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Depression

Analysis and Comment (46)

Friend or foe: what do you see? Friend or foe: what do you see? Kquedquest

Trauma makes us shun kindness when we need it most

It seems intuitive that many of us would fear and avoid emotions such as anger and anxiety. But some people fear positive emotions such as happiness and contentment, and of accepting the compassion, kindness…
Men needn’t be at loggerheads over their identity. Men needn’t be at loggerheads over their identity. Eoin Gardiner

There’s no crisis in masculinity, only a narrow definition of men

Every generation declares some kind of crisis in masculinity. And women today aren’t shy of pronouncing a masculine emergency: Hannah Rosin did so in her book The End of Men while MP Diane Abbott warned…
Clinical depression is distinguished severity, duration, persistence, and recurrence. Clinical depression is distinguished severity, duration, persistence, and recurrence. darcyadelaide/flickr

Feeling down: when does a mood become a disorder?

We’ve all felt sad, anxious or down at one time or another, but where does the normal experience of emotion end and the clinical picture of a mood or anxiety disorder begin? Psychiatry has two widely used…
For managers, the challenge is in trying to motivate and engage stressed staff. For managers, the challenge is in trying to motivate and engage stressed staff. Image from shutterstock.com

Managing stress and mental illness in the workplace

Common mental health disorders, including depression and anxiety disorders, are the second leading cause of disability in Australia and affect around 20% of the working age population at any one moment…
Addressing contrary patterns of thinking, or cognitive biases, could help ameliorate negative feelings. Addressing contrary patterns of thinking, or cognitive biases, could help ameliorate negative feelings. Mira Manns

Feeling anxious? There could soon be an app for that

Cognitive bias modification is a new approach to treating emotional problems. It holds considerable promise for the remote delivery of mental health interventions. The story of how this new approach came…
For people with depression or anxiety, finding an effective medication can be a difficult task. For people with depression or anxiety, finding an effective medication can be a difficult task. Eddi van W.

Some antidepressants work better than others – now we know why

Three million Australians are currently living with depression or anxiety, and antidepressants are now the third most commonly prescribed class of medication in Australia, after antibiotics and cholesterol-lowering…
That dude doesn’t look like a squid. That dude doesn’t look like a squid. Fathzer

Surfing on prescription helps kids at breaking point

The NHS is funding a pilot programme that prescribes surfing lessons for young people with depression and low self-esteem. Based in Dorset, the Wave Project is open to people aged between eight and 21…
Strong leaders cultivate an environment where employees feel empowered, have autonomy in their decision making and come together as a team to be creative and solve problems. Strong leaders cultivate an environment where employees feel empowered, have autonomy in their decision making and come together as a team to be creative and solve problems. Alan/Flickr

Australian workplaces failing to create a healthy environment

Working Australians are showing increasingly higher levels of stress and distress, according to the third annual Stress and Wellbeing survey by the Australian Psychological Society (APS). Workers are also…
These ones look rather large. These ones look rather large. Autowitch

Are high-speed antidepressants as sweet as they sound?

Depression is a common, recurrent, disabling and potentially life-threatening disorder that accounts for much misery worldwide. Current treatments are imperfect: most studies suggest that chemical antidepressant…
Emotional fallout: undervalued, paid less and under pressure to look good. Emotional fallout: undervalued, paid less and under pressure to look good. Christine Cassis

Women suffer more from mental illness but it suits us to ignore it

Martin Baggaley pulled no punches last week in his assessment of the dire state of mental health. The Medical Director of the South London and Maudsley NHS Trust said the system was in crisis, inefficient…
Blue with the flu? Blue with the flu? max_thinks_sees

Inflammation depression link is not to be sneezed at

Have you ever had the flu, and along with the physical symptoms a temporary feeling of being low and fed up? Though most of us would shrug these feelings off as a result of not being able to go out with…
Recent studies show psychedelics can have a positive effect on a range of mental health issues. Recent studies show psychedelics can have a positive effect on a range of mental health issues. Shutterstock

