Depression and Mood Disorders


Depression is a type of mood disorder that involves the body, mood, and thoughts. It affects the way a person eats and sleeps, the way one thinks about things, and the way one feels about oneself. A depressive disorder is not a sign of weaknesses or simply a passing bad mood. Without treatment, depressive symptoms can last for weeks, months, or years. Appropriate treatment, however, can help most people who suffer from depression.
Depression can occur during adolescence, a time of great personal change. Teens may be facing changes in where they go to school, their friends, their after-school activities, as well as in their relationships with family members. These are all factors that can increase an adolescents risk for depression.
For information on depression on teens click on this link.

Brain Basics: How the brain reacts to mental illness

Changes in the brain can lead to mental disorders, such as depression. Learn how the brain works and what can go wrong. (From NIH's National Institute of Mental Health).
Click on this link, to read the article.

Black Dog video

It is important to remember that the Black Dog (i.e. Depression) can begin to grow in children and in teens. It's not just adults. When the Black Dog appears in children it becomes a "member" of the whole family. Luckily, as pointed, out there are effective treatments to help manage the depression, and even send it away on long holidays, and maybe even with children and teens, away for good.

Living with the Black Dog video

Information on Dysthymia

A helpul article on the signs, symptoms, and treatment of Dysthymia.
Click on this link, to read the article.

NIMH: What is Depression

NIMH: What is Depression

NIMH: Seasonal Affective Disorder

NIMH: Seasonal Affective Disorder

Depression Evaluations

Depression Research

    Even mildly insufficient sleep associated with increased risk for depresion and anxiety symptoms

    Medscape reports that "Although past research has shown a link between severe sleep dysfunction and psychological symptoms, new research suggests that even mildly insufficient sleep duration can have an adverse effect. Examining data from a nationwide telephone survey of more than 20,000 adult participants, the investigators found that each hour of additional sleep was significantly linked to a decreased risk for symptoms of depression, hopelessness, nervousness, and feeling restless or fidgety."
    Click this link to read the abstract of the study.

    1 in 9 new mothers suffer from Postpartum Depression

    Medscape reports that "Approximately one in nine women in the United States experience depressive symptoms after giving birth, according to a surveillance analysis published in the February 17, 2017 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. However, the proportion of mothers who experience postpartum depression has recently declined in some states. The overall prevalence of self-reported postpartum depressive symptoms (PDS) was 11.5% in 2012 for the 27 states included in the current analysis. Individual states showed wide variation, however, ranging from a low of 8.0% in Georgia to a high of 20.1% in Arkansas, according to data from the CDC Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System."
    Click this link to read the abstract of the study.
    Click this link to read the study.

    1 in 10 preschoolers have suicidal thoughts. behaviors

    Medscape reports that "About 1 in 10 children as young as age 3 years may have suicidal thoughts or suggestive behaviors, and these linger into middle childhood for 3 of 4 children, particularly for those with depression or externalizing disorders, new research suggests. Although the meaning of suicidal cognitions and behaviors at this young age remains unclear, the results suggest that they are a "clinically important phenomenon" that should not be ignored, investigators Diana J. Whalen, PhD, and colleagues write. "Our findings suggest that clinicians may need to start asking about suicidal thoughts and behaviors in young children, particularly among those with early-onset psychiatric disorders. While we do not know exactly what suicidal thoughts and behaviors mean in young children, they are likely a signal of distress and should be taken seriously," Dr Whalen told Medscape Medical News."
    Click this link to read the abstract of the study.

    Depression ups Stroke risk even after depression symtoms ease

    Medscape reports that "Persistent depression may double the risk for stroke in adults aged 50 years and older, and stroke risk remains elevated even when symptoms remit, suggesting a cumulative etiologic mechanisms linking depression and stroke, new research shows. "Multiple prior studies" have shown that people with depression or depressive symptoms have higher risk for stroke, lead author Paola Gilsanz, ScD, ?Yerby Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Harvard University's T. H. Chan School of Public Health, in Boston, Massachusetts, told Medscape Medical News."
    Click this link to read the abstract of the study.

    Cyberbullying in female college students

    Medscape reports that "Cyberbullying has been linked to a markedly increased risk for depression and problem alcohol use in college students, new research suggests. A survey study of more than 200 female college students showed that those who were involved with cyberbullying in any way were almost three times more likely to meet criteria for clinical depression than those with no cyberbullying experience. In addition, cyberbullying perpetrators had more than four times the odds of depression and problem drinking compared with nonbullies."
    Click this link to download a pdf of the study.

