Thursday, May 25, 2006

Job Burnout?

If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, it may be time to seek employment elsewhere!

1). If you are cranky and irritable with co-workers that you used to get along with, it may be more than interpersonal dynamics, especially if they are walking on eggshells around you.

2). You used to wake up in the morning ready to start another day, but now it seems that you dread coming in, come in late, you start watching the clock after lunch, and you want to leave earlier.

3). Soon apathy has replaced enthusiasm. You are no longer motivated, have no sense of accomplishment and have no desire to be challenged. Those who have burnout no longer take pride in a job well done.

4). There is no longer any camaraderie with co-workers. You don't want to socialize in or out of the office as you did before.

5). You're starting to feel physically sick. You may feel exhausted, have headaches, muscle tension, and trouble sleeping. These are common signs of stress that can turn into a physical problem.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

A Good Reason for Stress?

Stress is often talked about in bad terms. One example is that it is true that sustained stress is harmful to your health. Stress can contribute to insomnia, depression, anxiety, obesity, heart disease, and other problems.
But according to the April 2005 issue of Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource, momentary or acute stress may actually boost your immune system, promote longevity and can help you meet life's challenges. Face it, life without stress would be boring. Manageable levels of stress make a challenging task exciting and can increase your potential productivity and success. Stress is neither good or bad. But the positive or negative effects of stress depend on the amount you are able to tolerate.
A way to help prevent stress overload is to choose positive and meaningful activities over those that can cause an unnecessary emotional load. For those unavoidable stressors, such as trauma or loss, you can learn constructive ways to deal with them by focusing on those factors you can control. This could include taking care of yourself through diet and exercise, maintaining a positive approach and seeking professional help when needed.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Alzheimer's and Depression

According to a study by researchers at the Alzheimer's Disease Research Center at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, those with a lifetime history of depression are associated with the increased plaques and tangles in the brains of those with Alzheimer's and those who have a more rapid cognitive decline. This study has now been published in the February issue of Archives of General Psychiatry.
According to the background information in the article, previous studies have linked depression and Alzheimer's. Those with a lifetime history of major depressive disorder may be more likely diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Also, both diseases are likely to affect the brain's memory related temporal lobes. Depression is likely to cause atrophy of the hippocampus, which is the area where the largest amounts of plaques and tangles form in those with Alzheimer's disease.
To assess how depression might affect the development of Alzheimer's, researchers compared the brains of 44 patients who had Alzheimer's with a history of depression to 51 without. This group included 32 men and 63 women who had an average age of death of 81 years.
Those with a history of depression had more tangles and plaques in the hippocampus than those without. People who were depressed at the time they were diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease had even more pronounced changes in their brains than those whose depression occurred earlier or later. Based on the analyses of cognitive tests that where given to the participants, those with Alzheimer's who had a history of depression also experienced a more rapid decline into dementia than those who did not have depression.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Treat Your Own Depression

Researchers at the Department of Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System in Seattle found that patients who chose their own depression treatment had better outcomes than those whose treatment was determined by their physician alone. The study of 335 adults who had a clinical diagnosis of depression appears in the October issue of the Annals of Behavior Medicine.

Of the participants, most were male with an average age of 57. They were allowed to choose from a treatment plan that included medication alone, psychotherapy alone or both. It was determined that 72 percent who were recieving treatment according to their preference showed a more rapid improvement in the symptoms of depression.

In telephone interviews at one week, three months, and nine months, patients were assessed on functional status, severity of depression, the amount depression interferes with their lives, and changes in health outcomes and treatment preferences. Most showed improvement in all categories at the three and nine month intervals, and depression did improve for patients in both groups. Researchers feel the positive impact was more noticeable in the early months of treatment. And although not saying for certain, they feel the preference-matched patients were better able to stick with their treatment in the early stages.

