Chapter 16. Psychopathology: Biological Basis of Behavior Disorders

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By Nicholas Bakalar Night owls may be at greater risk for depression than early birds. Previous studies have found a link between a person’s unique circadian rhythm, or chronotype, and depression, but none were able to tell whether sleep habits were a cause or an effect of the disease. This new prospective study, in the Journal of Psychiatric Research, is a step closer to establishing causality. Researchers gathered health and behavioral data on 32,740 women whose average age was 55. Each categorized herself as a definite evening or morning type, a somewhat morning or evening type, or neither. All were free of depression at the start of the study, and over the following four years 2,581 of them developed depression, defined by antidepressant use or a clinical diagnosis. After adjusting for marital status, living alone, being retired, alcohol consumption and other variables, the researchers found that compared to the intermediate types, morning people were 12 percent less likely to develop depression, and night owls 6 percent more likely to develop it. The relationship was linear: the more a woman tended toward the night-owl type, the more likely she was to develop depression. “The effect is modest, a modest association for chronotype and incident depression,” said the lead author, Céline Vetter, an assistant professor at the University of Colorado. “But the overall pattern remains constant. We need to get much deeper into what the genetic and environmental contributions are between mood and chronotype.” © 2018 The New York Times Company

Keyword: Biological Rhythms; Depression
Link ID: 25113 - Posted: 06.21.2018

Rhitu Chatterjee The number of people dying by suicide in the United States has risen by about 30 percent in the past two decades. And while the majority of suicide-related deaths today are among boys and men, a study published Thursday by the National Center for Health Statistics finds that the number of girls and women taking their own lives is rising. "Typically there's between three and three times as many suicides among males as among females," says Dr. Holly Hedegaard, a medical epidemiologist at the NCHS and the main author of the new study. In 2016, about 21 boys or men out of 100,000 took their own lives. On the other hand, just six girls or women out of 100,000 died by suicide that year. But when Hedegaard and her colleagues compared the rise in the rates of death by suicide from 2000 to 2016, the increase was significantly larger for females — increasing by 21 percent for boys and men, as compared to 50 percent for girls and women. There's "sort of a narrowing of the [gender] gap in rates," Hedegaard notes. The biggest change was seen among women in late middle age. "For females between the ages of 45 and 64, the suicide rate increased by 60 percent," she says. "That's a pretty large increase in a relatively short period of time." That the increase for women was more than double the increase for men "did indeed surprise me," says Nadine Kaslow, a psychologist at Emory University and the past president of the American Psychological Association, who was not involved in the study. She says she finds the overall trends for both men and women "disturbing." © 2018 npr

Keyword: Depression; Sexual Behavior
Link ID: 25086 - Posted: 06.14.2018

Allison Aubrey If you take Prilosec or Zantac for acid reflux, a beta blocker for high blood pressure, or Xanax for anxiety, you may be increasing your risk of depression. More than 200 common medications sold in the U.S. include depression as a potential side effect. Sometimes, the risk stems from taking several drugs at the same time. Now, a new study finds people who take these medicines are, in fact, more likely to be depressed. The list includes a wide range of commonly taken medications. Among them are certain types of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) (used to treat acid reflux), beta blockers, anxiety drugs, painkillers including ibuprofen, ACE inhibitors (used to treat high blood pressure), and anti-convulsant drugs. "The more of these medications you're taking, the more likely you are to report depression," says study author Mark Olfson, a professor of psychiatry at Columbia University. The study, which was published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, included 26,192 adults who participated in a federal survey, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. All of the participants listed the medications they were taking at the time of the survey. In addition, they each completed a depression screening, the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9), which asks about sleep, mood and appetite. © 2018 npr