    Depression Messes with your Ability to Concentrate

    A helpul post by Liana Scott on the fact that depression often impacts an individual's ability to concentrate. For those attuned to this fact, this may often be one of the first indicators. She also offers three suggestions to help with this.
    Click on this link, to read the article.

    Twelve Lifestyle Factors That Make You Feel Depressed

    A very helpful article on twelve factors that can help you feel depressed. These factors can make you feel depressed and if you feel depressed you will tend to not do these things. This then leads to a cycle that leads to a worsening of depression. Conversely doing these things will help prevent or lighten up an individual's depression.
    Click on this link, to read the article.

    Meta-analysis links low zinc level with depression

    A new meta-analysis shows that individuals diagnosed with depression have less peripheral zinc in their bodies. In an interview with Medscape the authors note that ""A growing body of evidence demonstrates that experimental zinc deficiency can induce depressive-like behavior in animals, which can be effectively reversed by zinc supplementation," the authors write. Furthermore, preliminary clinical trials have suggested that zinc added to antidepressant therapy may produce more rapid or more effective improvement in depressive symptoms."
    Click on this link, to read about the research.

    PET Scan predicts whether therapy or meds will best lift depression

    New research funded by the NIMH shows what the future might hold. In the study, pre-treatment scans of brain activity predicted whether depressed patients would best achieve remission with an antidepressant medication or psychotherapy. “Our goal is to develop reliable biomarkers that match an individual patient to the treatment option most likely to be successful, while also avoiding those that will be ineffective,” explained Helen Mayberg, M.D., of Emory University, Atlanta, a grantee of the NIH’s National Institute of Mental Health.

    Currently, determining whether a particular patient with depression would best respond to psychotherapy or medication is based on trial and error. In the absence of any objective guidance that could predict improvement, clinicians typically try a treatment that they, or the patient, prefer for a month or two to see if it works. Consequently, only about 40 percent of patients achieve remission following initial treatment. This is costly in terms of human suffering as well as health care spending.

    Using PET scans, the researchers found that "Activity in one specific brain area emerged as a pivotal predictor of outcomes from two standard forms of depression treatment: cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) or escitalopram, a serotonin specific reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant. If a patient’s pre-treatment resting brain activity was low in the front part of an area called the insula, on the right side of the brain, it signaled a significantly higher likelihood of remission with CBT and a poor response to escitalopram. Conversely, hyperactivity in the insula predicted remission with escitalopram and a poor response to CBT."
    Click on this link, to read about the research.

    Oxytocin Dysfunction Seen in Both Depressed Moms and Kids

    New research shows that a dysfunctional oxytocin system may underpin the long-term harmful effects of maternal depression on child development, suggesting a potential for oxytocin-based interventions, researchers say. This then leads to the possibility to therapies that help trigger the infant's oxytocin may help head off the negative effects of living with a depressed mother.
    Click on this link, to read about the research.
    Click on this link, to read an accompanying editorial about the article.

    Scan predicts whether therapy or meds will best lift depression

    Pre-treatment scans of brain activity predicted whether depressed patients would best achieve remission with an antidepressant medication or psychotherapy, in a study that may help mental health treatment decision-making move beyond trial-and-error. The study sought to identify a biomarker that could predict which type of treatment a patient would benefit from based on the state of his or her brain.
    Click on this link, to read about the research.

    Most teens who think about suicide do not receive mental health services

    A new study founded by the NIMH find that "within the past year, 3.6 percent of adolescents had suicidal thoughts, but did not make a specific plan or suicide attempt. In addition, 0.6 percent reported having a plan, and 1.9 percent reported having made a suicide attempt within the past year. Suicidal behavior among youth was not only associated with major depression, but also with a range of other mental health problems including eating, anxiety, substance use and behavior disorders, as well as physical health problems. Between 50 and 75 percent of those teens who reported having suicidal ideation had recent contact with a service provider. However, most only had three or fewer visits, suggesting that treatment tends to be terminated prematurely. Moreover, most teens with suicidal ideation did not receive specialized mental health care.
    Click on this link, to read the press release from the NIMH.