Shroom to grow: Australia’s missing psychedelic science

A recent Norwegian study on psychedelic drugs and psychological well-being not only highlighted fewer mental health issues among users of these drugs but also underscored the reinvigoration of scientific…
Telling people there’s no “cure” for depression or bipolar can leave them feeling like a victim. Telling people there’s no “cure” for depression or bipolar can leave them feeling like a victim. PA/Paul Faith

People with depression and bipolar must have more choice

An increasing number of people are trying to cope with depression and bipolar in the UK. But we also have an over-reliance on drugs and waiting lists can be a year long for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy…
Psychiatric diagnosis relies on identifying a patient’s signs and symptoms rather than clinical tests. Psychiatric diagnosis relies on identifying a patient’s signs and symptoms rather than clinical tests. PA/Ben Birchall

Explainer: what is the DSM?

Traditional psychiatry uses the approaches of medicine to try to understand mental health problems and guide treatment. This means relying on diagnosis – identifying what are believed to be mental illnesses…
Barriers can reduce the number of suicides at a particular location but broader means restriction measures are more complex. Barriers can reduce the number of suicides at a particular location but broader means restriction measures are more complex. AAP/Dan Peled

Reducing access to the means of suicide

Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk’s recent announcement that barriers are to be erected on the Story Bridge in an effort to reduce suicides is very welcome. Studies consistently show that barriers have…
Finding out that you a genetically predisposed to depression can make you feel worse. Finding out that you a genetically predisposed to depression can make you feel worse. Lloyd Morgan

Genetic testing for depression creates an ethical minefield

A friend of mine is currently undergoing chemotherapy treatment following surgery for breast cancer. Recently, she told me that she would happily pay the AUS$4000 for a genetic test to detect whether she…
Many cultures believe that dreams tell the future, and the messages in our dreams are warnings. Many cultures believe that dreams tell the future, and the messages in our dreams are warnings. Gisela Giardino

The science of interpreting common symbols in dreams

Research shows that everyone, even those who claim they never dream, actually do. But few of us can make any sense of our dreams. My colleagues and I have been working on a way to try to make sense of…
Learning more about the contribution of multiple risk factors to major depressive disorder will help predict risk. Learning more about the contribution of multiple risk factors to major depressive disorder will help predict risk. Iris Shreve Garrott

Predicting the risk of depressive disorder – promises and pitfalls

The possibility of harnessing genetic science to head off major depressive disorder, the world’s leading cause of disability, is getting closer. But molecular intervention for this common multifactorial…
Drugs treat symptoms but do nothing to help people navigate depression. Drugs treat symptoms but do nothing to help people navigate depression. Shutterstock

Treating depression ethically requires more than drugs

Spot the problem in this scenario. Richard* is stressed. While he’s a high-flyer (a Rhodes Scholar no less), he’s under the pump at work and has just moved his family across nations. The job is taking…
Depression is more than the experience of sadness or stress. Depression is more than the experience of sadness or stress. Sander van der Wel

Explainer: what is depression?

Many people know what it’s like to feel sad or down from time to time. We can experience negative emotions due to many things – a bad day at work, a relationship break-up, a sad film, or just getting out…
Governments, industry and communities must work together to address suicide risk factors for FIFO/DIDO workers. Governments, industry and communities must work together to address suicide risk factors for FIFO/DIDO workers. AAP/Bagus Indahono

Mining, fly-in, fly-out workers and the risk of suicide

Barely a week passes without media coverage of some aspect of the real or perceived impacts of fly-in fly-out (FIFO) and drive-in drive-out (DIDO) work, especially in the mining sector. We hear about the…
Trials show ketamine acts more quickly than other antidepressants because it affects different parts of the brain. Trials show ketamine acts more quickly than other antidepressants because it affects different parts of the brain. JLM Photography