Keyword: Depression
Link ID: 25084 - Posted: 06.13.2018

By Judith S. Beck After a week of devastating news about suicide, there has been much discussion of the need for people who may be thinking of ending their lives to reach out for help. But some people who are suffering may be skeptical that therapy could make a difference. Research has demonstrated the effectiveness of cognitive behavior therapy, or C.B.T., in treating suicidal individuals and decreasing subsequent attempts. A 2016 review of 15 randomized controlled trials found that C.B.T. “is a useful strategy in the prevention of suicidal cognitions and suicidal behaviors.” Throughout my career I have used this method to treat patients with many different types of problems and diagnoses, including suicidal behavior — which may occur along with problems like depression, addictions, schizophrenia and post-traumatic stress disorder. Medications can be very effective in treating certain diagnoses, but those medications may take some time to take effect. Therefore the suicidality must be addressed before the medications will be helpful. Sometimes individuals will need to be hospitalized in order to keep them safe until C.B.T. or medications can help. But inpatient treatment is not necessary for everyone who has suicidal thoughts. C.B.T. starts with the proposition that people’s behavior, including suicide attempts, make sense once we understand what they’re thinking. A highly suicidal individual might think, for example, that his or her emotional pain will never go away and will only get worse. If the individual believes there is nothing that can alleviate his or her suffering, suicide may seem as if it is the only solution. But in C.B.T. treatment, individuals learn a number of skills. While individual patients’ needs can vary greatly, following is a basic approach. © 2018 The New York Times Company

Keyword: Depression
Link ID: 25083 - Posted: 06.13.2018

by Anthea Rowan When Mike Shooter was in medical school, he suffered the first of what he calls “thunderous depressions.” More followed. Shooter’s efforts to come to grips with these experiences has made him acutely aware of what young people with mental-health problems endure and forged his career as a preeminent child psychiatrist in England. He was the first such specialist to be elected president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, a position he held from 2002 to 2005. Recently he published “Growing Pains,” which is based on 40 years of working with young people. The book explains why it’s imperative to differentiate between depression and the ordinary but often intense difficulties some children face. He recently spoke with The Washington Post on these issues. This transcript was edited for clarity and length. Q: Do you think young people are more vulnerable to mental illness now? A: Research suggests that the United Kingdom is the least happy place for a child to be brought up in the Western world; America cannot be far behind. Some of this could be attributed to the grinding effect of poverty. But not all: The frenetic competition, in school, in the scramble for jobs, in peer-group relationships, means many children fall off the bottom of the ladder of competition and feel as if they’ve failed. Or are so unsure of their own worth that they sit up all night searching for “likes” on social media in lieu of proper friendships. But it’s not all bad news. There is currently much research into resilience: what enables some children to cope while others do not. I know from experience that there is one thing that can make all the difference: a relationship with an adult close enough to them, that supports them, listens to their distress and treats them as worthwhile. That person could be a relative, a family friend, a teacher or, dare I say it, a child psychiatrist. © 1996-2018 The Washington Post

Keyword: Depression; Development of the Brain
Link ID: 25074 - Posted: 06.11.2018

By Benedict Carey The deaths of the designer Kate Spade and the chef Anthony Bourdain, both of whom committed suicide this week, were not simply pop culture tragedies. They were the latest markers of an intractable public health crisis that has been unfolding in slow motion for a generation. Treatment for chronic depression and anxiety — often the precursors to suicide — has never been more available and more widespread. Yet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week reported a steady, stubborn rise in the national suicide rate, up 25 percent since 1999. The rates have been climbing each year across most age and ethnic groups. Suicide is now the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. Nearly 45,000 Americans killed themselves in 2016, twice the number who died by homicide. After decades of research, effective prevention strategies are lacking. It remains difficult, perhaps impossible, to predict who will commit suicide, and the phenomenon is extremely difficult for researchers to study. One of the few proven interventions is unpalatable to wide swaths of the American public: reduced access to guns. The C.D.C. report found that the states where rates rose most sharply were those, like Montana and Oklahoma, where gun ownership is more common. It is predominantly men who use guns to commit suicide, and men are much less likely to seek help than women. The escalating suicide rate is a profound indictment of the country’s mental health system. Most people who kill themselves have identifiable psychiatric symptoms, even if they never get an official diagnosis. © 2018 The New York Times Company

