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Gay Men's Suicide Risk Rises as Income Falls

Posted 9 days ago by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Oct. 13, 2017 – Gay and bisexual men with less education and income face more than five times the risk of attempting suicide than their wealthier and better-educated counterparts, a new Canadian study finds. "Less-educated men might feel a greater sense of hopelessness because they see few options to improve their lot, compared to their peers, who could address their poverty by using their education," said study lead author Olivier Ferlatte, a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of British Columbia. The study was based on a survey of more than 8,000 gay and bisexual men in Canada. The researchers focused on the answers from 145 men who said they'd tried to kill themselves within the past year. "The number of gay and bisexual men who die by suicide is comparable to those who die from HIV/AIDS. Yet we know little about the factors contributing to this health crisis and ... Read more

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Can 'Magic Mushrooms' Kick-Start Depression Treatment?

Posted 9 days ago by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Oct. 13, 2017 – The active ingredient in "magic mushrooms" may help patients with tough-to-treat depression, a new study suggests. Twenty patients received psilocybin – the psychoactive compound in a group of mushrooms that cause hallucinations. Nineteen who completed the study showed improvement in their depression symptoms for up to five weeks after treatment, according to the researchers at Imperial College London. None had responded to traditional depression treatment, they noted. "We have shown for the first time clear changes in brain activity in depressed people treated with psilocybin after failing to respond to conventional treatments," said study leader Robin Carhart-Harris, head of psychedelic research at Imperial. However, his team emphasized that patients with depression should not try to self-medicate with magic mushrooms. While these results are promising, the ... Read more

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Older People May Be More Prone to Reveal Suicidal Thoughts

Posted 18 days ago by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 4, 2017 – Nearly one-quarter of older Americans who took their own lives told someone about their intentions before doing so, a new study reveals. Researchers reviewed 10 years of national data and found that 23 percent of people aged 50 and older who killed themselves had disclosed their suicide intent. The older they were, the more likely they were to disclose, the investigators found. Any indication of suicidal thoughts is an opportunity for prevention, said study lead investigator Namkee Choi. She is chair in gerontology at the University of Texas at Austin. Doctors and others "need better preparation to screen and aid those in need to prevent suicide," Choi said. People with depression and health problems, and those who had recently received mental health care or treatment for drug or alcohol abuse, were also likely to say something before trying to kill ... Read more

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Postpartum Depression Likely to Recur With Future Pregnancies

Posted 26 Sep 2017 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Sept. 26, 2017 – Women who have suffered from postpartum depression are more likely to go through it again after subsequent pregnancies, a new Danish study shows. Postpartum depression occurs 27 to 46 times more frequently during subsequent pregnancies for mothers who experienced it after their first birth, researchers report. These results show that women who have had postpartum depression in the past should prepare themselves if they get pregnant again, said lead researcher Marie-Louise Rasmussen, an epidemiologist with Statens Serum Institut in Copenhagen. Antidepressants or psychotherapy could help cushion the blow or even head off postpartum depression, Rasmussen said. "In theory, psychotherapy is preferred but not always sufficient and not always available. Often, the general practitioner has to add antidepressant medication," Rasmussen said. "Social support from the ... Read more

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Suicidal Thoughts More Common for Transgender Youth

Posted 15 Sep 2017 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Sept. 15, 2017 – Transgender youth are more likely to have suicidal thoughts, a new study finds. Researchers examined survey data from more than 900,000 high school students in California. They found that 35 percent of transgender youth said they'd had suicidal thoughts in the past year, compared with 19 percent of non-transgender youth. The study appears in the September issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. "It is crucial that studies of adolescent health include measures of gender identity alongside sexual orientation to better understand and create programs to address the needs of these youth across the United States," study lead author Amaya Perez-Brumer, from Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, said in a journal news release. Increased rates of depression and victimization among transgender youth partly explain ... Read more

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Mom-to-Be's Antidepressants Tied to Kids' Psychiatric Woes

