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Quercki : depression   66

It’s World Mental Health Day: A primer on depression for the public-at-large / Boing Boing
I have a few rare friends that I don't have to avoid on the days when I am capable of little or nothing, because they will not try to cheerlead me into motivation. They are not driven by their own discomfort with my condition, needing me to change to suit their idea of how I should be. Instead, they accept me as I am, even when I am not doing well--especially when I am not doing well.

This is the most loving, healing thing a friend can do for a friend like me. It is exhausting to pretend I am well all the time, but if I share the truth with some people, I am barraged with advice, cures, chiding, or encouragement--the din of non-acceptance. It is the loneliest and most sorrowful thing to hear when I am depressed or in psychological pain, because I know I have to add them to the list of people not to turn to at times like this.
6 days ago by Quercki
Diet And Depression: What You Eat Can Help Improve Mood, New Study Finds : The Salt : NPR
There's fresh evidence that eating a healthy diet, one that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables and limits highly processed foods, can help reduce symptoms of depression.

A randomized controlled trial published in the journal PLOS ONE finds that symptoms of depression dropped significantly among a group of young adults after they followed a Mediterranean-style pattern of eating for three weeks. Participants saw their depression "score" fall from the "moderate" range down to the "normal" range, and they reported lower levels of anxiety and stress too.

Alternatively, the depression scores among the control group of participants — who didn't change their diets — didn't budge. These participants continued to eat a diet higher in refined carbohydrates, processed foods and sugary foods and beverages. Their depression scores remained in the "moderate severity" range.

"We were quite surprised by the findings,"
depression  diet  health  psychology  Mediterranean 
7 days ago by Quercki
Adapted cold shower as a potential treatment for depression. - PubMed - NCBI
Exposure to cold is known to activate the sympathetic nervous system and increase the blood level of beta-endorphin and noradrenaline and to increase synaptic release of noradrenaline in the brain as well. Additionally, due to the high density of cold receptors in the skin, a cold shower is expected to send an overwhelming amount of electrical impulses from peripheral nerve endings to the brain, which could result in an anti-depressive effect.
depression  research  solution 
4 weeks ago by Quercki
i exist – WIL WHEATON dot NET
About a year ago, my Internet friend, Ross, told me about an app that some friends of his developed. It’s called, and it aggregates all the fitness and diet and exercise and mood trackers we have in our lives, so we can get a clear overview of how our choices affect our existence.

I was primarily interested in discovering how certain habits and inconveniences affected my daily life, and Exist will let me see correlations that I wasn’t necessarily making on my own. For example, I figured that sitting in traffic (that most Los Angeles of pass times) would have a uniformly negative impact on how I felt at the end of the day. I mean, I fucking hate traffic, so I presumed more traffic would equal more bad days. But after a year, I observed that it has no measurable impact, at all.

What I did learn, though, was surprising to me. The single most consistent factor in how I feel about myself and my day, on the 5-point scale, is how productive I am. If I fuck off for a whole day, I feel shitty about myself. If I’m not being creative, or doing something that makes me feel useful, I feel shitty about myself. When I do things that are productive, like writing, or getting a lot of adulting done around the house, I feel better about myself. So my newest challenge is to figure out a way to feel worthy and good about myself, even on the days when I can’t or just choose not to be productive.
depression  Wil_Wheaton  app 
8 weeks ago by Quercki
Is Sunscreen the New Margarine? | Outside Online
Sunny Australia changed its tune back in 2005. Cancer Council Australia’s official-position paper (endorsed by the Australasian College of Dermatologists) states, “Ultraviolet radiation from the sun has both beneficial and harmful effects on human health.... A balance is required between excessive sun exposure which increases the risk of skin cancer and enough sun exposure to maintain adequate vitamin D levels.... It should be noted that the benefits of sun exposure may extend beyond the production of vitamin D. Other possible beneficial effects of sun exposure… include reduction in blood pressure, suppression of autoimmune disease, and improvements in mood.”
sun  VitaminD  hypertension  depression  cancer 
10 weeks ago by Quercki
Eponis | Sinope (Self Care Help)
Self Care Help

Hey, friend. This page gathers together some resources you might want if you’re struggling to keep afloat in your life. (Note: I am not affiliated with anything beyond my Tumblr.)

If you’re feeling bad and can’t pinpoint why, try running through this list of questions: “Everything Is Awful and I’m Not Okay: questions to ask before giving up.” They won’t fix everything, but they’ll help take care of the low-hanging fruit so you can work through the hard stuff. A printable one-page PDF is here. Jace Harr made a more in-depth, interactive guide that asks similar questions; you might prefer to use it here.

If you’d like to see other self-care posts I wrote or liked, they’re gathered here. You can also ask me a question directly.

If your thoughts are racing and you need a small sanctuary of calm, check out The Quiet Space Project. You can also put on soothing background noise, like rain or a purring cat, at myNoise.

If you’d like some reassurance, Calming Manatee is full of great wisdom.

Finally, if you are seriously considering ending things, please take the time first to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273 TALK (8255); they will put you through to a local organization, 24/7, to listen and offer no-judgment resources. If a phone call is too difficult for you, they also have an online chat room available here.
self  care  help  depression 
12 weeks ago by Quercki
Links between gut microbes and depression strengthened
Much of what we know so far is based on studies showing correlations between specific gut bacteria, their metabolites and neurological symptoms. But these correlations do not prove cause and effect. Many studies use animal models, which don’t accurately mirror human traits or behaviours. Human studies have been limited: they’re usually based on relatively small numbers of people, and might not control for a wealth of confounding factors — such as unusual diets, antibiotics or antidepressants — that can affect the microbiota.