Keyword: Depression
Link ID: 25071 - Posted: 06.09.2018

by Amy Ellis Nutt Suicide rates rose in all but one state between 1999 and 2016, with increases seen across age, gender, race and ethnicity, according to a report released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In more than half of all deaths in 27 states, the people had no known mental health condition when they ended their lives. In North Dakota, the rate jumped more than 57 percent. In the most recent period studied (2014 to 2016), the rate was highest in Montana, at 29.2 per 100,000 residents, compared with the national average of 13.4 per 100,000. Only Nevada recorded a decline — of 1 percent — for the overall period, although its rate remained higher than the national average. Increasingly, suicide is being viewed not only as a mental health problem but a public health one. Nearly 45,000 suicides occurred in the United States in 2016 — more than twice the number of homicides — making it the 10th-leading cause of death. Among people ages 15 to 34, suicide is the second-leading cause of death. The most common method used across all groups was firearms. “The data are disturbing,” said Anne Schuchat, the CDC's principal deputy director. “The widespread nature of the increase, in every state but one, really suggests that this is a national problem hitting most communities.” It is hitting many places especially hard. In half of the states, suicide among people age 10 and older increased more than 30 percent. © 1996-2018 The Washington Post

Keyword: Depression
Link ID: 25068 - Posted: 06.08.2018

By Heather Murphy Reports of Kate Spade’s suicide and struggle with depression have transformed her from symbol of polished prep to a blunt reminder that suffering affects all types. Her death has inspired hundreds to tweet some version of the same message: Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of. But deep in the comment threads, some also debated a more uncomfortable question: What do you do when a friend is depressed for such a long time that you’ve started to feel that that nothing you can do will make a difference, and your empathy reserves are tapped out? There are no easy answers. But here are some tips from experts: Don’t underestimate the power of showing up You may not feel that your presence is wanted. But just being by the side of someone who is depressed, and reminding her that she is special to you, is important to ensuring that she does not feel alone, said Dr. Norman Rosenthal, a clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown University School of Medicine. If she acknowledges she’s depressed, that’s a good sign, said Dr. Rosenthal. He recalled the story of a patient who stopped feeling suicidal after telling people he was close to how he was feeling. “When you shine the light on the shame, it gets better,” Dr. Rosenthal said. Your brother has an enviable job and two lovely children. He’s still ridiculously handsome even though he hasn’t gone to the gym for six months. It’s tempting to want to remind him of all these good things. Not only is that unlikely to boost his mood, it could backfire by reinforcing his sense that you just don’t get it, said Megan Devine, a psychotherapist and the author of “It’s O.K. That You’re Not O.K.” © 2018 The New York Times Company

Keyword: Depression
Link ID: 25067 - Posted: 06.08.2018

By Douglas Woods It often starts with a simple, subtle behavior like a rapid eye blink. Sometimes it’s a nose-scrunch or a sniff that is confused with a lingering cold or an allergy. Often, these habits go away on their own, but in about 1 percent of children (boys more so than girls), these blinks, twitches, and coughs become the persistent tic disorder known as Tourette syndrome (TS), a misunderstood and stigmatizing neurological condition. Media portrayals of TS often overemphasize the rare (fewer than 15 percent of cases) symptoms, in which people with TS shout obscene words—a symptom known as coprolalia—but most patients have a wide range of movements and sounds, ranging from simple tics to more complex ones that often look intentional but are not. Hidden beneath the tics, people with TS often experience "premonitory urges”—unpleasant sensations that build until the tic occurs. Ticcing brings a brief sense of relief, but the urges soon return. We know that TS is a genetically-based neurological disorder that is strongly influenced by a person’s surroundings. The disorder stems from a problem within the basal ganglia, a series of structures in the brain that are responsible for selecting and inhibiting our movements. When neurons fire, signaling us to move, the basal ganglia serves as a filter, allowing some of these signals to pass through and become movements. Other movement signals that are not needed in a particular situation are held back. © 2018 Scientific American

