In the latest ‘damned-if-do, damned-if-you-don’t’ health news: New research says that depression increases a woman’s stroke risk—but taking antidepressants makes the risk even higher. And this is no half-hearted, small-scale study we’re talking about, either; Harvard University researchers looked at the health histories and practices of 80,000 women, beginning in 1976. Between 2000 and 2006, women aged 54 to 79 with no previous stroke history were specifically monitored. Ultimately, depressed women had a 29% greater risk of having a stroke, and depressed women who were taking anti-depressants had a 39% greater stroke risk. More
It’s no secret that stress can cause pimples, but according to dermatologist and clinical psychologist Richard G. Fried, stress management should be a big part of your daily beauty routine. His research reveals a complicated cycle by which stress makes skin conditions—such as acne, rosacea or psoriasis—worse, and subsequently, the worsened skin condition causes increased stress, making it even harder to get your beauty rest. More
Almost 80% of antidepressants are prescribed by non-psychiatrists—and almost three-quarters of these prescriptions aren’t accompanied by a formal psychiatric diagnosis, Psych Central reports. More
A group of doctors are saying that depression can lead to better mental health. So does that mean those of us who are suffering from depression should just resolve to feeling blue? According to a recent article published in Prevention, maybe. More
It’s one thing to suspect the psychiatric and pharmaceutical industries of shady ties, and a more frustrating thing entirely to see a University of Pennsylvania professor of psychiatry say colleagues let GlaxoSmithKline add their names to a report they had nothing to do with which “unduly promotes” one of it’s own antidepressant drugs, Paxil. More
The Daily Mail just announced a list of items, including spending too much time on your computer, that can trigger depression. As if we need to tell you: Sitting around all day playing World of Warcraft on the internet will make you depressed. (Not to mention, earn you a geeky reputation in your social circle… if you still have one.) In general, their list of depression triggers is pretty straightforward, but there were a couple that surprised us — and one that we have a hard time buying. More
Everyone goes through a time (or two or more) when they’re “down,” but a growing percentage of the world’s population is actually depressed and seeking help for it, often in the form of medication. But new research says that antidepressants could make you sad; apparently, popular meds are often no better than placebos, and could even be worse for patients’ overall happiness in the long-term. More
A new study from Japan has revealed the possible links between depression and the chemicals found in our blood. The medical research group Human Metabolome Technologies studied the concentration of phosphoric acid in the blood of 66 people. When 31 subjects were diagnosed with depression, the team found that many of them were low in ethanolamine phosphate, which could account for their depression. What are these chemicals? How do they play a role in our feelings? And is this treatable? More
Arianna Huffington isn’t known for her mental health advice, but last week at an Urban Zen event, “The Politics of Sustainable Wellness,” put on by Donna Karan, the media mogul sounded off about what makes her happy and ultimately, keeps her in good mental and physical health. So what makes one of Forbes’ Most Influential Women in Media feel good? Sleep, mostly. And a few things she likes to call her “joy triggers,” too. More
At Blisstree, we’re all about trying to get happier and healthier in order to live better, and we hope to help you do the same every day. But, of course, it’s not always easy to know how to make that intangible dream of happiness a reality. And even if you do know how to do it, it’s pretty challenging to keep all the parts of your life in balance so that often-elusive health and happiness last as long as possible. So I asked M.D., board-certified psychiatrist, and Blisstree contributor Dale Archer to give us ten steps we can take to promote and achieve lasting happiness in our own lives (and these are tactics he actually shares with his patients). So what are we waiting for? Let’s get happy — and healthy.
Blisstree’s no enemy of prescripion meds when you need them; in fact, some of us are of the opinion that the demise of talk therapy might be good for depressed patients, who seriously just need a psychiatrist to meet their needs. But proponents of functional medicine, like Dr. Mark Hyman, say that attitude isn’t the best approach. Instead of treating depression like a Prozac deficiency, he says, we need to figure out what’s causing our mood shifts (and other chronic symptoms) in the first place.
“Just knowing you have depression isn’t helpful,” he said at a recent event hosted by New York City’s Urbanzen Foundation. He and other proponents of functional medicine say that diagnosing patients with a disease doesn’t bring them any closer to a cure. Instead of racing to a diagnosis and prescription meds, we should be searching for the source of our symptoms, which he says is often easy to cure without prescriptions or extreme treatment measures. More
A couple weeks ago I wrote a Blisstree post called Drug Addiction: I Was an Ambien Junkie and Didn’t Know It. A few days later, I was talking to Dale Archer, an M.D. and board-certified general psychiatrist, about another post (Drug Addiction on A&E’s Heavy: There’s No Such Thing as a Partial Relapse), and we got to chatting about my Ambien tale of woe. He had read my post, and had taken particular interest in the part where I said that I could’ve sworn my GP at the time had told me that Ambien was not an addictive sleep aid. Turns out, my doctor later said she’d actually told me that it was, in fact, addictive. (Or, at least, she claimed to have told me that.) At the time, I thought maybe I was going crazy (perhaps as a result of sleep deprivation or my newfound prescription drug addiction?), or that I’d just absorbed the medical info that had sounded good to me, or that my doctor was just plain incompetent. More
With everything else that’s going on in the world (most of it negative) including, but not limited to: the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the protests in Wisconsin over Governor Scott Walker’s hi-jinx, chaos in Libya, and violence in Ivory Coast, you could be forgiven for forgetting about Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her ongoing recovery from a gunshot wound to the head in Tucson this January.
Obviously, it’s nothing short of a miracle that Representative Giffords survived almost having her brains blown out at close range in the first place. Then it was unreal that she survived all the surgeries that followed. Fast forward just a little more than two months later: According to a recent article in The New York Times, doctors recently removed Giffords’ tracheotomy tube, which means that she can talk. She can also walk. She can see out of both eyes, even though her left eye socket had been fractured by the bullet. She has memory and cognitive skills. She recognizes and remembers her family and friends. She can laugh, smile, and demonstrate her personality to staffers. She has enough stamina to spend three to five hours a day in therapy. She hasn’t exhibited any signs of depression, or even frustration. (Who could be frustrated and depressed by this kind of extraordinary progress?) She knows that her husband, astronaut Mark E. Kelly, will be going into space on the shuttle Endeavor in April. And she plans to travel from the rehabilitation facility in Houston to Florida to be there. More