depression

Depression: Brief change in diet may relieve symptoms

In the first study of its type, researchers conclude that even a brief shift in dietary habits can alleviate the symptoms of depression in young adults. The findings offer hope, but more work is needed. Science has now clearly established the impact of poor diet on overall physical health. Consuming large amounts of processed and sugary foods increases the risk of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. More recently, researchers have begun to focus on the impact of healthful…

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Teens taking oral contraceptives may be at increased risk for depressive symptoms

Ever since birth control pills first became available, researchers have been trying to understand the connection between oral contraceptive use and mood. A new study led by investigators at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG) and Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands adds important, new information by surveying young women about depressive symptoms. Depressive symptoms — such as crying, sleeping excessively, and eating issues — can be far subtler than…

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Brain Stimulation Shows Promise in Treating Severe Depression

For more than a decade, doctors have been using brain-stimulating implants to treat severe depression in people who do not benefit from medication, talk therapy or electroshock sessions. The treatment is controversial — any psychosurgery is, given its checkered history — and the results have been mixed. Two major trials testing stimulating implant for depression were halted because of disappointing results, and the approach is not approved by federal health regulators. Now, a team of…

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Sex-based differences in the development of brain hubs involved in memory and emotion

The amygdala and the hippocampus — structures in the brain that are involved in emotion, learning, and memory — have been found to play a role in a diverse range of disorders, such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety, depression, and schizophrenia. Research investigating the development of these two structures has shown that differences in age, sex, and pubertal status affect the bulk volume of these brain structures. However, researchers have yet to understand the dynamics…

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Feeling depressed? Mahjong might be the answer

When it comes to boosting mental health among older Chinese, it might be as simple as a game of mahjong, according to a new study from the University of Georgia. Regularly playing the popular tile-based strategy game was one of several types of social participation linked to reduced rates of depression among middle-aged and older adults in China in the study appearing in Social Science & Medicine. “Global economic and epidemiologic trends have led to significant…

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Apathy: The forgotten symptom of dementia

Apathy is the most common neuropsychiatric symptom of dementia, with a bigger impact on function than memory loss — yet it is under-researched and often forgotten in care. A new study has found that apathy is present nearly half of all people with dementia, with researchers finding it is often distinct from depression. Although common, apathy is often ignored as it is less disruptive in settings such as care homes than symptoms like aggression. Defined…

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What to know about amitriptyline

Amitriptyline is an antidepressant drug that doctors prescribe to treat depression. It also has off-label uses for other mental and physical health conditions. Amitriptyline is a drug in the tricyclic antidepressant (TCA) family. TCAs were introduced in the late 1950s as a treatment for depression. Since then, other less toxic drugs have become available. Among them are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, better known as SSRIs. Doctors prescribe amitriptyline to people with depression who have not responded to other antidepressants. There are additional…

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Facebook may actually benefit adult mental health

It is a common belief that using social media platforms can adversely affect people’s mental health, but new research has shown that using these networking sites can reduce an adult’s risk of experiencing depression or anxiety. Facebook’s reputation has sunk in recent years for a variety of reasons, including its role in the 2016 elections and the recent data breach. In addition, studies have suggested that social media can cause psychological distress, loneliness, and depression. For example, research from…

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From Schizophrenia to Megalomania, Three New Books on Mental Illness

According to her mother, Sardy’s father was swept away in a tsunami in Hawaii in the mid-80s. He drowned and a stranger took his place. This man was very helpful and began taking care of the family, and after a while nobody noticed anymore that he wasn’t their real dad. Sardy’s mother knew the truth, though. He was a replacement. She called him Mr. Ree. Mr. Ree is one of many altered realities created by…

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What is learned helplessness?

Learned helplessness is a state that occurs after a person has experienced a stressful situation repeatedly. They come to believe that they are unable to control or change the situation, so they do not try — even when opportunities for change become available. Psychologists first described learned helplessness in 1967 after a series of experiments in animals, and they suggested that their findings could apply to humans. Learned helplessness leads to increased feelings of stress and depression. For…

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