Will G. was 14 years old when his depression was diagnosed. He lost interest in daily activities, became isolated and soon afterward lost his friends. He describes his life before treatment as “living under a dark cloud,” and like many others who suffer from mental illness, he began managing his illness by self-medicating with drugs and alcohol and eventually became estranged from his family.Will is one of an estimated 20 million Americans who suffer from depression.Depression has been in the news lately, specifically with revelations a candidate for lieutenant governor received treatment for the illness about 30 years ago, causing a bit of a stir. What became painfully obvious was just how little is known about the ailment.
New research discovers that the suppression of positive feelings can play an important role in the development of postpartum depression.
Investigators believe this finding has implications for the treatment of depressed mothers.
In a study published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research, investigators from University of Leuven (KU Leuven) in Belgium posit that depression is characterized by both negative feelings and a lack of positive feelings. They suspected that this may have to do with the way depression-prone individuals deal with positive or happy feelings.
(HealthDay News) — Teens who like to help others may be less likely to develop depression, a new study suggests.
The study included 15- and 16-year-olds who were given three types of tasks: give money to others, keep the money for themselves or take financial risks with the hope of earning a reward.
The researchers monitored activity levels in a brain area called the ventral striatum, which controls feelings of pleasure linked to rewards. The teens were checked for symptoms of depression at the start of the study and a year later.
HealthDay News — Doctors should test middle school-age children for high cholesterol and start screening for depression at age 11, according to updated guidelines from a leading group of U.S. pediatricians.Doctors should also test older teens for HIV, the AIDS-causing virus, the revised preventive-care recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics say.The new screening schedule provides “the recommended content for a well-child visit,” said Dr. Joseph Hagan, co-editor of the guidelines. “Some changes are small, some will get people’s attention.”
University of California, Berkeley, researchers have shown that chronic stress generates long-term changes in the brain that may explain why people suffering chronic stress are prone to mental problems such as anxiety and mood disorders later in life.Myelin is stained blue in this cross section of a rat hippocampus. Myelin, which speeds electrical signals flowing through axons, is produced by oligodendrocytes, which increase in number as a result of chronic stress. New oligodendrocytes are shown in yellow. Image by Aaron Friedman and Daniela Kaufer.Their findings could lead to new therapies to reduce the risk of developing mental illness after stressful events.Doctors know that people with stress-related illnesses, such as post-traumatic stress disorder PTSD, have abnormalities in the brain, including differences in the amount of gray matter versus white matter. Gray matter consists mostly of cells – neurons, which store and process information, and support cells called glia – while white matter is comprised of axons, which create a network of fibers that interconnect neurons. White matter gets its name from the white, fatty myelin sheath that surrounds the axons and speeds the flow of electrical signals from cell to cell.
Sick of the snow yet? Bad news: There’s more on the way. Much more.
While the flurries are fun for some, an estimated 14 percent of Americans battle the winter blues. And almost half of those people (more women than men) have full-on seasonal affective disorder or SAD – a form of depression more common in the colder months.
HealthDay News — Children who experience the death of a family member are at slightly increased risk for psychotic illnesses such as schizophrenia later in life, a large new study reveals.The risk is highest among children who had a sibling or parent commit suicide, according to the findings published Jan. 21 in the online edition of the BMJ.Researchers analyzed data from nearly 947,000 children born in Sweden between 1973 and 1985. Of those children, 33 percent experienced the death of a family member before they reached age 13. More than 11,000 children were exposed to death from suicide, more than 15,000 to death from accidents and more than 280,000 to death from natural causes.
(Reuters Health) – Young people whose parents tend to fight with each other or are over involved in their kids’ lives are at increased risk of depression and anxiety, according to a new comprehensive review of past studies.
Kids tend to first experience depression or anxiety between ages 12 and 18, the authors write. They reviewed 181 papers published on potential links between how parents behave and which young people experience either disorder.
(HealthDay News) — A long-term exercise program may help ease depression in people with Parkinson’s disease, according to a new, small study.
Researchers looked at 31 Parkinson’s patients who were randomly assigned to an “early start” group that did an exercise program for 48 weeks or a “late start” group that worked out for 24 weeks. The program included three one-hour cardiovascular and resistance training workouts a week.
(HealthDay News) — Exercise might help treat sexual problems in women taking antidepressants, especially if their workouts occur right before sex, new research reveals.
The study included 52 women who had reduced desire and other sexual side effects while taking antidepressants.
For the first three weeks of the study, the women did not exercise. They were then divided into two groups for the next three weeks, with one group assigned to exercise immediately before sex and the other group assigned to exercise in a way that was not timed to having sex. The researchers then reversed the two groups for another three weeks.