Read the paper: The neuroactive potential of the human gut microbiota in quality of life and depression

A study published this week in Nature Microbiology tackles some of these issues (M. Valles-Colomer et al. Nature Microbiol.; 2019). The authors used DNA sequencing to analyse microbiota in the faeces of more than 1,000 people enrolled in Belgium’s Flemish Gut Flora Project. The team then correlated different microbial taxa with the participants’ quality of life and incidence of depression, using self-reported and physician-supplied diagnoses. The researchers validated the findings in an independent cohort of 1,063 individuals in the Netherlands’ LifeLines DEEP project. Finally, they mined the data to generate a catalogue describing the microbiota’s capacity to produce or degrade molecules that can interact with the human nervous system.
microbes  depression  research 
february 2019 by Quercki
My Massive List of Depression Resources- part 1 : depressed
I will be periodically updating and adding more links as I come across additional helpful information. Please share and spread the word!

I made previous posts with numerous depression resources already, so rather than repeat these links here, I will just include the links to the original posts:

What Do You Know About Depression - posted in TwoXChromosomes

Resources for moms, those who are going to be moms, and those who want to be moms who have depression Part 1, Part 2

Sex, depression, and anti-depressants. An excerpt from the Prozac Diary.

I am in a research study for TMS run by biomed PhD students, one asked me to write down how I feel- this is what I wrote.
depression  links  resources  **** 
july 2018 by Quercki
(16) Mary Hill - A friend of mine wrote this. It goes into check ins so...
What I do and appreciate having done for me ((and it kind of devolved into things I need done for me so uh, basically your milage may vary. Key thing is to active listen and try to find out what will be useful to THEM.))

- I write letters to folks when I see tough times happening
- I send messages via social media with the "no need to respond" so less pressure
- I offer my home as safe space or offer to take my comfort to them. I have lots of comfort movies and tea and stuffies
- I offer easy low energy companionship
- if a person is struggling with a task or unpacking or etc I can see if I'm able to do that
- if a person needs to look up something health or job or etc related, I ask if they would like me to help with that research. Make them a spreadsheet of things. (This has been done for me and I wanna cry with how good it felt for it to be done for me)

Look at what you're good at/what you have an abundance of, and what you're able to share.

If you're flush with cash, maybe pay for a month of premade food being delivered to them.
depression  howto  help 
june 2018 by Quercki
(1) Sharepage - Let’s talk about check-ins. “Check on all your strong friends right now.”
A check-in is not:

A drive-by
An excuse to unload your trite sayings you’ve been saving up from self-help sites. Do Not
A one-time dealio
For you to feel like you did The Good Thing ur supposed to do each day or god revokes your Moral Card

A check-in is therefore, in fact, a misnomer. You’re not checking in to a hotel front desk like your depressed friend is the receptionist. You’re gonna need to think of it as if you and your friend are renting a hotel room together for a while, and you plan to spend some time.

A checkin must convey:

That you’re a long-term tether. Suicidal people in the early stages of being suicidal are just balloons cut loose from a tether with no ties to the world. Give them a big red target visible from space to let them know there is a ground, and a person waiting for them if they choose to come back down.

That you understand the problem. Thus the “no trite sayings”. Believe me, if “just spending 30 mins a day in the sun” would fix me, I’d be done by now.
depression  anxiety  check-ins  help 
june 2018 by Quercki
Acceptance & Commitment Therapy | ACT Mindfully | Acceptance & Commitment Therapy Training with Russ Harris
What is Acceptance & Commitment Therapy?
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) gets it name from one of its core messages: accept what is out of your personal control, and commit to action that improves and enriches your life.
The aim of ACT is to maximise human potential for a rich, full and meaningful life. ACT (which is pronounced as the word 'act', not as the initials) does this by:

a) teaching you psychological skills to deal with your painful thoughts and feelings effectively - in such a way that they have much less impact and influence over you (these are known as mindfulness skills).

b) helping you to clarify what is truly important and meaningful to you - i.e your values - then use that knowledge to guide, inspire and motivate you to change your life for the better.

To download a simple, non-technical article which gives a basic overview of ACT, click here

To download a simple, non-technical article on Mindfulness Without Meditation, click here

To download a range of interesting articles and papers on ACT, go to the Articles & Papers page

The ACT View Of Mindfulness
ACT  therapy  depression 
march 2018 by Quercki
Johann Hari on How the “Junk Values” of Neoliberalism Drive Depression and Anxiety in the U.S. | Democracy Now!
we need to deal with these deeper social causes. I think part of the problem is we’ve been in this funk of pessimism where we think we can’t change anything. There are loads of experiments that have demonstrated that we can powerfully change them.

