January 12, 2010
There’s an article by Dr. Friedman in the New York Times that basically counters the recent study finding about how antidepressant may only work for severe depression. He sums it up as, “Experts may disagree about what constitutes the best treatment for depression, and for whom. But there is no question that the safety and efficacy of antidepressants rest on solid scientific evidence.”
The article was interesting, but the following sentence caught my eye: “Antidepressants are not interchangeable; studies show that a patient who fails to respond to one has about a 30 percent chance of responding to another.”
Also, there is another study coming out in the Archives of General Psychiatry that only about half of all Americans with depression receive treatment of any kind. Moreover, only 1 in 5 are getting care — talk therapy, medication or both — that conforms to American Psychiatric Association guidelines.
For me, knowing the reality about drug efficacy is currently more pertinent to me since I already receive both meds and talk therapy. However, the numbers of people who are not receiving any treatment at all is staggering in a time when various forms of treatment are available. According to a new study by San Diego State Univ. psychology professor Jean Twenge, it has found that five times as many high school and college students in the U.S. are dealing with anxiety and other mental health issues than youth of the same age who were studied in the Great Depression era. But maybe these numbers wouldn’t be so high if we were giving adequate treatment. Of course, the stats may have increased simply because we have better diagnosing skills, but still, that does not absolve our society from giving out treatment. And if someone is in the business of handing out therapy or medication, perhaps they should think about following the APA guidelines.
I hope that these high school and college kids get the treatment they need while they’re still young. If they can get on the right footing now, it’ll be a much easier road to recovery, I think.
How to find mental health care when money is tight: NYT
October 14, 2009
There’s a new treatment for treatment-resistant depression.
Epidural prefrontal cortical stimulation (EpCS) targets electrical stimulation to the anterior frontal poles and the lateral prefrontal cortex. According to Dr. Ziad Nahas, director of the Mood Disorders program at the Medical University of South Carolina, “We focused on these two regions because they are part of a larger brain network critical in regulating mood. Both play complementary roles integrating emotional and cognitive experiences and offer a distinct opportunity for targeted antidepressant treatments.” One of the main advantages is that EpCS is a reversible procedure that is non-destructive and because the stimulating paddles don’t come in direct contact with the brain, it’s potentially safer than Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS).
How It Works-
Five patients were implanted with EpCS over the anterior frontal poles and the lateral prefrontal cortex bilaterally. Four separate paddle leads were then connected to two small generators surgically implanted in the upper chest are of the patient. The researchers individualized the treatment parameters for each patient to maximize the long-term antidepressant effects. They relied in part on input from the patients themselves who signaled positive mood changes when first stimulated. In general, their devices were set to periodically deliver electrical charges at intensities below the seizure threshold. The devices were never active at night. Only patients who failed to respond to several antidepressant treatments – including medications, psychotherapy, transcranial magnetic stimulation, vagus nerve stimulation or electroconvulsive therapy, were included in the study.
Patients were closely followed after the surgical implant and evaluated regularly using standard clinical ratings. After seven months, the average improvement was 54.9 percent based on the Hamilton Rating Scare for Depression and 60.1 percent on the Inventory of Depressive Symptoms Self Report. Three of the patients reached remission. One patient experienced a scalp infection that required removing the implants over the left hemisphere.
For more information:
article from Biological Psychiatry
July 1, 2009
Log On To Beat Depression: Internet-based Therapy Found Effective
ScienceDaily (June 13, 2009) â In a discovery that could lead to new treatment approaches for depression, researchers from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) have shown that Internet-based therapy programs are as effective as face-to-face therapies in combating the illness.
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January 15, 2009
I have been requested to be at my
first ECT Treatment
Monday, January 19, 2009
in the morning time TBD
five to twelve treatments following
make-up and nail polish are allowed
January 3, 2009
So, here it goes. Perhaps a public bearing of my personal issues is totally unnecessary, but I need to document it, mostly for my own sake, but because it was quite hard to find a concise set of materials when I first began researching about ECT (electroconvulsive therapy/electroshock therapy) to have a chance of be able to be awakened from a life that already feels dead to me. Okay, so this is a little project of mine to keep me occupied from doing something stupid in the next two weeks. This ‘waiting game’ before the first jolt to my head is becoming very hard. At any other time, my medication may have been tweaked or at least something would have been altered a bit to see if I can get out of this depression. But because this potential ultimate ‘savior’ is coming soon, there’s almost nothing to be done, except to stay alive. I’m trying hard not to drown, very hard. All I have the energy to really do is shove food into my month, sleep and watch “House” marathon–and even that’s not all that interesting to me anymore. I’ve begun to make myself go shopping for stuff at the mall even though I really don’t need to be spending the money that I’m not making. I usually love the colors and great sales, but it’s just not that enjoyable. Then again, it’s hard to love things when all I would love to be doing is to drop dead. But looking for a cute cashmere hoodie and a nice bench for my window-area just might keep me from looking to die somehow.
I really can’t see my life beyond the two more weeks that I have before the ECT. It’s even hard to think beyond a day or so. But my choice to create a little public journal is for me to make this countdown a time for me do more than just sit and pet a cat. I guess I can now sit, pet a cat, and write something of value. I suppose I’m trying to live in a ‘literal’ sense even if I say that I don’t want to live at all.
It’s T minus sometime around 15th and the 19th. Happy new year, and let the countdown begin.