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Archive for the ‘depression’ Category

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Arthritis Pill Helps Increase Effect of Your Antidepressant

Arthritis Pill Helps Increase Effect of Your Antidepressant


I’ve heard of people taking medications, and having other issues resolved, issues that the drug was not originally  intended to help. I am bipolar, so I can’t take anti-depressants or else I will get rapid cycling and become manic. It not a pretty picture. And I had to learn the hard way, which was by having a horrible doctor, who somehow “Specialized” in bipolar, put me on anti-depressants and I became a crazy person. It took a while for changes to occur, but once I started having rapid-cycling, I was no longer myself. I decided I wasn’t going to take it anymore, so I saw a new doctor, one who has saved my life and made me whole again. By getting me on bipolar medications, such as Abilify, I have regained my sanity and once again I feel like I am contributing to society by being able to work. After being diagnosed, it took close to 10 years to feel like my old self. Luckily, I have not had an episode in close to two years now. But I do know what it feels like to have your medications begin to work better than they normally do, and that always makes you question if everything’s ok, and if you’re actually alright. This article is hope for those taking anti-depressants and think they need more, this might be it. 

*Arthritis drug boosts effectiveness of antidepressant medication

Summary:

  • “Giving severely depressed patients the arthritis drug celecoxib (Celebrex®) dramatically boosted the effectiveness of their antidepressant medication, a Loyola study has found.”


“The eight-week study enrolled bipolar adults, aged 18 to 65, who were in the depressive phase of their disease and had not benefitted from an antidepressant. (Bipolar disorder is marked by alternating periods of elation and depression, with depression typically lasting longer.) Patients were randomly assigned to receive the antidepressant escitalopram (Lexapro®) plus celecoxib or Lexapro plus a placebo.”

“Seventy-eight percent of the patients in the celecoxib group experienced at least a 50 percent reduction in their depression scores, with 63 percent reporting their depression had gone away completely. By comparison, only 45 percent of the placebo group recorded a 50 percent or more reduction in depression, with only 10 percent reporting their depression had lifted completely.”

“It typically takes four to six weeks before an antidepressant begins working. In the Loyola study, patients who took celecoxib began seeing a benefit from their antidepressant within a week. Fifty-five patients completed the study: 31 in the Lexapro plus celecoxib group and 24 in the Lexapro plus placebo group.”

“Previous studies have found that depression revs up the immune system, resulting in chronic inflammation. This inflammatory response affects the normal balance of chemical messengers in the brain called neurotransmitters. Inflammation hinders the function of antidepressants that are designed to restore normal chemical balance. By fighting inflammation, celecoxib appears to make antidepressants more effective, Dr. Halaris said.”


“Celecoxib is used to treat pain, redness, swelling and inflammation from arthritis. It also can manage acute pain and menstrual cramps. By itself, it does not treat depression.”

“The study’s findings support the hypothesis that inflammation plays a critical role in depression. Reducing inflammation with a drug such as celecoxib “reverses treatment resistance and enhances overall antidepressant response,” Dr. Halaris wrote in the study. “Such an intervention, if implemented relatively early in the course of the disease, may arrest the neuroprogressive course of bipolar disorder.””


Source: Antidepressant Works Better

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Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) – 2

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Every year when it turns fall, I begin to worry about getting depressed. For me, I am affected by SAD every year, mostly in the winter time. And since I live in Florida, my seasonal affective disorder is disrupted by the disappearance of hot temperatures, and hot, humid weather. People hate the humidity here, but for me, it’s like a shield for my skin. I am only 4’10” and weigh 100 lbs. The doctors have always told me I’ll be forever cold because of my petiteness, and there wasn’t much to do for it. Well over the years, I began taking Iron as part of my daily diet and now I do not suffer as bad from being too cold in places such as restaurants and movie theaters. If I am not warm, I am not happy. And I can get into a depressive state very easily. This is why I must control (as much as I can) my internal temperature. 

But as the months draw closer and it becomes winter, I have such a hard time doing almost everything. That’s what it literally feels like. When I wake up and it’s too cold, I won’t be able to get out of bed. Not because I am lazy, no, it is because the winter temperatures and less light during the days, make my psyche turn into feelings of depression. I don’t want to leave the house when it’s winter time compared to other times during the year. In the summer, I love being outside! But the fall and winter strip colors and temperatures from nature and take the happiness I usually receive from the heat.  My SAD is very much controllable. If I really put effort into making sure I dress with all my needed layers and go outside to get natural sun, I can feel less depressed almost instantly. Sometimes when I feel depressed and I look up at the sun and feel the warmth, during the cold, my head will almost feel euphoric for a few moments. Now that is happiness. 