I’ll give you one example. In Canada, in the 1970s—something that’s been covered by Democracy Now! really well—in Canada, in the 1970s, they did an experiment. They chose a town, at random, called Dauphin—it’s near Manitoba—and they gave a huge number of people in this town a guaranteed basic income. It was the equivalent of $15,000 a year. They said to them, “We’re just going to give you this money in monthly installments. There’s nothing you have to do in return for it, and there’s nothing you can do that means we’ll take it away.” And they followed what happened over the next three years. The most powerful thing for me is, there was a massive fall in depression and anxiety. Depression and anxiety that was so severe people had to be hospitalized fell by 9 percent.
depression  social  causes 
february 2018 by Quercki
The Etiology of Depression - Depression in Parents, Parenting, and Children - NCBI Bookshelf
The purpose of this chapter is to review what is known or suspected about the causes of depression. Fundamentally, such depressive symptoms as sad mood, pessimism, and lethargy, are universal human experiences and are considered normal reactions to the struggles, disappointments, and losses of everyday life. However, for some individuals, the intensity and persistence of depressive symptoms are not typical, and a challenge for researchers has been to understand why some individuals experience marked and enduring depressive reactions and others do not. This chapter discusses some of the characteristics of individuals that may make them vulnerable, as well as the features of environments that are particularly likely to provoke depression. The chapter also emphasizes the interplay between persons and environments—the ways in which, for example, stressors may provoke depression but depression further influences social environments, often a vicious cycle that promotes chronic or recurrent depression. A further aspect of this bidirectional influence is the frequent co-occurrence of depression and other disorders, which may complicate its course and treatment. It is noted that some individuals are remarkably resilient in the face of adversity, and a further challenge to the field is to understand such processes.

The first topic to address is that not all depressions are alike; therefore, different etiological models and perspectives are likely to apply to different expressions of depressive disorder.
depression  science 
january 2018 by Quercki
How To Figure Out What Makes You Happy (so you can do more of it) -
But, uh, what if you don’t actually know what makes you happy?

What if you’ve done all the things that seem to make other people happy and they just don’t do much for you?

Dude, welcome to the club.

Most of us have vague ideas of what makes us happy. Maybe we’re reasonably happy on a day-to-day basis but we’ve never really put much thought into where those feelings come from or what, specifically, about an experience is making us happy.

When you can pinpoint what makes you happy, you can add more of it to your life. Simple as that. CLICK TO TWEET

Finding your happiness is an art, not a science but here are five things I’ve done to help me figure where my happiness is coming from.
depression  happy 
december 2017 by Quercki
101 Ways To Cheer Yourself Up -
Do you need to cheer yourself up? We all need a bit of cheering up from time to time – and it’s easy to fall back on the ol’ standbys of wine and Netflix. We can do better! This guest post from Steff can help!

december 2017 by Quercki
101 Reasons Why It Will All Be Okay.
But I do know that even when things are hard and feel impossible, they can coexist with things that are going well, things that are good in your life and good in the world. It’s not either/or, it’s both/and.
This list is meant to be the both/and to what it is you’re facing right now.
Take what you need from this list and leave the rest — some things may feel helpful, some maybe won’t; some will apply to you life, some might not; read through, internalize the ones that resonate with you, and then tell it to yourself over and over again when you need to hear it. It’s a veritable smorgasbord of reassurance.
And please, pass this one on to those who may also need to hear some reasons why it will be okay. Because really, who among us doesn’t need a reminder from time to time?
depression  anger  politics 
july 2017 by Quercki
New neuroscience reveals 4 rituals that will make you happy | Ladders
Here’s what brain research says will make you happy:

Ask “What am I grateful for?” No answers? Doesn’t matter. Just searching helps.
Label those negative emotions. Give it a name and your brain isn’t so bothered by it.
Decide. Go for “good enough” instead of “best decision ever made on Earth.”
Hugs, hugs, hugs. Don’t text — touch.
So what’s the dead simple way to start that upward spiral of happiness?

Just send someone a thank you email. If you feel awkward about it, you can send them this post to tell them why.
happy  depression  neuroscience 
may 2017 by Quercki
When the U.S. Government Paid the Working Class to Be Artists
Perhaps the WPA’s greatest legacy was the diversity of its artist pool. In her book Mounting Frustration: The Art Museum in the Age of Black Power, Susan E. Cahan writes that “Only during isolated periods, such as the WPA art projects of the 1930s, had African Americans been given nearly the same opportunities as whites through government programs that employed artists.” These programs, she notes, provided support for Aaron Douglas, Charles White, Charles Alston, Hale Woodruff, Archibald J. Motley Jr., Norman Lewis, and Eldzier Cortor, among others.

At the heart of this flourishing period in the arts was a “new generation of plebeian artists and intellectuals who had grown up in the immigrant and black working class neighborhoods of the modern metropolis,” Michael Denning writes in his book The Cultural Front.
art  murals  WPA  New_Deal  depression 
march 2017 by Quercki
Migrant Mother, 1936
Having well convinced myself for 20 miles that I could continue on, I did the opposite. Almost without realizing what I was doing I made a U-turn on the empty highway. I went back those 20 miles and turned off the highway at that sign, PEA-PICKERS CAMP.

"Destitute in a pea pickers camp,
because of the failure of the early
pea crop. These people had just sold
their tent in order to buy food."I was following instinct, not reason; I drove into that wet and soggy camp and parked my car like a homing pigeon.

I saw and approached the hungry and desperate mother, as if drawn by a magnet. I do not remember how I explained my presence or my camera to her but I do remember she asked me no questions. I made five exposures, working closer and closer from the same direction. I did not ask her name or her history. She told me her age, that she was 32. She said that they had been living on frozen vegetables from the surrounding fields, and birds that the children killed. She had just sold the tires from her car to buy food. There she sat in that lean-to tent with her children huddled around her, and seemed to know that my pictures might help her, and so she helped me. There was a sort of equality about it.

The pea crop at Nipomo had frozen and there was no work for anybody.
Dorothea_Lange  Migrant_Mother  photo  great  depression  Native_American  Florence_Owen_Thompson 
march 2017 by Quercki
Sometimes Writers Block is really Depression - Mary Robinette Kowal
In hindsight, I’ve probably dealt with this off and on for my entire life, but last year, I tried to push past it and pretend I was fine. And it became crippling. Now I have tools to handle it. I’m better about self-care, so that I don’t let things become crippling again. I am trying to treat it like having a broken arm and be very matter-of-fact about it. Though, really, it’s more like having dysentery, because it traps you at home and no one wants to hear about it.

