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January 2011



Recent Posts



SAMHSA Awards Up To $22.4 Million In Funding To Help Prevent Suicide

Article Date: 04 Nov 2010 – 4:00 PDT

In the United States, suicide claims over 34,000 lives annually, the equivalent of 94 suicides per day; one suicide every 15 minutes. To address this national crisis the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is awarding a total of up to $22.4 million in additional funds over the course of the next five years to the Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC). The center which is operated by the Education Development Center, Inc., in Massachusetts, provides state-of-the-art suicide prevention expertise to states, tribes, and communities throughout the country.

Read in Full: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/206680.php


PHQ-9 Test Screens for Teen Depression

By Rick Nauert PhD Senior News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on November 2, 2010

A major component of health reform involves a more active role for primary care physicians in diagnosing and caring for individuals with depression.

As such, primary care clinicians know teen depression is common, but they’ve lacked a reliable screening test for it.

Now researchers at the University of Washington (UW), Seattle Children’s, and Group Health report that the old standard Patient Health Questionnaire – 9 item version (PHQ-9) is also a good screening test for major depression in adolescents.

Led by Laura P. Richardson, MD, MPH, the team tested the PHQ-9 as a screening tool for depression in 442 teenage patients, ages 13-17, at Group Health.

The test is brief, available free of charge, easy to score and understand, and proven to find major depression (meeting DSM-IV criteria) in adults.

Read in Full:  http://psychcentral.com/news/2010/11/02/phq-9-test-screens-for-teen-depression/20445.html


Surge in Teen Suicides?

By John M Grohol PsyD

Minnesota has seen its usual number of teen suicides this year. But because a cluster of suicides involve students from Anoka-Hennepin, Minnesota, some people may believe there’s a “surge” in suicides that is an anomaly.

The Star Tribune (Minneapolis) went behind the statistics, though, to see if such an adjective was appropriate to describe this cluster. As it turns out, it wasn’t.

With 33 teen suicides so far this year, Minnesota is on pace for the average of 42 it has seen annually since 1990.

At worst, that misperception risks “normalizing” suicide, leading teens to accept it as a normal occurrence, said Daniel Reidenberg of the Bloomington, Minn.-based Suicide Awareness Voices of Education, or SAVE.

“Then when they are confronted or faced with a bad situation,” he said, “they think suicide is a normal response.”

In other words, no surge. Just a coincidence that a number of suicides occurred around a single community.

And social networking websites, like Facebook, may be helping teens not only memorialize such suicides, but also gives teens a place to express their own suicidal ideation. Which may be good, or it may be bad, depending upon how you look at it.

Read in Full:  http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2010/11/04/surge-in-teen-suicides/


Poor School Grades Linked to Increased Suicide Risk, Swedish Study Reveals

ScienceDaily (Oct. 27, 2010) — School leaving grades can be an indicator of an increased risk of suicide at a young age. A new study from the medical university Karolinska Institutet and the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare, shows that young people leaving the Swedish elementary school (year nine at age 16) with the lowest average grades, run approximately three times the risk of committing suicide compared with those who graduate with top or very high grades.

“The correlation is clear, despite having excluded young people who had been in hospital for mental health problems or drug-related diagnoses,” says Charlotte Björkenstam, doctoral student at Karolinska Institutet and managing director of the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare’s cause-of-death register.

The researchers examined the leaving grades of almost 900,000 former graduates born between 1972 and 1981, when Swedish schools applied a five-point numerical grade scale. A follow-up was then made with respect to suicide up to the ages of 25 to 34. Their results show that those with the very highest grades had the lowest risk of committing suicide. People whose leaving grades were above average but below top level evinced a higher risk than those with top grades, and those who had left year nine with average grades had a higher risk still.

Read in Full:  http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101026090830.htm


Most Treated Teens Recover From Depression, But Half Get It Again

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Article Date: 02 Nov 2010 – 12:00 PDT

Treatment for teenage depression appears to be effective for the vast majority of patients, however, in nearly half of all cases the condition comes back, especially among female patients, researchers from Duke University report in an article published in Archives of General Psychiatry.

Approximately 5.9% of teenage girls and 4.6% of males of the same age are affected with major depressive disorder, the authors explain.

