One of the great things about writing psychology books is that I can justify spending hours and hours reading about the latest research studies and trying to figure out what they mean to a) those of us trying to help sufferers get well and b) mental health consumers who need to stay well-informed so they can make sure they get the best possible treatment.
In that spirit, here are three findings from recent research studies and my take on what they might mean.
1. A 2010 study in the Archives of Internal Medicine reported a correlation between depression and chocolate; as depression scores rose, so did the amount of chocolate research subjects consumed each month.
2. A 2010 study from Rhode Island Hospital found that, when asked specifically about them via a self-report questionnaire, patients reported 20 times more side effects from their medication than had been recorded in their charts by their psychiatrists. Furthermore, the only side effective physicians routinely asked about was sexual dysfunction.
3. Depression and anxiety disorders frequently coexist and the causes for both are strongly linked to stressful experiences. Two new research studies have discovered biological links between stress, anxiety and depression. For some genetically predisposed individuals, stress abnormally increases corticotrophin releasing factor 1, which then works to increase specific types of serotonin receptors in the brain (which have been linked to depression).
In my opinion, it takes way too long for the people who most need new information to actually get it. Have any ideas about how to shorten this gap? I’d love to hear them.