But I digress.

Now… I’ve given you strategies for handling the other types of writer’s block. Let me tell you the things that work for me with writing. I want to be clear, that everyone’s brain is wired differently. If you are like me, and respond well to challenges and ticky-boxes, these might work for you.

Habitica — This gamifies my to-do list. I have a mix of things on there from “Take medication” to “Leave House” to “Write 3 sentences.” The big thing is that I can see that, yes, I actually AM achieving something.
Small goals — I used to have a 2000 word per day goal. Now, I aim for 3 sentences. This almost always turns into more, but having a small goal is achievable, even on the rough days.
Headspace — This is a meditation app. I was toooootally skeptical about this when my counselor suggested it. It took me awhile to get comfortable with the idea, but it makes a difference.
Yoga in the morning — So, apparently, 20 minutes of physical activity in the morning can totally change your entire day. I have found this to be appallingly true for me. The days that I skip it to do later, I am much more scattered. It doesn’t have to be yoga, but physical activity is huge. (I use DailyYoga since I travel a ton.)
depression  solutions 
november 2015 by Quercki
21 Comics That Capture The Frustrations Of Depression
21 Comics That Capture The Frustrations Of Depression
For those who have suffered, are suffering, or simply want to learn more.
depression  comics 
october 2015 by Quercki
4 Rituals That Will Make You Happy, According to Neuroscience | TIME
Here’s what brain research says will make you happy:

Ask “What am I grateful for?” No answers? Doesn’t matter. Just searching helps.
Label those negative emotions. Give it a name and your brain isn’t so bothered by it.
Decide. Go for “good enough” instead of “best decision ever made on Earth.”
Hugs, hugs, hugs. Don’t text — touch.
So what’s the dead simple way to start that upward spiral of happiness?

Just send someone a thank you email. If you feel awkward about it, you can send them this post to tell them why.
happy  depression  anxiety  solutions 
september 2015 by Quercki
LEXHUB - About
The World Well-Being Project (WWBP) is pioneering techniques for measuring individual and community characteristics, psychological well-being, and physical health based on language in social media.

As a collaboration between computer scientists, psychologists, and statisticians, we are shedding new light on the psychosocial processes that affect health and happiness and exploring the potential for our unobtrusive well-being measures to supplement -- and in part replace -- expensive survey methods.

Ultimately, we hope that our insights and analyses will help individuals, organizations, and governments choose actions and policies that are not just in the best economic interest of the people or companies, but which truly improve their well-being.
language  psychology  social  media  facebook  twitter  depression  heart  disease 
june 2015 by Quercki
▶ Stanford's Sapolsky On Depression in U.S. (Full Lecture) - YouTube
Uploaded on Nov 10, 2009
Stanford Professor Robert Sapolsky, posits that depression is the most damaging disease that you can experience. Right now it is the number four cause of disability in the US and it is becoming more common. Sapolsky states that depression is as real of a biological disease as is diabetes.
depression  *** 
april 2015 by Quercki
Eponis | Sinope - Everything Is Awful and I’m Not Okay: questions to ask before giving up
Everything Is Awful and I’m Not Okay: questions to ask before giving up
Are you hydrated?  If not, have a glass of water.

Have you eaten in the past three hours?  If not, get some food — something with protein, not just simple carbs.  Perhaps some nuts or hummus?

Have you showered in the past day?  If not, take a shower right now.

If daytime: are you dressed?  If not, put on clean clothes that aren’t pajamas.  Give yourself permission to wear something special, whether it’s a funny t-shirt or a pretty dress.

If nighttime: are you sleepy and fatigued but resisting going to sleep?  Put on pajamas, make yourself cozy in bed with a teddy bear and the sound of falling rain, and close your eyes for fifteen minutes — no electronic screens allowed.  If you’re still awake after that, you can get up again; no pressure.

Have you stretched your legs in the past day?  If not, do so right now.  If you don’t have the spoons for a run or trip to the gym, just walk around the block, then keep walking as long as you please.  If the weather’s crap, drive to a big box store (e.g. Target) and go on a brisk walk through the aisles you normally skip.

Have you said something nice to someone in the past day?  Do so, whether online or in person.  Make it genuine; wait until you see something really wonderful about someone, and tell them about it.

Have you moved your body to music in the past day?  If not, do so — jog for the length of an EDM song at your favorite BPM, or just dance around the room for the length of an upbeat song.

Have you cuddled a living being in the past two days?  If not, do so.  Don’t be afraid to ask for hugs from friends or friends’ pets.  Most of them will enjoy the cuddles too; you’re not imposing on them.
coping  depression  checklist  mood  solutions 
march 2015 by Quercki
A Blood Test For Depression Shows The Illness Is Not A Matter Of Will
Redei’s study compared the blood samples of 32 patients who had been diagnosed with depression in the traditional way (a clinical interview) with samples taken from 32 people without depression. She found nine RNA blood markers -- the molecules that carry out DNA's instructions -- that differed significantly between the two groups, which she then used as the basis for the depression diagnosis.

Then, the depressed patients went through 18 weeks of cognitive behavioral therapy, a common treatment for depression. Re-testing their blood, Redei was able to tell which patients had benefitted the most from therapy, just by examining the changes in their RNA markers. In other words, the test was also a biological way to tell if treatment had been effective.