*Now here are some facts about SAD:

1.” Did you know that between 60% and 90% of people with SAD are women? It’s true. If you are a female between 15 and 55, you are more likely to develop SAD. Great, so not only do women have PMS, Menopause, and child labor to worry about, add SAD to the list, too.”
2.” Even though the harsh chill in the air might bring you down, SAD is believed to relate more to daylight, not the temperature. Some experts believe that a lack of sunlight increases the body’s production of a body chemical called melatonin. Melatonin is what helps regulate sleep and can cause symptoms of depression.”
3. “SAD can be treated. If your symptoms are mild, meaning, if they do not interfere in and completely ruin your daily life, light therapy may help you beat SAD. Using light therapy has shown highly effective. Studies prove that between 50% and 80% of light therapy users have complete remissions of symptoms. However, light therapy must be used for a certain amount of time daily and continue throughout the dark, winter months.”
4. “Some say that light therapy has no side effects, but others disagree. We think it simply depends on the person. Some people experience mild side effects, such as headaches, eyestrain, or nausea. However, these light therapy users say that the side effects are temporary and subside with time or reduced light exposure. Most scientists agree that there are no long-term side effects, but remember to consult your physician before any treatment decisions are made.”
5. “There are some things to consider if you want to try light therapy in your home, otherwise you will not receive all the benefits that this type of therapy offers.”

  • When purchasing a light box, do not skimp as far as money is concerned. Buy a larger one so that you will receive enough light to be beneficial.
  • The best time for light therapy is in the early morning. (If used late at night, it could cause insomnia.) So, even if it means waking up earlier, set aside some morning time to relax and use your light box.
  • Many people are not aware of this, but you must have your eyes open and face the light during therapy. Do not stare at the light. That would be silly. Simply face the light, eyes open.

6. “It takes more than just one winter depression to be diagnosed with SAD. Individuals must meet certain criteria:”

  • The symptoms and remission of the systems must have occurred during the last two consecutive years.
  • The seasonal depressive episodes must outnumber the non-seasonal depressive episodes in one’s lifetime.

7. “SAD can be treated with certain medications that increase serotonin levels in the brain. Such medications include antidepressants, such as Paxil, Prozac, and Zoloft.”

* I do not believe in any bipolar patients being on anti depressants, but that’s only from knowing what they did to me for so many years, until I got off of them. 
8. “There is actually a device that conducts light therapy and allows you to walk around while treated. The device is called a light visor. Just wear the light visor around your head and complete your daily chores and rituals. A light visor still can potentially have the same side effects as the standard forms of light therapy, so only simple activities, such as watching television, walking, or preparing meals is advised. We do not recommend you operate heavy machinery while wearing a light visor. (You would look pretty silly with it on out in public, anyway.)”
9. “If you have a friend or loved one who suffers from SAD, you can help them tremendously.”

  • Try to spend more time with the person, even though they may not seem to want any company.
  • Help them with their treatment plan.
  • Remind them often that summer is only a season away. Tell them that their sad feelings are only temporary, and they will feel better in no time.
  • Go outside and do something together. Take a walk, or exercise. Get them to spend some time outside in the natural sunlight. Just remember to bundle up!

10. “Although not as common, a second type of seasonal affective disorder known as summer depression can occur in individuals who live in warmer climates. Their depression is related to heat and humidity, rather than light. Winter depression does cause petulance in many cases, but summer depression is known to cause severe violence. So, it could be worse.”
Source: psychcentral.com

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Yoga for Depression & Anxiety

Yoga for Depression & Anxiety


I have struggled with different amounts of anxiety and depression many times during my life. I was first diagnosed with depression at 17, and I don’t remember having very much anxiety back then. Now that I have been diagnosed with bipolar for close to a decade now, I have noticed throughout the years different levels of anxiety too. I used to get a lot of anxiety from large crowds and social settings. But once I got on the right medications, the anxiety went away. But, after I was diagnosed with being bipolar, I was also diagnosed with having ADHD. I was in very much in need of medication for my ADHD. I first began with Adderall, and if I took a pill without eating, forget it! I had so much anxiety I had to take 1-2 1mg Klonopin to combat the shaking and heavy breathing. A few years go by, and I am fully integrated with my Adderall and it doesn’t give me much anxiety anymore. 


