|News & Information for February 23 – 24, 2019
Listen to Judith Orloff, MD on The Dr. Peter Breggin Hour, discussion of empathy and empaths
My guest is Los Angeles psychiatrist Judith Orloff and as I predicted in my Frequent Alert before the show, it was an astonishingly inspiring and educational hour about the empathic side of us human beings, and especially about those of us who are empaths and who very deeply experience the people and the environment around us. I talked more than usual about my wife Ginger, who is a profound empath, or “highly sensitive person,” and continued to understand her better through Judith’s words. What better endorsement can I give to Judith and to her work! I spoke about the special dangers of psychiatry and psychiatric drugs to highly sensitive, empathic people. We also had great callers, and at one point my connectivity to my own show broke down for several minutes, but Judith and the caller stayed engaged on the continuing live show without noticing my absence. Exciting! One of the best programs we’ve had.
Study goes beyond correlation reporting evidence that exercise causes reduced depression risk
Jogging for 15 minutes a day, or walking or gardening for somewhat longer, could help protect people against developing depression, according to an innovative new study published last month in JAMA Psychiatry. The study involved hundreds of thousands of people and used a type of statistical analysis to establish, for the first time, that physical activity may help prevent depression, a finding with considerable relevance for any of us interested in maintaining or bolstering our mental health. Plenty of past studies have examined the connections between exercise, moods and psychological well-being. And most have concluded that physically active people tend to be happier and less prone to anxiety and severe depression than people who seldom move much. But those past studies showed only that exercise and depression are linked [ie, they only showed a correlation], not that exercise actually causes a drop in depression risk. [ So how to measure cause? ] Enter Mendelian randomisation. This is a relatively new type of “data science hack” being used to analyse health risks […] when they applied Mendelian randomisation to exercise and depression […] the scientists found that, statistically, the ideal amount of exercise to prevent depression started at about 15 minutes a day of running or other strenuous exercise. Less-taxing activities like fast walking, housework and so on also afforded protection against depression, but it took about an hour a day to have an effect.
What Is Gratitude? What Difference Does It Make To Feel It?
Several studies link gratitude with increased health and well-being. For example, a summary of some of them from the University of California at Davis, finds “The practice of gratitude can lower blood pressure, improve immune function and facilitate more efficient sleep. Gratitude reduces lifetime risk for depression, anxiety and substance abuse disorders, and is a key resiliency factor in the prevention of suicide.” […] As lead author Robert A. Emmons pointed out, “Gratitude blocks toxic emotions, such as envy, resentment, regret and depression, which can destroy our happiness.” Other studies show similar findings linking gratitude with health and well-being. For example, research from the University of Montana and published in the Review of Communication, found that gratitude is associated with psychological well-being and increased positive states such as life satisfaction, vitality, hope, and optimism. It also contributes to decreased levels of depression, anxiety, envy, and job-related stress and burnout. Moreover, people who experience and express gratitude have reported fewer symptoms of physical illness, more exercise, and better quality of sleep.
Are teens getting high on social media? The surprising study seeking the pot-Instagram link
In a groundbreaking study, a University of California, San Diego (UCSD), psychiatrist is investigating whether social media affects the adolescent brain in the same way as cannabis. […] “Psychiatrists don’t recognise excessive social media use as addictive behaviour,” said Dr Kara Bagot, a child psychiatrist and assistant professor in residency at UCSD […] “There are studies already that show video games, computer games, social media and increased tech use associated with poor outcomes in physical health, mental health and risk-taking,” she said. “We have to have more conversations about how to responsibly use social media.” […] In a 2018 Pew Research Center survey, 95% of teens said they had a smart phone, the device most often used to access social media. Moreover, 89% said they were online “almost constantly” or “several times a day”.
Psychological Interventions Can Help When Tapering Off Antidepressants
A recent systematic review and meta-analysis published in Annals of Family Medicine compared the effects of antidepressant tapering procedures across twelve studies. The study authors conclude that there is some evidence that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) can aid in tapering procedures, but more research is needed. “Although some people need antidepressants to prevent relapse/recurrence, 30-50% of long-term users have no evidence-based indication to continue their medication,” the authors write. “This inappropriate use exposes patients to potentially serious adverse effects.” […] Overall, tapering is much more effective when conducted with specialist psychological or psychiatric interventions (40-95%). More studies are needed that report on discontinuation symptoms. The available evidence suggests that abrupt discontinuation increases discontinuation syndrome and that CBT while tapering leads to significantly lower rates of relapse/recurrence. Additionally, MBCT with tapering was effective in helping patients achieve discontinuation without increasing relapse/recurrence.
Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) may cause permanent brain damage and ‘should be stopped’, top expert warns
Controversial electric shock treatment for severe depression could cause permanent brain damage and ‘should be stopped’, a leading psychologist has claimed.
- Shock treatment for severe depression could cause permanent brain damage
- More than 5,000 British psychiatric patients receive ECT each year, report says
- One mental health patient said she was given 21 sessions of ECT in a single year
- Study found that up to half of patients who receive the treatment will experience symptoms of brain damage
A review of ten NHS mental health trusts, carried out by Professor John Read from the University of East London, has revealed that one patient in three is given electroconvulsive therapy, or ECT, without their consent. Prof Read’s Freedom of Information requests also showed a third of NHS trusts were failing to recognise adverse effects, which include long-term memory loss. […] ‘By the time I finished ECT I was left with an inability to recognise faces, my hands shook uncontrollably and I couldn’t walk in a straight line. I fell over repeatedly and couldn’t walk through doors without bumping into the frames. My speech was slurred and I had word- finding problems. It took me three years to learn to read again.’ […] up to half of patients who receive the treatment will experience symptoms of brain damage some years later. Similarly, a 2014 Royal College of Psychiatrists survey found long-term severe memory loss and cognitive problems occurred in 20 per cent of the 192 patients questioned.