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By Erin Blakemore Are you depressed? If you’re not sure, it’s no surprise. Perpetual sadness isn’t the only symptom. Anger, back pain, sleep disturbances and even indecisiveness could all be signs of depression. One in six adults will experience depression in their life, but you can’t get help if you’re not sure you need it. Your doctor can screen for depression, so it’s worth asking on your next visit. Isolation and social withdrawal are common among people with depression. But it’s still possible to seek help during these periods. If you can’t face the thought of visiting your doctor, you can find information and assistance on your computer or smartphone. Screening for Mental Health’s online screening program gives a brief survey. It then tells you whether your answers are consistent with depression and provides materials to bring to your next doctor’s visit and a list of resources. Although it’s not a formal diagnosis, it’s a place to start to seek help. Crisis Text Line can connect you with a trained crisis counselor who can take you from crisis to cool down, all via text. The service is free and confidential. It’s available to people experiencing any kind of crisis. Text HOME to 741741 to get started. The National Alliance on Mental Illness can also connect you to mental-health resources, including help for depression. Visit nami.org/Find-Support or call the NAMI Helpline, 800-950-NAMI, between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Eastern. © 1996-2018 The Washington Post

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 16: Psychopathology: Biological Basis of Behavior Disorders
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 12: Psychopathology: The Biology of Behavioral Disorders
Link ID: 25537 - Posted: 10.08.2018

By Benedict Carey Dr. Bernard J. Carroll, whose studies of severe depression gave psychiatry the closest thing it has to a “blood test” for a mental disorder, and who later became one of the field’s most relentless critics, helping to expose pervasive corruption in academic research, died on Sept. 10 at his home in Carmel, Calif. He was 77. His wife, Sylvia Carroll, said the cause was lung cancer. Dr. Carroll was all of 28 when he published a paper that seemed to herald a new age of psychiatry, one rooted in biology rather than Freudian theory. Trained both in endocrinology and psychiatry, he applied a test from that first specialty — the dexamethasone suppression test, or DST — to people with mood problems. The test measures the body’s ability to suppress its own surges of cortisol, a stress hormone. In a 1968 article in The British Medical Journal, Dr. Carroll announced that when the test was administered to people with the severest species of depression — a paralyzing gloom then called melancholia, or endogenous depression — their bodies were shown to have trouble suppressing the hormone. People with other kinds of mood disorders had normal scores. The test did not mean that failure to suppress cortisol caused depression, just that it was associated with it. “I thought of it as a confirmatory test, to support a diagnosis, not to make one,” Dr. Carroll, known as Barney, said, in a recent interview in his home, “and possibly as a way to monitor progress in treatment.” It didn’t happen. In 1980, experts revising psychiatry’s influential diagnostic manual eliminated distinctions in kinds of depression. Melancholia was lumped with many other mild and moderate conditions under the classification “major depressive disorder.” Soon after, modern antidepressants hit the market, and pharmaceutical companies paid top academics around the world to help interpret studies, massage data and promote their products. The field chased the drugs, and the money, and learned nothing about the biology of mental disorders. © 2018 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 16: Psychopathology: Biological Basis of Behavior Disorders
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 12: Psychopathology: The Biology of Behavioral Disorders
Link ID: 25531 - Posted: 10.05.2018

By Laura M. Holson Researchers from Johns Hopkins University have recommended that psilocybin, the active compound in hallucinogenic mushrooms, be reclassified for medical use, potentially paving the way for the psychedelic drug to one day treat depression and anxiety and help people stop smoking. The suggestion to reclassify psilocybin from a Schedule I drug, with no known medical benefit, to a Schedule IV drug, which is akin to prescription sleeping pills, was part of a review to assess the safety and abuse of medically administered psilocybin. Before the Food and Drug Administration can be petitioned to reclassify the drug, though, it has to clear extensive study and trials, which can take more than five years, the researchers wrote. The analysis was published in the October print issue of Neuropharmacology, a medical journal focused on neuroscience. The study comes as many Americans shift their attitudes toward the use of some illegal drugs. The widespread legalization of marijuana has helped demystify drug use, with many people now recognizing the medicinal benefits for those with anxiety, arthritis and other physical ailments. Psychedelics, like LSD and psilocybin, are illegal and not approved for medical or recreational use. But in recent years scientists and consumers have begun rethinking their use to combat depression and anxiety. “We are seeing a demographic shift, particularly among women,” said Matthew Johnson, an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Johns Hopkins and one of the study’s authors. Among the research he has conducted, he said, “we’ve had more females in our studies.” © 2018 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 16: Psychopathology: Biological Basis of Behavior Disorders
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 12: Psychopathology: The Biology of Behavioral Disorders
Link ID: 25530 - Posted: 10.04.2018

