I’ve noticed there is an association between depression and female traits in many people’s minds. People with depression are often seen as overly sensitive, weak, indecisive, unstable and perhaps just neurotic. Many of Freud’s patients were women who were often seen in a negative light and that still continues today.
Yesterday I came across an article in the Atlantic regarding how women like Hillary are viewed as candidates. Generally strong women like her are viewed in a negative light and when I say strong, I mean being the opposite of clinically depressed. Hillary is a woman with more male characteristics and Trump supporters are attacking her at the moment for being overly male, “Trump that bitch”, and somewhat ironically also for being weak as well when focusing on her health. According to some psychologists the reason might be that some men feel emasculated by a women leader. Continue reading
For most of my life I’ve experienced fatigue and headaches. It wasn’t until relatively recently though that it occurred to me that my fatigue might be related to having migraines. In 2009 after reading about the connection between mood disorders and migraines I convinced my GP to let me try Valproate to prevent migraines. During that time though I experienced a psychotic reaction and the focus on treating the migraines was some how lost. I also tried Propanolol but it had such a sedating effect I couldn’t tolerate it for long. I felt like I was about to pass out the entire time I was on it. Continue reading
some of that tea (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A just came across a recent study that demonstrated that green tea could significantly improve depression symptoms, in particular anhedonia.
Green tea (Camellia sinensis) extracts, as well as their main component, the polyphenol
epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), reportedly have antistress, anticancer, and
antioxidant effects. Recent studies suggest a beneficial association between green tea
consumption and symptoms of depression; however, the underlying mechanism behind
that association is unclear. Anhedonia, the inability to experience pleasure, is a
characteristic of depression, marked by reduced pleasure, altered motivation, and
disturbed reward learning.1,2 A reduced reward-learning function has been linked to
persistent anhedonia in depressed patients.3
“It has been evidenced that reduced dopamine neurotransmission might
contribute to the anhedonia and loss of behavioral incentive in depressive disorder,
therefore it is important to examine the regulatory role of green tea on the brain circuitry
activated by reward learning,” write the authors.
Compared with the control treatment, the green tea produced significantly greater
improvements in the MADRS (P<0.01) and HRSD-17 (P<0.001) total scores.
I’ve been drinking green tea occasionally and noticed that it seemed more stimulating than regular tea. This seemed odd to me since green tea has approximately half the amount of caffeine compared to black tea. According to this study and others the stimulating effects could be due to an increase in dopamine activity in the reward center of the brain.
Green tea is recommended for Pitta and Kapha types in Ayurveda. Pitta types are said to have more problems with inflammation so green tea, which has an astringent quality to it, would be recommended. Inflammation has been shown to in turn to be associated with depression. I found one recent journal article in addition that supports the idea that tea, black or green, has anti-inflammatory properties.
Danish researchers have identified characteristics in people with psychotic depression that predict an increased risk for conversion to bipolar disorder.
The researchers analyzed data from several Danish registries to identify conversion to bipolar disorder among patients with an initial diagnosis of unipolar psychotic depression between January 1995 and December 2007.
Among the 8588 patients included in the study, 609 were diagnosed with bipolar disorder (defined as a new diagnosis of hypomania, mania, mixed affective episode, or bipolar disorder) during follow-up, giving a conversion rate of 7.1%.
Comparison of patients who did and did not convert to bipolar disorder identified a range of differences, seven of which emerged as significant risk factors in multiple logistic regression analysis.
These were: younger age at onset of unipolar psychotic depression (adjusted odds ratio [AOR]=0.99 per year of increasing age); recurrent depression (AOR=1.02 per episode); living alone (AOR=1.29); receiving a disability pension (AOR=1.55); and the highest educational level being a technical education (AOR=1.55), short-cycle higher education (AOR=2.65), or medium-cycle higher education (AOR=1.75).
Further analysis of the impact of age at psychotic depression onset found that, compared with people aged 20 years or younger at onset, the AOR for bipolar disorder was 1.64 for those aged 20–29 years, 1.58 for age 30–39 years, 1.80 for age 40–49 years, 1.36 for age 50–59 years, 1.19 for age 60–69 years, 0.85 for age 70–79 years, and 0.40 for age 80 years or older.
The researchers said that in comparison to previous studies the risk was underestimated in this latest study. Interestingly people in the age group (40- 49) appear to have a greater risk than younger groups. I was under the impression for some time that bipolar disorder developed much earlier. Perhaps a greater fluctuation in hormones levels might increase the risk as well.
