This is another of the regular posts in which I shine a light around the web and try to uncover some of the best depression articles that have recently appeared.
But before I switch the light on, I am delighted to say that TooDepressed.com has been accepted for inclusion in the Alltop Mental Health listing page.
Alltop aggregates great content from around the web, much like I do with these depression article pages, although, admittedly, on a somewhat larger scale (though without pithy the comments).
I’m therefore proud to bring you:
Truth is, I don’t know whether Alltop accepts all sites submitted to them, so I don’t know if it’s a big deal or not. But anyway, the badge is nice.
Did Ye Get Healed?
The first piece is a powerful and, for me, moving article by Michael Taylor (“a self educated entrepreneur, author, spiritual coach and radio talk show host”). Michael writes in the Good Men Project about the need for emotional healing in men.
Now, I know that some men might find this a bit ‘challenging’ to say the least.
I even have some friends (incidentally the subject of my comment on Michael’s piece) whose responses I can hear ringing in my ears even as I type (hint: two words – four letters and three, first begins with F, second ends with F, spoken with a drawn out and powerful mixture of disdain and incredulity).
But, I think this needs to happen and I’m going to get behind Michael’s initiative.
Trans Euro Express
Next up, from the world’s best newspaper, the UK’s Guardian, is an article by Lisa Appignanesi, entitled “the mental illness industry is medicalising normality”. Whilst I’m dubious about recommending anything that suggests that the use of the word ‘medicalise’ is any way acceptable or even that such a word exists, I urge you to read this.
Lisa highlights the recent research from the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (another word of dubious provenance, in my view) that suggests that more than 38% of Europeans suffer from a mental disorder. I think this extract encapsulates Lisa views nicely:
“The more studies that come along to tell us about the rise in mental illness, the more we fit our problems and unhappiness into a category of mental disorder, developing symptoms to take to the doctor in search of a cure. Humans are suggestible creatures. And doctors like to help: they provide the pills Big Pharma recommends, though many must now know that research has shown placebos can work just as well and with fewer side effects.“
I’d like to know what the mental health professionals think of this.
Sad all Over
Matthew Edlund MD writes about the systemic nature of depression in Psychoogy Today. He points out the physiological causes and effects associated with depression (e.g. it can be caused by physical ailments and cause some very damaging ones) and rightly suggests that treatment for depression needs to be far more holistic. I couldn’t agree more, in fact I am so much in agreement that I’ll quote myself on the subject (taken from my comment on the good doctor’s article):
“What concerns me is that the default response is often a pharmacological one. I don’t believe this can be right given the systemic nature of depression and the absence of convincing evidence of the efficacy of modern anti depressant medication for those with mild, moderate and in some cases severe depression.”
The more doctors with Dr Edlund’s viewpoint the better as far as I’m concerned. I think Lisa Appignanesi would agree.
Run, Run, Run
Next, more on the benefits of exercise on depression.
I include this especially for my wife who regularly tells me that I publish some really good advice on this site, none of which I follow myself. Exercise, or rather my lack of it, is her biggest complaint.
This piece reports a study by scientists at UT Southwestern Medical Center which compared the effects of exercise with the effects of administering a second anti-depressant on patients who had shown no improvement after an initial treatment with anti-depressants.
The study concluded that exercise was at least as good for patients as the administering of a second drug. Dr. Madhukar Trivedi who lead the study said:
“Many people who start on an antidepressant medication feel better after they begin treatment, but they still don”t feel completely well or as good as they did before they became depressed. This study shows that exercise can be as effective as adding another medication. Many people would rather use exercise than add another drug, particularly as exercise has a proven positive effect on a person”s overall health and well-being.”
Good news, of course, but what struck me about this piece is the fact that it needed to be done at all. Does this mean that doctors still need convincing about the benefits of exercise? I know I’m oversimplifying, but I suppose Lisa Appignanesi’s article and the underlying study she looked at would suggest that this kind of research remains necessary.
For anybody interested in the headlines I used:
Did Ye Get Healed? by Van Morrison, originally from the album ‘Poetic Champions Compose’.
Trans-Europe Express by Kraftwerk, from the album of the same name.
By the way, do any of these archetypal European men look like they have a mental disorder? By the standards of current research, at least one of them does …
Glad all over, rather than ‘sad all over’, by the Dave Clark Five.
Run, Run, Run by the Velvet Underground, from the classic Velvet Underground & Nico album, with its classic Warhol cover: