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Beating Depression May Be All About Learning to Ignore Negative Thoughts

A promising type of therapy focuses on quitting the worry cycle.

People who struggle with anxiety or depression often ruminate on negative thoughts, like past missteps or feelings that they’re not good enough. The secret to better mental health may be learning how not to dwell on these thoughts, according to new research by a group of British and Norwegian researchers.

Their study focuses on a technique called metacognitive therapy, or MCT, which was developed in Europe in the 1990s. MCT trains people to lessen the ruminative process, says study co-author Stian Solem, PhD, associate professor of psychology at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

In the United States and Europe, the current recommended treatments for depression and anxiety are medications and cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT. Sometimes called talk therapy, CBT encourages people to analyze their negative thoughts and challenge whether they’re really true.

That’s what makes MCT different: Instead of drilling deeper into those thoughts, MCT helps people reduce negative thought processes and take control over them, says Solem.

Solem and his colleagues tested the MCT method in 20 patients with depression, who attended 10 therapy sessions over a 10-week period. The study also involved a control group of 19 people who were wait-listed for MCT, and receive no treatment for the first 10 weeks.

After those 10 weeks, about 80% of patients in the MCT group reported a full recovery from depression symptoms, based on a standard screening questionnaire. Anxiety symptoms also improved overall, and no patients reported worsening of their condition. In comparison, only about 5% of patients in the control group had a similar recovery.

Six months after completing MCT, recovery rates were similar, with only a few patients reporting relapses. Studies on CBT have shown that only 40% to 48% of patients are recovered after treatment, the authors write, and between 40% and 60% relapse within two years.

For a lot of people, the authors say, realizing that they don’t have to worry and ruminate about things can be quite liberating. They say MCT patients are often pleasantly surprised that they didn’t have to rehash all of their problems in their therapy sessions.

Smaller studies at the University of Manchester, where MCT was developed, have also shown that this method can be effective at treating depression—but this is the first published study to involve a control group. This helps support the theory that improvements are really from the therapy, and not just symptoms getting better on their own over time.

The researchers say a soon-to-be-published Danish study also found similar results. They hope that, with these findings, MCT becomes more popular in Norway and around the world.

MCT has not yet caught on in the United States, says Solem, and no U.S. practitioners are included in the MCT Institute’s online database of registered therapists. (The MCT Institute is in the process of developing self-help materials, its website states, but these aren’t yet available.) However, Solem says that the principles of MCT can be helpful for most people, even without formal training.

“Many of our patients have conflicted beliefs concerning worry and rumination,” Solem told Health in an email. “They experience that it is uncontrollable, exhausting, and dangerous—‘I can go mad,’ ‘I can make myself sick.’” At the same time, they think they need to ruminate in order to find answers and prevent danger.

“In MCT we often start out with postponing worry and rumination (which most people are able to do) and later we use something called detached mindfulness,” he says. “It involves being aware of the trigger thought, but choosing not to engage in it.”

 By Amanda MacMillan       March 15, 2017


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Depression Top Cause of Disability, WHO Says

Youth, pregnant or post-partum women, and the elderly are three groups particularly vulnerable

More than 4 per cent of the world’s population lives with depression, and women, youth and the elderly are the most prone to its disabling effects, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday.

An estimated 322 million people suffered depressive disorders in 2015, a rise of 18.4 per cent in a decade, as people live longer, the United Nations agency said in a report.

Global economic losses exceed $1 trillion US a year, it said, referring to lost productivity due to apathy or lack of energy that lead to an inability to function at work or cope with daily life.

“Depression is the single largest contributor to years lived with disability. So it’s the top cause of disability in the world today,” Dr. Dan Chisholm of WHO’s Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse told a news briefing.

Depression is 1.5 times more common among women than men, he said. A further 250 million people suffer anxiety disorders, including phobias, panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive behaviour and post-traumatic stress disorder, the report said. Some 80 per cent of those stricken with mental illness live in low- and middle-income countries.

“That puts paid to the notion of these disorders being diseases of the rich or the affluent, that is not the case. In fact in many countries people who are affected by poverty, unemployment, civil strife and conflict are actually at higher risk of certainly anxiety disorders and also depression,” Chisholm said.

depression
Depression is 1.5 times more common among women than men,
according to the World Health Organization.

Three age groups are particularly vulnerable to depression — youth, pregnant or post-partum women, and the elderly.

“The pressures on today’s youth are like no other generation perhaps,” Chisholm said. “Another target group is women who are pregnant or have just given birth. Depression around that period is actually extremely common, around 15 per cent of women will suffer not just ‘the blues’, but a diagnosable case of depression.”