Finally, Redei also noticed that there were three RNA markers that didn’t change in depressed patients, no matter if they had benefitted from cognitive behavioral therapy or not. She suspects they may be markers that show if a person is predisposed to depression.

"Being aware of people who are more susceptible to recurring depression allows us to monitor them more closely,” said David Mohr, Ph.D., co-lead author of the study in a press release. “They can consider a maintenance dose of antidepressants or continued psychotherapy to diminish the severity of a future episode or prolong the intervals between episodes.”

Zachary Kaminsky, Ph.D., of the Mood Disorders Center at Johns Hopkins Medicine, wasn’t involved with the study but is excited about its potential implications for depression treatment. Kaminsky is a pioneer in blood tests to predict suicide risk, and although he and Redei measure very different things in their tests, he sees that both researchers have similar goals when it comes to creating biological tests for mental illnesses.
depression  DNA  RNA  test 
march 2015 by Quercki
There's a Suicide Epidemic in Utah — And One Neuroscientist Thinks He Knows Why - Mic
Renshaw believes that altitude has an impact on our brain chemistry, specifically that it changes the levels of serotonin and dopamine, two key chemicals in the brain that help regulate our feelings of happiness. America's favorite antidepressants (and party drugs) work by controlling the level of these chemicals in the brain. The air in Utah, one could say, works just like this.
In a 2011 study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, a group of researchers, including Renshaw, analyzed state suicide rates with respect to gun ownership, population density, poverty, health insurance quality and availability of psychiatric care. Of all the factors, altitude had the strongest link to suicide — even the group of states with the least available psychiatric care had fewer suicides than the highest-altitude states, where psychiatric care was easier to find.
suicide  depression  altitude  Utah  ADD 
november 2014 by Quercki
Back in the 1930s, Oakland’s Unemployed Exchange Association led the way in self-help « Oakland Local
Rhodehamel and several others would go on to start a “reciprocal economy” void of money called the Unemployed Exchange Association, or UXA. They began by focusing on their own neighborhood, fixing each other’s homes and recycling unused items.  They began using an abandoned grocery store on Penniman Avenue as their first storeroom and commissary, and eventually held open meetings at their headquarters at East 14th Street and 40th Avenue.

Workers were given points for the hours they worked, and could exchange those points for items in the commissary. Within six months, they had a membership of 1500, and according to Curl, at its peak, the UXA distributed 40 tons of food each week.

The founders of the exchange truly believed the UXA could end the Depression, and in 1933, author Upton Sinclair ran for governor of California on a platform of self-help and cooperative exchange. He would get 900,000 votes, but lose to incumbent Frank Merriam.
economy  alternative  cooperative  depression 
november 2014 by Quercki
First Blood Test to Diagnose Depression in Adults: Northwestern University News
CHICAGO --- The first blood test to diagnose major depression in adults has been developed by Northwestern Medicine® scientists, a breakthrough approach that provides the first objective, scientific diagnosis for depression. The test identifies depression by measuring the levels of nine RNA blood markers. RNA molecules are the messengers that interpret the DNA genetic code and carry out its instructions.

The blood test also predicts who will benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy based on the behavior of some of the markers. This will provide the opportunity for more effective, individualized therapy for people with depression.

In addition, the test showed the biological effects of cognitive behavioral therapy, the first measurable, blood-based evidence of the therapy’s success. The levels of markers changed in patients who had the therapy for 18 weeks and were no longer depressed.   

“This clearly indicates that you can have a blood-based laboratory test for depression, providing a scientific diagnosis in the same way someone is diagnosed with high blood pressure or high cholesterol,” said Eva Redei, who developed the test and is a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “This test brings mental health diagnosis into the 21st century and offers the first personalized medicine approach to people suffering from depression.”

Redei is co-lead author of the study, which was published Sept. 16 in Translational Psychiatry. 

Redei previously developed a blood test that diagnosed depression in adolescents. Most of the markers she identified in the adult depression panel are different from those in depressed adolescents. 
depression  medicine  science  research 
september 2014 by Quercki
Andrew Solomon: Depression, the secret we share | Video on
But in 1994, three years later, I found myself losing interest in almost everything. I didn't want to do any of the things I had previously wanted to do, and I didn't know why. The opposite of depression is not happiness, but vitality, and it was vitality that seemed to seep away from me in that moment. Everything there was to do seemed like too much work.
depression  TED 
january 2014 by Quercki
21 Comics That Capture The Frustrations Of Depression
[Editor’s note: This is by no means a definitive list. The comics featured here can not and do not represent everyone’s experiences. But there are some things they do capture. Part of the difficulty of depression is that it is a pain that is unnameable. Sometimes, art is the best way to capture the things we do not know how to say.]
depression  comics 
october 2013 by Quercki
Singing Changes Your Brain |
The benefits of singing regularly seem to be cumulative. In one study, singers were found to have lower levels of cortisol, indicating lower stress.  A very preliminary investigation suggesting that our heart rates may sync up during group singing could also explain why singing together sometimes feels like a guided group meditation.  Study after study has found that singing relieves anxiety and contributes to quality of life. Dr. Julene K. Johnson, a researcher who has focused on older singers, recently began a five year study to examine group singing as an affordable method to improve the health and well-being of older adults.