By Michael Shermer Anthony Bourdain (age 61). Kate Spade (55). Robin Williams (63). Aaron Swartz (26). Junior Seau (43). Alexander McQueen (40). Hunter S. Thompson (67). Kurt Cobain (27). Sylvia Plath (30). Ernest Hemingway (61). Alan Turing (41). Virginia Woolf (59). Vincent van Gogh (37). By the time you finish reading this list of notable people who died by suicide, somewhere in the world another person will have done the same, about one every 40 seconds (around 800,000 a year), making suicide the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. Why? According to the prominent psychologist Jesse Bering of the University of Otago in New Zealand, in his authoritative book Suicidal: Why We Kill Ourselves (University of Chicago Press, 2018), “the specific issues leading any given person to become suicidal are as different, of course, as their DNA—involving chains of events that one expert calls ‘dizzying in their variety.’” Indeed, my short list above includes people with a diversity of ages, professions, personality and gender. Depression is commonly fingered in many suicide cases, yet most people suffering from depression do not kill themselves (only about 5 percent Bering says), and not all suicide victims were depressed. “Around 43 percent of the variability in suicidal behavior among the general population can be explained by genetics,” Bering reports, “while the remaining 57 percent is attributable to environmental factors.” Having a genetic predisposition for suicidality, coupled with a particular sequence of environmental assaults on one's will to live, leads some people to try to make the pain stop. In Bering's case, it first came as a closeted gay teenager “in an intolerant small Midwestern town” and later with unemployment at a status apex in his academic career (success can lead to unreasonably high standards for happiness, later crushed by the vicissitudes of life). Yet most oppressed gays and fallen academics don't want to kill themselves. “In the vast majority of cases, people kill themselves because of other people,” Bering adduces. “Social problems—especially a hypervigilant concern with what others think or will think of us if only they knew what we perceive to be some unpalatable truth—stoke a deadly fire.” © 2018 Scientific American

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 16: Psychopathology: Biological Basis of Behavior Disorders
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 12: Psychopathology: The Biology of Behavioral Disorders
Link ID: 25529 - Posted: 10.04.2018

Sarah Boseley Health editor Half of all those taking antidepressants experience withdrawal problems when they try to give them up and for millions of people in England, these are severe, according to a new review of the evidence commissioned by MPs. Guidance from the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (Nice), which says withdrawal symptoms “are usually mild and self-limiting over about one week” urgently needs to be changed, say the review authors. Dr James Davies from the University of Roehampton and Prof John Read from the University of East London say the high rate of withdrawal symptoms may be part of the reason people are staying on the pills for longer. They cannot cope, so carry on taking the drugs, or their doctors assume they have relapsed and write another prescription. The review was commissioned by the all-party parliamentary group for prescribed drug dependence and follows a long debate about the Nice guidance, which critics say is out of date. Modern antidepressants of the SSRI class, such as Prozac (fluoxetine) and Seroxat (paroxetine), were marketed in part on their safety. People were unable to harm themselves by overdosing as they could on benzodiazepines like valium and stopping the drugs was said to be easier. There have been plenty of anecdotal accounts of withdrawal symptoms, which include dizziness, vertigo, nausea, insomnia, headaches, tiredness and difficulties concentrating. But the Nice guidance said in 2004 that the withdrawal symptoms were slight and short-lived and was re-adopted without further evidence in 2009. It is similar to the US guidance, which says symptoms usually resolve within one to two weeks. © 2018 Guardian News and Media Limited

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 16: Psychopathology: Biological Basis of Behavior Disorders
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 12: Psychopathology: The Biology of Behavioral Disorders
Link ID: 25524 - Posted: 10.03.2018

