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Insights into psychology series: What is... melancholic depression

What is… Melancholic Depression

In this series, I dig a little deeper into the meaning of psychological terms. This week’s term is melancholic depression, also known as depression with melancholic features. The word melancholia comes from the Greek for black bile, part of the ancient four humours medical belief system. In the 5th century BCE, Hippocrates first identified melancholia as …

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The new NICE depression guidelines in development for the UK

The UK’s New NICE Depression Guidelines in Development

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), a non-departmental public body of England’s Department of Health, provides evidence-based guidance on the treatment of medical conditions. Every so often, they update their guidelines, and new depression guidelines are expected to be released in May 2022. This post will take a look at the draft …

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Cutting through the serotonin hypothesis confusion - graphic of a serotonergic neuron

Clearing Up the Serotonin Hypothesis/Depression Confusion

Some people write off antidepressants as being useless because the serotonin hypothesis was wrong, while others insist they need antidepressants because they don’t have enough serotonin. There’s a lot of confusion about what the serotonin hypothesis was and what it meant, so this post will try to clear up some of that. A bit of …

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This one flew over the cuckoo's nest: electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) in real life

This One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest: ECT in Real Life

Ask anyone of a certain age what comes to mind first when they hear the term electroconvulsive therapy (aka ECT, aka electroshock therapy, aka shock therapy), and chances are they will mention the film One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest starring Jack Nicholson. The reality is very different.

Brain stimulation/somatic treatments for depression: ECT, TMS, DBS, tDCS, and VNS

Somatic Treatments for Depression

There are a number of non-medication, non-therapy options for treatment-resistant depression. Somatic treatments involve stimulating the brain through the application of energy. ECT and TMS are the most well-known, but there are some more obscure options as well. And then there’s cranial electrotherapy, which isn’t in the same ballpark at all. So let’s dive in! …

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Treatment-resistant depression and what my meds do still help with - image of pill bottle and depressed person

Treatment-Resistant Depression: What My Meds Do Help With

Pretty much the same cocktail of meds I’m on now used to work well, and got me into full remission (i.e. no symptoms at all between episodes). I’m not sure what got me thinking about this recently, but while my depression has become increasingly treatment-resistant overall, my medications are still doing a pretty good job …

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MH@H book review: The Unapologetic Guide to Black Mental Health

Book Review: The Unapologetic Guide to Black Mental Health

To be clear right from the start, as a white chick, I’m not the intended audience of The Unapologetic Guide to Black Mental Health by Rheeda Walker.  It’s not that it’s not relevant, but the author is clear that I’m not who she’s trying to speak to. This book is written by a Black woman …

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Managing depression: Illness treatment and wellness promotion strategies

Mental Illness Treatment vs. Wellness Promotion

One of the things I talk about in my new book Managing the Depression Puzzle is the idea of differentiating between illness treatment strategies and wellness promotion strategies. I think it’s a distinction that applies to mental illness in general. So, what’s the difference? Illness treatment I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir here, but …

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Supplements for depression that actually work

Supplements for Depression that Actually Work

Some people claim that vitamins and minerals can cure serious mental illness.  That’s not what I’m talking about here.  While in general, there’s not a ton of research funding for supplements and herbal products, there are a number of supplements that do have some research evidence to support their effectiveness in depression. For people with …

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Managing depression: which puzzle pieces are right for you? Therapy? Meds? Mindfulness? Physical activity?

Managing Mental Illness Requires More Than One Tool

It would be nice if treating mental illness was as simple as popping a pill and carrying on with life. But of course life (and mental illness) doesn’t work that way. Managing a chronic mental illness means drawing on multiple different tools and trying to build up the toolbox as much as possible. My evolving …

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