This study was of interest because I have experienced depression since age twelve and also experienced psychotic depression around age 14 and at 39. Despite experiencing some characteristics of bipolar disorder my doctors didn’t think bipolar disorder was likely.
Insomnia again (Photo credit: Foodie In Disguise)
“The new report, from a team at Ryerson University in Toronto, found that 87 percent of patients who resolved their insomnia in four biweekly talk therapy sessions also saw their depression symptoms dissolve after eight weeks of treatment, either with an antidepressant drug or a placebo pill — almost twice the rate of those who could not shake their insomnia. Those numbers are in line with a previous pilot study of insomnia treatment at Stanford.”
“Dr. Carney acknowledged that the study was small — just 66 patients — and said a clearer picture should emerge as the other teams of scientists released their results.”
This study is interesting and shows promise however there is a considerable percentage of depressed people who over sleep rather than suffer from insomnia. In my case I have experienced a combination of the two– insomnia at night and oversleeping during the day. Additionally, I noticed that if I went to bed earlier than usual I would be more likely to have insomnia. This latest theory doesn’t explain this.
Other problems with the study were that it was on the small side and the tools for measuring depression are questionable. They didn’t appear to use a test that was specific for depression but one that was specific to rumination and insomnia. Why not use the same test as other depression studies?
According to an article in Psychology Today melancholic depression is the only true type of depression. The author claims that what passes for major depression today is equivalent to what people used to commonly refer to as “nerves” since many people who are depressed today don’t necessarily feel sad. “Depressed” individuals today often demoralized, feel extremely fatigued, anxious, and have numerous physical complaints which can be treated with SSRIs while true depressives respond more to tricyclics and ECT.
There is a major problem with the diagnosis of “depression,” and this is that it doesn’t exist. There is such a thing as “melancholia,” a very serious from of depression entailing risk of suicide and complete lack of pleasure in life. But, hey! for years this illness was called by its proper name, melancholia, and there is no reason why we can’t continue to do so. Melancholia is, in fact, in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association, the famous “DSM,” but as a subtype of major depression.
I agree that depression is vaguely defined and heterogeneous in comparison to other illnesses but melancholic depression is not the only type of depression. While sadness is often associated with melancholic depression one doesn’t have to feel necessarily sad in order to qualify for the label. In fact I have heard many describe typical depression’s mood as a lack of feeling when very severe. In my experience one’s depression can change over the course of time as well. For example, when younger, I felt much greater sadness when a teenager than as an adult.
A second issue is one regarding symptoms. The symptoms that he lists as “nerves” are more commonly associated with atypical depression which are in turn is associated more often with bipolar depression , a type of depression with a significant genetic component. Other types of depression which are also often more atypical in nature are SAD and dysthymia. While SAD is not as severe as melancholic depression, it has a close relationship with bipolar disorder and according to some studies it has unigue biological characteristics. Instead of an overactive HPA axis some have found an underactive HPA axis. According to research atypical depression while less severe seems just as legitimate as typical/melancholic depression.
When I researched various types of depression in the past it became apparent that the typical/atypical distinction while somewhat useful is oversimplified and features such as diurnal variation could change over the course of the episode. Additionally people often have a combination of both types of depression. Bipolar depression for example, often manifests itself as melancholic and atypical. Melancholia imparts symptoms such as sadness, guilt and a motor impairments. The atypical aspect can cause over sleeping, weight gain and extreme fatigue. In the end depression, while vague defined, has many faces that the author doesn’t see or acknowledge.
Your temperament could affect your diagnosis, presenting symptoms, and psychopathologic conditions. The results of a recent study indicate that distinguishing between the various temperaments of irritable, depressive, hyperthymic, and cyclothymic might be helpful.
The study researchers report that in their study of 129 patients, hyperthymic temperament showed a preferential association with bipolar I disorder (BD-I) and bipolar disorder not otherwise specified diagnoses (BD-NOS), whereas depressive temperament was more frequent in patients with bipolar II disorder (BD-II) and major depressive disorder (MDD).
Anxious and depressive temperaments were more frequent in current depressive and mixed episodes compared with manic ones, while irritable temperaments were most frequent in mixed episodes and in patients suffering from alcohol dependence compared with nondependent patients.
Additionally the study showed that hyperthymic temperaments protected against depressive and anxiety symptoms while it increased the susceptibility towards manic symptoms. In contrast depressive, irritable, and cyclothymic temperaments increased the susceptiblity towards psychopathologic sysmptoms such as somatization, and interpersonal sensitivity.
The authors conclude by suggesting that temperament be taken into consideration when diagnosing and treating. Given the small size of the study and cross sectional design, the study needs to be replicated by others.