By Megan Thielking, Walk into Kalypso Wellness Centers in San Antonio, Texas, and you might be treated with one of five “proprietary blends” of ketamine. They’re not cheap—$495 per infusion—and not covered by insurance, but the company offers a “monthly” membership program to cut costs and advertises discounts for members of the military and first responders. Kalypso promotes ketamine, long used as an anesthetic during surgery and more recently as a club drug, as a treatment for more than two dozen conditions, including depression, chronic pain, and migraines. “Congratulations on resetting your life!!!” it cheerily tells patients on a form they’re handed after an infusion. Starting with just one office 19 months ago, Kalypso has expanded rapidly to meet surging patient demand for ketamine and now oversees two other Texas clinics and offices in North Carolina and New York. It recruits customers through online ads and radio spots, and even by visiting support groups for pain patients, people with depression, first responders, and grieving parents who have lost children. Advertisement “You name it, we’ve done it,” said clinic co-founder and anesthesiologist Dr. Bryan Clifton. An investigation by STAT shows that Kalypso’s sweeping claims are hardly uncommon in the booming ketamine treatment business. Dozens of free-standing clinics have opened across the U.S. in recent years to provide the drug to patients who are desperate for an effective therapy and hopeful ketamine can help. But the investigation found wide-ranging inconsistencies among clinics, from the screening of patients to the dose and frequency of infusions to the coordination with patients’ mental health providers. A number of clinics stray from recommendations issued last year by the American Psychiatric Association. © 2018 Scientific American

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 16: Psychopathology: Biological Basis of Behavior Disorders; Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 12: Psychopathology: The Biology of Behavioral Disorders; Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology
Link ID: 25500 - Posted: 09.27.2018

Denis Campbell Health policy editor Eating junk food increases the risk of becoming depressed, a study has found, prompting calls for doctors to routinely give dietary advice to patients as part of their treatment for depression. In contrast, those who follow a traditional Mediterranean diet are much less likely to develop depression because the fish, fruit, nuts and vegetables that diet involves help protect against Britain’s commonest mental health problem, the research suggests. Published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, the findings have come from an analysis by researchers from Britain, Spain and Australia who examined 41 previous studies on the links between diet and depression. “A pro-inflammatory diet can induce systemic inflammation, and this can directly increase the risk for depression,” said Dr Camille Lassale, the study’s lead author. Bad diet heightens the risk of depression to a significant extent, she added. The analysis found that foods containing a lot of fat or sugar, or was processed, lead to inflammation of not just the gut but the whole body, known as “systemic inflammation”. In that respect the impact of poor diet is like that of smoking, pollution, obesity and lack of exercise. © 2018 Guardian News and Media Limited

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 16: Psychopathology: Biological Basis of Behavior Disorders; Chapter 13: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 12: Psychopathology: The Biology of Behavioral Disorders; Chapter 9: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Link ID: 25494 - Posted: 09.26.2018

By — Linda Searing More than 1 of every 3 college freshmen across the globe — 35 percent — show symptoms of one of the common mental-health disorders, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association. The research was based on World Health Organization data on 13,984 full-time freshman students from 19 colleges in eight countries — Australia, Belgium, Germany, Mexico, Northern Ireland, South Africa, Spain and the United States. The two most common disorders found were major depression (affecting 21 percent of the students) and generalized anxiety disorder (19 percent). The students were also screened for panic disorder, mania, drug abuse and alcohol abuse or dependence. Although the study, published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, found that symptoms started years before college — generally at about age 14 — in most cases, the life changes and stresses that may occur as students enter their college years could exacerbate symptoms. The study’s authors, and other experts, say that to help manage their mental-health condition, students should check whether their campus counseling centers, or local psychologists, offer group or individual cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT. But the lead author said that because the number of students needing mental-health treatment “far exceeds the resources of most [campus] counseling centers,” students and colleges should consider supplementing services with “Internet-based interventions” that studies have shown to be effective, including online CBT. © 1996-2018 The Washington Post

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 16: Psychopathology: Biological Basis of Behavior Disorders; Chapter 15: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 12: Psychopathology: The Biology of Behavioral Disorders; Chapter 11: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress
Link ID: 25482 - Posted: 09.24.2018