Special K: ketamine’s road from tranquilliser to possible antidepressant

The drug ketamine has been used for medical purposes since it was developed in the 1960s, but it is perhaps more widely known for its illicit use as a hallucinogenic tranquiliser. Now we’re beginning to…
Over seven million Australian adults have experienced a mental illness. Over seven million Australian adults have experienced a mental illness. Image from shutterstock.com

Mental health report card: it’s time to address quality of life

The National Mental Health Commission (NMHC) today released its first annual report card on the state of mental health and suicide prevention services in Australia. Called A Contributing Life, the report…
People with diabetes have a higher risk of developing emotional problems than the general population. People with diabetes have a higher risk of developing emotional problems than the general population. sriram bala/Flickr

How psychological support can help people living with diabetes

Medical advances are important but we believe the key to living successfully with diabetes is something else entirely. Paying attention to the behavioural and psychological aspects of the condition is…
Depression isn’t an inevitable part of ageing. Depression isn’t an inevitable part of ageing. Elderly man image from Shutterstock.com

Why it’s time to properly diagnose and treat depression in aged care

As the baby boomers approach older age, the number of Australians aged over 65 is projected to rise from around 14% to 24% by 2056. Given that not even a massive influx of immigrants would reverse this…
The cosy relationship between the psychiatry and Big Pharma has come under increasing scrutiny. The cosy relationship between the psychiatry and Big Pharma has come under increasing scrutiny. Hannah Nicole Aspire

Depression, drugs and the DSM: a tale of self-interest and public outrage

MATTERS OF THE MIND – a series which examines the clinician’s bible for diagnosing mental disorders, the DSM, and the controversy surrounding the forthcoming fifth edition. In Australia, antidepressant…
It’s normal to have recurring waves of grief after the loss of a loved one but prolonged, severe grief requires treatment. It’s normal to have recurring waves of grief after the loss of a loved one but prolonged, severe grief requires treatment. white ribbons

Why prolonged grief should be listed as a mental disorder

MATTERS OF THE MIND – a series which examines the clinician’s bible for diagnosing mental disorders, the DSM, and the controversy surrounding the forthcoming fifth edition. Grief is one of the most universal…
Many non-western cultures recognise states of mind that look like mental illness but don’t fit DSM categories. Many non-western cultures recognise states of mind that look like mental illness but don’t fit DSM categories. Todd Huffman

Strange or just plain weird? Cultural variation in mental illness

MATTERS OF THE MIND – a series which examines the clinician’s bible for diagnosing mental disorders, the DSM, and the controversy surrounding the forthcoming fifth edition. There’s an old saying that psychology…
Sadness is a natural human emotion. Sadness is a natural human emotion. D Sharon Pruitt/Flickr.

Is the promotion of happiness making us sad?

Western culture places an extraordinary emphasis on happiness – and continuous happiness – as the goal each of us should strive for in our lives. But we’re increasingly realising this goal may actually…
There’s little proof that the transition to retirement has a significant impact on mental health. There’s little proof that the transition to retirement has a significant impact on mental health. petruzzophoto

Retirement: a trigger for distress or welcome relief from the rat race?

Welcome to Shades of Grey, a series from The Conversation that examines the challenges posed by Australia’s ageing workforce. Today, Australian National University’s Sarah Olesen and Peter Butterworth…
A high number of artists and writers meet the diagnostic criteria for bipolar disorder. A high number of artists and writers meet the diagnostic criteria for bipolar disorder. Eddi van W.

Bipolar disorder and creativity are linked (but not by some mad genius)

Does some fine madness yield great artists, writers, and scientists? The evidence is growing for a significant link between bipolar disorder and creative temperament and achievement. People with bipolar…
Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder which affects between 1% and 6% of the population. Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder which affects between 1% and 6% of the population. thewoodenshoes/Flickr

Explainer: what is bipolar disorder?