Retirees are also susceptible. “When we stop working or we lose our partner we become more frail, more subject to physical diseases and disorders like depression do become more common.”

An estimated 800,000 people die by suicide each year, a “pretty horrifying figure”, Chisholm said.

“It is more common in males in higher income countries but more common in females in lower- and middle-income countries.”

The WHO is running a campaign to tackle stigma and misconceptions called “Depression: Let’s Talk.”

“We feel that is a key first step, that if we want to bring mental health, depression and other mental disorders out of the shadows, we need to be able to talk about it,” Chisholm said.

Where to get help

Kids Help Phone – 1-800-668-6868 (Phone), Live Chat (online chat counselling) – visit http://www.kidshelpphone.ca

Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention: Find a 24-hour crisis centre

If you’re worried someone you know may be at risk of suicide, you should talk to them, says the Canadian Association of Suicide Prevention. Here are some warning signs:

  • Suicidal thoughts.
  • Substance abuse.
  • Purposelessness.
  • Anxiety.
  • Feeling trapped.
  • Hopelessness and helplessness.
  • Withdrawal.
  • Anger.
  • Recklessness.
  • Mood changes.

 

related:
 
Feb 23, 2017    source:  Thompson Reuters   www.cbc.ca


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Self-Guided Cognitive Behavioral Therapy May Help Depression

Online programs offering cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) without the therapist can reduce depression symptoms for some, according to a new review of existing research on the topic.

Automated CBT programs, or iCBT, which work to change a patient’s non-productive thoughts, attitudes and beliefs, are designed to make it easier for people to get therapy at low cost and with less fear of stigmatization.

But recent large trials have produced conflicting answers about whether such self-guided internet-based therapy is effective.

In the new analysis, researchers attempted to resolve the issue by examining data from 13 studies comparing iCBT to alternative treatments or to a placebo and involving a total of 3,832 patients.

Compared to the 1,603 depressed patients in control groups – who received other treatments, care from a general practitioner, attention placebo or were put on a waiting list – people who used the iCBT websites were significantly more likely to show improvement.

And when it was effective, online cognitive therapy was just as likely to work regardless of the patient’s degree of depression.

“People with severe depression at the beginning of the treatment had a similar response to treatment as people with mild or moderate depression,” chief author Eirini Karyotaki of the EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research in Amsterdam told Reuters Health by email.

Not surprisingly, patients who adhered best to the iCBT treatment and completed the online sessions did better than those who did not.

depression

 

When the researchers looked at the sociodemographic and clinical characteristics of the volunteers, they were unable to uncover any factors that increased the likelihood of a successful outcome, according to the report in JAMA Psychiatry.

Based on the success rates, Karyotaki and her team calculate that the intervention would need to be given to eight patients in order to achieve 50 percent symptom reduction in one patient.

“This can be clinically relevant if you consider that in low- and middle- income countries there is no infrastructure for mental health. When self-guided iCBT is disseminated worldwide, the overall impact can be high, because of the large numbers of people that can be reached with it,” Karyotaki said.

Five of the studies evaluated in the meta-analysis used the publicly-available iCBT program at deprexis.com.

Patients from Australia, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom made up the patient pool. The programs they used required between five and 11 sessions. “Each online session lasts approximately one hour and most of the times patients are advised to follow one session per week,” Karyotaki said.

The researchers caution that they were unable to assess whether how long a person had been depressed influenced the effectiveness of the iCBT treatment. “Duration of symptoms is important because individuals with chronic depressive symptoms may not always respond rapidly to treatment,” they write.

And before the practice is widely adopted as routine care, limitations of the therapy, such as high dropout rates and the small effects compared to in-person or guided internet therapy need to be addressed, they write.

By Gene Emery        Wed Feb 22, 2017        Reuters Health
 
SOURCE: bit.ly/2l84tQN JAMA Psychiatry, online February 22, 2017.         www.reuters.com


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How To Beat Major Depression With The Right Diet

World-first study reveals how diet can treat major depression.

Improving dietary quality successfully treats major depression, a large new study finds.

The three-month study recruited people with major depressive disorder.

One group were given support from a clinical dietitian.

A control group were given access to social support, which is also beneficial for depression.

Those in the dietary group saw great improvements in depressive symptoms.

At the end of the study one-third of people who had changed their diet were in remission from depression.

This compared to only 8% in the social support group.