The researchers wrote:

It is associated with functional impairment, risk of suicide and risk of adult depression. Thus, it is important to investigate not only the efficacy of adolescent major depressive disorder treatments but also whether they reduce the risk of subsequent negative outcomes, especially depression recurrence.


John Curry, Ph.D., and team studied 86 male and 110 female adolescents who took part in the TADS (Treatment for Adolescents with Depression Study). They were randomly chosen to one of four-short-term treatments:

  • Fluoxetine hydrochloride (Prozac) treatment
  • CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy)
  • A combination of Prozac with CBT
  • A placebo (dummy drug)

The researchers followed up on them for five years.

96.4% of them recovered from their initial depression episode during the five-year follow-up period, and 88.3% got better within 24 months.

Read in Full:  http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/206485.php


Teenage depression treatment: Medication, therapy or both? It may depend on marital conflict.

International Collaboration Amasses Largest Database To Advance Drug Development In Depression And Schizophrenia

Article Date: 11 Nov 2010 – 1:00 PST

In a remarkable and unprecedented collaboration NEWMEDS (Novel Methods leading to NeW MEdications in Depression and Schizophrenia) have pooled resources to bring together data of 23,401 anonymized patients from 67 trials on 11 compounds in over 25 countries to form the single largest database of clinical trial data ever amassed in psychiatric research.

It is widely recognized that despite tremendous growth in biomedical knowledge, the deciphering of human genome and almost daily round of discoveries – the rate of development of new drugs has been slow. This is especially true in psychiatric disorders. One barrier to development has been the competitive relationship between rival companies and the other has been the limited exchange of science across the industry-academic divide.

Read in Full:  http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/207315.php


Follow-Ups Prove Powerful Tool for Treating Depression in Primary Care

ScienceDaily (Oct. 26, 2010) — In the 15 minutes a primary care doctor typically has with a patient, she’s expected to diagnose the current ailment, help manage ongoing health issues and provide preventive care. In this setting, confronting all but the most obvious and immediate mental health needs of patients is an ongoing challenge.

A new study by researchers at the University of Michigan Health System, however, points to an encouraging strategy for improving and sustaining mental health results in chronically depressed patients by providing small amounts of flexible, targeted follow-up care — without overburdening busy doctors’ offices.

The study, published in the September/October issue of Annals of Family Medicine, shows that patients who received interventions that included self-monitoring tools and follow-up phone calls from a care manager were more likely a year and a half later to have symptoms that were in remission and to have fewer reduced-function days than those receiving usual primary care treatment.

Read in Full:  http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101026121741.htm


Increase Depression Screens During Pregnancy

By Rick Nauert PhD Senior News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on November 5, 2010

A new study discovered depression during pregnancy is more common than predicted.

Researchers performing depression assessments at two Women, Infant and Children clinics in New Mexico discovered 23 percent of women met criteria for depression.

Nationwide, 10 percent to 16 percent of pregnant women meet the criteria for depression, and 70 percent show some depressive symptoms, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

In June, ACOG said that screening of pregnant women for depression should be “strongly considered” but that there is not enough evidence to recommend it.

The authors of the new study say their findings suggest that screening for depression should be a routine part of prenatal and postnatal care.

Read in Full:  http://psychcentral.com/news/2010/11/05/increase-depression-screens-during-pregnancy/20569.html


Depression Linked to Circadian Rhythm Gene Activity

By Traci Pedersen Associate News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on November 12, 2010

Scientists have found a link between depression and an alteration in the body’s so-called Clock gene, which plays a role in regulating circadian rhythm.

The Ohio State University research found more activity in the Clock gene in individuals who had experienced depression than in participants with no history of mood disorders.

“We know that there are a lot of insomnia symptoms in depression, especially early morning awakening,” said Jean-Philippe Gouin, lead author of the study and a graduate student in psychology at Ohio State University.

Higher activity levels of this gene suggest something is wrong with the body’s 24-hour biological and behavioral cycle, and in turn could create sleep disturbances — a common symptom of depression — and affect other physiological functions regulated by circadian rhythm.

Read in Full:  http://psychcentral.com/news/2010/11/13/depression-linked-to-circadian-rhythm-gene-activity/20782.html

Immune System Involved in Depression, Animal Study Suggests

ScienceDaily (Nov. 16, 2010) — A new animal study suggests the immune system plays a role in depression. The research was presented at Neuroscience 2010, the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, held in San Diego.

