Grief Versus Depression


Grief and depression share similar symptoms: sadness, tears, lack of appetite, difficulty sleeping. It is easy to mistake one for the other. When people experience major upheavels–such as the death of a loved one or pet, a move to a different community, or dealing with a life-threatening illness in a loved one or yourself—it is […]

Medications That Can Cause Depression


A review in the journal “Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience” awhile back highlighted certain medications that can cause depression. The following medications should be used cautiously in people with current or prior depression, or those who are otherwise at high risk for depression: Barbiturates Vigabatrin (Sabril) Topiramate (Topamax) Flunarizine Corticosteroids Mefloquine Efavirenz (Sustiva) Inteferon-alpha These medications […]

4 Ways to Beat the Winter Blues


The days are short and so is your ability to tackle the problems du jour. Everything, including the snow and the ice, seem heavy and drab, and the color of your mood ring turns a scary blackish blue. Although the number of suicides peaks in the spring, the winter months—especially for those huddled under a […]

Brain Differences Seen in Depressed Preschoolers

brain scans amygdala

New research at Washington University of Medicine in St. Louis shows that the amygdala region of the brain works differently in preschoolers with depression as compared to kids without depression. In the study, the depressed preschoolers had an elevated activity in the amygdala, an almond-shaped cluster of neurons important in processing emotions. While earlier brain scans have showed similar patterns […]

What Not to Say to a Depressed Person


There is nothing worse than feeling like a complete utter failure, crying your eyes out, and then a well-intentioned person comes along and says something that, to your ears, sounds like: “You were right! You are, in fact, a loser.” Good intentions or not, the wrong words hurt. Awhile back, I published a piece,  “10 […]

When You Can’t Get Well: Treatment Resistant Depression and Brain-Imagining Research


Approximately 10 percent of depressed persons are treatment resistant. These folks have not responded to antidepressants or any kind of medication. Their efforts at cognitive-behavioral therapy and other types of therapy have failed. Even sessions of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) have proven unsuccessful. These people are the sickest of the sick, and spend their days in […]

6 Ways to Deal With Stigma

ECT depression

Had depression not killed my godmother–my mom’s sister–and had it not made a pretty good attempt at ending my life, I doubt I would admit to anyone that I pack my suitcase full of the old-people container of meds. It’s hard enough to list them all at the doctor’s office with a straight face, much […]