By Knvul Sheikh Humans and other mammals react to stressful situations through a series of well-orchestrated evolutionary adaptations. When faced with a predator looking for its next meal, or with worry of losing a job, our bodies release a cascade of stress hormones. Our heart rate spikes, breath quickens, muscles tense up and beads of sweat appear. This so-called “fight-or-flight” response served our ancestors well, but its continual activation in our modern-day lives comes with a cost. Scientists are starting to realize stress often exacerbates several diseases, including depression, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, HIV/AIDS and asthma. One theory is hoping to explain the link between stress and such widespread havoc by laying the blame on an unexpected source—the microscopic powerhouses inside each cell. Each of our cells contains hundreds of small bean-shaped mitochondria — subcellular structures, or organelles, that provide the energy needed for normal functioning. Mitochondria have their own circular genome with 37 genes. We inherit this mitochondrial DNA only from our mothers, so the makeup of the DNA’s code stays relatively consistent from one generation to the next. But our fight-or-flight response places extreme demands on the mitochondria. All of a sudden, they need to produce much more energy to fuel a faster heartbeat, expanding lungs and tensing muscles, which leaves them vulnerable to damage. Unlike DNA in the cell’s nucleus, though, mitochondria have limited repair mechanisms. And recent animal studies have shown chronic stress not only leads to mitochondrial damage in brain regions such as the hippocampus, hypothalamus and cortex, it also results in mitochondria releasing their DNA into the cell cytoplasm, and eventually into the blood. © 2018 Scientific American,

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 16: Psychopathology: Biological Basis of Behavior Disorders
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 12: Psychopathology: The Biology of Behavioral Disorders
Link ID: 25448 - Posted: 09.14.2018

By Bernardo Kastrup, Edward F. Kelly A long-awaited resurgence in psychedelic research is now under way and some of its early results have been startling. Whereas most scientists expected the mind-boggling experiences of psychedelic states to correlate with increased brain activity,a landmark study from 2012 found the opposite to be the case. Writing in this magazine, neuroscientist Christof Koch expressed the community’s collective surprise. These unexpected findings have since been repeatedly confirmed with a variety of psychedelic agents and measures of brain activity (2013,2015,2016, 2017). Under the mainstream physicalist view that brain activity is, or somehow generates, the mind, the findings certainly seem counterintuitive: How can the richness of experience go up when brain activity goes down? Understandably, therefore, researchers have subsequently endeavored to find something in patterns of brain activity that reliably increases in psychedelic states. Alternatives include brain activity variability, functional coupling between different brain areas and, most recently, a property of brain activity variously labeled as “complexity,” “diversity,” “entropy” or “randomness”—terms viewed as approximately synonymous. The problem is that modern brain imaging techniques do detect clear spikes in raw brain activity when sleeping subjects dream even of dull things such as staring at a statue or clenching a hand. So why are only decreasesin brain activity conclusively seen when subjects undergo psychedelic experiences, instead of dreams? Given how difficult it is to find one biological basis for consciousness, how plausible is it that two fundamentally different mechanisms underlie conscious experience in the otherwise analogous psychedelic and dreaming states? © 2018 Scientific American

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 16: Psychopathology: Biological Basis of Behavior Disorders; Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 12: Psychopathology: The Biology of Behavioral Disorders; Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology
Link ID: 25414 - Posted: 09.04.2018

Sarah Boseley Health editor Erica Avey, 27, microdosed on LSD for eight months, using an analogue that was legal in Germany, where she was living. “I started microdosing essentially because I was in a really depressed stage of my life. It was for mental health reasons – mood balancing, mood management. It was hard for me to leave my apartment and do normal things as a human being,” she said. Depression or sadness are very common reasons for starting; Avey was unusual only in that she could be open about it. Her workplace knew and thought it was fine. “As long as I wasn’t out of control or permanently high at work they were quite OK.” She took about 15 micrograms (a whole tab is 100 micrograms). “That was a good amount for me. Some people take as little as six,” she said. She adopted a popular protocol – one day on, three days off. It worked for her. “It definitely had the effect I wanted,” she said. “It lifted me out of a pretty deep depression. I’m still trying to wrap my head around what it has done to me in the long-term. I think it has changed me.” She had been “pretty negative”, she said, mindlessly going through social media, plagued with obsessive thoughts. “I’m able to be more mindful of my emotions. If I’m feeling sad, that’s OK. I don’t obsess anymore. I don’t dwell on it. I don’t get worked up about it.” © 2018 Guardian News and Media Limited

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 16: Psychopathology: Biological Basis of Behavior Disorders; Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 12: Psychopathology: The Biology of Behavioral Disorders; Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology
Link ID: 25407 - Posted: 09.01.2018

