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January 2011



Recent Posts


First Published Friday, 23 January 2009

New York Times News Service — In the world of therapy, Dr Aaron T. Beck is a rock star.

Considered the father of cognitive behavior therapy, a form of psychological treatment that has swept the country in recent decades, he has been so famous for so long that some are surprised to find out that he is still, at 87, hard at work.

Beck has recently come out with a new, overarching theory of depression, the mood darkness that in any given year afflicts an estimated 5 percent of Americans (and probably a higher percentage this year).


The Depression Cycle

The Depression Cycle

Depression In Children:


Depression In Adults:


Sex and Depression: In the Brain, If not the Mind


As everyone knows, sex feels good.

Or does it? In recent years, I’ve come across several patients for whom sex is not just unpleasurable; it actually seems to cause harm.


Depression May Underlie ‘Transmission of Poverty’

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Children from poor families are more likely than their peers to be depressed as teenagers, with effects that can ultimately make it harder to climb out from poverty, a new study suggests.


Quarter of Australian Children Have Mentally Ill Parent

Almost a quarter of Australian children are living with a parent who has a mental illness, according to new research published in the January issue of the Psychiatric Bulletin.

Of these, just over one percent (or approximately 60,000 children) have a parent who has a severe mental illness, such as schizophrenia, manic depression or clinical depression.

The study of the prevalence of parental mental illness in Australian families was carried out by a researcher team from Australia’s Charles Sturt University and LaTrobe University.

To date, there have been few estimates of numbers of children in families with a parental mental illness in Australia. Instead, policy-makers have relied on American data, or small-scale Australian estimates.

In this study, the researchers used three methods to estimate the prevalence of parental mental illness. First, they combined figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics mental health studies with family characteristics studies to establish a population estimate.

According to this estimate, 23.3 percent of all children in Australia have a parent with a non-substance mental illness. A smaller proportion – 1.3 percent – has a parent whose mental illness is severe.

The second approach examined the records of all mental health service users in the state of Victoria between 2003 and 2004 – 38,455 people in total. This showed that 7,829 service users (20.4%) had dependent children.

The final approach used data from a community study of over 700 8- to 12-year-old children living in three Australian states. Of these, 14.4 percent reported having at least one parent with a mental illness.

Writing in the Psychiatric Bulletin, the study authors said: “Unfortunately, although parental mental illness does not in itself guarantee poor outcomes for children, more severe parent disability has been associated with less sensitive and competent parenting, significantly greater mental illness in offspring, insecure infant attachment, and lower quality of the mother-child relationship.

The estimate of just under 60,000 children living with a parent with a severe mental illness in Australia is likely to be very accurate as the figures are extrapolated to the Australian context from the 14,403 children of Victorian parents with a severe mental illness. This suggests a large number of children likely to be at risk owing to their parents’ severe mental illness.

The authors believe their new estimates provide important information to developers of psychiatric policy and programs. They said: “This provides basic evidence to governments and mental health support agencies of a large number of children, many of whom could be considered to be living in a high-risk family environment.

Maybery DJ, Reupert AE, Patrick K, Goodyear M, Crase L. Prevalence of parental mental illness in Australian families. Psychiatr Bull. 2009 Jan; 33:22-26   [Abstract]

Wish I Could Fly ...

Computerized CBT for Adolescent Depression (“Stressbusters”) and its Initial Evaluation Through an Extended Case Series

Abeles P, Verduyn C, Robinson A, Smith P, Yule W, Proudfoot J.

Central Manchester and Manchester Children’s University Hospital NHS Trust, UK; Institute of Psychiatry, London, UK; University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

Background: “Stressbusters” is an interactive computer software programme based on a clinically effective face-to-face CBT protocol for young people with depression. It was designed for teenagers with mild to moderate depression, and comprises eight 45-minute sessions.

Method: Twenty-three young people (aged 12-16; mean age 14.87 years) with symptoms of depression were recruited from CAMHS teams in Manchester and London, and received the Stressbusters treatment (range 1 – 8 sessions, mode 8 sessions).

Results: On the K-SADS at initial assessment, 95% met diagnostic criteria for a depressive disorder, with a high group mean score of 35.48 (SD 9.84) on the MFQ. Post-treatment, 22% of young people met criteria for a depressive disorder, with the group mean score on the MFQ falling significantly below clinical cut-off to 20.32 (SD 11.75). These gains were maintained at 3-month follow-up. Significant improvements were also found in the adolescents’ global functioning (CGAS), self-reported anxiety (RCMAS), depressive cognitions and attributions (ATQ and CTI-C), and in adolescent- and parent-reported emotional and behavioural difficulties (SDQ).

Conclusions: Taken together, these results provide promising preliminary data for the clinical efficacy of Stressbusters as a valid form of CCBT for adolescents with depression.


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