It turns out you don’t even have to be a good singer to reap the rewards.  According to one 2005 study, group singing “can produce satisfying and therapeutic sensations even when the sound produced by the vocal instrument is of mediocre quality.”  Singing groups vary from casual affairs where no audition is necessary to serious, committed professional or avocational choirs like the Los Angeles Master Chorale or my chorus in New York City, which I joined when I was 26 and depressed, all based on a single memory of singing in a choir at Christmas, an experience so euphoric I never forgot it.
singing  health  benefits  solution  depression 
august 2013 by Quercki
Society for Menstrual Cycle Research : » Could use of the pill be linked to insulin resistance?
Holly on Yasmin/Yaz and inflammation (known to play a role in most chronic conditions like diabetes, arthritis, CVD, cancer).
Elizabeth – I’m familiar with the relationship between the pill and nurition. Briefly – many common drugs deplete nutrients, use them up quicker, or block their absorption. In the case of hormonal drugs, its usually certain B vitamins (important for mood and energy)and magnesium (ppl w diabetes benefit from increased mag and ppl w fibromyalgia test really low in it). Supplements are used to correct these deficiencies by women who plan to stay on the pill and want to avoid the side effects brought on by nutrient depletion. Of course we know that the effects of the pill are so profound to so many organ systems, that a few extra b vitamins cant even begin to compensate, but dont get me started.
Moving on – Laura drops the OZ to echo the assoc w inflammation again, then bemoans the widespread use of the pill to treat menstrual complaints and puberty itself.
My comment embelishes Laura’s and then threatens to degenerate into a rant about prescribing behavior. Going back to the inflammation – notice that the very cramps tha young woman presents with are themselves inflammatory in nature. So if Im providing care for acne and period pain; rather than Rxing a powerful hormonal drug that will supress the ovarian cycle altogether and alter the course of this woman’s life for ever more, I wld 1st ask if shed tried ibuprofen, then I’d teach glycemic control with good food for the acne and recommend extra magnesium for the cramps. Getting fancier, I’d add vit D for the winter and some EFAs especially if she had lots of inflammation (headaches allergies). I cld get thru this in 10 mins, which is slightly longer than a Dr visit, but not impossible.
birth_control  hormones  pill  depression  pain  diabetes  skin 
october 2012 by Quercki
COMFORTABLY NUMB « The Burning Platform
The oligarchy of moneyed interests have done a spectacular job convincing the working middle class they should be angry at 20 year old OWS protestors, illegal immigrants and the inner city welfare class, rather than the true culprits – the Federal Reserve, Wall Street banks and mega-corporations. This is a testament to the power of propaganda and the intellectual slothfulness of the average American. U.S. based mega-corporations fired 864,000 higher wage American workers between 2000 and 2010, while hiring almost 3 million workers in low wage foreign countries, using their billions in cash to buy back their own stocks, and paying corporate executives shamefully excessive compensation. The corporate mainstream media treats corporate CEO’s like rock stars as if they deserve to be compensated at a level 243 times the average worker. The S&P 500 consists of the 500 biggest companies in America and while the executives of these companies have reaped millions in compensation, the stock index for these companies is at the exact level it was on July 9, 1998. Over the last thirteen years workers were fired by the thousands, shareholders earned 0% (negative 39% on an inflation adjusted basis), and executives got fabulously rich.
Occupy_Wall_Street  economics  depression  statistics  charts  *** 
november 2011 by Quercki
Why one in four women is on psych meds | Victoria Bekiempis | Comment is free |
A report from MedCo published last week notes that 25% of US women take meds for depression, anxiety, ADHD or another mental disorder. In men, that number is 15%. One article notes that more and more women have been prescribed anti-depressants in the past decade, and that nearly twice as many women are on anti-anxiety treatment as their male counterparts. One doctor's explanation behind the disparity: women might be more likely to seek help.

Not all are convinced, and with good reason: if one quarter of American women is considered to have a mental abnormality, the notion of normality becomes questionable. Also, if women are portrayed as statistically more unstable, there's concern that we're going to be cast off as "the other" – similar to the way western society's ideological lepers were dismissed as "crazy" and locked in asylums (viz Michel Foucault's Madness and Civilization). The XX Factor's KJ Dell'Antonia puts it this way:

"One in four is too many. Even if there are bottles and bottles of medicine sitting unused. Even if some of those prescriptions went unfilled. One in four suggests that either women, or our doctors, are being sold on an ideal of mental health that's unrealistic."

I'm not sure, however, that the explanation is that simple. Obviously, sexism often comes into play into these diagnoses, as it has since the classical era. 

Much has been written about how women aren't taken seriously by their doctors, who have been known to dole out Valium just to shut them up. On the other hand, it's entirely realistic that so many women feel imbalanced. It's almost shocking that the number isn't much higher, considering that rape culture – and its dire psychological ramifications – remain prevalent in America. (See riot by supporters of Joe Paterno, which shows more intense sympathy for a football coach who seems to have largely overlooked the sexual abuse of minors taking place on his watch at Penn State, than it does for the victims of the alleged perpetrator, Jerry Sandusky)
anxiety  depression  rape.culture  sexism 
november 2011 by Quercki
Hyperbole and a Half: Adventures in Depression
A very realistic portrayal of depression and its progress
depression  comics 
october 2011 by Quercki
Sunlight, Sugar, and Serotonin | Psychology Today
In humans, deficiency of serotonin is implicated in autism, Down's syndrome, anorexia, anxiety, depression, aggression, alcoholism, and seasonal affective disorder. Light therapy and serotonin-increasing medications are both effective treatments for depression that occurs with low levels of sunlight. Light exposure increases serotonin in humans, and serotonin levels are lowest in midwinter, and higher on bright days no matter what time of year. 10,000 lux light therapy decreases suicidal ideation in some folks.

