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Archives for February, 2012

Counseling

For Minority Teens, Therapy Might Discourage Later Treatment

Some new findings about disparities in the way young adults of different races use mental health services have been troubling me since I first read about them last week.

Whites who received "psychological or emotional counseling" as teenagers were more likely to be in treatment as young adults compared to their age peers who didn't receive counseling, a study in Psychological Services found.

But for black young adults, the findings were reversed: Having received counseling...
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Antidepressants

Is It Me Or My Meds?

I borrowed the title for today's post from Is It Me Or My Meds?, a very interesting book by the sociologist David Karp that examines how people taking antidepressants understand the drugs' impact on different aspects of their identity.

I keep coming back to this question with regard to a new medication I'm taking and some rather unpleasant and difficult-to-place cognitive effects I've been experiencing.

Karp's book asks the question broadly, invoking it in big,...
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Adherence

Medication in The Marriage Plot

I stayed up late the last few nights reading Jeffrey Eugenides' The Marriage Plot, engrossed in large part by the subplot involving Leonard Bankhead, who suffers from bipolar disorder and what might be called a typically complicated relationship with both his manic phases and his medication.

The book is set in the early 1980s, which gives Leonard few viable options for pharmaceutical treatment. Now doctors often prescribe anticonvulsants such as Tegretol and Depakote, and atypical...
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ADHD drugs

Teachers Who Take Medications: License to Intervene?

In the ever-fraught public discussion of kids and psychiatric medication, the proper role of school administrators and teachers often comes up. What teachers should or shouldn't say to parents about medication treatment for their students is an understandably touchy subject.
Many parents are wary of being told to medicate their child because an overwhelmed teacher "can't deal" or because medication would be cheaper than providing special services.

Teachers and administrators, though,...
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Adherence

Refusing Medication: “I Thought I Deserved This Abyss”

This reader's story about her experience with medication seems especially timely, given the recent analysis of studies analyzing suicidal ideation and antidepressants. She says she experienced such suicidal thoughts in the initial weeks of treatment, but that the thoughts passed.

For patients, especially young people, who do experience this kind of suicidal ideation after beginning an antidepressant, it is usually early in the course of treatment. The reader, who didn't want to use...
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Antidepressants

Kids, Antidepressants & Suicide: Could The Stats Cancel Each Other Out?

A new, important study published in the prestigious Archives of General Psychiatry found that antidepressants decrease the risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior in adults and have no effect on the risk in children.
This is big news, since in 2004 the FDA slapped a black box warning on antidepressants, cautioning that they could cause suicidal tendencies in people under 18. In 2007, the agency extended that warning to young adults...
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Drug Side Effects

“I Wish I Could Get Back To My ‘Old Self’ ” – A Reader’s Experience With Meds

Many people - most, I would venture to say - don't have simple, uncomplicated relationships with their medication. One reader who has generously shared her story of taking medication demonstrates how conflicted one can be about long-term drug treatment, and yet how one can feel unready or unable to end it.
Among many interesting issues Kristy touches on, I'm struck by how little the doctor explained to her at the...
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Drug Side Effects

Forgetting Hard-Learned Lessons About Meds

Trying to get one's medication regimen just right proves an ongoing challenge for many people. Over the years, I've learned that if you need to change something about your meds, it's best to alter just once thing at a time.

Tweak too many things at once and neither you nor your doctor will be able to tell which new drug, altered dosage, or medication interaction is to blame.

I say this, but I still...
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