Jon Hamilton A new study suggests that ketamine, an increasingly popular treatment for depression, has something in common with drugs like fentanyl and oxycodone. The small study found evidence that ketamine's effectiveness with depression, demonstrated in many small studies over the past decade, comes from its interaction with the brain's opioid system. A Stanford University team reported their findings Wednesday in The American Journal of Psychiatry. "We think ketamine is acting as an opioid," says Alan Schatzberg, one of the study's authors and a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford. "That's why you're getting these rapid effects." Until now, most researchers have attributed ketamine's success to its effect on the brain's glutamate system, which is involved in learning and memory. The opioid system, in contrast, controls pain, reward, and addictive behaviors. Ketamine is an anesthetic that is frequently given to children in the emergency room. It is also a popular but illicit party drug that can cause an out-of-body experience at high doses. And in the past few years, ketamine has seen increasing use as an off-label treatment that doctors prescribe for patients with severe depression that doesn't respond to other drugs. Unlike conventional antidepressants like Prozac, which can take weeks to work, an infusion or nasal administration of ketamine typically produces results in hours. © 2018 npr

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 16: Psychopathology: Biological Basis of Behavior Disorders; Chapter 8: General Principles of Sensory Processing, Touch, and Pain
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 12: Psychopathology: The Biology of Behavioral Disorders; Chapter 5: The Sensorimotor System
Link ID: 25397 - Posted: 08.29.2018

By Sharon Begley, STAT Dennis van der Meijden isn’t aiming to see the face of God, feel one with the cosmos, grasp the hidden reality of time and space, or embark on a sacred journey. What the Dutch graphic designer, producer, and rapper (under the professional name Terilekst) wants—and gets—from his twice-weekly “microdoses” of psilocybin is more modest. “It sharpens all the senses, as if the frequencies of all of your atoms and energy field are raised a little bit and are being slightly more conscious,” said van der Meijden, 39, who told STAT he first microdosed psilocybin—the active ingredient in “magic mushrooms”—three years ago. It makes him energetic enough to skip coffee, “as if I’m kicked in some sort of orbit for that day.” If he becomes distracted, “I’m very much aware of that, as if seeing myself from a bird’s eye view, so I can correct myself very fast.” But van der Meijden says he’s careful not to exceed about 0.4 grams, because 0.5 made him “a bit too joyful and a bit too philosophical,” which wasn’t always appropriate. Microdosing involves taking roughly one-tenth the “trip” dose of a psychedelic drug, an amount too little to trigger hallucinations but enough, its proponents say, to sharpen the mind. Psilocybin microdosers (including hundreds on Reddit) report that the mushrooms can increase creativity, calm anxiety, decrease the need for caffeine, and reduce depression. There is enough evidence that trip doses might have the latter effect that, on Wednesday, London-based Compass Pathways received Food and Drug Administration approval for a Phase 2B clinical trial of psilocybin (in larger-than-microdoses) for treatment-resistant depression. But research into microdosing is minimal. © 2018 Scientific American

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 16: Psychopathology: Biological Basis of Behavior Disorders; Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 12: Psychopathology: The Biology of Behavioral Disorders; Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology
Link ID: 25379 - Posted: 08.25.2018

By Nicholas Bakalar A mother’s depression may have long-term effects on her child’s immune system and psychological health. Israeli researchers followed 125 babies from birth through 10 years. About 43 percent of the mothers had a diagnosis of major depression, and the rest constituted a control group. The study is in Depression & Anxiety. The investigators tested the children’s and mothers’ saliva for cortisol, the stress hormone, as well as for an antibody called secretory immunoglobulin A, or SIgA, high levels of which indicate activation of the immune system. They also visited the families to assess the mother’s emotional health and to observe behavioral problems in children. Compared to controls, depressed mothers had higher cortisol and SIgA levels and tended to exhibit more intrusive and insensitive behaviors toward their children. Children of the depressed mothers had higher levels of SIgA, tended to be more withdrawn and had higher rates of psychiatric symptoms. The senior author, Ruth Feldman, a professor of developmental neuroscience at the Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya, said that maternal depression may affect the child in various ways. “Children exposed to maternal major depression respond like those under chronic stress,” she said. Depression also increases maternal stress, which impacts a child’s stress levels. And insensitive behaviors by a mother may increase a child’s social withdrawal, which increases the risk for psychiatric disorders. © 2018 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 16: Psychopathology: Biological Basis of Behavior Disorders; Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 12: Psychopathology: The Biology of Behavioral Disorders; Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development
Link ID: 25369 - Posted: 08.24.2018

