Category Archives: Mental Health

Hormone treatment of depression

Hormone treatment of depression – NCBI – Dialogues Clin Neurosci. 2011 Mar – free fulll-text PMC article

Disorders of the thyroid axis have been closely linked to psychiatric disorders.  While hyperthyroidism may present with a heterogenous range of psychiatric symptoms and syndromes, clinical hypothyroidism is invariably associated with depressive symptoms.

Although extensive research has shown that the vast majority of patients who present with major depression are euthyroid [normal thyroid], the close association between depression and hypothyroidism led to a large database of studies in which various hormones of the thyroid axis have been used to treat depression as monotherapy or, more commonly, as adjunct to standard antidepressants.

Each of the hormones of the thyroid axis will be reviewed.  Continue reading

Depression rates rise 18 percent in a decade

‘Let’s Talk’, WHO says, as depression rates rise 18 percent in a decade| Reuters – Mar 30, 2017 – By Kate Kelland

Depression is now the leading cause of ill health and disability worldwide, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday, with more than 300 million people suffering.

Rates of depression have risen by
more than 18 percent since 2005

WHO expressed concern that in many countries there is little or no support for people with mental health disorders, and said only around half of people with depression get treatment in wealthier nations.

On average just 3 percent of government health budgets is spent on mental health, varying from less than 1 percent in poor countries to 5 percent in rich ones, according to the WHO.


Overdoing Positive Thinking

Think Twice Before Overdoing The Positive Thinking, Cautions Psychology Study – PsyBlog – Feb 2016

Dreaming about positive events in the future makes you feel better now, but may make you feel worse later on, new research finds.

The more positively people fantasised about the future, the more depressive symptoms people experienced up to seven months later, the study found. The findings kick against the ubiquitous self-help advice to ‘think positive’. 

In a society with increasing economic, social, and mental stress leading to increasing rates of suicide, the insistence that we “think positive” asks us to ignore the reality we live in.   Continue reading

Profound empathy may come at a price

Too Much Emotional Intelligence Is a Bad Thing – Scientific American – By Agata Blaszczak-Boxe on March 1, 2017
Profound empathy may come at a price

Recognizing when a friend or colleague feels sad, angry or surprised is key to getting along with others. But a new study suggests that a knack for eavesdropping on feelings may sometimes come with an extra dose of stress.

This and other research challenge the prevailing view that emotional intelligence is uniformly beneficial to its bearer.

In a study published in the September 2016 issue of Emotion, psychologists Myriam Bechtoldt and Vanessa Schneider of the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management in Germany asked 166 male university students a series of questions to measure their emotional smarts.   Continue reading

Borderline Personality Disorder: Shortage of Endogenous Opioids?

Borderline Personality Disorder: A Dysregulation of the Endogenous Opioid System?Psychological ReviewResearchGate – April 2010 – free PDF Download Available

The neurobiology of borderline personality disorder (BPD) remains unclear. Dysfunctions of several neurobiological systems, including serotoninergic, dopaminergic, and other neurotransmitter systems, have been discussed.

Here we present a theory that alterations in the sensitivity of opioid receptors or the availability of endogenous opioids constitute part of the underlying pathophysiology of BPD.

This is a radical idea, but I’ve read it before: certain psychological states in certain people can be relieved by opioids. However, even if this proves to be true, we certainly won’t be prescribed this particular drug, no matter how effective it is at easing mental disorders since it’s not even being used for physical pain anymore.  Continue reading

Depression impairs your ability to think

More than sad: Depression affects your ability to think – Harvard Health Blog – Harvard Health Publications May 06, 2016, James Cartreine, PhD,

depression can actually change your ability to think.

It can impair your attention and memory, as well as your information processing and decision-making skills.

It can also lower your cognitive flexibility (the ability to adapt your goals and strategies to changing situations) and executive functioning (the ability to take all the steps to get something done)   Continue reading

Link Between Breathing and Anxiety

The breathing conundrum – interoceptive sensitivity and anxiety  2013 Oct – free full-text PMC article

This review focuses on the relationship between breathing and anxiety.

Several anxiety disorders have been associated with

  • altered breathing,
  • perception of breathing and
  • response to manipulations of breathing.

Both clinical and experimental research studies are reviewed that relate breathing dysfunctions to anxiety.   Continue reading

Take in the Good

Take in the Good  in Just One Thing

Scientists believe that your brain has a built-in “negativity bias.” In other words, as we evolved over millions of years, dodging sticks and chasing carrots, it was a lot more important to notice, react to, and remember sticks than it was for carrots.

The negativity bias shows up in lots of ways. In effect, the brain is like Velcro for negative experiences, but Teflon for positive ones.

Having chronic pain, we have to contend with its constant drain on our bodies, minds, and spirits, so finding positives and goodness in life is more than just a good idea. I think positive experiences are absolutely necessary to counterbalance the continuous negative undertow, keep us from losing the will to live and drowning.

I think positive experiences and/or feelings are absolutely necessary to counterbalance the continuous negative undertow, keep us from drowning in an ocean of negativity.   Continue reading

Are psychiatric disorders actually brain diseases?

Are psychiatric disorders actually brain diseases? | Steven Reidbord, MD | January 7, 2016

a long list of medical and surgical diseases include psychiatric features: stroke, anoxic brain injury, meningitis, lupus, diabetic ketoacidosis, and febrile delirium to name a few.  

One important job of the psychiatrist is to recognize such problems, treat the psychiatric manifestations when appropriate, and refer the case to one’s colleague — neurologist, internist, surgeon — for treatment of the underlying problem

Of the conditions deemed inherently psychiatric, some seem rooted in biological brain dysfunction.   Continue reading

New Depression Treatment Shows Immediate Results

New treatment for depression shows immediate results | Harvard Gazette

Individuals with major depressive disorder or bipolar disorder who receive low-field magnetic stimulation (LFMS) show immediate and substantial mood improvement,

LFMS is unlike any current treatment.

It uses magnetic fields that are a fraction of the strength but at a higher frequency than the electromagnetic fields used in TMS [transcranial magnetic stimulation] and ECT [electroconvulsive therapy],

Importantly, LFMS appears to have an immediate effect on mood and thus has the potential to provide relief in emergency situations,   Continue reading