Medications Articles

What I Wish People Knew about Depression

Sunday, November 30th, 2014

robin-williamsSomeone recently asked me to write on what I wish people knew about depression, in light of Robin William’s suicide. Here’s my response.

I wish people knew that depression is complex, that it is a physiological condition with psychological and spiritual components, and therefore can’t be forced into any neat and tidy box, that healing needs to come from lots of kinds of sources and that every person’s recovery is different.

5 Sneaky Signs of Depression You May Be Overlooking

Monday, November 24th, 2014

depression symptoms

Things have changed a lot in the past 30 years when it comes to our ideas about depression. In the 1980s and even the 1990s, people often still saw it as a moral weakness, a sign of being “crazy,” or as something to be dismissed completely.

Today most people not only know someone who has struggled openly with depression, but they can probably also rattle off a handful of symptoms just from watching the many depression medication television commercials that dominate the airwaves. The voiceover asks “Are you always sad and tearful? Have you lost interest in things you used to enjoy? If so, ask your doctor about this medication.”

How to Talk to Your Doctor About Changing Your Meds

Sunday, November 9th, 2014

How to Talk to Your Doctor About Changing Your MedsAs anyone who has read my posts knows, the last few weeks have been touch and go. I’ve had some depression and paranoia problems which have accounted for a lot of weirdness in my daily life, from dealing with neighbors, to just generally being out in public. There was even a day when I went as far into my head as to contemplate what would happen were I to die.

Thankfully, this time I refrained from posting about that on Facebook, instead letting my family know. My family is my main support structure and thankfully we were able to get me in to see my psychiatrist to tweak my meds.

The Secret to Living with Treatment-Resistant Depression

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

sad_woman09dYou’d never suspect this by listening to pharmaceutical ads, but only one-third of people with major depression get better after trying an antidepressant. The others go on to try different drugs, or combinations of medicine and psychotherapy, and usually seven in 10 achieve remission.

The other third?

They are labeled with the three most dreaded words in the mental health profession: treatment-resistant depression.

Top 10 ADHD Blogs of 2014

Thursday, October 16th, 2014
Best of the Web - ADHD/ADD Blog

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is characterized by inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. It’s also sometimes known as just attention deficit disorder.

What happens when people with ADHD enter the blogosphere? Often they navigate their behavior with quirky, fun and informative blogging, and tell the story of ADHD as it really is, transcending the stereotype of a kid who can’t sit still in school.

Coaches and medical professionals have joined the blogging crusade, making a lot of practical information available at our fingertips. However, there is still room for blogs from an education perspective, on how best to work with ADHD children in their learning environments. Without going off on a tangent, here are ten stellar blogs that regularly cover ADHD.

Sidestepping Depression Stigma

Sunday, October 12th, 2014

Sidestepping Depression Stigma According to the mental health charity Mind, one in four people will experience a mental health problem each year. These figures aren’t too dissimilar to those for cancer; it is estimated that more than one in three people will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives.

Despite these statistics regarding the prevalence of mental health issues, they haven’t been addressed with nearly the same attention or support as physical illnesses. This could have to do with the stigma surrounding mental health.

Room for Misery & Room for Joy: My Story

Friday, October 10th, 2014

misery joyMost people who have been sober longer than a year are asked to give a “lead” — to tell their story. Mine was structurally simple, covering what it was like, what happened, and what it’s like now. Having only drank for three years, my addiction story is pretty straightforward: I stopped guzzling down mood-altering beverages.

My depression story, however, is not.

There are too many circles and uneven ends to fit into any neat, compact narrative. It seems as though the longer you dance with the demon of depression, the more embracing you become of different health philosophies and the more tolerant of unanswered questions.

Is it open-mindedness or desperation?

I don’t know.

Reasons for Living: World Mental Health Day

Friday, October 10th, 2014

Reasons for LivingReasons for living never come cheap
Even your best ones can put me to sleep
What I am saying, or trying to say
Is that there must be a better way

~ Duncan Sheik

I have bipolar II disorder, which means the depressive side is far more prominent than the manic one.

Recently, when I mentioned my suicidal ideation to my psychiatrist, he challenged me to come up with five reasons to live, write them down and put them where I could see them.

What It’s Like to Live with Schizophrenia

Friday, October 10th, 2014

cliff-birds, Esme Wang

Thirty-one years ago Elyn R. Saks was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Her prognosis was grave: she wouldn’t be able to live independently, hold a job or find love.

After her hospitalization at 28 years old, a doctor suggested she work as a cashier. If she could do that, they’d reassess her abilities and possibly consider a full-time job.

Today, Saks is the Associate Dean and Orrin B. Evans Professor of Law, Psychology and the Behavioral Sciences at the University of Southern California Gould Law School. She’s a mental health advocate and the author of a powerful memoir, The Center Cannot Hold. And she is happily married to her husband, Will.

What to Do About Seasonal Affective Disorder

Friday, October 3rd, 2014

What to Do About Seasonal Affective DisorderFor me it comes on in the fall. I don’t really know why. I much prefer the cooler, grayer weather to the hard sun of summer. But around September of every year I start to feel the weight of the world.

It’s not so much depression as it just a general feeling of being fed up with everything, of not wanting to deal with the frivolous and not seeing the point in the day-to-day stuff I have to do.

Benzodiazepines & Alzheimer’s Disease

Monday, September 29th, 2014

Benzodiazepines & Alzheimer's DiseaseIf you’re taking an anti-anxiety medication referred to as a benzodiazepine — such as Xanax, Valium, Ativan or Klonopin — there’s a new eye-opening study out that should get your attention.

When used PRN — on as needed basis — sparingly for times of increased anxiety, these drugs can be life-savers.

But some people use them more frequently. And for those kinds of users, new research suggests an important link to the risk of eventually developing Alzheimer’s.

How the Brain Creates a Dependence On Opioids

Sunday, August 24th, 2014

How The Brain Creates A Dependence On OpioidsOpioids have been around for a very long time, and are used as painkillers to help patients cope with pain post-surgery. They have both helped and harmed people, alleviating chronic pain for people who have undergone invasive surgeries, but also being the source of dangerous addictions for those who have developed dependencies on the painkillers.

Derived from the poppy plant, it’s known for being able to induce sleep. And the use of opioids for medical reasons is widespread, which has contributed to the growth of opioid related addictions. The reason lies in the powerful effect opioids have on the brain.

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