Professor Felice Jacka, the study’s first author, said:

“We’ve known for some time that there is a clear association between the quality of people’s diets and their risk for depression.
This is the case across countries, cultures and age groups, with healthy diets associated with reduced risk, and unhealthy diets associated with increased risk for depression.
However, this is the first randomised controlled trial to directly test whether improving diet quality can actually treat clinical depression.”

diet

The dietitian encouraged people to eat more of the following food types:

  • vegetables,
  • fruits,
  • whole grains,
  • legumes,
  • fish,
  • lean red meats,
  • olive oil,
  • and nuts.

At the same time people were discouraged from eating:

  • sweets,
  • refined cereals,
  • fried food,
  • fast-food,
  • processed meats,
  • and sugary drinks.

Professor Jacka continued:

“These results were not explained by changes in physical activity or body weight, but were closely related to the extent of dietary change.
Those who adhered more closely to the dietary program experienced the greatest benefit to their depression symptoms.”

The study suggests that dietitians should be made available to those being treated for depression.

Professor Jacka said:

“Mental disorders account for the leading cause of disability worldwide, with depression accounting for the large proportion of that burden.
While approximately half of sufferers are helped by currently available medical and psychological therapies, new treatment options for depression are urgently needed.
Importantly, depression also increases the risk of and, in turn, is also increased by common physical illnesses such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Successfully improving the quality of patients’ diets would also benefit these illnesses.”

The study was published in the journal BMC Medicine (Jacka et al., 2017).

FEBRUARY 15, 2017                source: PsyBlog


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Fun Fact Friday

  • Alexithymia describes a person who has a difficult time expressing their feelings to others.
  • Having a large amount of hair on your body is linked to having higher intelligence.
  • Kissing is good for teeth. The anticipation of a kiss increases the flow of saliva to the mouth, giving the teeth a plaque-dispersing bath.
  • If everyone in the world washed their hands properly, we could save 1 million lives a year.

cuddle

 

  • Depressed people tend to eat more chocolate.
  • The inventor of the television would not let his own children watch TV.
  • Human saliva has a painkiller called opiorphin that’s more powerful than morphine.
  • Cuddling with loved ones releases oxytocin, a hormone which reduces stress and prevents nausea and headaches.
Happy Friday  🙂
 
source:       factualfacts.com       https://twitter.com/Fact       @Fact


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8 Nutrients to Help Beat Anxiety

Feeling particularly stressed? Here are some nutrients that may help ease your anxiety

Anxiety can impact your health in numerous ways, from decreased productivity at work, to weight gain, and more. Luckily, a diet rich in these nutrients can help relieve some of the stress.

In fact, research published as recently as this month, confirms the benefit of vitamin D for stress and anxiety. According to the findings of a preliminary study presented at the Society for Endocrinology annual conference in Edinburgh, taking vitamin D supplements can improve exercise performance and lower the risk of heart disease. In the study, adults supplementing with vitamin D had lower blood pressure, as well as lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol in their urine.

related: 8 Ways Eating Better Can Improve Your Mental Health

Extra B vitamins
If you take individual B vitamins, also take a good B complex supplement to help prevent imbalances among these vitamins, which work together. Specific B vitamins have been shown to be deficient in patients with agoraphobia.

In a study of people with panic disorder, OCD and depression the B vitamin inositol in amounts of up to 18 grams daily was as effective and had fewer side effects than an anti-anxiety medication. This reflects my clinical experience, where I’ve found inositol to be very helpful with clients with obsessive and ruminating thoughts.

Vitamin B1 is important for blood sugar control and this has a major impact on anxiety. Vitamin B3 is involved in many enzymatic processes and plays a key role in serotonin synthesis. At does of 1,000 to 3,000 mg a day, it may be helpful for anxiety. Vitamin B5 is very important for the adrenals and therefore helps with modulating stress.

Folic acid and vitamin B12 are important for depression, and given the links between anxiety and depression, they may also be helpful for anxiety. They also support heart health, which is important if you suffer from anxiety or panic attacks, which stress the heart.

Good food sources of the B vitamins include liver, meat, turkey, whole grains, potatoes, bananas, chiles, legumes, nutritional yeast and molasses.

depression_food

Magnesium and calcium
Magnesium is a calming mineral that nourishes the nervous system and helps prevent anxiety, fear, nervousness, restlessness and irritability. Magnesium is also very protective of the heart and arteries; again, this is important if you suffer from anxiety or panic attacks. Supplemental magnesium, together with vitamin B6, was shown to alleviate anxiety-related premenstrual symptoms, as well as breast tenderness and menstrual weight gain and pain. This study also showed that even a small amount can make a difference; it used only 200 mg of magnesium and 50 mg of vitamin B6. A typical supplemental amount is 400 to 600 mg of magnesium per day, usually with 800 to 1,200 mg of calcium, as it’s typically best to get about twice as much calcium as magnesium. However, taking magnesium alone can be helpful for anxiety, and you may actually need more than the typical dose, perhaps as much as 1,000 mg of magnesium per day. Experiment with different amounts and decide what’s right for you based on how you feel, and cut back if you get loose stools.