Keyword: Tourettes; Learning & Memory
Link ID: 25062 - Posted: 06.06.2018

By The Editorial Board When President Trump mused that the mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Fla., in February might have been prevented if the United States had more mental institutions, he revived a not-quite-dormant debate: Should the country bring back asylums? Psychiatric facilities are unlikely to prevent crimes similar to the Parkland shooting because people are typically not committed until after a serious incident. Still, a string of news articles, editorials and policy forums have noted that plenty of mental health experts agree with the president’s broader point. The question of whether to open mental institutions tends to divide the people who provide, use and support mental health services — let’s call them the mental health community — into two camps. There are just 14 or so psychiatric beds per every 100,000 people in the United States, a 95 percent decline from the 1950s. One camp says this profound shortage is a chief reason that so many people suffering from mental health conditions have ended up in jail, on the streets or worse. The other argues that large psychiatric institutions are morally repugnant, and that the problem is not the lack of such facilities but how little has been done to fill the void since they were shut down. Neither side wants to return to the era of “insane asylums,” the warehouselike hospitals that closed en masse between the 1960s and 1980s. Nor does anyone disagree that the “system” that replaced them is a colossal failure. Nearly 10 times as many people suffering from serious mental illnesses are being kept in jails and prisons as are receiving treatment in psychiatric hospitals. What’s more, both sides broadly agree that mental institutions alone would not be the solution. “Bring back the asylums” sounds catchy, but here are some more useful slogans to help steer the conversation: © 2018 The New York Times Company

Keyword: Schizophrenia; Aggression
Link ID: 25056 - Posted: 06.04.2018

Jon Hamilton For six years now, life has been really good for James. He's got a great job as the creative director of an advertising firm in New York City. He enjoys spending time with his wife and kids. And it's all been possible, he says, because for the past six years he's been taking a drug called ketamine. Before ketamine, James was unable to work or focus his thoughts. His mind was filled with violent images. And his mood could go from ebullient to dark in a matter of minutes. Ketamine "helped me get my life back," says James, who asked that we not use his last name to protect his career. Ketamine was developed as a human and animal anesthetic in the 1960s. And almost from the time it reached the market it's also been used as a mind-bending party drug. But ketamine's story took a surprising turn in 2006, when researchers at the National Institutes of Health showed that an intravenous dose could relieve severe depression in a matter of hours. Since then, doctors have prescribed ketamine "off label" to thousands of depressed patients who don't respond to other drugs. And pharmaceutical companies are testing several new ketamine-related drugs to treat depression. Johnson & Johnson expects to seek approval for its nasal spray esketamine later this year. Meanwhile, doctors have begun trying ketamine on patients with a wide range of psychiatric disorders other than depression. And there is now growing evidence it can help people with anxiety, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and perhaps even obsessive-compulsive disorder. © 2018 npr

Keyword: Depression; Drug Abuse
Link ID: 25054 - Posted: 06.04.2018

By Dhruv Khullar I didn’t think our relationship would last, but neither did I think it would end so soon. My patient had struggled with bipolar disorder his entire life, and his illness dominated our years together. He had, in a fit of hopelessness, tried to take his life with a fistful of pills. He had, in an episode of mania, driven his car into a tree. But the reason I now held his death certificate — his sister and mother in tears by his bed — was more pedestrian: a ruptured plaque in his coronary artery. A heart attack. Americans with depression, bipolar disorder or other serious mental illnesses die 15 to 30 years younger than those without mental illness — a disparity larger than for race, ethnicity, geography or socioeconomic status. It’s a gap, unlike many others, that has been growing, but it receives considerably less academic study or public attention. The extraordinary life expectancy gains of the past half-century have left these patients behind, with the result that Americans with serious mental illness live shorter lives than those in many of the world’s poorest countries. National conversations about better mental health care tend to follow a mass shooting or the suicide of a celebrity. These discussions obscure a more rampant killer of millions of Americans with mental illness: chronic disease. © 2018 The New York Times Company