Activation of the immune system caused mice to learn to run less on wheels in their cages — an activity they normally like. The mice resumed their normal activity when the action of interleukin-6, an immune hormone that carries “sickness” signals to the brain, was blocked.

“Our findings suggest that blocking the action of interleukin-6 might reduce depression symptoms, like fatigue or loss of interest in pleasurable activities, in people who are depressed and who have elevated levels of interleukin-6,” said Simon Sydserff, PhD, a senior research scientist at BrainCells Inc., who conducted the research while with AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals.

Read in Full:  http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101116101836.htm


Social Class May Impact Treatment For Depression

Article Date: 06 Nov 2010 – 1:00 PDT

Current treatments for depression don’t help working-class and poor patients as much as they help middle-class patients improve their ability to function at work, according to a recent University of Illinois at Chicago study.

Depression has a profound impact on an individual’s productivity. That’s particularly true among individuals in lower social classes and with lower levels of education, such as many of those in sales and support jobs, says Lydia Falconnier, assistant professor in UIC’s Jane Addams College of Social Work.

Falconnier reviewed data from the National Institute of Mental Health Treatment of Depression Collaborative Research Program from 1982 to 1986. Participants included 239 patients with major depressive disorder.

The study found that following treatment for depression, working class and poor patients’ ability to function at work improved less than middle-class patients.

The same results were found for patients taking medication for depression or receiving one of two different kinds of psychotherapy: interpersonal psychotherapy or cognitive-behavioral therapy.

The study also has implications for the ability of current depression treatments to help depressed working-class and poor mothers to improve the care they provide for their children.

“This is particularly important since a lot of research shows negative outcomes for children of depressed mothers,” said Falconnier, the study’s principal investigator.

Read in Full:  http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/206924.php


Can Music Therapy Treat Depression?

Article Date: 11 Nov 2010 – 3:00 PST

A Swedish study that appears in the current issue of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics applies music therapy to the treatment of depression.

Evidence suggests that music therapy should be further explored as a possible treatment. Music therapy is generally not associated with negative side effects and can be easily implemented. These factors contribute to high adherence and favorable treatment outcomes. Previous efficacy studies of music therapy for depression treatment suffered from a lack of specific stimuli, methodological shortcomings, or utilization of small samples.

…  Based on possible neurophysiologic and neurochemical effects, receptive music therapy, as explored in this pilot controlled trial, appears to be associated with reduced depressive symptoms and high treatment compliance, and may therefore potentially represent an effective depression treatment alternative, alone or in combination with psychosocial and pharmacological approaches.

Sources: Journal of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, AlphaGalileo Foundation.

Read in Full:  http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/207432.php


What Not to Say to a Depressed Person

By Therese J. Borchard

I’m always on the lookout for articles that touch on ways to communicate to a friend or family member who is depressed because, well, it’s a delicate issue and one that deserves some education. I found this quiz on Everyday Health on what you should and should not say to a loved one struggling with depression.

1. Snap out of it!

Your loved one hasn’t left the house in what seems like days. Should you tell him to pull himself up by his bootstraps and just snap out of it?

Don’t say it.

You may be tempted to tell someone who’s depressed to stop moping around and just shake it off. But depression is not something patients can turn on and off, and they’re not able to respond to such pleas. Instead, tell your loved one that you’re available to help them in any way you can.

2. What do you have to be depressed about?

In a world full of wars, hunger, poverty, abuse, and other ills, you may feel impatient when someone you love feels depressed. So do you remind him how lucky he is?

Don’t say it.

You can’t argue someone out of feeling depressed, but you can help by acknowledging that you’re aware of his pain. Try saying something like “I’m sorry that you’re feeling so bad.”

3. Why don’t you go for a nice walk?

Exercise is a known way to lift your mood. Is it a good idea to suggest that your loved one with depression go out and enjoy some fresh air and activity?

Say it — but with a caveat.

By definition, depression keeps you from wanting to engage in everyday activities. But you can show your support by offering to take a walk, go to a movie, or do some other activity with your loved one. How about: “I know you don’t feel like going out, but let’s go together.”

Read More …  http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2010/11/13/what-not-to-say-to-a-depressed-person/

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