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Blog Profile / assertTrue

Filed Under:Technology / Programming
Posts on Regator:583
Posts / Week:1.9
Archived Since:March 20, 2009

Blog Post Archive

Do Antidepressants Increase Suicide Risk?

The subject of whether antidepressants increase or decrease suicide risk is a complicated one, and the literature on this subject remains conflicted. A study published in 2004, covering the period 1985 to 1999, found that U.S. suicides decreased 13.5% at a time when antidepressant use rose four-fold. Show More Summary

The Curse of Akathisia

A small but important percentage of people who take antidepressants, antisychotics, and certain other meds (like prochlorperazine, used for vertigo, nausea, and migraine) tend to develop a very serious reaction called akathisia, which,...Show More Summary

The Rollback Phenomenon

The debate around suicidality in patients taking antidepressants (which reached a peak a few years ago, when FDA came out with its famous black box warnings) has been a contentious one, with many papers in the literature "proving," with...Show More Summary

Antidepressant Dose Doesn't Matter

It's common practice, when a patient compains of not seeing improvement on antidepressants, for the clinician to increase the dose of whatever you're taking, on the theory that everyone's metabolism is slightly different, and what may...Show More Summary

Antidepressant Efficacy: Hard to Prove

Antidepressants have not fared particularly well in clinical trials to determine efficacy. Placebo effect has gotten stronger over the years, resulting in many expensive failures of late-stage (Phase III) drug trials, with the result that most major drug makers have halted R&D programs aimed at developing new psychiatric drugs. Show More Summary

Is CBT Better Than Other Therapies?

Of all the "talk therapy" modalities in use today for treatment of common psychiatric disorders (such as OCD, anxiety disorders generally, and depression), probably none is more agressively promoted than Cognitive Behavioral Therapy....Show More Summary

Are Psychiatric Drugs as Effective as Other Drugs?

Ever since Irving Kirsch published his famous meta-analysis of FDA clinical trials on antidepressants, showing that half of trials produced no separation from placebo and that antidepressants are generally of dubious clinical worth except...Show More Summary

The 31% Solution

In writing a book on mental illness (which is topping out, now, at 113K words), I find that although I haven't exactly written an anti-psychiatry screed, I've come about as close to that designation as you can come without sounding like a full-on psychiatry-bashing lunatic. Show More Summary

Can Antidepressants Make You Bipolar?

Bipolar disorder is a spectrum disorder characterized by at least one manic or mixed episode, alternating (typically) with depressive episodes. It conforms to Kraepelin's original concept of manic-depressive illness, which can include psychosis symptoms during mood episodes. Show More Summary

Do Mood Stabilizers Work for Depression?

Because modern antidepressants so often fail to give people relief, it's become fashionable in recent years for prescribers to add an adjunctive mood stabilizer (such as Lamictal, Depakote, lithium, valproate, or Tegretol) into a patient's antidepressant mix, yielding a so-called "cocktail" aimed at producing better results. Show More Summary

Can Antidepressants Make You More Depressed?

Antidepressants of the SSRI and SNRI types are very widely prescribed now, sometimes off-label, sometimes for milder depression symptoms, often by family doctors rather than psychiatrists. Anyone who tries one of these drugs should be...Show More Summary

Is Abilify Effective for Depression?

Abilify is the top-selling prescription drug in the U.S., a ranking it has held for a couple of years now. What's astonishing is that this drug was originally approved as (and only used as) an antipsychotic. My wife, who has schizoaffective disorder, is an experienced user of Abilify, Haldol, Latuda, Zyprexa, and Saprhis. Show More Summary

Where Are the Schizophrenia Genes?

Schizophrenia is another one of those conditions (like alcoholism) that we're constantly being told is highly heritable, based on the results of twin studies and various other findings (from studies that pre-date the DNA-sequencing era). Show More Summary

Where Are the Alcoholism Genes?

Alcohol abuse is the third leading cause of preventable death in the U.S. (behind smoking and obesity) creating a burden to the U.S. economy of about $200 billion a year. Data from twin studies (and other studies) have long suggested a strong genetic component to alcoholism. Show More Summary

Winner's Curse

Before saying anything more about genetic studies, I want to talk about a problem that's quite common in scientific studies. It's colloquially (and somewhat inappropriately, since the analogy doesn't hold 100%) known as the "winner's...Show More Summary

The Problem of "Missing Heritability"

When the human genome was sequenced in 2003, the expectation was that scientists, armed with a powerful array of new genetic techniques, would very quickly identify the genetic correlates of things like schizophrenia, depression, autism, and alcoholism, which we supposedly "know" have a large genetic component. Show More Summary

Is Mental Illness Really Genetic?

For a long time, we've been told, insistently, that this or that mental disorder, such as schizophrenia, depression, autism, Substance Use Disorder, etc., is at least X% genetic, based on "heritability" analysis. Usually, we're talking about twin studies. Show More Summary

A Mental Illness Memoir in the Making

Lately, I've been working on a book project, a mental illness tome, tentatively titled South of Normal: Schizophrenia, Mania Depression, and Matrimony (a Memoir). It started as a kind of note-taking or journaling exercise, and for the longest time, I didn't seriously consider that it would turn into a full-blown book. Show More Summary

Jodorowski: Why Not?

I was recently privileged to watch the documentary Jodorowski's Dune, which has been showing on cable TV in the U.S. If you haven't seen it, seek it out as soon as you can. It may have the same remarkable effect on you that it has had on me.It has changed how I think of what I do as a writer. Show More Summary

Why We Need to Study Comets

News wires are full of stories today about the detection of organic molecules by the comet lander Philae. The more exciting news, arguably, is that Rosetta scientists are "very confident" Philae will wake up again as the comet gets closer to the sun. Show More Summary

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