Keyword: Schizophrenia; Depression
Link ID: 25037 - Posted: 05.31.2018

Alison Abbott Depression affects one in four people at some time in their lives. It is often difficult to treat, in part because its causes are still debated. Psychiatrist Edward Bullmore is an ardent proponent of a radical theory now gaining traction: that inflammation in the brain may underlie some instances. His succinct, broad-brush study, The Inflamed Mind, looks at the mounting evidence. The book outlines a persuasive case for the link between brain inflammation and depression. Bullmore pleads with the medical profession to open its collective mind, and the pharmaceutical industry to open its research budget, to the idea. He provides a current perspective on how the science of psychiatry is slowly emerging from a decades-long torpor. He sees the start of a shift in the Cartesian view that disorders of the body ‘belong’ to physicians, whereas those of the more ‘immaterial’ mind ‘belong’ to psychiatrists. Accepting that some cases of depression result from infections and other inflammation-causing disorders of the body could lead to much-needed new treatments, he argues. In 1989, during his clinical training at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London, Bullmore encountered a patient whom he calls Mrs P, who had severe rheumatoid arthritis. She left an indelible impression. He examined her physically and probed her general state of mind. He reported to his senior physician, with a certain pride in his diagnostic skill, that Mrs P was both arthritic and depressed. Replied the experienced rheumatologist dismissively, given her painful, incurable physical condition, “You would be, wouldn’t you?” © 2018 Macmillan Publishers Limited,

Keyword: Depression; Neuroimmunology
Link ID: 25036 - Posted: 05.30.2018

By Shawna Williams | Complications during pregnancy can magnify the effect of genetic risk factors for schizophrenia by altering gene expression in the placenta, a new study suggests. The paper appeared yesterday (May 28) in Nature Medicine. “To me the key thing in this paper is the recognition that environmental factors in early development, prenatal factors, are likely to be very important in schizophrenia and just as important as genes,” Allan Brown of Columbia University Medical Center who was not involved in the study tells Scientific American. An international team of researchers analyzed data from nearly 3,000 participants, including people with schizophrenia and healthy controls. The researchers found that, among people with known genetic risk factors, those who were products of a pregnancy complicated by conditions such as preeclampsia or diabetes were at least five times more likely to have the disease than were people born of uncomplicated pregnancies. The researchers also analyzed gene expression in placental tissue from complicated and uncomplicated pregnancies. That assay revealed that genes associated with schizophrenia risk tended to be “turned on” in the placentas from complicated pregnancies, and that higher expression of those genes was associated with inflammation and other signs of stress in the tissue. “We need to create a new risk score for schizophrenia, incorporating not only genes but also placental health,” study coauthor Daniel Weinberger of the Lieber Institute for Brain Research and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine tells STAT. “The odds of becoming schizophrenic based on your polygenic risk score is more than 10 times greater with these early-life complications than without them.” © 1986-2018 The Scientist

Keyword: Schizophrenia; Development of the Brain
Link ID: 25032 - Posted: 05.30.2018

By Dana G. Smith About 60 to 70 percent of a person’s risk for schizophrenia depends on their genes. Most of us have some of the schizophrenia-associated genetic variants—single-letter changes in the DNA of genes scattered across our genome—and the more we have, the greater our risk. At the same time, scientists have known that complications during pregnancy, including viral infections in the mother, increase the fetus’s risk for developing schizophrenia by two-fold, but scientists have been unsure why. New research published in Nature Medicine on May 28 reveals how when these two risk factors interact, the likelihood of an individual eventually being diagnosed with schizophrenia goes up at least five-fold compared to someone with a high genetic risk alone. Daniel Weinberger, director of the Lieber Institute for Brain Development in Baltimore and team discovered that roughly a third of the genes associated with schizophrenia are in the placenta. But certain variations in the DNA of these genes only result in schizophrenia if there are complications during pregnancy. The gene variants likely affect how resilient the placenta is to stress from its environment. If the mother or baby experiences a major health complication during pregnancy, the variants could activate these genes in the placenta and induce inflammation or affect the fetus’s development, increasing the risk for schizophrenia later in life. “The placenta is the missing link between maternal risk factors that complicate pregnancies and the development of the fetal brain and the emergence of developmental behavioral disorders,” Weinberger says. © 2018 Scientific American

