|News & Information for August 31 – September 1, 2019
★ Explaining depression biologically increases prognostic pessimism
A recent study published in Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, and Practice examines the effects of psychoeducation on perceptions toward depression. The study tests how biological and person-environment interaction explanations differ in effects on treatment preference, prognostic pessimism, and stigma. The authors approach the issue from the lens of attribution theory, which explores how the framing of ‘mental illness’ can contribute to beliefs and actions around the phenomenon. “For example, the biomedical model assumes that depression is a brain-based dysfunction and that brain function is largely the result of a predetermined genetic makeup or chemical imbalance. In this way, attributing depression to a biomedical etiology entails a causality that is internal, stable, and uncontrollable. In contrast, by emphasizing learned cognitive patterns, environmental contingencies, and the interactions between these factors, cognitive and behavioral model of depression can be characterized as more external, variable, and controllable. The examination of this process is essential in determining how depression etiology should be framed in a way that supports effective treatment-seeking and relevant attitudes,” write Martha Zimmerman and Dr. Anthony Papa of the University of Nevada.
Ian’s thoughts: … increases prognostic pessimism and drug-company profits… you’ll need these drugs for the rest of your biologically broken life.
Drug makers conspired to worsen the opioid crisis. They have blood on their hands
Johnson & Johnson and others profited from addiction and death – and yet they still don’t think they’ve done anything wrong. Johnson & Johnson came out swinging after an Oklahoma judge ruled this week that the company has blood on its hands for driving America’s opioid epidemic. The pharmaceutical giant tried to blame Mexicans, doctors and, inevitably, the victims themselves for the biggest drug epidemic in the country’s history. Its lawyers reframed a corporate engineered tragedy that has escalated for two decades, and claimed more than 400,000 lives, as a “drug abuse crisis”, neatly shifting responsibility from those who sold prescription opioids to those who used them. Johnson & Johnson painted itself as a victim of unwarranted smears by grasping opportunists trying to lay their hands on its money when all the company wanted to do was help people. […] Judge Thad Balkman wasn’t having it. […] Balkman found that the company’s “false, misleading, and dangerous marketing campaigns have caused exponentially increasing rates of addiction, overdose deaths”. He said the drug maker lied about the science in training sales reps to tell doctors its high-strength narcotic painkillers were safe and effective when they were addictive and had a limited impact on pain.
School-based mindfulness leads to stress reduction, study finds
Researchers find improvements in stress-related outcomes among middle school students exposed to a school-based mindfulness program characterized by attention and focus-related strategies, mindsets associated with stress, and overarching beliefs. […] Their results, outlined in the American Psychological Association’s Behavioral Neurosciencepublication, indicate a relationship between mindfulness training and brain changes relevant to a variety of school-based outcomes relevant to stress. Bauer and colleagues’ work is unique in that it is the first to demonstrate that “a neurocognitive mechanism for both stress and its reduction by mindfulness training is related specifically to reduced amygdala responses to negative stimuli.” Beyond solidifying the connection others have established between school-based success and mindfulness practice, this particular study provides a potential explanation for the mechanisms at play.
The scary way antidepressants could affect your sleep
[A]ntidepressant side effects can also turn that figurative nightmare into a literal one. Do some digging on the internet and you’ll see plenty of people on antidepressants reporting strange, intense, sometimes alarming dreams. “They are scary, not like a zombie apocalypse, but like a car accident or a heart attack,” Gaby Dunn wrote on Thought Catalog. “They feel real and realistic, which makes them even more disturbing.” After starting antidepressants, Savannah Hemming wrote on Femsplain, “My dreams are vibrant, rich, and detailed, occurring in a world with as much depth as the one I live in during the day.… Sometimes the gorgeous hyper-realism and detail of these dreams feel like a curse, especially after I have nightmarish dreams.” Sleep doctors aren’t surprised by this common antidepressant side effect. “This is absolutely something I’ve seen,” board-certified sleep specialist Michael Breus, Ph.D., author of The Power Of When, tells SELF. In addition to dream-related changes, antidepressants can affect your sleep in all sorts of ways, both good and bad.
One-year-old prescribed antidepressants by NHS in Scotland
[ August 2016 ] A one-year-old boy was prescribed antidepressants by the NHS in Scotland, as prescriptions for the drugs soared across the UK. NHS Tayside in Dundee prescribed the medication to 450 children between January and May this year, with the youngest being seven years old. In 2014, the trust prescribed antidepressants to a one-year-old boy, according to figures obtained by the Dundee Evening Telegraph. […] The figures also showed the most common age group for antidepressants to be prescribed was for those aged between 14 and 17, and that girls were more likely to be given the medication than boys. […] Though NHS guidelines state that under 18s should not be prescribed antidepressants, over 100,000 prescriptions a year are given to teenagers, according to the Daily Telegraph.
Expert warns lack of sleep changes DNA behavior, cause weight gain, high blood pressure
Everyone knows sleep is important, but that doesn’t stop millions from staying up late and neglecting their beauty rest each night. There’s no shortage of research showing how lack of ample sleep can affect one’s mental health, but experts also warn that it also raises the risk of heart disease, may lead to weight gain, and can even change the way our DNA behaves. The warning comes with a recent survey of 2,000 British adults that shows only 17% regularly enjoy the recommended eight hours of sleep each night. While the rest of us might expect to be a bit tired after a sleepless night, the extreme impact an inadequate sleep schedule can have on the human body may surprise you. Paul Gringras, professor of sleep medicine at Evelina London, says that consistent lack of sleep can be very dangerous. “Those people who sleep under six hours have a higher risk of coronary heart disease, their blood pressure is higher and their cholesterol is worse,” Gringras comments in a media release. “Our lack of sleep as a nation has been compared to ‘the canary in the coalmine’, in that poor sleep is linked to so many other serious health issues.”
Today’s teens are anxious, and social media can play a role
Today’s teens are high-strung and socially overextended. We shrug it off as a millennial problem, but is it? In a world that encourages the quick fix, instant gratification, and real-time feedback, can we really expect our children to cope as we did less than two decades ago, in the land of handshakes, eye contact, elbow grease, and grit? There is more competition for education than ever before. When my father became a policeman in 1987, he only needed a character referral. Nowadays, a degree in criminology might get your foot in the door of a local detachment, but not always. And a full-time teaching position? One is required to hold an undergraduate degree with a teachable major, as well as a professional development certification to secure this type of employment. That’s at least five years of undergraduate school in order to start earning approximately $40,000 a year to start.