15 percent of those who preferred medication alone were older and more likely to be white and married than the 24 percent who used psychotherapy alone, or the 60 percent who preferred both. They also found that African-American patients were less likely than whites to find either treatment acceptable, and Hispanic patients were less likely to find medicaiton acceptable. The majority preferred some type of active treatment.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Adults With ADD and Their Work Environment

With the increase in advertising aimed at adults, it is now estimated that 8 million struggle with ADHD. Chances are, if you work in an office setting, you've spotted a few of them. They may have symptoms that include figeting, trouble focusing on a task, missed deadlines, seemingly uncomfortable at meetings, desks in disarray, and interrupting colleagues. This issue, which is more commonly diagnosed in children, has become a growing problem in the workplace.
According to a study done in September by Dr. Joseph Biederman, professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, this disorder can have a very significant economic impact on employees. He says that the household income for high school graduates with ADHD is almost $11,000 less than a person without ADHD. And college graduates who suffer from ADHD have an income nearly $4,000 less than their counter parts.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Is ADHD a Precursor to Smoking?

According to the Scripps Howard News Service, children who have attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder are more likely to start smoking. On Oct. 3rd they also reported that those with more ADHD symptoms were at an even higher risk then persons that would smoke regularly during adolescence or early adulthood.
Although more research is needed, it is possible that certain ADHD symptoms may encourage smoking. The study, published in the October 2005 issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry, reported that smokers who had the most inattentive or hyperactive-impulsive symptoms as children, started smoking, on average, a year earlier than those who reported the fewest number of symptoms.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Stress During Pregnancy Causes High Cortisol Levels in Their Kids

Research done at Bristol University in the UK has found that women who have high levels of anxiety during the late stages of pregnancy, had children who had higher cortisol levels when they reached 10 years. Researchers say many of these children may be more susceptible to anxiety.
This study of 74 children can be read in the journal of Biological Psychiatry. Saliva samples were taken from 10 year olds and tested four times a day for three school days. The mothers were questioned about their anxiety levels during pregnancy. Researchers found that there was a clear correlation between the two. They also pointed out that factors such as the child's personality, environment, lifestyle, and upbringing need to be taken into account when trying to predict susceptibility to depression or anxiety later in life. Researchers also point out that cortisol levels can work both ways. Low levels are linked to some mental health problems.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Treating Childhood Depression

The latest research reported in the Lancet suggests that childhood depression is often difficult to treat. With little in the way of scientific evidence to guide the use of antidepressants, treating children can be problematic. And although depression is common among children and adolescents, recent data pertaining to the increaded risk of suicidal behavior among children taking antidepressants such as Paxil, Prozac and Zoloft have called their use into question.
The latest research reported in September shows that major depressive disorders affect nearly 1-2 percent of children 6-12 years, and 2-5 percent of teenagers. In addition, it shows that 14-25 percent of children and adolescents have at least one major depressive episode before they reach adulthood.
Depression in children is not a short or transient phenomena. It is relatively common, with impairment that can last awhile, deserving treatment. Given the recent problems of antidepressants causing suicidal thoughts, many experts believe that medication should be used in conjunction with psychotherapy. Psychotherapy is a very valuable and effective means of treating depression. Children shouldn't be limited to medication.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Treating ADHD Through Diet

Traditionally, doctors have been treating children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder with medication. But now more and more health care providers are having success controlling symptoms by simply changing their diets. Some say that children are now thriving due to a special nutrition program.
All foods cause chemical reactions in the body. Therefore, eating the wrong foods may cause a brain chemistry and nervous system imbalance. Experts say that the top five foods that can cause sensitivity and aggravate ADHD symptoms include eggs, corn, citrus products, and wheat and dairy products. They also say that adding a daily supplement to your child's diet may help. Missing essential nutrients may also cause ADHD symptoms.
Although there is no scientific evidence to back this up,parents say it's worth a try. They're looking for ways to help their kids without the use of prescriptions.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

What's The Best Meds For ADHD?

If you're a parent seeking comparisons of ADHD drugs, you won't find any. According to a new review from the Oregon Evidence-based Practice Center at the Oregon Health and Science University, there are few clinical comparisons of ADHD medications despite the large variety and the prevalence of the condition among children and adults.The majority of head-to-head trials compared the widely prescribed drug Ritalin with other drugs. Most trials were also short in duration, included a small number of patients and did not measure the long-term effects of the drugs. Researchers also found that as for safety, the short-term, randomized controlled trials did not provide evidence that any one stimulant was any more tolerable than another or that nonstimulants were more tolerable than stimulants. Researchers also found that none of the trials compared how well the drugs improved academic performance, quality of life, or social skills. Few studies compare one stimulant to another and those that do show no clear advantages. Dr. John Santa, assistant direcotr for health projects at the center for Evidence-based policy says they reviewed 146 studies including a combination of randomized controlled trials and observational studies to ensure the largest possible amount of data on the medicines' side effects. Only half had any data on race or ethnicity, and only one quarter of school age children reported the type of ADHD treated. Very few studies compared the effectiveness of different drugs in treating adults with ADHD.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Pharmaceutical Companies Are Pushing Pills