During a manic episode, the main character of popular television series Homeland, CIA agent Carrie Mathison (played by Claire Danes) colour codes the evidence in a terrorism case, making vital links that…
Suicide barriers can save lives and are worth the investment. Suicide barriers can save lives and are worth the investment. Ground Zero

Can barriers prevent suicide or do they just shift the problem?

There has been widespread media coverage over over the past ten days about the tragic deaths of a man and his son at the Story Bridge in Brisbane. The Brisbane Council was quick to announce it would fund…
Emo music may be bleak but there’s no evidence to show it causes depression. Emo music may be bleak but there’s no evidence to show it causes depression. Flickr/Corrie

Monday’s medical myth: emo music makes you depressed

Like death metal and grunge before it, emo music has copped more than its fair share of criticism since it rose to prominence a decade ago. Rather than being seen as an outlet for young people to express…
Long-term meditators have larger sections of the brain responsible for regulating emotion. Long-term meditators have larger sections of the brain responsible for regulating emotion. Tezatrataz/Phra Ajan Jerapunyo Abbot of Watkungtaphao

Beyond spirituality: the role of meditation in mental health

Meditation has traditionally been associated with Eastern mysticism but science is beginning to show that cultivating a “heightened” state of consciousness can have a major impact on our brain, the way…
You can use all kinds of iPhone apps to track and improve your health. You can use all kinds of iPhone apps to track and improve your health. chunghow33

Reviewing the top medical iPhone apps … what’s the diagnosis?

Want to quit smoking, lose weight, manage your diabetes or get a good night’s sleep? No worries. There’s an app for all of that. But it’s not always clear which medical apps are based on solid evidence…
Antidepressants double the chance of a young person making a suicide attempt. Antidepressants double the chance of a young person making a suicide attempt. Flickr/kamera kz

The hidden side of antidepressants: are they putting young lives at risk?

In early 2009, two 16-year-old Queensland girls tragically hanged themselves within weeks of each other. The girls' lives were plagued with abuse, self-harm and illicit drug use, and their deaths raised…
ECT is the most rapid and effective treatment for depression but it’s still plagued with stigma. ECT is the most rapid and effective treatment for depression but it’s still plagued with stigma. Irina Souiki

It’s time to move on from ECT’s shocking past

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) has come a long way since earlier, darker days when it was known as electric shock therapy and conjured images from One Flew Over the Cukoo’s Nest. But just when it seems…
Antidepressants lift the mood but we don’t know exactly how they work. Antidepressants lift the mood but we don’t know exactly how they work. obumu.com

Proof of the pill: cutting out the guesswork in prescribing antidepressants

Voltaire was right when he said “doctors prescribe medicines of which they know little, to cure diseases of which they know less". Almost 300 years later, this still rings true for depression. Antidepressants…
Depression and anxiety are separate disorders despite their frequent co-occurrence. Depression and anxiety are separate disorders despite their frequent co-occurrence. fancylittleme.com.au

Telling the difference between depression and anxiety disorders

Mental health disorders have a major impact on our ability to function in the home and at work. A third of the population will experience an anxiety disorder in their lifetime, and a fifth will experience…
Illness is inextricably linked to lifestyle stressors. Illness is inextricably linked to lifestyle stressors. Michael Clesle

To improve men’s health, treat the cause not just the illness

Whichever way you look at it, men’s health in Australia is uniformly worse than women’s. Men die, on average, five years earlier than women born at the same time and are likely to experience more health…

Research and News (15)

Research Briefs (41)

Study links depression with hearing loss

A new study shows hearing loss is associated with depression in American adults, particularly women and those under the age…

Most musicians suffer pain: study

Australia’s orchestral musicians are suffering for their art, according to new research. Psychologists found that 84% of…

Living alone increases depression risk

People living alone are 80% more likely to develop depression than any other social group. Finnish researchers studied 3,500…