Pharmacogenetic Testing May Change Psychiatric Treatments for ADHD, Depression

Prescribing medications has long been a trial-and-error approach for nearly any medication you could take. That's been especially true in psychiatry, where there are dozens of medications that could be prescribed for common mental health concerns, such as anxiety, depression and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

What if doctors had a better idea ahead of time which medications may work better for you than others, based upon your unique biology and biochemical makeup? They could then make prescribing decisions with a lot more knowledge, finding you a medication that would have a higher chance of working the first time.

This process is called pharmacogenetic testing -- and it's time is fast approaching.

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Alternative and Nutritional Supplements

Getting Over the Fear of Taking Medication for Depression

Nine years ago I decided to wean off all my meds and take natural supplements instead.

One evening I was fixing a magnesium concoction, chatting with a friend. We were talking about my depression, and this new holistic route I was taking.

"You have everything you need inside you to get better," she said.

Yeah, I suppose I do, I thought. I mean, why would God create you with some missing pieces?
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Alternative and Nutritional Supplements

Depression: A Forever-Kind of Illness

I overheard my husband describing my health to someone on the phone the other day.

"She’s definitely better," he said. "She’s trying a lot of new things. It’s hard to say what’s helping the most."

"Well, she’ll always have it. I mean, it will never go away completely. But she’s able to manage her symptoms as of late. She’s able to get out of bed in the morning and go to work."

Wow, I thought to myself, he gets it. He truly gets it.
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Adult ADHD and the Medications Used to Treat it

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, more commonly referred to as ADHD or ADD, is more than a disorder of childhood. Over the years, doctors have grown to appreciate the fact that many adults suffer from the associated attention and hyperactivity symptoms.

These can range from a mild nuisance to profound disruption in daily life. In fact, in some studies, it's been reported that approximately half of children with ADHD will show signs of attention and impulse related problems later in life. This roughly translates to approximately eight million U. S. adults.

It's important to keep in mind that ADHD does not always look the same over time.
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Psychology Around the Net: January 31, 2015

This week's Psychology Around the Net will have you rethinking how you look at depression medications, constantly seeking the approval of others, and -- oh, yeah -- whether to have a glass of wine or beer with your dinner (seriously)!

Beer Compound Could Help Fend Off Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Diseases: We've all heard about the potential health benefits of wine, but new reports show the compound from hops -- a flower of the hop plant used as a basic ingredient in brewing beer -- could help "protect brain cells from damage -- and potentially slow the development of disorders such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases."

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Improving Your Child’s ADHD with Exercise

Getting in a good run before work keeps us focused and productive at the office. But did you know exercise could also help children with ADHD perform better in the classroom?

"There is evidence that physical activity improves academic performance," said Betsy Hoza, a professor of psychological science at the University of Vermont. Her recent study found moderate to vigorous aerobic activity before school helped children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder become more attentive.

"The immediate effects are that you’re much more alert -- there’s that endorphin rush," said Hoza. That rush has proven to boost mood, help ward off anxiety and depression in adults, and now to improve cognitive function in children with ADHD.

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Alternative and Nutritional Supplements

What Does Treatment-Resistant Really Mean?

In his book Economic Warfare: Secrets of Wealth Creation in the Age of Welfare Politics author Ziad K. Abdelnour writes, "One of the hardest decisions you’ll ever face in life is choosing whether to walk away or try harder."

I face that decision every day.

Twenty times a day.

Several times an hour.

That one line contains the kernel of so much of my struggle, which is why I pray the Serenity Prayer every five minutes or so:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

The courage to change the things I can,

And the wisdom to know the difference.
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New Research into Anxiety Disorders

Nearly one in five Americans have been diagnosed with some form of anxiety disorder. These range from panic attacks and post-traumatic stress disorder to social phobias and obsessive-compulsive disorders.

Anti-anxiety drugs or antidepressants can curb symptoms that interfere with day-to-day life. And these drugs are big business. In 2013, Americans filled 48 million prescriptions for the benzodiazepine drug alprazolam (Xanax). Patients also picked up 27 million prescriptions for sertraline (Zoloft), an antidepressant drug that also helps some people with anxiety.

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Coming to Terms with Your Delusions

I’d be lying if I said I haven’t thought some pretty outrageous things in the course of my illness. I’d also be lying if I said I don’t think about outrageous things still. Even with a good amount of stability, delusions can still persist.

Sometimes it’s about what people think of you, maybe just an offhand notion. Other times it can be so bad that you think you’re a king or a prophet or Jesus Christ himself. I’ve seen every part of the spectrum.

Nine years on, I still deal with whether people are making fun of me. This is a delusion which, no matter what I’ve tried, I can’t stop.
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Dealing with the Side Effects

Having lived with schizophrenia for almost nine years I’m no stranger to the myriad things that can happen when you’re on a course of antipsychotic medication.

Many times these side effects can be disruptive to everyday life. Sometimes they come on slow and have a lasting impact, such as gaining a significant amount of weight. Sometimes they can be dull, such as drowsiness or a dissociative feeling.

The important thing to remember in all these cases is that side effects are negligible compared to the benefit of the drug.
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Alternative and Nutritional Supplements

Are New Treatments for Depression Right Under Our Nose?

“The air of ideas is the only air worth breathing.” - Edith Wharton
Yogic breathing, a phone app, and laughing gas may be some of the best new remedies for depression.

Some interesting pilot studies in 2014 are providing hope for the future of depression. Curiously, these new possibilities all involve the mouth and nose. Breathing a certain way, speaking a certain way, and inhaling nitrous oxide all may have potential in reducing symptoms and breaking the cycle of depression.

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