"Selling Sickness: How the World's Biggest Pharmaceutical Companies Are Turning Us All Into Patients" is a new book coauthored by University of Victoria, Canada drug researcher Alan Cassels. He argues that people should be skepticle before taking pills for so-called illnesses, noting that pharmaceutical companies offer drugs to essentially healthy people. Cassels and coauthor Ray Moynihan, health policy researcher, closely examines the multibillion dollar pharmaceutical industry and checks for misinformation and profit-driven behaviour. They argue that pharmaceuticals have exaggerated drug effectiveness and the number of sufferers for a host of conditions including depression, ADD, PMS, and social anxiety disorder just to name a few. One example, high cholesterol, is now being considered a disease, rather than a simple risk factor. Exposing the sometimes questionable practices of North America's drug manufacturers is not something new. However, this book shows that there's not only problems in Oklahoma and New Jersey, but in Vancouver and Edmonton as well. And although direct-to-comsumer drug advertising is technically illegal in Canada, the drug commercials mentioned in the book will be familiar to Canadians.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Children and Prescription Drug Abuse

A new report shows that prescription drug abuse among teenagers is on the rise. According to a study done by the National Center on Addiction and Substanse Abuse at Columbia University, one in ten teenagers has tried prescription stimulants without a doctor's order.

The most common abused stimulant was methylphenidate (Ritalin). Many factors contribute to the escalating abuse of such prescription drugs. Some of these are lack of adequate information to youth, parents and schools regarding the abuse of potential these drugs. Parents and teenagers need to understand that the consequences of using these stimulants without a doctors orders are very serious and may include irregular heartbeat, dangerously high body temperature, and/or the potential for cardiovascular failure. All in all, the abuse of methylphenidate has increased significantly since 1990 and parents and school officials need to be on the lookout.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

ADD Drug Cylert Too Dangerous

According to the Food and Drug Administration, liver problems with Abbott Laboratories Inc’s discontinued ADHD drug Cylert and other generic versions, are too dangerous for the U.S. market. This means that drug manufacturers can no longer produce generic versions of pemoline. Abbott Laboratories discontinued the drug earlier this year, but generic versions have remained available. The FDA said it is not recalling the drug. This will allow pharmacies to sell their remaining stock as doctors switch patients to alternative treatments. The lack of a recall caused concern from consumer advocacy group Public Citizen. Drs. Sidney Wolfe and Peter Lurie, who lead the organization’s Health Research Group, called the FDA and the involved companies reckless and insensitive to the health and lives of children and adults using this drug. The FDA made the statement that during the thirty years the drug has been available, it has thirteen reports of liver failure resulting in transplant or death among those who too it. According to them, the number is well above what the normal rate is such problems are among the general population. They conclude that the risk of liver failure outweighs the potential benefits, noting that other stimulants have been produced and don’t cause the problems pemoline does.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Don't Let Your Child Be A Bully

Research conducted at the University of Washington has shown that a lack of social interaction can cause aggressive behavior in 4 year olds. Most of that lack is from parents letting their children watch too much TV. Whether it's educational or not, TV cannot replace the importance of playing and interacting with family and friends. So please don't let your child become a bully. Participate in his\her life instead of using the electronic babysitter.

Monday, May 01, 2006

New ADD Medicine

The Food and Drug Administration has given approval to Cephalon Inc. to market Sparlon as a treatment for attention-defict/hyperactivity disorder in children ages 6-17. Subject to FDA final approval, Sparlon is expected to be on the market by early next year. Final approval is contingent upon discussions between Cephalon and the FDA regarding the product's labeling.

Sparlon is a new formulation and dosage strength of modafinil, which is the active ingredient in Provigil. Provigil is Cephalon's product approved for the treatment of adults that struggle with excessive sleepiness associated with narcolepsy, obstructive sleep apnea/ hypopnea syndrome and shift-work sleep disorder. It was going to originally be marketed under the name Attenace, but the FDA expressed concerns about the name prompting the change.