Tryptophan is an important amino acid, most readily available from animal sources (vegetable sources such as pumpkin seeds contain phytic acid which may inhibit its absorption), and its many important derivative molecules work best with plenty of sunlight. Think of it as your own little bit of photosynthesis.
serotonin  tryptophan  5-htp  depression  anxiety 
may 2011 by Quercki
A Vegan No More | Voracious
The results explained perfectly why I had been feeling weak and exhausted for more than 6 months. Whereas I had previously lived for working out and even an hour on the elliptical wasn’t enough for me, lately doing more than 20 minutes at a leisurely pace caused me to yearn to spend the rest of the day in bed recuperating. When I could I slept till noon, I felt lightheaded when I stood up, I couldn’t remember simple words or the names of my friends, and I was freezing cold even in the midst of a sweltering Saudi summer. Of the myriad symptoms I’ve listed here and the ones I will not be describing publicly, the absolute worst of all was my depression. This awful, lifelong foe I’ve been battling on and off was sneaking back into my life, painting the edges of my world a sickening black and stealing the joy that I had fought so desperately to regain.
vegan  vegetarian  depression 
november 2010 by Quercki
It Gets Different; Leveling Up
It Gets Different; Leveling Up
Published October 4, 2010 | Posted in Uncategorized


I can’t actually promise anyone it will get better. And I think it would be, with the lived experience of my life, disingenuous to try. And I’m not going to lie to anyone: it doesn’t always get better.

But it does get… different. That might not seem like much, especially when you are on the low side of down, but it means everything to me.

Bullies are trying to exert their power over someone else. I’m not entirely sure why that feels good for some people – though I sometimes think it is to make up for a lack of power in other areas of their lives, I tend to shy away from pat, universal answers. Sometimes people are just cruel people.

That doesn’t go away when you’re an adult.
bullying  teen  suicide  depression 
october 2010 by Quercki
How Prozac sent the science of depression in the wrong direction - The Boston Globe
It is jarring to think of depression in terms of atrophied brain cells, rather than an altered emotional state. It is called "depression," after all. Yet these scientists argue that the name conceals the fundamental nature of the illness, in which the building blocks of the brain - neurons - start to crumble. This leads, over time, to the shrinking of certain brain structures, like the hippocampus, which the brain needs to function normally.
depression  brain  exercise 
october 2010 by Quercki
Sensitivity to Social Rejection and Inflammatory Responses to Stress | Neurotic Physiology
It’s been known that psychological stress (which is stress like being overworked or being chronically unhappy, as opposed to physical stress, which is things like being constantly cold or not getting enough food) can make you more susceptible to illness like colds, as well as being a strong indicator for some major diseases. Right now we think that stress causes negative impacts on your health by increasing inflammation, which is associated with all manner of illnesses ranging from asthma to heart disease to depression. Apparently SOCIAL stressors (like social rejection) are particularly good at increasing these inflammatory processes.

But the question is: why? How does this work? How does social stress impact the way the brain then controls inflammatory processes? What brain regions respond to both inflammation and social stres
stress  depression  research 
october 2010 by Quercki
Not My Father's Recession: The Extraordinary Challenges and Policy ...
This afternoon, I want to talk about the tremendous economic challenges the country faced in January 2009 and the challenges we continue to face as we reach the second half of 2010. I want to discuss what I think we have learned over the past twenty months about the causes of our economic difficulties, what we have accomplished through extraordinary policy actions, and the tremendous work that remains before the economy is fully recovered.
economics  depression  recession  Christina_Romer 
september 2010 by Quercki
Women and depression (i.e. “no shit”) « The Delphiad Blog
It’s been documented for some time now that women are depressed at twice the rate of men.

Let’s see all the reasons we have to be down in the dumps. It’s a long, long list. When I sat down to put it together, once again, the exercise put things into perspective, since every single one of these points has been documented as contributing to depression. Taken together, they form a tsunami. This is only a glimpse of the bigger picture. I keep finding new things to add:

- higher rates of sexual assault and low rates of conviction (only 6 % of rapists will ever spend a day in jail)
- higher rates of domestic violence
- higher rates of victimization through sex trafficking
- higher rates of sexual harassment at work and no way to win, even if you win, when it does happen
- higher rates of street harassment
misogyny  depression  feminism  statistics 
august 2010 by Quercki
Eschaton: Don't Listen To The Girlymaths
Oh well.

Romer had run simulations of the effects of stimulus packages of varying sizes: six hundred billion dollars, eight hundred billion dollars, and $1.2 trillion. The best estimate for the output gap was some two trillion dollars over 2009 and 2010. Because of the multiplier effect, filling that gap didn’t require two trillion dollars of government spending, but Romer’s analysis, deeply informed by her work on the Depression, suggested that the package should probably be more than $1.2 trillion. The memo to Obama, however, detailed only two packages: a five-hundred-and-fifty-billion-dollar stimulus and an eight-hundred-and-ninety-billion-dollar stimulus. Summers did not include Romer’s $1.2-trillion projection. The memo argued that the stimulus should not be used to fill the entire output gap; rather, it was “an insurance package against catastrophic failure.” At the meeting, according to one participant, “there was no serious discussion to going above a trillion dollars."
larry_summers  depression  economy 
august 2010 by Quercki
good blog includes neurochemistry.
blog  neuroscience  depression 
june 2010 by Quercki
Can bacteria make you smarter?
ScienceDaily (May 25, 2010) — Exposure to specific bacteria in the environment, already believed to have antidepressant qualities, could increase learning behavior, according to research presented at the 110th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in San Diego.
Previous research studies on M. vaccae showed that heat-killed bacteria injected into mice stimulated growth of some neurons in the brain that resulted in increased levels of serotonin and decreased anxiety.
"Since serotonin plays a role in learning we wondered if live M. vaccae could improve learning in mice," says Matthews.
Matthews and Jenks fed live bacteria to mice and assessed their ability to navigate a maze compared to control mice that were not fed the bacteria.
"We found that mice that were fed live M. vaccae navigated the maze twice as fast and with less demonstrated anxiety behaviors as control mice," says Matthews.
bacteria  depression  education  serotonin  nature  solutions 
may 2010 by Quercki
Depression as a pro-survival adaptation that solves hard problems - Boing Boing
In Scientific American, Paul W. Andrews and J. Anderson Thomson, Jr. sum up a paper they've recently published in Psychological Review that argues for depression as a pro-survival adaptation that allows for a kind of intense, isolated problem-solving introspection that, when combined with analytical techniques similar to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, resolves complex troubles:
depression  evolution 
august 2009 by Quercki
Food Science Oldies but Goodies from Rebuild (with graphs!) :: Rebuild from Depression Blog
the effects of grass feeding on meat and dairy:
Grass fed beef: An Omega 3 super food? (Two graphs!)
Beef liver and Omega-3s in grass fed beef (Graph included!)
CLA in dairy products (as a function of time on pasture) (Graph included!)

