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Showing posts from January, 2011

Why Antidepressants Don't Work

Diagnosing Depression
You go to the doctor complaining that you don't feel like yourself.  You aren't having fun, you are tired, you don't sleep well, you have no appetite and feel pretty worthless about your inability to exercise control over anything in your life.  Sometimes you feel like just ending it all.

Your doc asks whether you have a plan (sometimes you think about how you might do it), if anyone in your family has bipolar (not that you know of) and checks your thyroid and glucose levels.

DSM On Depression -- The Chinese Menu

But before the blood tests come back, your doc has already checked the magic list from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders:

Column A:
1. Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day, as indicated by either subjective report (e.g., feels sad or empty) or observation made by others (e.g., appears tearful). 2. Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities most of the day, nearly every day (a…

More on Sleep and Mental Illness

Last week's post on postpartum depression and sleep led me to a ring of articles about the link between sleep and mood.  So here we go again -- I have stumbled on another series!

My opening shot is piece my son and I used to watch from a Sesame Street bedtime video.  If it inspires you to go take a nap, that's fine by me.  You can read this post later.

Only, one line isn't correct.  It really doesn't matter, don't you know it's so.  'Cuz you sleep in so very many ways.

Sleep Matters

It does matter.  That guy yawning over his book might have pulled an all-nighter.  If he does that often, or stays up late, or changes shifts, he might be sleep-deprived.  Which puts him at risk for depression and suicidal thoughts.


Not to mention that goose egg.

What Is Suicidality

The studies I will be citing refer to suicidality.  So let's start by defining that term.  Actually, the word is used loosely, refering to a range of behaviors, in some places as the intent…

The Insomnia Cure for Postpartum Depression -- AKA Stupid Science Reporting

My niece just gave birth to twins, and friends are bringing home their newborn.  So this report on sleep deprivation is personal.

Last year's Best of Stupid Science Reporting comes from (drumroll, please...) the New York Times: In Sleepless Nights, a Hope for Treating Depression by Terry Sejnowski.

Don't Believe Everything You Read In The New York Times

Evidently, 75 published papers with over 1700 subjects in the last forty years have documented that the depressive symptoms of new mothers are relieved after a sleepless night.  Now let's remember the number one rule of research publishing -- for all we know, the same study may have been published 75 times.

On the other hand, if the author didn't double count studies, that would be an average of 23 participants per study.  Whatever the results, with those numbers, they would not be robust results.  A review of literature cited below examined some of these studies.  One had nine participants.  One had three.  These are not…

OMGThat'sWhatTheySaid: 2010 in Review

Best Of... Worst Of...  The turning of the year is time for evaluation and new direction.  So here is a long ago promised review and ***competition*** for 2010's Readers' Choice Best/Worst/Whatever OMG Award.

The OMGThat'sWhatTheySaid Award was invented when I began reading what scientists say about those of us who have a mental illness.  It expanded to include media contributions to idiocy, offensiveness and outrage exhibited in language about mental illnesses and the people who have them.  The OMG Award allows me to reframe idiocy, offensiveness and outrage into irony -- granting an award for what ought to receive lashes across the backside.

I intended this to be a monthly award.  But, whatever.  I keep going on a tear with some series and lose track. -- I think this blog is charting my major hypomanic cycles?  Many months go by awardless.  So here are not twelve, but just four contenders.  The titles are links to the entire original posts.

September 12, 2010: OMGThat'…