Throughout the past 10 years, since being diagnosed Bipolar, I began practicing yoga. I have been doing yoga for over six years now, and it makes me feel so much better then any medication can make me feel. My background is in dance and cheerleading, so when I began yoga I was automatically good at an intermediate level going on advanced. For a few years, I even wanted to become a yoga instructor. But my shoulder had problems from tumbling in gymnastics, so I couldn’t pursue that career. But the yoga I did made me feel so incredible after every session. I loved the high after it was all done. It can be a very euphoric experience if and/or when you understand the breath, and breathing through motions. I think everyone should try yoga, especially those suffering with depression and anxiety. Yoga has stopped my anxiety due to all of the breathing you do during a series. Yoga brings me back to my normal state of mind and even a relaxed state.





*Essential Oils are always a good idea to use to help the stress go away! Tip- USE A DIFFUSER WHILE DOING YOUR YOGA


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How Antidepressants Hurt  Bipolar Disorder Sufferers

Getting rid of antidepressants, for those who suffer from Bipolar Disorder, can be scary at first, but continuing on these rapid-cycling enducing drugs harm you further and can cause your manic episodes to be more frequent and so much more intense. Stopping taking these antidepressants if you’re Bipolar and having rapid cycling. The rapid cycling will disappear slowly, everything takes time. Especially getting all of the medication out of your body. This took me weeks to recognize the difference, and within months I felt a million times better! 


“Discontinuing rather than maintaining antidepressant medications following treatment of depression in patients with rapid-cycling bipolar disorder (BD) appears to improve outcomes, new research shows.”


“Long-term continuation of antidepressants was associated with more mood episodes in patients with rapid-cycling bipolar disorder.”

“Any history of rapid cycling or antidepressant-induced mania is a very good predictor of doing poorly with long-term antidepressant treatment.”


When I was going to a Bipolar Specialist to receive my medications, (this is almost 10 years ago now) I was given antidepressants, but they made my head hurt, made my brain hurt, and gave me the worst rapid cycling in my life! In fact one day it was so bad, I had to go to the hospital due to my manic episodes I was having every 30 minutes! Can you even try to imagine your body having these incredible highs that make you want to scream from all the thoughts that are rushing through your head? It was my own misery. After that, I never saw that whack doctor again and I found myself the best doctor I have ever known to this day, when it comes to dealing with all these issues. I say that he saved me. 


“Antidepressants are the most commonly prescribed class of medication in BD. If they cause or worsen rapid cycling…this represents a major public health problem. Safely and effectively treating rather than exacerbating mood episodes in the most severely ill among this patient population is a priority.”


“Many clinicians have noted that depression is more common in patients on antidepressants. A randomized discontinuation study in a sample that appears to have benefited from an antidepressant was the best way to test the hypothesis.”


I feel that so many people are suffering with their bipolar meds, and I know half of them need to quit taking their antidepressants, and try something specifically designed for bipolar, like Abilify. That is what I take now. I am on a very low dosage because my bipolar is so well managed. I want awareness passed on. I want to help those suffering. Please make an open dialogue about this. You’ll be surprised how open people will be with you if you give them a chance. You’ll also find the amount of people suffering with a mental illness is much more than what you believe. The person you work next to might be bipolar. So let’s all be a little more sensitive and spread awareness!


“Among patients with rapid-cycling BD and those with non-rapid-cycling BD who had discontinued antidepressants, the patients with rapid-cycling BD who continued antidepressants had 268% more total mood episodes per year, 293% more depressive episodes per year, and 28.8% less time in remission compared with the patients with non-rapid-cycling BD who continued antidepressants.”


“Paradoxical as it sounds, antidepressants worsen depression in bipolar illness,” Dr Ghaemi told Medscape Medical News. “This isn’t paradoxical when we realize that bipolar illness is an illness of recurrent mood episodes, mostly depressive, and antidepressants make more and more mood episodes happen, which means that they cause more depressive episodes.”

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Biggest Bipolar Triggers – No. 1

Biggest Bipolar Triggers


The Hardest:

“Avoiding Top Bipolar Triggers”

“Bipolar disorder is characterized by extreme shifts in mood — from high moments of grandeur to deeply depressed lows.”

“And when those shifts are severe enough, they can have a profound effect on your life.”It may take months or years to piece your life back together after the damage is done”, says psychiatrist Jeffrey Bennett, MD, an assistant professor of psychiatry at the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine in Springfield.”

“But can they be avoided? Perhaps. Understanding what triggers mood swings and planning ahead to deal with them can help you avoid a damaging episode of mania or depression.”


