Archives for September, 2012

General

For depression and PTSD, a wag of the tail works

If you look at this photo of me and puppy Harmony, you can see that I'm happy. I can't prove that I'm happy, besides telling you that I AM happy. I can't produce any scientific evidence confirming my happiness. No one can see the levels of serotonin flowing through my brain to prove that I'm happy, but I am.

Therein lies the problem for veterans with PTSD who want some help paying the expenses of their service dogs.  There is no proof that the service dogs help these warriors deal with the horrors of war. There is no research proving that a Marine's anxiety level drops when his service dog gently awakens him from a nightmare or sweeps a darkened room and turns on the lights so he can enter without reliving a deadly ambush.

This lack of evidence is one of the reasons the Veteran's Administration gave in deciding not to pay service dog benefits for vets who suffer from PTSD but have no physical wounds from war.

Though many commenters asserted that there is sufficient clinical evidence that VA could presently use to support administering mental health service dog benefits, the only evidence submitted in support of this assertion were anecdotal accounts of subjective benefits, including: decreased dependence on medications; increased sense of safety or decreased sense of hyper-vigilance; increased sense of calm; and the use of the dog as a physical buffer to keep others at a comfortable distance. Again, we do not discount commenters’ personal experiences, but we cannot reasonably use these subjective accounts as a basis for the administration of VA benefits.

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General

My anti-depressants: The floor beneath me

I don't know where I would be this morning if there was no floor beneath me.

I am not talking about the sagging hardwood floor in my little house that could use a mop. I'm talking about my anti-depressants. It's Monday - the sun hasn't yet risen - and I'm already weary. Not tired. Weary. There is a difference. But if it wasn't for my antidepressants, I would've fallen through...
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General

Depression and 9/11: How bad is it?

I remember exactly where I was when the first plane his the tower. I had never experienced anything like that and even though I was more than 1,000 miles away, the attacks deeply disturbed me. Eleven years later, I am still overcome with sorrow and horror when I watch the towers fall. Today, the 11th anniversary, we will watch them fall over and over.

I have tried to imagine what I would...
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Do electronic health records make a difference in depression treatment?

As if the controversy over electronic health records is complicated enough, a new University of Florida study found that physicians using EHR were about half as likely as physicians using paper-based records to provide appropriate depression treatment to patients with three or more chronic conditions.

The study analyzed 3,467 visits adult patients with a diagnosis of depression and noted whether the patient was prescribed an antidepressant, received mental health counseling or a got a combination of the two. For patients with one or two...
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