Smiles Can Deceive: 2 Personality Traits Make Depression Hard To Spot (M)

The signs of depression are hidden in these type of people.

The signs of depression are hidden in these type of people.


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The Shocking Way Depression and Schizophrenia Hijack Learning Abilities (M)

The subtle learning bias seen in people with depression and schizophrenia that stops them grasping patterns in everyday life.

The subtle learning bias seen in people with depression and schizophrenia that stops them grasping patterns in everyday life.


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Two-Thirds Of Severely Depressed Respond To Novel Brain Stimulation Technique (M)

A variation on an FDA approved method of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) for depression doubles its effectiveness.

A variation on an FDA approved method of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) for depression doubles its effectiveness.


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Low Spirits Could Signal A Hidden Deficiency — Research Reveals Connection

Are you getting enough of this crucial vitamin? Up to 50 percent of people might not be.

Are you getting enough of this crucial vitamin? Up to 50 percent of people might not be.

Depression can be a sign of vitamin D deficiency, research finds.

The vitamin is also thought to play a role in regulating serotonin, a neurotransmitter important for mood.

One study has linked vitamin D deficiency to a 75 percent higher risk of depression.

Symptoms of depression include moodiness, lack of motivation and tiredness.

Depression is also linked to physical symptoms such as headaches, stomach aches, dizziness and muscle pain.

Foods that are rich in vitamin D include oily fish and eggs, but most people get their vitamin D from the action of sunlight on the skin.

That is why levels are typically lower in the body through the winter months in more Northern climes.

Up to 50 percent of young women may be deficient in this vitamin, other research has shown.

One small case study involved 3 women who were given vitamin D replacement therapy for 12 weeks.

All had previously been diagnosed with depression and were taking antidepressants.

The results showed that all three women felt their depression lift significantly.

Dr Sonal Pathak, the study’s first author, said:

“Vitamin D may have an as-yet-unproven effect on mood, and its deficiency may exacerbate depression.

If this association is confirmed, it may improve how we treat depression.”

Although only a small study, other much larger studies have pointed to a link between vitamin D deficiency and depression.

One study included 12,600 people, who had their vitamin D levels and any symptoms of depression tested.

The results showed that people who were more depressed had lower vitamin D levels.

Dr Pathak said:

“Screening at-risk depressed patients for vitamin D deficiency and treating it appropriately may be an easy and cost-effective adjunct to mainstream therapies for depression.”

The study was The Endocrine Society’s 94th Annual Meeting in Houston (Pathak, 2012).

The Probiotic Bacteria That Could Reverse Depression And Anxiety

The type of bacteria that helps the brain manage stress, anxiety, and depression.

The type of bacteria that helps the brain manage stress, anxiety, and depression.

The probiotic, Lactobacillus, also known as a ‘good bacteria’ can boost the body’s resilience to environmental stress and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.

According to a study, the Lactobacillus species exhibits a protective role against stress, warding off anxiety and depression.

Lactobacillus is found in fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, and cheese, however, probiotic supplements contain much higher concentrations.

Depression and anxiety are two of the most common and troublesome mental illnesses which affects millions of people, yet current treatments are inadequate.

Dr Alban Gaultier, the study’s senior author, said:

“Our discovery illuminates how gut-resident Lactobacillus influences mood disorders, by tuning the immune system.

Our research could pave the way toward discovering much-needed therapeutics for anxiety and depression.”

Human microbiome & mental health

The gut microbiota (gut flora) consists of trillions of microorganisms including viruses, bacteria, and fungi that live in the digestive tract.

The relationship between the gut flora, the immune system, and the brain has encouraged scientists to look for possible therapies to improve mental health and well-being.

Any illness or poor habit such as lack of physical activity, bad diet, drinking, and smoking could harm the microbiome, leading to serious issues such as cancer and mood disorders.

Past studies on probiotics — due to the vast numbers of microorganisms and the microbiome’s complexity — have struggled to determine what specific bacteria independently influence human brain health.

This research focused on several strains of Lactobacillus, such as L. intestinalis and L. murinus, by removing them in mice.

They found that mice lacking the Lactobacillus species behaved in more stressed and anxious ways.

The findings show the importance of probiotic lactobacilli and how their absence could aggravate depression and anxiety.

Dr Andrea Merchak, the study’s first author, said:

“With these results in hand, we have new tools to optimize the development of probiotics, which should speed up discoveries for novel therapies.

Most importantly, we can now explore how maintaining a healthy level of Lactobacillus and/or interferon gamma could be investigated to prevent and treat anxiety and depression.”

Related

The study was published in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity (Merchak et al., 2023).

The Tiny Amount Of Exercise That Cuts Depression Risk 44%

Even relatively small amounts of exercise can help reduce the risk of developing depression.

Even relatively small amounts of exercise can help reduce the risk of developing depression.

Only one hour of exercise per week is enough to help prevent depression, research finds.

In the largest survey of its kind, the anxiety and depression levels of 33,908 Norwegians were monitored for more than 11 years.

The researchers concluded that just one hour of exercise a week reduced the chances of developing depression by a massive 44 percent.