    Depression Rates Triple for Teen Girls

    New research shows that approproximately 12% of all girls in the US between 12 and 17 years of age have exprerienced an episode of Major Depressive Episodes (depression lasting for 2 weeks or longer) compared to 4.5 percent of boys in the same age range. The episode of Major Depressive Episodes in teen girls increases from 5.1 percent at age 12 to 16.1 percent at age 16.
    Click this link to read a pdf of new article about the research.
    Click this link to read a pdf of a data sheet from the study.

    Depressed Teens with History of Abuse Less Likely to Respond to Combination Treatment

    Adolescents with treatment-resistant depression who have a history of abuse-especially physical abuse-are less likely to respond to combination treatment than to medication alone, according to data from the NIMH-funded Treatment of Resistant Depression in Adolescents (TORDIA) study. The new study was published in the March 2011 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
    Click this link to read more.
    Click this link to read the article abstract.

    New Neurons in Adult Brain Buffer Stress

    New Research shows that when new neurons are built in the hippocampus of the adult brain that this helps buffer the individual from stress and serves to help protect against depression. Conversely a loss of neurons in this area leads to more stress and more of a tendency toward depression.
    view the article here

    Research suggests how depression develops in the brain

    New research funded by the NIMH. The NIMH news release states "Activating neurons in a brain structure linked to disappointment increased depression-like behaviors in rats, while suppressing the neurons' activity reduced the behaviors, according to an NIMH-funded study. The findings help to explain previous research linking this brain structure to depression in humans and highlight a cellular process that hadn't been previously explored in mood disorders research. The study was published in the February 24, 2011, issue of Nature.
    Click this link to read the article.

    Current Depression Among Adults—United States, 2006 and 2008

    New Research shows that in 2006 and 2008 9% of Adult Americans qualify for the diagnosis of depression. The prevalence of major depression increased with age, from 2.8% among persons aged 18–24 years to 4.6% among persons aged 45–64 years, but declined to 1.6% among those aged =65 years. Women were significantly more likely than men to report major depression (4.0% versus 2.7%), as were persons without health insurance coverage compared with those with coverage (5.9% versus 2.9%), persons previously married (6.6%) or never married (4.1%) compared with those currently married (2.2%), and persons unable to work (22.2%) or unemployed (9.8%) compared with homemakers and students (3.0%), persons employed (2.0%), and retired persons (1.6%).
    To read the abstract and the actual article click this link.

    Resilience Factor Low in Depression, Protects Mice From Stress

    Researchers have discovered a mechanism that helps to explain resilience to stress, vulnerability to depression, and how antidepressants work. The new findings, in the reward circuit of mouse and human brains, have spurred a high tech dragnet for compounds that boost the action of a key gene regulator there, called deltaFosB.
    DeltaFosB is a a transcription factor – inside neurons, and works to turn multiple genes on and off, triggering the production of proteins that perform a cell's activities. The researchers found that triggering deltaFosB in the reward circuit's hub is both necessary and sufficient for resilience. They found that it protected mice from developing a depression-like syndrome following chronic social stress. The researchers are now looking for ways to trigger the action of deltaFosB as a way to possibly treat depression.
    Click this link to read about the study.

    Magnetic Stimulation Scores Modest Success as Antidepressant

    Some depressed patients who don't respond to or tolerate antidepressant medications may benefit from a non-invasive treatment that stimulates the brain with a pulsing electromagnet, a study suggests. This first industry-independent, multi-site, randomized, tightly controlled trial of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) found that it produced significant antidepressant effects in a subgroup of patients, with few side effects.
    Click on this link to read the story

    Rapid Antidepressant Action of Common Medication Confirmed by Repeat Trial

    Confirming results from earlier research, a clinical trial of treatment for major depression showed that the medication scopolamine, commonly used for motion sickness and as a sedative, could lift symptoms of depression within days, far faster than current antidepressants. Though the study was small, the magnitude of scopolamine's effects in comparison with placebo suggests that this class of medications has potential for rapid treatment of depression.
    NIMH Radio Interview with Dr. Maura Furey on her research with scopolamine
    Click on thi slink to read more