Keyword: Schizophrenia; Development of the Brain
Link ID: 25029 - Posted: 05.29.2018

/ By Lynne Peeples Reaching behind a low bookshelf slightly taller than a typical 5-year-old — and one topped with a Seattle Seahawks gnome and stuffed kangaroo — Sara Barbee presses a button labeled “Alert.” Intense bluish light fills her classroom, and nearly all 17 kindergarteners respond with a collective “Whoooaaaaa.” Barbee, their teacher here at Renton Park Elementary School, walks back to the front of the classroom and ushers the students to sit “crisscross applesauce” on the perimeter of a brightly colored alphabet rug. Front-and-center rests a water tank atop a small blue table, which Barbee uses to teach her students about the buoyancy of objects in water. Indeed, it’s not the buoyancy lesson that has drawn me to this school just outside of Seattle, but those funky new lights, which are designed to mimic the shifting colors and intensities of the rising and setting sun. Scientists believe that exposure to bright, blue-rich white light during the day, and to softer, amber hues at night, helps restore the human body’s natural circadian rhythm, a deeply ingrained, physiological drumbeat that, many experts argue, has been disrupted to ill-effect by our constant exposure to standard incandescent or fluorescent lighting — and more recently, to the relentless glow of electronic screens. These are not, of course, new ideas, and doctors have long prescribed light boxes and related paraphernalia for seasonal affective disorder and other forms of depression. But it’s only now, proponents say — amid innovations in light-emitting diode, or LED, technology; amid calls for more energy-efficient lighting infrastructure overall; and amid a renaissance in scientific understanding of how human eyes, brains, and internal clocks interrelate — that a public health revolution, driven by more thoughtful lighting infrastructure, has the potential to unfold. Copyright 2018 Undark

Keyword: Biological Rhythms; Depression
Link ID: 25003 - Posted: 05.21.2018

Nicola Davis People who experience disrupted 24-hour cycles of rest and activity are more likely to have mood disorders, lower levels of happiness and greater feelings of loneliness, research suggests. While the study does not reveal whether disruptions to circadian rhythms are a cause of mental health problems, a result of them or some mixture of the two, the authors say the findings highlight the importance of how we balance rest and activity. “Because people have these 24-hour patterns of living nowadays and because by 2050 two-thirds of the world’s population will live in cities where circadian disruption is much more likely, it is quite a big public health issue. How do we take account of our natural patterns of rest and activity and how do we design cities or jobs to protect people’s mental health?” said Daniel Smith, professor of psychiatry at the University of Glasgow and lead author of the research. Writing in the journal Lancet Psychiatry, a team of researchers from Scotland, Ireland and Sweden report how they carried out the largest study of its kind to date by harnessing data from the UK BioBank, a research endeavour that has collected health information on 500,000 participants, aged between 37 and 73, since 2006. To explore the link between mental health and the 24-hour cycles of sleep and activity known as circadian rhythms, the team looked at data from more than 91,000 participants who had worn a wrist-based activity tracker for a week at some point between 2013 and 2015. © 2018 Guardian News and Media Limited