Posted 7 Sep 2017 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Sept. 7, 2017 – Children whose mothers took antidepressants during pregnancy may be at increased risk for psychiatric disorders themselves, a new study suggests. Researchers reviewed data from more than 905,000 children born in Denmark between 1998 and 2012. The children's health was followed for up to 16.5 years. During the follow-up period, 32,400 of the children were diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder. The 15-year risk of psychiatric disorders was 8 percent among children whose mothers didn't take antidepressants during pregnancy. The risk was 11.5 percent among those whose mothers took antidepressants before pregnancy. And the risk was up to 14.5 percent among those whose mothers took antidepressants before and during pregnancy or who began taking antidepressants during pregnancy. But the researchers said their findings have to be interpreted with caution. Due to the ... Read more

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Suicide a Danger for Some Women During Pregnancy: Study

Posted 28 Aug 2017 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Aug. 28, 2017 – Pregnancy isn't always a happy time. Suicide is a leading cause of death among pregnant and recently pregnant women, a new study finds. "Suicide is up there with causes of death like bleeding and high blood pressure," said Dr. Richard Silver, chairman of obstetrics and gynecology at NorthShore University HealthSystem in Chicago. "There's no question that pregnancy is a time when mental health issues like depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts manifest themselves," added Silver, who wasn't involved in the study. Pregnant and recently pregnant women can be vulnerable to mental illness due to shifts in hormone levels, Silver said. Also, the "expectation that pregnancy should be a happy time" may be unrealistic, he suggested. For the study, Canadian researchers tracked women in Ontario from 1994 to 2008. They found that 5 percent of deaths during pregnancy or the ... Read more

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U.S. Antidepressant Use Jumps 65 Percent in 15 Years

Posted 15 Aug 2017 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Aug. 15, 2017 – The number of Americans who say they've taken an antidepressant over the past month rose by 65 percent between 1999 and 2014, a new government survey finds. By 2014, about one in every eight Americans over the age of 12 reported recent antidepressant use, according to a report released Tuesday from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Women are nearly twice as likely as men to be taking the medications, the report found, with antidepressants used by 16.5 percent of females compared to just under 9 percent of males. Also, "long-term antidepressant use was common," said a team led by Laura Pratt of the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). The researchers noted that "one-fourth of all people [surveyed] who took antidepressants over the past month reported having taken them for 10 years or more." Why the steep rise in antidepressant ... Read more

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Smoking on the Rise Among Pregnant Women With Depression

Posted 14 Aug 2017 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Aug. 14, 2017 – Smoking during pregnancy is on the rise among American women with depression, a new study finds. Researchers analyzed data from more than 8,500 mothers-to-be who took part in an annual government health survey. It found a 2.5 percent rise in smoking rates among pregnant women with depression between 2002 and 2014. Smoking rates among other groups fell during that time, according to the study published online in the October issue of the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence. "An increase in smoking rates in any population is concerning given the general overall downward trends we are seeing today," said study leader Renee Goodwin. She's an adjunct associate professor of epidemiology at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. More than a third of pregnant women with depression smoke, compared with 1 in 10 who are not depressed, according to the study. ... Read more

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Netflix Series '13 Reasons Why' Sparks Uptick in Google Searches for Suicide

Posted 31 Jul 2017 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, July 31, 2017 – After the release of the controversial Netflix series "13 Reasons Why" – a show that depicts the suicide of a fictional teenager – there were surges in the number of Google searches using the term "suicide," a new analysis reveals. Specifically, searches that included the word "suicide" jumped 19 percent over a 19-day period after the series was first released. That amounts to between 900,000 and 1.5 million more searches of that nature than would routinely be expected in that time frame. What's more, most of those searches focused on questions related to the contemplation of suicide ("suicidal ideation"), such as inquiries on "how to commit suicide" and "how to kill yourself." "The World Health Organization has created stringent standards for how to present suicide in the media," explained study author John Ayers. He's an associate research professor with San ... Read more