There is some good wisdom on Omega 3 and seafood:
Best Omega 3 food sources: Fish and seafood (Two graphs!)
Wild fish: Benefits and what to look for
Grass fed beef: An Omega 3 super food? (Two graphs! One graph on the Omega 3 content of fish)

Read about Omega 3 eggs and the ratios of Omega 6s to 3s in vegetable oils (Graph!)
Read the whole Omega 3 roundup: Omega 3 and depression.

There are a number of profiles of specific foods, but be careful, most came from a crazy contest:
Beef (Graph!)
Beef liver (Graph!)
Squirrel (Graph! Yes, a graph for squirrel!)
Blackeyed Peas (Graph!)
High iron foods (Graph! It includes caterpillar! Yum!)

There are some general articles on "nutrient loss" as well. The most fascinating is "Nutrient Loss in the...
cholesterol  depression  food  solutions 
june 2009 by Quercki
Alternative Mental Health: depression relief
Need a lift? Try a little ice water in the right ear. According to The Brain in the News, an Australian researcher believes that people with manic depression have a "sticky switch" in their brain, which keeps the left and right hemispheres from switching into the dominant position during various mental tasks. Normally, the left and right sides of the brain take turns throughout the day, each performing separate tasks. A sticky "switch" may cause one hemisphere be locked in position during periods of depression and the other hemisphere to be locked in position during periods of mania. Ice water in the ear is a traditional neurologic test, which activates orientation pathways connected to regions on the opposite side of the brain. Researchers found that cold water in the right ear can temporarily alleviate depression and cold water in the left ear can ease the symptoms of mania.
More on this can be found at
april 2009 by Quercki
That is so Queer...: Audience Participation!!!
a list of coping strategies that might help some time
coping  depression 
april 2009 by Quercki
Carol Hart—Secrets of Serotonin, Chap. 2
Serotonin in Sickness and in Health

The list of disorders in which serotonin abnormalities are believed to be a major factor includes mania, depression, anxiety, personality disorders, suicide, impulsive acts of violence and aggression, obsessive-compulsive behavior, some types of sexual problems, alcoholism, eating disorders, sleep disturbances, and perhaps schizophrenia and Alzheimer's disease. In addition, serotonin abnormalities underlie migraine, cluster headache and other forms of chronic headache. It is also thought to contribute to some cardiovascular conditions, including Raynaud's disease and hypertension.

Depending on genetics and environment, that imbalance might make itself known as migraines, bingeing, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive behavior, depression or out-of-control impulsiveness.
serotonin  depression  hypertension 
february 2009 by Quercki
Serotonin: 9 Questions and Answers
Protein-rich foods, such as meat or chicken, contain high levels of tryptophans. Tryptophan appears in diary foods, nuts, and fowl. Ironically, however, levels of both tryptophan and serotonin drop after eating a meal packed with protein. Why? According to nutritionist Elizabeth Somer, when you eat a high-protein meal, you "flood the blood with both tryptophan and its competing amino acids," all fighting for entry into the brain. That means only a small amount of tryptophan gets through -- and serotonin levels don't rise.

But eat a carbohydrate-rich meal, and your body triggers a release of insulin. This, Somer says, causes any amino acids in the blood to be absorbed into the body -- but not the brain. Except for, you guessed it -- tryptophan! It remains in the bloodstream at high levels following a carbohydrate meal, which means it can freely enter the brain and cause serotonin levels to rise, she says.
depression  serotonin  emotions 
february 2009 by Quercki
treebyleaf: Why Prescription ≠ Recovery
With neuroimaging we can see the brain in action, and we have learned that the workings of neurotransmitters are far more complicated, more subtle, and more individual than researchers in the sixties and seventies ever imagined.
We now know that lack of serotonin is not the primary cause of depression. We've learned that we cannot create depression by depleting the brain's serotonin, we cannot relieve depression by saturating the brain with serotonin, and that sometimes lowering serotonin improves depression!

This is not to say that SSRIs have no effect!
Serotonin is a major neurotransmitter, SSRIs pack a whallop. They have so big an effect that we're now trying them not only for depression, but anxiety, hypersensitivity, anger management, and in general stress. SSRIs have been the most common prescription drug for years; in 2002 the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control reported that 1 in 3 American women who visited the doctor left with a prescription for an antidepressant, the
january 2009 by Quercki

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