Keyword: Biological Rhythms; Depression
Link ID: 24988 - Posted: 05.17.2018

by Ariana Eunjung Cha Women having trouble getting pregnant sometimes try yoga, meditation or mindfulness, and some research suggests that psychological stress may affect infertility. But what about men: Does their mental state affect a couple's ability to conceive? The latest research on this subject was published Thursday in the journal Fertility and Sterility and suggests that a link between mental health and fertility may exist for women and men. The study involved data from 1,650 women and 1,608 men who were recruited through the National Institutes of Health's Reproductive Medicine Network at six sites in the United States. Most of the participants were couples, and they were undergoing some kind of fertility treatment, such as ovarian stimulation medication or artificial insemination, but not in vitro fertilization. Based on a questionnaire, about 6 percent of the women and 2 percent of the men were rated as having major depression. While the number of men with major depression in the analysis was small — just 34 — an analysis found differences between them and the other men in the study. Those with major depression were 60 percent less likely to have a live birth than men who did not have major depression. More specifically, of the 34, only three of the couples, or less than 9 percent, achieved a live birth. That compares with nearly 25 percent having a live birth for couples in which the male partner did not have major depression. © 1996-2018 The Washington Post

Keyword: Depression; Sexual Behavior
Link ID: 24987 - Posted: 05.17.2018

Jesara Sinclair · Amanda Spidel, now pregnant with her third child, experienced postpartum depression with her first two. (Jesara Sinclair/CBC) Amanda Spidel had trouble getting pregnant with her first child. After her son was finally born, the stress of conceiving turned into anxiety around his health. Before long, her anxiety turned into postpartum depression, a condition that affects about 14 per cent of mothers. She struggled with her emotions and how she thought she should feel about motherhood. "I only wanted to be nothing but grateful, but he was very colicky, he cried all the time, and there were moments where it was really hard," she said. "All I could think was I should just be happy. Why am I not happy? But it was because he was crying all the time." Spidel's family doctor asked her how she was feeling at every visit, and that's how she reached out for help. "One day I went in and he asked that question and I just broke down and said, 'You know what — I'm not okay.'" Now 32 and expecting her third child, Spidel is speaking out about her experience with postpartum depression for the first time in hopes that it will help other mothers struggling not feel so alone. "It was really hard to admit that there was something wrong with me and it needed to be fixed," she said. "It's an illness, it really is and I was sick." ©2018 CBC/Radio-Canada.

Keyword: Depression; Hormones & Behavior
Link ID: 24970 - Posted: 05.13.2018

Michael Pollan first became interested in new research into psychedelic drugs in 2010, when a front-page story in the New York Times declared, “Hallucinogens Have Doctors Tuning in Again”. The story revealed how in a large-scale trial researchers had been giving terminally ill cancer patients large doses of psilocybin – the active ingredient in magic mushrooms – to help them deal with their “existential distress” as they approached death. The initial findings were markedly positive. Pollan, author of award-winning and bestselling books about botany, food politics and the way we eat, was born in 1955, a little too late for the Summer of Love. That New York Times story, however, was the beginning of an “adventure” that saw him not only explore the new research, but also detail the history of psychedelic drugs, the “moral panic” backlash against them and – partly through personal experiments with LSD, magic mushrooms and ayuhuasca, the “spiritual medicine” of Amazonian Indians – to examine whether they have a significant part to play in contemporary culture. The result of that inquiry is a compulsive book, How to Change Your Mind: Exploring the New Science of Psychedelics. This interview took place by phone last week. Pollan was speaking from his home in northern California. Do you see this book on psychedelics as a departure in your writing, or part of a continuum? Both, really. I have this abiding interest in how we interact with other plant and animal species and how they get ahead in nature by gratifying our desires. And one of those desires I have always been keenly interested in is the desire to change consciousness. You propose the idea at one point that neurochemistry is perhaps the language by which plants communicate with us. Isn’t it more that magic mushrooms have evolved a clever way of making themselves invaluable? They have. There is no intention involved, obviously. But evolution does not depend on intention. One strategy that these fungi seem to have hit on is manufacturing a chemical that can unlock these effects in the animal brain. Obviously some drug plants benefit us by relieving pain or boredom, but others do interesting things with consciousness.

Keyword: Drug Abuse; Depression
Link ID: 24965 - Posted: 05.12.2018