Taking magnesium and calcium at bedtime can also help promote restful sleep. A very pleasant and easy way to increase your intake of magnesium is to add about a cup of Epsom salts to a warm bath’you’ll absorb the magnesium through your skin. Add some lavender essential oil and have a wonderful calming soak before bed, and you’ll sleep better too.

Dark-green, leafy vegetables, like spinach, kale and chard, contain plenty of calming magnesium as well as good amounts of the B vitamins. Whole, unrefined grains like oats, buckwheat, millet and quinoa also contain both magnesium and B vitamins. Other food sources of magnesium include legumes, beef, chicken, fish (especially halibut, cod and salmon), nuts, seeds, bananas, watermelon, figs, potatoes and green beans. Homemade bone broths are rich in magnesium, calcium and other vital minerals, with the added bonus that the gelatin in the broth enhances mineral absorption. Herbs are another source of magnesium. Try chamomile, dandelion, peppermint or sage herbal tea; make a salad using fresh parsley, nettles and dandelion; and add fennel seed, fenugreek, paprika, parsley and cayenne when cooking.

Many high-magnesium foods are also a good source of calcium, especially spinach, turnip greens, mustard greens, collard greens, green beans and sea vegetables. Other sources of calcium include dairy products, sardines, sesame seeds, broccoli and celery. The herbs basil, thyme, rosemary, oregano, dill and peppermint are also good sources of calcium, as is cinnamon.

related: Dopamine Deficiency And Your Mental Health

Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is found in eggs and fatty fish such as salmon ad mackerel (and cod liver oil), but your body can also make its own vitamin D after exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun, though this is somewhat dependent on the season and your geographic location. It may improve seasonal anxiety and depression that worsen during the winter months. One study showed that vitamin D deficiency was associated with both anxiety and depression in fibromyalgia patients. Vitamin D is also important for immunity, bone health and heart health, and it helps protect against cancer.

Recent research on vitamin D indicates that many people are deficient in this key vitamin. I recommend that all of my clients have their vitamin D levels checked and have found that the majority have low levels. Vitamin D status can be measured by a simple blood test, 25-hydroxy-vitamin D. Dr. John Cannell, founder of the Vitamin D Council, considers the new vitamin D guidelines released in November 2010’600 IU for adults up to age 70’to be too low. He recommends taking 5,000 IU daily until your level is between 50 and 80 ng/mL (nanograms per milliletre), the midpoint of the current lab reference range of 32 to 100 ng/mL.

Don’t be surprised if your doctor prescribes 50,000 IU per week. Once your levels are ideal, a typical maintenance dose ranges from 2,000 to 5,000 IU per day. It’s a good idea to test your level every three months. When supplementing, be sure to take vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) is the synthetic form and not effective. Recent research suggests that it’s most effective to take vitamin D with your largest meal. Also, keep in mind that a great deal of research is being conducted on the health benefits of vitamin D, and it’s a controversial topic, so recommendations in regard to ideal level, dose and timing may change. The Vitamin D Council is a good resource for recent findings.

Omega-3s and omega-6s
It’s well known that omega-3s from fish oil (EPA and DHA) are effective for alleviating depression, and one study looking at substance abusers with low fish consumption found that supplementing with fish oil for three months resulted in less anxiety and anger. I recommend that you eat fish, including some oil fish, such as salmon and sardines, and only supplement with fish oil if you know for sure that your levels of omega-3s are low. A good starting dose is 1,000 mg daily. Fatty acid tests are available from labs such as Meametrix; results will indicate whether you need to supplement with omega-3s, omega-6s or both, and will also indicate your levels of damaging trans fats. Many anxious people with pyroluria don’t need to supplement with omega-3s but do seem to need the omega-6 GLA, ideally in the form of primrose oil.

 

related: The Unexpected Connection Between Gut Bacteria and Depression and Anxiety

Theanine and lactium
L-theanine, an amino acid found in tea, has a calming effect and reduces physiological responses to stress. It also raises levels of GABA, the calming neurotransmitter. It also has properties that offer protection against environmental neurotoxins. A typical supplemental dose of theanine is 50 to 200 mg.