“One of the most common bipolar triggers is stress. In a study published in June 2014 in the Journal of Affective Disorders, negative or stressful life events seemed to trigger mood swings. “People with bipolar disorder are seven to eight times more likely to experience an unwanted, extended period of extreme mood shift — failure of their ususal coping mechanisms — in response to a stressful life event,” says Dr. Bennett. The events that cause serious stress are highly individual, but certain key life events and lifestyle patterns may act as triggers.”

everydayhealth.com

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Psychotic Experiences Linked to Cognitive Changes


Psychotic Experiences Linked to Cognitive Changes

From: Psychcentral.com



“Recent research suggests that people who have psychotic experiences, but no diagnosis of psychotic illness, have altered cognitive functioning compared with people without psychotic experiences.”

“A substantial minority of the general population, around six percent, experiences subclinical psychotic experiences, report MSc student Josephine Mollon of King’s College London, UK, and colleagues in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.”

“Both disorders share risk factors such as low IQ, childhood maltreatment, and stressful life events, as well as similar brain scan results such as deficits in grey and white matter.”

“The researchers looked at neuropsychological functioning and psychotic experiences in adults, taking into account sociodemographic characteristics and age. They used information gathered from household surveys covering 1,677 people aged 16 years or older, living in two areas of London, UK. Average age was 40 years.”
“Participants’ psychotic experiences were measured using the Psychosis Screening Questionnaire, which is administered by an interviewer. It assesses psychotic experiences in the previous year, covering thought disorder, paranoia, strange experiences, and hallucinations. The tool also covers hypomania, a mild form of mania, marked by elation and hyperactivity, but this was not assessed as the focus was on psychosis.”

“Cognitive functioning was measured with a series of tests looking at verbal knowledge (using a reading test), working memory, general memory, and cognitive processing speed. From this, an overall IQ score was calculated.”
“One in ten of the participants had previously had psychotic experiences. This group was not significantly different from those without psychotic experiences on overall IQ or processing speed. But they scored less highly on verbal knowledge, working memory, and general memory.”

“Medium to large impairments in cognitive functioning were seen among participants aged 50 years and older with psychotic experiences. These differences remained once socioeconomic status, cannabis use, and common mental disorders were taken into account.”

“The team writes, “The profile of cognitive impairment in adults with psychotic experiences differed from that seen in adults with psychotic disorders, suggesting important differences between subclinical and clinical psychosis.””

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High & Low Levels of Cortisol are Bad for Bipolar Disorder – Part 2

Now that you know all about cortisol and how it’s the “stress hormone”, learn why older bipolar patients are affected more when their levels of cortisol are off. It leads to depression and a whole lot more. Please share this information with friends, family, co-workers and most importantly, those who have mental illnesses like bipolar disorder. 

Learn more at:

www.anxiety.org
“The increased risks of those with bipolar disorder”: 

  

Elevated or low levels of the stress hormone cortisol are associated with depression and lower quality of life in bipolar patients, a new study from Umeå University in Sweden announced. The study found that depression is almost twice as common and poor quality of life is five times as common in people with bipolar disorder.”

  

“Bipolar disorder affects approximately 5.7 million adults in the US every year. People with bipolar disorder experience unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and ability to carry out day-to-day tasks. Previous studies confirmed that stress triggers bipolar episodes in patients. Mania and depression further contribute to the stress load experienced by people with bipolar disorder. The relationship between the stress system, depression, and quality of life, however, had not been examined until this study.”

  

““In bipolar depression the stress system is often activated, which means that the affected individuals have elevated cortisol levels in the blood. We have now been able to show that both over- and underactivity in the stress system, with corresponding elevated or reduced cortisol levels, can impair mental health in terms of depression and poor quality of life in these patients,” said Umeå University PhD student Martin Maripuu.”
  

  • The Research

“The study examined the cortisol levels in 145 type one and two bipolar patients and matched them with 145 controls. Researchers used the Dexamethasone Suppression Test (DST) to measure cortisol levels in patients, the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and the Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS-S) to measure self-reported depression, and the World Health Organization Quality of Life Assessment–100 and the Global Assessment of Functioning to measure self-reported quality of life.”

  

“Depression was twice as common in bipolar patients with high and low cortisol levels, as compared to people with normal cortisol levels in their blood. Low quality of life was six times more common in patients with bipolar and low cortisol levels. It was five times more common in patients with bipolar and high cortisol levels. Additionally, patients with low cortisol have, on average, had their disorder for a longer period of time. This could mean that people with bipolar disorder experience chronic stress, which causes an “exhaustion” of the stress system, resulting in reduced cortisol levels.”

  

  • What it Means

“Though these new breakthroughs need additional research, this information could lead to a better understanding and better treatment of bipolar disorder. These researchers have shifted the focus of bipolar disorder treatment by suggesting that effective treatment of bipolar disorder should involve regulating and researching the stress system.”

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