Dr Samuel Harvey, the study’s lead author, said:

“We’ve known for some time that exercise has a role to play in treating symptoms of depression, but this is the first time we have been able to quantify the preventative potential of physical activity in terms of reducing future levels of depression.”

The researchers also estimated that one hour of exercise would have prevented 12 percent of depression cases that occurred in their study.

Dr Harvey said:

“These findings are exciting because they show that even relatively small amounts of exercise — from one hour per week — can deliver significant protection against depression.”

Fascinatingly, that first hour of exercise turned out to be crucial, said Dr Harvey:

“Most of the mental health benefits of exercise are realised within the first hour undertaken each week.

With sedentary lifestyles becoming the norm worldwide, and rates of depression growing, these results are particularly pertinent as they highlight that even small lifestyle changes can reap significant mental health benefits.”

It is not known exactly why exercise has such a positive effect on mood disorders, said Dr Harvey:

“We are still trying to determine exactly why exercise can have this protective effect, but we believe it is from the combined impact of the various physical and social benefits of physical activity.

These results highlight the great potential to integrate exercise into individual mental health plans and broader public health campaigns.

If we can find ways to increase the population’s level of physical activity even by a small amount, then this is likely to bring substantial physical and mental health benefits.”

The study was published in the American Journal of Psychiatry (Harvey et al., 2017).

The Major Personality Trait Linked To Depression Risk

The conclusion comes from 21,000 Swedish twins who completed personality tests.

The conclusion comes from 21,000 Swedish twins who completed personality tests.

Negative emotionality is the strongest risk factor for depression among personality traits, research finds.

Negative emotionality is essentially being highly neurotic and involves finding it hard to deal with stress and experiencing a lot of negative emotions and mood swings.

People who are neurotic are more likely to experience negative emotions like fear, jealousy, guilt, worry and envy.

Some neurotic people can be quite shy and self-conscious.

The good news is that a depressive personality can be changed, contrary to what many people think.

The study’s authors write:

“…personality is at least somewhat malleable, especially in youth, but may forecast the onset of depression years in advance, which makes traits a potentially attractive means of identifying individuals at risk and informing selection of interventions.”

In addition, other aspects of personality can protect against the disadvantages of negative emotionality.

Being high in conscientiousness and an extravert together has a protective effect on people who are highly neurotic.

The conclusion comes from two studies — one looked at around 21,000 Swedish twins who completed personality tests.

They were followed up over 25 years later and asked about any experience of depression.

The results revealed that negative emotionality was key and that genetic factors were important in the development of depression.

Professor Kenneth S. Kendler, who led the study, said:

“The personality trait of neuroticism – perhaps better understood as “negative emotionality” is a strong risk factor of major depression.

Our study shows that this occurs largely because levels of neuroticism are an index of the genetic liability to depression.”

The second study reviewed many other studies on the link between personality and depression.

It also found that neuroticism or negative emotionality is strongly linked to depression.

The authors conclude that:

“Current evidence suggests that depression is linked to traits such as neuroticism/negative emotionality, extraversion/positive emotionality, and conscientiousness.

Moreover, personality characteristics appear to contribute to the onset and course of depression through a variety of pathways.”

Although links are sometimes found between depression and being introverted, as well as being low on conscientiousness, it is neuroticism that has the greatest link to depression.

The studies were was published in the journals Annual Review of Clinical Psychology and Archives of General Psychiatry (Klein et al., 2011; Kendler et al., 2006).

These Thoughts Are A Clear Sign Of Depression

Why these thoughts make some people depressed, while others quickly dismiss them.

Why these thoughts make some people depressed, while others quickly dismiss them.

“Sticky thoughts” are the hallmark of depression, research finds.

Bad things happen to most of us at some point, but some people take it worse than others.

This is partly down to the inability to mentally turn away from them.

Thoughts about negative experiences can get ‘stuck’ in the brain.

Professor Jutta Joormann, the study’s first author, explained what happens in the minds of depressed people:

“They basically get stuck in a mindset where they relive what happened to them over and over again.

Even though they think, oh, it’s not helpful, I should stop thinking about this, I should get on with my life — they can’t stop doing it.”

The researchers compared the working memory of 26 people diagnosed with depression to 27 people who were depression-free.

Working memory refers to the thoughts that are active in your mind at this very moment.

Our present-moment experience, therefore, is highly dependent on how our working memory operates.

All the people in the study did a test that required them to think flexibly.

In other words, it required them to turn their attention from one subject to another.

The results showed that depressed people had particular problems turning their minds away from negative thoughts.

For example, if they were reminded of ‘death’ or ‘sadness’, their minds got stuck on these ideas and couldn’t change to focus on something else.

Professor Joormann said:

“The order of the words sort of gets stuck in their working memory, especially when the words are negative.”

People who were susceptible to getting these ‘stuck thoughts’ were also likely to ruminate more on their problems.

One way out of this trap is to first, learn to notice when this is happening.

Secondly, it is vital to refocus the attention elsewhere.

The study was published in the journal Psychological Science (Joormann et al., 2011).