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Latest Posts

Cultivate Mindfulness: It Can Be A Powerful Therapeutic Tool

The hectic pace of daily life and the stresses that accompany it may make you want to tune out. A healthier approach may be to tune in.

I know that sounds counterintuitive. But paying more attention to what is going on around you, not less, is the first step toward cultivating mindfulness, an excellent technique to help you cope with a range of mental and physical problems, including stress.

The practice of mindfulness, which has its roots in Buddhism, teaches people to be present in each moment. The idea is to focus attention on what is happening now and accepting it without judgment.

Although it sounds simple, and even simplistic, mindfulness is Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Harvard Health Blog*

Psychiatrist Suggests More Active Treatment For Major Depression

Most patients with major depression require a second medication. A psychiatrist suggests that exercise could fulfill that need, too.

Because most patients with major depression don’t fully respond to just one drug, it’s common to try a second drug or cognitive behavioral therapy. But the rate of non-response in this group is prompting researchers to look for an intervention that most patients could do and that would add to current therapies.

Moderate and intense levels of daily exercise can work as well as administering a second antidepressant drug, as long as Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at ACP Internist*

Who’s Getting Antidepressants And Why?

Reuters Health reports that more than a quarter of Americans taking antidepressants have never been diagnosed with any of the conditions the drugs are typically used to treat, according to new research published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. An excerpt:

“We cannot be sure that the risks and side effects of antidepressants are worth the benefit of taking them for people who do not meet criteria for major depression,” said Jina Pagura, a psychologist and currently a medical student at the University of Manitoba in Canada, who worked on the study.

“These individuals are likely approaching their physicians with concerns that may be related to depression, and could include symptoms like trouble sleeping, poor mood, difficulties in relationships, etc.,” she added in an e-mail to Reuters Health. “Although an antidepressant might help with these issues, the problems may also go away on their own with time, or might be more amenable to counseling or psychotherapy.”

*This blog post was originally published at Gary Schwitzer's HealthNewsReview Blog*

Treatment-Resistant Depression: New Insights

Only one-third of people with major depression achieve remission after trying one antidepressant. When the first medication doesn’t adequately relieve symptoms, next step options include taking a new drug along with the first, or switching to another drug. With time and persistence, nearly seven in 10 adults with major depression eventually find a treatment that works.

Of course, that also means that the remaining one-third of people with major depression cannot achieve remission even after trying multiple options. Experts are hunting for ways to understand the cause of persistent symptoms. In recent years, one theory in particular has gained traction: that many people with hard-to-treat major depression actually suffer from bipolar disorder. However, a paper published online this week in the Archives of General Psychiatry suggests otherwise — and the findings provide new insights into the nature of treatment-resistant depression. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Harvard Health Blog*

The Rise In Antidepressant Use: Are We Neglecting Therapy?

I guess I actually knew this intuitively, as the number of people I know who mention “trying antidepressants” rises, but the Archives of General Psychiatry article by Drs. Olfson and Marcus (August, 2009, 66(8), pp, 848-856) has confirmed my sense that antidepressant use has risen.

In fact, in the United States between 1966 and 2005 the annual rate of antidepressant use for people rose from 5.84 percent to 10.12 percent – translating into 27 million people over the age of six who were taking antidepressants. FYI, that makes antidepressants the most widely prescribed class of medication in office-based and hospital outpatient-based medical practices. Read more »

This post, The Rise In Antidepressant Use: Are We Neglecting Therapy?, was originally published on Healthine.com by Nancy Brown, Ph.D..

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

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How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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