By Dana G. Smith Postpartum depression afflicts 10 to 20 percent of the nearly four million women who give birth in the U.S. every year. The condition hits at a vulnerable moment when mother and infant normally begin to bond. Depressed moms pay less attention to their newborns, so the critical attachment between mother and baby does not occur. For some women, postpartum depression can last for years, and the lack of maternal bonding can interfere with children’s development through adolescence. “There's a real need to identify women and treat them, and treat them quickly,” says Samantha Meltzer-Brody, director of the Perinatal Psychiatry Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Center for Women’s Mood Disorders. “When mom is not doing well, it becomes a crisis for the whole family at this vulnerable time. But like many issues related to mental health, and specifically women's mental health, it has been neglected.” Despite the frequency of postpartum depression, no treatments specifically target it. Many women who suffer from the condition receive standard antidepressants like SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, such as Prozac) but it is unclear how well these drugs work because the neurochemical serotonin may play only a secondary role in postpartum depression or may not be involved at all. Instead, researchers hypothesize that a shift in female reproductive hormones during pregnancy is the main cause. Now a new drug that has gone through late-stage clinical trials aims to correct the consequences of these hormonal changes, and early results in human trials suggest it may be working. © 2018 Scientific American

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 16: Psychopathology: Biological Basis of Behavior Disorders; Chapter 12: Sex: Evolutionary, Hormonal, and Neural Bases
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 12: Psychopathology: The Biology of Behavioral Disorders; Chapter 8: Hormones and Sex
Link ID: 25337 - Posted: 08.16.2018

by Antonia Noori Farzan It’s been well-documented that a decreased sex drive can be one of the side effects of antidepressants like Prozac. But the amount of these drugs that end up in sewage plants may also have an impact on the mating habits of wild birds, a new study from the University of York shows. Researchers found that female starlings that had been exposed to small doses of fluoxetine, the generic name for Prozac, became less attractive to male starlings, which sung to them less often and treated them more aggressively. Kathryn Arnold, one of the study’s authors and a senior lecturer in ecology at the University of York, described it as “the first evidence that low concentrations of an antidepressant can disrupt the courtship of songbirds.” That’s problematic because birds that are slow to find a mate may not get the chance to breed, she wrote. “We’re definitely not saying that it’s bad to take antidepressants, but certainly there is a greater need for new technologies to clean out sewage,” Arnold told The Washington Post. Birds like to graze at sewage treatment plants, which are teeming with worms, flies and maggots, she explained. But because antidepressants often make their way through the human body and into sewage plants without fully breaking down, those insects are frequently laced with prescription drugs. © 1996-2018 The Washington Post

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 16: Psychopathology: Biological Basis of Behavior Disorders; Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 12: Psychopathology: The Biology of Behavioral Disorders; Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology
Link ID: 25320 - Posted: 08.13.2018

There is a new study on the effect treating teens for depression has on their parents. It suggests just treating teens has benefits for parents. LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST: There are estimates that 13 percent of adolescents in the United States experience at least one episode of major depression. That depression can be treated in teens. And new research suggests that it helps not just them but also their parents. NPR's Rhitu Chatterjee reports. RHITU CHATTERJEE, BYLINE: We tend to think of depression as affecting individuals, but Myrna Weissman says... MYRNA WEISSMAN: Depression is a family affair. CHATTERJEE: Weissman is a professor of psychiatry at the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University. And she's studied depression in families for years. WEISSMAN: We know that there's high rates of depression in the offspring of depressed mothers. CHATTERJEE: Weissman's previous work has shown that when mothers are treated for depression, their children feel better, as well. That led another researcher, Kelsey Howard, to wonder, could the opposite be true? KELSEY HOWARD: So if kids get better, do parents then feel better? And we found that to be true, as well. CHATTERJEE: Howard is a graduate student at the department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Northwestern University. To answer her question, she and her graduate adviser analyzed data from a previous study that followed more than 300 teenagers getting treatment for depression either through counseling or pills or both. Before and during the course of the study, the researchers had also surveyed one parent of each teenager for symptoms of depression. When Howard looked at that data, she found that... © 2018 npr

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 16: Psychopathology: Biological Basis of Behavior Disorders; Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 12: Psychopathology: The Biology of Behavioral Disorders; Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development
Link ID: 25319 - Posted: 08.13.2018

