This article lists occupations associated with depression. While I don’t think that articles spin that these occupations contribute to depression. Rather I think people who are prone to depression also seek out more meaningful work. PsycPORT.com “People who tend to the elderly, change diapers and serve up food and drinks have the highest rates of depression among U.S. workers. Overall, 7 percent of full-time workers battled depression in the past year, according to a government report available Saturday.
The CDC has released a report finding a spike in successful suicides in adolescents in 2004. This increase is the largest increase since 1990. Is this the result of all the misinformation floating around anti-depressant medications causing suicide and violence in adolescents and adults? Thats about when the hullabaloo started. So that means that the increase in suicides may continue into 2007, four years of increased suicide caused by misinformation in the media.
The decision about how to treat depression has been entirely reframed by recent research. First of all, the debate about whether anti-depressant medications actually contribute to suicidal and other impulsive behavior has called to question routine, first choice prescriptions for Celexa, Lexapro, Prozac, Paxil, and Zoloft, the so-called SSRIs, for even milder forms of depression. Secondly, the STAR*D trials have documented that SSRIs are no magic pill. SSRIs have been implicated in controversial criminal trials where defendants have claimed the medication made them violent, even homicidal.
Anyone taking or contemplating anti-depressants for treatment of depression have been concerned about the blackbox warnings from the FDA. The FDA has issued blanket warnings to anyone considering or taking anti-depressants that they may actually induce suicidal thinking. The truth is that there is still very little and conflicting information about the risks. Highlighting the risks in the way the FDA did by issuing a blackbox warning has been controversial. The problem is that the risks have been assessed in only a few studies and it is not clear what is happening.
The American Journal of Public Health published a study showing suicide rates from 1970 to 2002 by age group. Suicide rates have been dropping in all age groups. But there have been some changes, increases and decreases in rates during this time that suggest age specific pressures. Perhaps the most significant finding is that suicide rates in the youngest group, under 18 has been consistently dropping through the time that use of anti-depressant use have doubled, and the new generation anti-depressants called SSRIs have been associated with a greater risk of suicide.
A group of physician, patient and constituency groups concerned about confusing messages in popular culture suggesting that depression is “just the blues” or worse, a “made-up disease.” Although they don’t say so, I suspect this movement intends at least in part, to counter the very well organized and highly funded lobbying effort by Tom Cruise and his Scientology friends to debunk psychiatry and depression. Instead they want us all to believe that depression is best alleviated by removing the sufferer’s covering of tiny disembodied souls of aliens dispersed by the Galactic Federation leader Xenu.
Today, I tripped over an interesting article on assessing suicide potential. Psychiatric Weekly America bears witness to 30,000 deaths by suicide per year. Although clinicians have a fairly good grasp of long-term risk factors, possible short term indicators of risk have been largely overlooked. Dr. Jan Fawcett believes that, to make real headway in combating suicide, doctors need to identify patients at acute, not just chronic, risk of suicide and treat their symptoms aggressively.
From the outstanding site of Anxiety Insights, there is a summary of a recent research study that produces results questioning conventional wisdom about income, poverty and depression. None of the socio-economic indicators studied was found to be significantly associated with an episode of common mental disorder at follow-up, after baseline psychiatric illness was taken into account. The analysis of separate diagnostic categories showed that subjective financial difficulties at baseline were independently associated with depression at follow-up in both groups.
Here is a heads up for everyone taking or considering anti-depressant medication. One study has found a higher incidence of diabetes in high risk pre-diabetic persons undergoing intensive preventative treatment. What is not clear is whether anti-depressant use was associated with previous serious depression. The results could indicate depression and/or anti-depressant use increases the risk of diabetes. Further study certainly is certainly indicated. Please note, there is NO reason to consider discontinuing your medication based on this study alone.
Well if anti-depressants, in particular SSRIs work, how do they help? Contrary to the ads you see on television, we don’t really know. A recently published article outlines the issues. Although SSRIs are considered “antidepressants,” they are FDA-approved treatments for eight separate psychiatric diagnoses, ranging from social anxiety disorder to obsessive-compulsive disorder to premenstrual dysphoric disorder. Some consumer advertisements (such as the Zoloft and Paxil Web sites) promote the serotonin hypothesis, not just for depression, but also for some of these other diagnostic categories [22,23].