Psychiatrists call it the “trial and error factor”: when they set out to prescribe an antidepressant, they have no clinically proven way of knowing which one to choose. Any given antidepressant tends to help only about a third of patients; the other two-thirds end up doing the prescription shuffle, trying one drug, then another, then a third or fourth in hopes of finally hitting on a treatment that works.
In theory, pharmacogenetics—the subfield of personalized medicine that focuses on how people with different DNA variants respond to drugs—is supposed to solve this problem. The idea is to allow doctors to tailor their prescribing to their patients’ genes. But so far, despite all the research that has been done in the decade since the first draft of the Human Genome Project was released, the genetics of mental illness are still a maddeningly complex mystery.
What, then, to make of GeneSightRx, a new test that identifies variants in five genes and tells doctors which antidepressant to pick based on its results?
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Originally posted on Life and Lims:
I’ve been able to attend two really beautiful funerals this year, both for people who were extraordinary, and who had wonderful families. I was struck both times by what a special experience it was to share in the remembrance and celebration of the lives of these people with their loved ones. At both, there were many, many experiences shared, sweet and tender memories and funny ones, recounted with laughter and tears.
But how often do you hear people say they enjoyed attending a funeral? That they looked forward to the funeral, that they cherished the time they took to be there?
Americans (and probably many in modern, Western cultures) are far behind some more “primitive” cultures: we do not appreciate the death process or anything surrounding it; we tread with great trepidation around death; and we don’t honor those who are aging, stepping ever closer to death each day. It’s a…
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Posted by Andy Alt
Click for the website of David D. Burns, MD
This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. Why do we sometimes fall into black holes of depression, anxiety and self-doubt? And can we change the way we feel?
Excerpt and links posted by Andy Alt
Low Serotonin Levels Don’t Cause Depression
By John M. Grohol, Psy.D.
September 13, 2014
One of the leading myths that unfortunately still circulates about clinical depression is that it’s caused by low serotonin levels in the brain (or a “biochemical imbalance”). This is a myth because countless scientific studies have specifically examined this theory and have come back universally rejecting it.
So let’s put it to rest once and for all — low levels of serotonin in the brain don’t cause depression.
Let’s find out why.
Read the complete text: Low Serotonin Levels Don’t Cause Depression
(Related article on Psychology Today: 5 Myths about Depression by Azadeh Aalai, Ph.D.)
In a separate article, Dr. Grohol suggests that although serotonin isn’t a factor, psychiatric medication—including SSRIs—can still be effective, particularly when combined with other forms of therapy. Another piece from him:
Battling illness with wellness: a qualitative case study of a young rapper’s experiences with music therapy
Posted by Andy Alt
From the Nordic Journal of Music Therapy, a paper by Hans Petter Solli
- Received: 20 Nov 2013
- Accepted: 10 Mar 2014
- Published online: 01 May 2014
Mental health difficulties are connected with major interpersonal and social challenges. Recent qualitative research indicates that music therapy can facilitate many of the core elements found to promote social recovery and social inclusion, findings also reflected in results from a growing body of effect studies. The objective of this study was to explore how music therapy might afford possibilities for social recovery to one man with psychosis admitted to a psychiatric intensive care unit. This was achieved by means of a qualitative case study featuring a description of the music therapeutic process alongside first-hand accounts of the participant’s subjective experiences. The data were analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). The findings are presented in a narrative form reflecting processes and activities considered particularly important for the process of social recovery. Theoretical perspectives from the recovery literature and current perspectives in music therapy are discussed with a view to the possible use of music therapy for strengthening agency, (re)building identity, developing positive relationships, and expanding social networks.
MTHFR: Gene testing for mutations….the results explain my family’s illnesses | In the Wake of Suicide….trying to understand
Posted by Andy Alt
This is an excerpt written by D.J. Heath (click the link below for the full text):
Since my son’s death I have had to be a detective in searching for answers that could justify his death by suicide, as is indicated as the cause on his death certificate. Long before he died I knew he struggled with mood swings and depression. Some of it I thought was the usual teen angst issues but it followed him into adulthood. Certain situations would make it worse. During the same time, his older sister by three years was also experiencing severe anger and rebellion. Again, I thought it was all to do with hormones ( after high school, she was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder while in the Navy…the cause of her medical discharge.)