    Whole Diet May Ward Off Depression and Anxiety

    A new study finds that a traditional or whole diet characterized by vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and high-quality meat and fish may help prevent mental illness — specifically, depression and anxiety. Conversely, a Western diet high in refined or processed foods and saturated fats may increase the risk of depression, new research suggests. The research also points to the importance of Omega's in helping to prevent anxiety and depression. The authors note that high quality meat is hard to find in the United States because most cattle is raised in food lots where they are raised on corn. This makes them a very poor source for Omega 3's. In the Rochester area if you are looking for beef raised on grass the best local source is Heiden Farms. They sell meat at the Public Market.
    Click this link to read about the study

    Diet Rich in Processed Food Linked to Increased Risk for Depression

    A study found that individuals eating a diet rich in high-fat dairy products and fried, refined, and sugary foods are at increased risk of developing depression, whereas individuals whose diet is rich in fish, fruit, and vegetables (a diet full of Omega 3's and folate)are at lower risk of developing depression.
    Click this link to read about the study..

    Re-shaping Negative Thoughts Shields At-Risk Teens from Depression

    A new study finds that cognitive behavioral therapy provided to at risk teenagers is helpful in preventing more severe depression.
    Click this link to read about the study.

    Childhood bullying behaviors as a risk for suicide attempts and completed suicides: a population-based birth cohort study

    A Study in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry finds that childhood bullying among girls in adolescence leads to higher risk for attempted and completed suicide when these girls are in their 20's.
    Click on this link to read about the study

    Study shows Mediterranean diet cuts depression risk

    Study finds that individuals following a Mediterranean diet have lower risk for depression (diet high in Omega 3 Fatty Acids).
    Click this link to read about the study

    New Approach to Reducing Suicide Attempts Among Depressed Teens

    A novel treatment approach that includes medication plus a newly developed type of psychotherapy that targets suicidal thinking and behavior shows promise in treating depressed adolescents who had recently attempted suicide.
    Click this link to read about the study.

Depression Resources

    Raising a Moody Child: How to Cope with Depression and Bipolar Disorder (2004) by Mary Fristad and Jill Golberg Arnold by Guilford Press.

    Feeling Good: the New Mood Therapy (1999) by David D. Burns by Avon Books.

    Additional information can be found at Medline.

    For more information check out the recommended books and movies in the Depression Section on the Recommended Reading page. Click this link to go to that page

Depression Treatment

    Metacognitive therapy shown effective for treatment of Depression in adults

    Medscape reports that "Metacognitive therapy (MCT), a psychotherapeutic approach that targets persistent rumination and negative thought processes, has a large effect size when used to treat depression and may offer a viable alternative to mainstay cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), results from a new randomized control trial show. "The results of this trial of MCT for depression are encouraging with large and statistically significant reductions both for depressive and anxious symptoms following 10 sessions of treatment. These improvements were sustained at 6 months follow-up," the authors, led by Roger Hagen, PhD, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway, write."
    Click this link to read the abstract of the study.
    Click this link to read the study.

    Dietary Supplement Kit may head off Postpartum blues

    Medscape reports that "A dietary supplement kit containing tryptophan, tyrosine, and blueberry juice/extract appears to markedly reduce vulnerability to postpartum blues (PPB), a new open-label study suggests. "The supplement taken on days 3 to 5 post partum had a very strong effect on preventing sad mood in postpartum," Dr Jeffrey Meyer, head of the neuroimaging program in mood and anxiety at the Center for Addiction and Mental Health, Campbell Family Mental Health Research Institute, Toronto, Canada, told Medscape Medical News."
    Click this link to read the abstract of the study.
    Click this link to read the study.

    Physically Active Children are Less Depressed

    NASAT reports that "Previous studies have shown that adults and young people who are physically active have a lower risk of developing depression. But the same effect has not been studied in children -- until now. Results from a new study are showing that children receive the same beneficial effect from being active. We're talking about moderate to vigorous physical activity that leaves kids sweaty or out of breath. Researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and NTNU Social Research have followed hundreds of children over four years to see if they could find a correlation between physical activity and symptoms of depression"
    Click on this link to read the article..

    Prescribing a Diet to Treat Depression

    Medscape reports that "Two researchers, Felice Jacka and Michael Berk, led a consortium of Australian Institutions based at the Food & Mood Centre at Deakin University in Victoria, Australia. Over 3 years, they recruited several hundred patients with moderate to severe depression and entered 67 into a 12-week parallel group trial. The treatment group received seven 60-minute sessions of dietary counselling. The parallel control group received a matching social support protocol. All but nine of the 67 participants were receiving another active treatment—either psychotherapy, medications, or both."
    Click on this link to read the Medscape article..
    Click this link to abstract of the study..