Pamela Duncan and Nicola Davis More than four million people in England are long-term users of antidepressants, new figures obtained by the Guardian show. Data released under the Freedom of Information Act shows that more than 7.3 million people were prescribed antidepressants in 2017-18, 4.4 million of whom also received a prescription for such drugs in both of the two previous years. 1.6 million people prescribed antidepressants in the past year were “new” users, meaning they were not being prescribed such drugs in either 2015-16 or 2016-17. The figures also show the number of such “new” users of antidepressants is falling. Month-by-month figures show an overall decline from just over 179,000 “new” starters in April 2016 to just over 132,000 in March 2018. Experts say it is not clear what is behind the trend and that there could be a number of factors at play. Scott Weich, a professor of mental health at the University of Sheffield, said the tendency to prescribe antidepressants seems to have gone in phases over recent decades. “Professionals may be becoming slightly less certain about the benefits of antidepressants [for mild depression], and patients themselves may be declining medication,” he said. Weich noted other reasons might be that individuals are finding it increasingly difficult to access GP services to discuss mental health issues, or that the issues are not discussed due to time constraints or other pressures. On the other hand, he said, it could in part reflect the rise in so-called “talking therapies” like CBT. © 2018 Guardian News and Media Limited

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 16: Psychopathology: Biological Basis of Behavior Disorders
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 12: Psychopathology: The Biology of Behavioral Disorders
Link ID: 25318 - Posted: 08.11.2018

Public awareness of the debilitating impact of postpartum depression on new moms has grown over the years, but many people don't realize it can affect men too, mental health experts say. In a series of presentations at the American Psychological Association annual convention this week, a group of psychologists said about 10 per cent of new fathers experience symptoms of depression and anxiety in the weeks before, during or after their babies are born. "One of the main myths is men don't experience hormonal changes, therefore they can't get postpartum depression or anxiety," said Daniel Singley, one of the presenters and a psychologist based in San Diego, Calif. "In fact, plenty of research shows that men do get hormonal changes around the birth of children, and that hormonal changes is just one of a number of bio-psychosocial factors that cause postpartum mood issues," he said. The Canadian Mental Health Association acknowledges that men and women and even parents who adopt can suffer from the condition, noting on its website that "a mother or father with postpartum depression may not enjoy the baby and have frequent thoughts that they're a bad parent." Dealing with the issue of postpartum depression in men is important for the well-being of their children, Singley said, because fathers experiencing it are "much less likely" to be involved with their newborns — which, in turn, can negatively affect the babies' development. ©2018 CBC/Radio-Canada

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 16: Psychopathology: Biological Basis of Behavior Disorders
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 12: Psychopathology: The Biology of Behavioral Disorders
Link ID: 25317 - Posted: 08.11.2018

By Pagan Kennedy Nearly 30 years ago, the author William Styron outed himself in these pages as mentally ill. “My days were pervaded by a gray drizzle of unrelenting horror,” he wrote in a New York Times Op-Ed article, describing the deep depression that had landed him in the psych ward. He compared the agony of mental illness to that of a heart attack. Pain is pain, whether it’s in the mind or the body. So why, he asked, were depressed people treated as pariahs? A confession of mental illness might not seem like a big deal now, but it was back then. In the 1980s, “if you were depressed, it was a terrible dark secret that you hid from the world,” according to Andrew Solomon, a historian of mental illness and author of “The Noonday Demon.” “People with depression were seen as pathetic and even dangerous. You didn’t let them near your kids.” “In the popular mind, suicide is usually the work of a coward or sometimes, paradoxically, a deed of great courage, but it is neither; the torment that precipitates the act makes it often one of blind necessity.” The response to Mr. Styron’s op-ed was immediate. Letters flooded into The New York Times. The readers thanked him, blurted out their stories and begged him for more. “Inadvertently I had helped unlock a closet from which many souls were eager to come out,” Mr. Styron wrote later. “It was like the #MeToo movement,” Alexandra Styron, the author’s daughter, told me. “Somebody comes out and says: ‘This happened. This is real. This is what it feels like.’ And it just unleashed the floodgates.” © 2018 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 16: Psychopathology: Biological Basis of Behavior Disorders
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 12: Psychopathology: The Biology of Behavioral Disorders
Link ID: 25298 - Posted: 08.06.2018