Lactium, a supplement made from the casein protein in milk, has been shown to reduce stress-related symptoms, including anxiety, emoyinal and social problems, and digestive issues. This product also lowers levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

November 27, 2015           Source: Excerpted from The Anti-anxiety Food Solution, Trudy Scott


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9 Things People With High-Functioning Depression Want You To Know

Just because someone’s condition isn’t visible,
doesn’t mean it’s not real.

Take a moment to consider the acquaintances you talk to every day: It could be a coworker, neighbor or even a favorite barista. They smile, chat about their weekend plans and ask after your kids.

Now imagine that on the inside, they’re experiencing debilitating headaches, loneliness and persistent negative thoughts. Their energy is so low it was almost impossible for them to pull themselves out of bed this morning. But you’d never know it.

This is the reality for people who live with dysthymia, or chronic depression ― a high-functioning iteration of the disease. Like major depression, high-functioning depression can cause changes in appetite, poor sleep and emotional difficulties. But it’s a lot harder to spot.

Depression affects nearly 350 million people worldwide, which means chances are you know someone who has some form of the disorder.

Arguably one of the most challenging aspects of high-functioning depression is the lack of understanding that comes with blending in so well. We asked members of our HuffPost Lifestyle Facebook community who face the condition to tell us what they wished everyone else understood:

1. People can’t comprehend the difficulty of their symptoms.

Depression is a difficult, debilitating condition. End of story.

“Because I can work full time and do well, own my own home and take care of everything myself, people underestimate just how deeply I struggle and how hard it is to function some days. It takes time to process things. Negative experiences stay with me for awhile when others can move on quickly. They just label me as negative, dramatic or too sensitive but it’s my process.” ―Christine Dolan

2. Everyday activities, like going to work, still feel impossible.

Just because you see a person with this type of condition powering through their to-do list doesn’t mean it comes naturally for them.

“It’s hard enough holding it together but it’s even harder when you know people are misjudging you and not giving you credit just for getting out of bed.” ―Christine Dolan

3. Their illness doesn’t have to be seen in order to be real.

Not all health conditions are visible to the naked eye. But just because you don’t notice an illness, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

“Just because I seem successful and look like I have it all together doesn’t mean I can’t be 5 minutes or one bad experience away from a total breakdown. And that fact scares the hell out of me.” ―Michelle Martin Haywood

depression

4. They appreciate you checking in on them.

Support from others reminds a person with depression that they’re not alone.

“You should text and check on me, even if I don’t or can’t text right back.
The thoughts are very, very exhausting so just getting through the day needs to be enough sometimes.” ―Julie Kenney Myett

5. The condition goes deeper than just life’s circumstances.

Depression has a way of taking every negative thought you have about yourself and putting it up on a big screen inside your mind. Just because it seems like someone “has it all,” doesn’t mean they’re not affected by the mental health condition.

“I work full-time and I’m married. I try very hard to be ‘normal.’ People ask me ‘Why are you sad? You have everything. You’re so beautiful. You have a lovely husband, a good job, money etc.’ If only they knew the turmoil in my head … it never goes away and it is very exhausting.” ―Jayne SC

6. The appearance on the outside doesn’t always match the inside.

What you see isn’t always what you get when it comes to high-functioning depression. A person my look like they have everything figured out or may be functioning normally, but their inner world could be vastly different.

“From the outside I look like I have it all together, but the truth is I find everything exhausting. Getting up, eating breakfast, taking my kids to school ― all of it saps my energy. I walk around in a state of perpetual exhaustion.” ―Jennifer Hazen

7. A little gesture goes a long way.

It may seem like no big deal to you, but offering to do something as simple for your loved one may make a huge difference.

“I wish people would make more of an effort to come to me rather than expecting me to travel (a lot of my friends and family live a couple of hours away), it would take so much pressure off.” ―Caitriona Foley

8. Feeling better isn’t a matter of just adjusting their attitude.

You can’t just “get over” depression or “stop feeling sad.” Depression at its core is a physiological disorder and affects areas of the brain. It also comes with physical symptoms as well.

“People think you are lazy when it takes the your entire will to get out of bed in the morning.” ―Meredith Elmore

9. Treatment works.

What works for one person may not work for another. There’s a host of options for managing and recovering from depression, from lifestyle habits to specific medical care like therapy or medication, and usually an effective plan requires employing more than one. Treatment does work and people can have a full life despite of the condition.

“It is a very difficult issue to live with especially if you have people depending on you all the time. I’m still aware every second of everyday about my feelings, my surroundings and how I’m going to get through the next five minutes, but I’m glad for myself that I have figured out how to live my life.” ―Goldie Fantastic

Oct 03, 2016      Lindsay Holmes       Deputy Healthy Living Editor, The Huffington Post