Tag Archives: depression

Holiday Depression and Anxiety

How to Cope With Depression or Anxiety During the Holidays

Many people think of the holidays as the most wonderful time of the year. It’s a festive time of togetherness and merriment, glittering lights and memorable music. But if you are clinically depressed or struggle with anxiety, you may find that your symptoms such as fatigue and gloominess are worse during the holiday season.
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Holiday Depression and Anxiety

How Mental Illness Can Keep You From Enjoying the Holidays, and What to Do About It

The holiday season is quickly approaching. In the space of about a month, people will gather their families together for Thanksgiving, any number of religious celebrations, and New Year’s Eve. And chances are that the thought of hosting or attending so many get-togethers either leaves you with a warm, fuzzy feeling or fills you with dread. Are you ready to forge ahead or is holiday depression holding you back?
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man comforting women on couch

Depression Undertreated in Hispanic Communities

Depression is a serious mental illness that requires regular treatment, but one group of people is notgetting the help it needs. A recent study surveyed Hispanic populations in the U.S. and found that those with depression are undertreated. Those without health insurance are particularly vulnerable to struggling with depression and not getting treatment. The findings of the study are important and point to changes that need to be made in the medical community to ensure more people get necessary mental healthcare.
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Arial View from a Plane of Different Countries

Country of Origin Plays Key Role in Depression Rates Among Hispanics

Many mental health experts worry that mental illnesses, like depression, go underdiagnosed and untreated in much of the Hispanic population of the U.S., which is why any research that goes into this issue is so important. A recent study resulted in a report from Yeshiva University’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine and the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL) that outlines rates of anxiety and depression in American Hispanics. In addition to illustrating that under-treatment is a real problem, the report also demonstrates that rates of depression are highly variable and depend on the country of origin of Hispanic individuals.
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Rural Black Women Less Likely to Struggle With Depression Than Whites

Rural Black Women Less Likely to Struggle With Depression Than WhitesConfounding experts, who expected to find the opposite, a recent study revealed that African-American women who live in rural areas develop major depression and other mood disorders far less frequently than their urban counterparts. These findings were revealed in an article published in the April edition of the peer-reviewed journal JAMA Psychiatry, and seem likely to provoke much discussion and further study as mental health professionals attempt to grasp the implications of this surprising discovery.

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Best help for depression

People, Not Computers, Best Help for Depression

The benefits of online do-it-yourself treatments for depression have been called into question by a new study out of the U.K. that finds people quit the programs too soon, largely due to difficulties of repeatedly logging on to computer systems when clinically depressed.

Scientists at the University of York found that computer-assisted cognitive behavioral therapy, or cCBT, was no more effective in treating depression than the usual care patients receive from a general practitioner. It is the largest trial to date on cCBT.

Traditional cognitive behavioral therapy is a form of talk therapy that has been proven to be an extremely useful tool in tackling depression, an immensely common disease and the leading cause of disability worldwide. Rather than exploring a patient’s past, a trained therapist focuses on a person’s thought patterns and how they affect his or her behavior. But such medical care is not always immediately available, particularly in rural areas, so the hope was that computer-assisted therapy could step in to fill the void.

The York researchers say the findings serve as a reminder that the Internet isn’t a panacea for mental health problems and suggest that clinicians and policymakers might want to rethink the computer’s role in therapy. They said the online therapy failed to hit the mark because patients did not engage with the computer programs on a sustained basis despite being offered a high level of technical support and weekly phone calls encouraging participation.

No Substitute for Doctors and Therapists

“We do still need the human touch or the human interaction, particularly when people are depressed,” Christopher Dowrick, a professor of primary medical care at the University of Liverpool, wrote in an editorial accompanying the paper. “It’s an important, cautionary note that we shouldn’t get too carried away with the idea that a computer system can replace doctors and therapists.”

For the study, the research team enrolled 691 depressed patients to assess the effectiveness of the commercial “Beating the Blues” program and the free-to-use “MoodGYM,” assessing each person’s depression and health-related quality of life at four, 12 and 24 months. Their results showed that cCBT offered little or no benefit over normal treatment by a general practitioner. Only 18% of patients completed all eight sessions of Beating the Blues, and 16% completed all six sessions of MoodGYM. Almost one-quarter of the patients dropped out of the study by four months.

“Participants wanted a greater level of clinical support as an adjunct to therapy, and in absence of this support, they commonly disengaged with the computer programs,” the study authors said.

It’s important to note, however, that previous studies have shown Web-based therapy does produce benefits when conducted by specialists (secondary care providers) who guide participants through the computer packages. It has also been shown to provide relief to people with only mild depression symptoms.

Similar Outcome With Anxiety

The York researchers’ results mirror those of studies on anxiety, in which researchers have found that people who purchase self-help books and Web-based materials on anxiety typically fail to complete the programs. A 2013 review by the London-based Cochrane Collaboration, an independent scientific group, notes that when it comes to anxiety disorders, a face-to-face meeting with a therapist is most likely superior to self-help books and apps but that “self-help is probably better than no treatment.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 9% of adult Americans have feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness or guilt that generate a diagnosis of depression, while about 3% have major depression, also known as major depressive disorder, a long-lasting and severe form of depression. Women are 70% more likely than men to experience depression over the course of their lifetimes. Even more people suffer with anxiety, with an estimated 18% of adults said to experience the condition in any given year. The statistics also show that about one in four people in America and Europe has a treatable mental disorder, but up to three-quarters don’t seek help, citing reasons such as embarrassment, an inability to pay for treatment or a lack of access to mental health providers.

And there’s the bottom line. Online treatment for depression or anxiety is worth looking into, experts say, if you can’t find a therapist to help or can’t afford one. But you’ll need to be very disciplined and follow through with the materials.

Being depressed can mean being “lost in your own little small, negative, dark world,” Dowrick told Kaiser Health News. Having a person, instead of a computer, on your side is vital in combating the tendency to withdraw. “When you’re emotionally vulnerable, you’re even more in need of a caring human being,” he said.

By Laura Nott

Sources:

Computerised Self Help for Depression in Primary Care
//www.bmj.com/content/351/bmj.h5942

Computerised Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (cCBT) as Treatment for Depression in Primary Care (REEACT trial): Large Scale Pragmatic Randomised Controlled Trial
//www.bmj.com/content/351/bmj.h5627

Cognitive Behavior Therapy via the Internet: a Systematic Review of Applications, Clinical Efficacy and Cost-Effectiveness.
//www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23252357

Depressed? Look For Help From a Human, Not a Computer
//khn.org/news/depressed-look-for-help-from-a-human-not-a-computer

Stress Management Key for Depressed Women in Addiction Treatment

Stress Management Key for Depressed Women in Addiction TreatmentMental health professionals and researchers are well aware that depression and substance problems often appear together and cause worse problems for the individual than when they appear on their own. In a study published in January 2015 in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, researchers from two American universities explored the connection between depression and a relatively low tolerance for stress in women affected by serious substance problems. These researchers concluded that low stress tolerance is an important contributor to the severity of substance abuse/addiction in depressed women.

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