and more evidence that music affects the brain.

Listening to classical music can improve memory and help you learn faster.

  • Mozart's music improves spatial-temporal reasoning (which is related to math ability).
  • This impact was even produced in an Alzheimer's patient.
  • The number of seizures experienced by epileptics was also reduced by Mozart's music.
  • Music training has been found to improve verbal memory as well.

In addition to learning and memory, music has been found to affect emotions. It can lessen depression, anger, and fear.

History even records an incident that occured in 1865 during the American Civil War when music stopped a battle from happening. A soldier began to sing as the armies were ready and waiting for the battle to commence. The singing spread through both armies and the battle never started.

There is no question that music is powerful. It can help you feel better and can help your brain function better. Just any music will not work, though. Research has shown some classical music to be benefical. Rock music, on the other hand, has be found to reduce memory.

So if you are down you might try listing to some good music. But make sure it is uplifting music.

For source,click here.

May 19, 2006 19:51 - Work Related Causes Of Depression

People often ask me, "What causes depression?"

There is not just one cause. Most psychological disorders, including depression, have multiple causes.

The results of a recent survey from Denmark sheds light on one of the causes. The survey was conducted by Dr. Reiner Rugulies and colleagues at the National Institute of Occupational Health in Copenhagen and involved 4,133 men and women. The survey involved questioning participants in 1995 and again in 2000.

Those surveyed were asked about symptoms of depression. They were also asked about their work situations. Results indicated that the work related causes of depression in women and men differ.

Women who were in low level positions were more likely to experience depression. One factor that seems to set these women up for depression is lack of control over their work situation.

They had little say in planning work or the pace of work. They did not make decisions affecting their work; rather, they were told what to do. Over the five years, they were more than twice as likely to develop depression compared to women in higher level positions.

Another important factor was lack of support from supervisors. Women who reportedly received little or no supervisor support were twice as likely to experience depression.

Men, on the other hand, were not affected by any of the factors that impacted the women. They were affected by job insecurity.

Worries about losing their job, being transfered, being laid off, and having a hard time finding a new job were what caused them depression. When these factors were reported by men depression was twice as likely to develop than in men that were not concerned about job insecurity.

Even though the specific factors that seemed to influence an increase in depression were different for the men and the women surveyed, there was a common aspect to their situations -- helplessness. The women had little influence over their work situation. They were helpless to make work related decisions. The men were helpless to assure job security. The circumstances that threatened their jobs were out of their control.

It is well known that helplessness contributes to the development of depression. You can learn how to manage helplessness, however, so that it has minimal impact. To learn more click here.

To read more about about work related depression,click here.

For source click here.

May 21, 2006 18:28 - Violence Is Another Factor Related To Depression

Amy Bonomi, a researcher working for the Group Health Cooperative's Center for Health Studies, and her colleagues interviewed 3,429 women between the ages of 18 and 64. They found that these women were four times more likely to experience severe depression when they had experienced violence from their intimate partner within the past five years.

A second group of researchers, lead by Robert Thompson, learned that the women had been subjected to sexual, physical or psychological abuse by their partners. Thus, physical and sexual abuse are not the only types of abuse that are detrimental. Psychological abuse is also harmful.

The violence was found to be related to more than emotional problems -- that is depression. It was also found to be related to poor physical health.

Frequently, I see counseling clients in my practice that are in abusive relationships and are experiencing depression. At times one of these individuals will want his or her depression to improve but for one reason or another will be unwilling to get out of the abusive relationship. Improvement in such circumstances is highly unlikely.

One of the principles taught in The "How To Transform Your Life" E-Workshop is to reduce contact with toxic people. Obviously, a person can reduce contact by separating. Contact with a toxic person can also be reduced by working on the relationship so that it becomes less toxic. If the relationship continues to be toxic, the depression will continue as well.

You may be in an abusive relationship and not be experiencing depression yet. Yet is an important word in the previous sentense. If you stay in the abusive relationship, you will very likely begin to experience depression or other health problems sooner or later. I encourage you to get help.

To find out how to find help, click here.

To learn more about The "How To Transform Your Life" E-Workshop, click here.

For source, click here.

May 28, 2006 18:51 - Verbal Abuse -- Another Cause of Depression

Is verbal abuse really a cause of depression?

When growing up I was taught, "Sticks and stones can break your bones but words can never hurt you."

I think most of us know that this is not true. Words can be painful and can leave lasting injury to one's self-esteem.

Science is now confirming this truth.

Natalie Sachs-Ericsson, along with Thomas Joiner and a team of researchers at Florida State University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill studied 5,614 people ages 15 to 54.

Nearly 30 percent of these research subjects reported having been verbally abused by their parents. The abuse included insults, swearing, threats of physical abuse and spiteful comments or behaviors.

As time passed the criticism from parents was well learned and became self-criticism. The children began to think of themselves in the same way their parents talked to them. If their parents told them they were no good, they learned to think of themselves as no good. If their parents told them they were stupid, they learned to think of themselves as stupid.

The negative self concepts were, then, used to explain why negative things happened. For example, if they failed a test, it was because they were stupid -- not because they did not study hard enough. If they were stupid there was nothing that could be done to help the situation -- so why try? Why study for tests at all?

Thus, a sense of helplessness developed. Along with helplessness came hopelessness and depression. In fact, in this study those who had been verbally abused reported 1.6 times more symptoms of depression and anxiety compared to those who had not been verbally abused. The verbally abused subjects were twice as likely to suffer from a mood disorder or anxiety disorder at some time in their lives.

This does not mean that you are destined to experience depression and anxiety if you were verbally abused as a child. You can learn to think differently about yourself. Cognitive-behavioral therapy can help you identify the negative, harmful thoughts and replace them with more positive and healthy thoughts.

Learning good coping skills now can help you make up for the skills you were not able to develop because of attitudes of helplessness eariler in your life.

To read more about how you can learn coping skills, click here.

For source, click here.

May 29, 2006 12:49 - Pain Relief -- Music To My Ears

Many depressed people experience chronic pain and most chronic pain patients experience some depression. Research is showing that music can help.

A group of researchers, lead by Dr. Sandra Siedlicki, of the Cleveland Clinic Foundation and published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing, investigated the impact of music on 60 patients ages 21-65 who had experienced pain for an average of six-and-a-half-years. The pain resulted from osteoarthritis, disc problems and rheumatoid arthritis.

Previous research has shown music to be helpful with more acute, or short-term, pain associated with conditions such as a recent surgery, other medical procedure, or cancer. This study focused on long-term pain.

The 60 subjects were divided into two groups. One group of subjects listened to music for one hour on a headset daily for a week. The second group did not listen to music.

The group that listened to music experienced a 21 percent reduction in pain and a 25 percent reduction in associated depression. The music also helped subjects to feel less disabled by their medical conditions.

Music has been shown to help with another symptom of depression, as well -- insomnia. Listening to 45 minutes of soft music before bed improves sleep 33 percent.

If you experience pain, depression, and insomnia, music is a very enjoyable way that you can help yourself improve -- with no side-effects.

For source, click here.

» June 2006


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