Why Do Some People Prefer “Natural” Treatment for Depression?

Image: Detail from The Sleeping Beauty by Henry Maynell Rheam
Detail from The Sleeping Beauty by Henry Maynell Rheam

Since I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, several people have suggested bee stings as an alternative treatment to the interferon beta shot I do once a week. The first time a helpful soul suggested it, I was stupefied for a minute. I mean, honestly. How is being stung by bees preferable in any way to medication? Granted, my interferon medicine does have side effects, but what would make anyone think bee stings are free from side effects? I’ve had allergic reactions to stinging insects in the past, for one thing, and there’s a reason that many people carry epi-pens to counteract bee stings. I’m wondering if somehow the potential throat-closing-up-lack-of-breathing is seen as inconsequential compared to medication side effects by the people who suggest the bee sting regimen.For some inexplicable (at least, to me) reason, some people think that if a treatment is natural, it is always superior to one developed in a lab. For me, this is a head-scratcher. Natural is not even safe in every situation, let alone superior. Digitalis, which is derived from foxglove, is used to treat heart conditions, but do you know any cardiac patients who grow the plant and just clip some off when they’re in distress? No, of course not, or at least I hope not. They use pills that are prescribed for the condition, as the level of digitalis in them is safe.

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Sleep Therapy Seen as an Aid for Depression – NYTimes.com

Curing insomnia in people with depression could double their chance of a full recovery, scientists are reporting. The findings, based on an insomnia treatment that uses talk therapy rather than drugs, are the first to emerge from a series of closely watched studies of sleep and depression to be released in the coming year.

The new report affirms the results of a smaller pilot study, giving scientists confidence that the effects of the insomnia treatment are real. If the figures continue to hold up, the advance will be the most significant in the treatment of depression since the introduction of Prozac in 1987.

via Sleep Therapy Seen as an Aid for Depression – NYTimes.com.

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Link found between physical maturity and depression in young girls – YNN

Girls who develop early may be envied by their peers, but doctors said young females who physically mature faster are at higher risk of low self-esteem, depression, promiscuity and lower grades.

Research shows they also have a greater risk of becoming obese, developing hypertension and suffering from breast, ovarian and edometiral cancers.

via Link found between physical maturity and depression in young girls – YNN.

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Exercise may help prevent depression later in life – NBC News.com

Running, walking and other forms of activity can help people shake off the symptom of depression. Now, a new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine suggests that exercise may prevent the disorder later in life.

Researchers at the University of Toronto analyzed 26 years’ worth of studies and concluded that even low levels of movement — walking or gardening for 20 or 30 minutes a day — show promise of warding off depression in people of all ages.

via Exercise may help prevent depression later in life – NBC News.com.

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Cells Show Signs of Faster Aging After Depression

(HealthDay News) — The cells of people who have had depression may age more quickly, a new study suggests.

Dutch researchers compared cell structures called telomeres in more than 2,400 people with and without depression.

Like the plastic tips at the ends of shoelaces, telomeres cap the ends of chromosomes to protect the cell’s DNA from damage. Telomeres get a bit shorter each time a cell divides, so they are useful markers for aging.

via Cells Show Signs of Faster Aging After Depression.

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A stunning map of depression rates around the world

The Middle East and North Africa suffer the world’s highest depression rates, according to a new study by researchers at Australia’s University of Queensland — and it’s costing people in the region years off their lives.

The study, published this week in the journal PLOS Medicine, used data on the prevalence, incidence and duration of depression to determine the social and public health burden of the disorder around the world. Globally, they found, depression is the second-leading cause of disability, with slightly more than 4 percent of the world’s population diagnosed with it. The map at the top of this page shows how much of the population in each country has received a diagnosis of clinical depression.

via A stunning map of depression rates around the world.

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Exercise May Help Ease Depression in Teens: Study

(HealthDay News) — Teens can suffer from depression like everyone else, but a small new study hints that exercise might help ease the condition.The British study included three boys and 10 girls with depression who were enrolled in trainer-led workouts three times a week for 12 weeks. The teens were also encouraged to exercise 30 minutes a day on the other days.

via Exercise May Help Ease Depression in Teens: Study.

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How to Help When Friends or Family have Depression

When someone you know is depressed, it’s understandable if you feel helpless. If you’ve never suffered from clinical depression, how are you going to know what to say and do, or how it feels?

Ways to Help Someone with Depression

    • Listen. Keep in mind that the person with depression isn’t communicating well right now, and is probably speaking slower and less clearly. Be patient and don’t interrupt. Don’t be judgmental.
Image: The Favourite Poet by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema
The Favourite Poet by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema
    • Take care of little tasks like feeding the cat or doing the laundry. (This suggestion applies if you don’t live with the person. If you do live with the person, you probably have to take on all the tasks).
    • Remember that the depressed person is not being lazy. Think of when you’re really sick and you can barely get out of bed to go to the bathroom. That’s how a depressive can feel all the time.
    • Learn everything you can about depression. Knowledge is power and understanding.
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It’s a sad, sad, sad, sad world: Depression and global disability – latimes.com

Clinical depression is now the second-leading cause of global disability, according to new research, with the highest rates of incidence affecting working-age adults and women more than men.

In a paper published Tuesday in the journal Plos Medicine, researchers found that depressive disorders were second only to lower respiratory infections when it came to inflicting the most years of disability on people throughout the world.

Rates of depression were highest in Afghanistan and lowest in Japan, while the condition ranked as the top cause of disability in Central America and Central and Southeast Asia.

via It's a sad, sad, sad, sad world: Depression and global disability – latimes.com.

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Primary-Care Doctors Don’t Have Best Tools for Treating Depression | TIME.com

Not all doctors are able to treat depression effectively, including those who are most likely to see patients’ first symptoms.

Even though patients may turn first to their primary-care physicians with any concerns about depression, the tools that those doctors use to evaluate their patients for mental-health disorders aren’t necessarily helping to improve their patients’ symptoms, according to the latest study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association of some of the most common practices used by these physicians.

via Primary-Care Doctors Don't Have Best Tools for Treating Depression | TIME.com.

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