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Antidepressants in Pregnancy Tied to Slight Increase in Autism

Posted 20 Jul 2017 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, July 20, 2017 – In the long-standing debate over whether antidepressants are safe to take during pregnancy, a new study suggests that exposure to the drugs in the womb might bump up a child's risk of autism. The risk of autism was 45 percent higher for kids whose moms took antidepressants compared to kids born to mothers with psychiatric disorders who weren't prescribed antidepressants, the study found. "We found consistent results pointing towards a small effect of antidepressants with autism, especially higher functioning forms of autism without intellectual disability," said lead researcher Dheeraj Rai. He is a senior lecturer in psychiatry with the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom. "We think it is important to keep in mind the absolute risk, which is small," Rai said. "Over 95 percent of women in the study who took antidepressants during pregnancy did not have ... Read more

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No Sign That Antidepressants in Pregnancy Harm Kids' Brains: Study

Posted 12 Jul 2017 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, July 12, 2017 – For women battling depression, the decision over whether or not to continue their antidepressant during a pregnancy can be a difficult one. Now, reassuring news: A new study finds little risk of intellectual disability in children whose mothers take these pills while pregnant. The data "provides more information for clinicians to evaluate the risks in pregnant women taking antidepressants," said study co-author Abraham Reichenberg. He is a professor of psychiatry at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, in New York City. The new findings "should be factored into other considerations, such as the increased risk for the mother if [she is] not medicated, the drug's side effects, and other medical conditions," Reichenberg explained in a hospital news release. One specialist in the developing brain stressed that going without a needed antidepressant during ... Read more

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Med Switch Not Always Best Choice With Tough Depression

Posted 11 Jul 2017 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, July 11, 2017 – Switching to another antidepressant may not be the best way to help depression patients who don't respond to the first antidepressant they take, a new study indicates. Among more than 1,500 depression patients at 35 U.S. Veterans Health Administration medical centers, better symptom relief was achieved when people were prescribed an antipsychotic medication or a second antidepressant rather than being switched to another antidepressant, the researchers found. "We found that among three strategies evaluated in this study, evidence of the greatest symptom benefit was provided by adding an antipsychotic to previous antidepressant therapy," said study author Dr. Somaia Mohamed. She is an associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine. The researchers found that 29 percent of patients who took the antipsychotic drug aripiprazole ... Read more

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Depression May Worsen Health for Cancer Caregivers

Posted 29 Jun 2017 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, June 29, 2017 – Depression is known to be linked to worsening physical health, and a new study finds this may be especially true for cancer caregivers. The researchers recommended assessing caregivers' mental health soon after their loved one's cancer diagnosis. "Identifying caregivers in need, and connecting these caregivers to effective and accessible psychosocial services, are imperative next steps to improve comprehensive care for families facing cancer," study leader Kelly Shaffer said in a news release from the American Cancer Society. Shaffer is with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. She and her team analyzed responses from 664 caregivers who answered American Cancer Society surveys. Specifically, the researchers looked for changes in participants' health from two years to eight years after their loved ones' cancer diagnosis. Two years after the ... Read more

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Antidepressants During Pregnancy Safe for Baby: Study

Posted 7 Jun 2017 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, June 7, 2017 – Expectant mothers, if you're taking an antidepressant it won't make your newborn cranky or at higher risk for other problems, researchers report. Northwestern University researchers divided 214 new moms into three groups: those with a mood disorder who were not using an antidepressant; those who were taking a serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SRI) antidepressant; and those without a mood disorder who were not on an antidepressant. At two to four weeks after birth, babies in all three groups had similar rates of irritability, difficulty feeding, sleep disturbances and respiratory problems, the study found. The issues affected 3 out of 10 babies in each group. Instead, preterm birth was the major risk factor for what is known as Neonatal Discontinuation Syndrome (NDS). Babies with NDS get agitated, restless, cry excessively and may be rigid or have tremors. Many ... Read more

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