    Light Therapy an effective treatment for nonseasonal major depression

    Medscape reports that "The combination of bright light therapy plus an antidepressant significantly improves nonseasonal major depressive disorder, and light therapy alone is more effective than antidepressant monotherapy, a randomized, placebo-controlled trial suggests. "I've studied bright light therapy in winter depression for a long time, but we always thought that winter depression was different from nonseasonal depression," Raymond Lam, MD, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, told Medscape Medical News. "So this was the first study that was placebo-controlled, and I think that while light therapy could be used on its own for some patients, more severely ill patients need combination therapy, whether that combination be an antidepressant plus psychotherapy or psychotherapy plus light therapy or light therapy plus an antidepressant.""
    Click on this link, to read the article.

    Fish-rich diet may significantly reduce depression risk

    Medscape reports that "Eating fish may protect against depression, a new meta-analysis suggests. "Fish is rich in multiple beneficial nutrients, including n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, high-quality protein, vitamins, and minerals. Furthermore, fish have been hypothesized to protect against chronic diseases generally, such as cardiovascular disease and cancer. Therefore, we suggest people should eat more fish," first author Fang Li, from the Department of Epidemiology and Health Statistics, Medical College of Qingdao University, in China, told Medscape Medical News."
    Click on this link, to read the article.

    Discontinue Antidepressants in Rapid-Cycling Bipolar Disorder

    Medscape reports that "Discontinuing rather than maintaining antidepressant medications following treatment of depression in patients with rapid-cycling bipolar disorder (BD) appears to improve outcomes, new research shows. "In this sample, long-term continuation of antidepressants was associated with more mood episodes in patients with rapid-cycling bipolar disorder, particularly with three-fold increased rate of depressive episodes in the first year of follow-up," the investigators, led by Rif El-Mallakh, MD, Department of Psychiatry, University of Louisville, in Kentucky, write. "Any history of rapid cycling or antidepressant-induced mania is a very good predictor of doing poorly with long-term antidepressant treatment," Dr El-Mallakh told Medscape Medical News. "This population should be given nonantidepressant alternatives when they are depressed, or the antidepressants should be discontinued as soon as symptoms normalize."
    Click on this link, to read the article.

    Transcranial magnetic stimulation is gaining ground as a therapy for treatment-resistant depression

    in 2008, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved TMS as a treatment for people with major depression who have failed to respond to at least one antidepressant. TMS has become a promising treatment alternative for the estimated 30 percent to 50 percent of people with depression who don't respond sufficiently to antidepressant medications.
    Click on this link, to read the article.
    Click on this link, to read a pdf of the article.

    What do to when your depressed

    A very helpful article on depression that provides a step by step guide of what to do when you are feeling depressed, and what to do when you start to feel better.
    Click on this link, to read the article.

    Interventions Show Promise in Treating Depression Among Preschoolers

    A new psychosocial approach shows promise in helping preschoolers with symptoms of depression function better and learn to regulate their emotions, according to an NIMH-funded study published online ahead of print October 31, 2011, in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.
    Click this link to read about the research.

    Research Review: Treating treatment resistant depression in teens

    A recent study has looked at effective treatment for adolescents who has shown treatment resistent depression on a trial of an SSRI. The researchers followed the subjects for 72 weeks. The researchers had four treatment conditions and compared the effectiveness of the treatments by whether or not they lead to remission of the depression or a relapse of depression over time.
    Click on this listen to the story.

    Mindfulness training in CBT effective at stopping depression relapse

    Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) is as effective in preventing relapse in patients with recurrent major depressive disorder (MDD) as maintenance antidepressant monotherapy.
    Click this link to read the story.

    Study Shows Possibilities for Predicting How Patients Will Respond to Antidepressants

    In a study of an experimental treatment for major depression, pretreatment testing to probe the function of a specific brain center predicted how patients would respond to ketamine, a medication that can lift depression rapidly in some people. The work suggests it may be possible to develop ways to use such assessments in the future, not only to better understand depression, but to guide treatment choices for individuals.
    Click this link to read the NIMH press release about the study.

Depression Quicklinks

Black Dog Video about Depression
Information on Dysthymia - 4/26/14
NIMH: What is Depression

© Copyright, all rights reserved Daniel J. DeMarle, Ph.D. 2014