Saturday/Sunday reading…updated

Update In Army’s Trauma Care Units, Feeling Warehoused New York Times — Essentially the military’s psych wards–  But interviews with more than a dozen soldiers and health care professionals from Fort Carson’s transition unit, along with reports from other posts, suggest that the units are far from being restful sanctuaries. For many soldiers, they have become warehouses of despair, where damaged men and women are kept out of sight, fed a diet of powerful prescription pills and treated harshly by noncommissioned officers. Because of their wounds, soldiers in Warrior Transition Units are particularly vulnerable to depression and addiction, but many soldiers from Fort Carson’s unit say their treatment there has made their suffering worse.

Update: Mind Over Meds – NYTimes.com — Interesting piece from New York Magazine…A look at the lack of psychotherapy in psychiatry…though, in the end Daniel Carlat still loves his meds as any good psychiatrist must. People like him because he whistle blew on pharma…but really it seems he used it in an opportunistic fashion and now he’s a hot shot “radical” firmly embedded in the mainstream

Mark Hyman, MD: Why Antidepressants Don’t Work for Treating Depression — Huffington Post — That leaves us with a big problem — millions of depressed people with no effective treatments being offered by most conventional practitioners. However, there are treatments available. Functional medicine provides a unique and effective way to treat depression and other psychological problems. Today I will review seven steps you can take to work through your depression without drugs. But before we get to that, let’s take a closer look at depression.

Omega-3 fatty acids are a key to healthier life – latimes.com  — “There’s very strong, medical-nutrition, literature-based evidence in humans suggesting that the average American would probably have a healthier life, a lower risk of dying from heart disease and improved brain function by consuming more fish, more supplements or more functional foods with DHA and EPA,” says nutritional scientist Bruce Holub, of the University of Guelph in Ontario and executive director of the DHA/EPA Omega-3 Institute there.

Plasticity and Habits of Mind | Bipolar AdvantageWe should feel both sobered and empowered by the fact that everything we think and do sculpts our neurons. Sobered, because every single thought leaves traces that accumulate; a lifetime of negative thinking strengthens the neural foundations of stress, fear, and sadness. If we clumsily allow our minds to obsess on whatever attracts attention, no matter how discouraging or counterproductive, we will develop brains prone to unhappiness. Empowerment comes from recognizing the opposite principle: fostering positive thoughts, memories, and feelings will gradually increase our ability to remain contented.

CultureLab: Nature vs nurture: hard facts and strong storiesANYONE who still believes that our psychological dispositions are due largely to our genes will learn a lot from this book. The same goes for those who think they are predominantly shaped by our environment. Jerome Kagan, an emeritus professor of psychology at Harvard University, has spent much of his career unpacking the complexities behind human personality and behaviour. In The Temperamental Thread he navigates a path through the conflicting evidence with great skill and eloquence.

How true is the one-in-four mental health statistic? GuardianUK — So can half of us really expect to experience mental illness? Maybe, but some experts have another interpretation of these startlingly high figures. For example, in their book The Loss of Sadness, American sociologists Allan Horwitz and Jerome Wakefield argued that the high rates of clinical depression seen in surveys like these are largely a reflection of flaws in the diagnostic criteria used to define and detect this condition. According to the most widely used criteria, you have clinical depression if you have two or more weeks in which you experience five or more symptoms from a list of nine, such as decreased motivation and difficulty sleeping. But the criteria don’t consider why you might be feeling that way (the one exception being grief following bereavement).

Mind Hacks weigh in on their thoughts on the above article as well with Questioning one in fourPsychiatry has a tendency for ‘diagnosis creep’ where unpleasant life problems are increasingly defined as medical disorders, partly due to pressure from drug companies who develop compounds that could genuinely help non-medical problems. The biggest market is the USA where most drugs are dispensed via insurance claims and insurance companies demand an official diagnosis to fund the drugs, hence, pressure to create new diagnoses from companies and distressed people.

A Mindful Path Through Depression — Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.

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