Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from 2016

The Truth About Social Comparisons and Depression

We live in a society where it is impossible to escape comparisons. Growing up, your parents probably compared you with other siblings and in school you compared yourself with other students. As an adult, you continue to compare yourself with your peers at work, your neighbors, your friends and relatives, and people you come across on social network sites or other media outlets. There are two kinds of social comparisons (Taylor & Lobel, 1989): 
1. Upward social comparison: You compare yourself with others whose performance and abilities are better than yours.
2.  Downward social comparison: You compare yourself with others who are less fortunate than you are in the attributes you are comparing.

People compare themselves to others when they need an external standard against which to judge their abilities or opinions (Festinger, 1954). Comparison helps you manage your negative mood, especially with downward comparison, which makes you feel better realizing that there are people who may …

Is Your Doctor Using "Measurement-Based Care" to Treat Your Depression?

Measurement-based care is extensively used in medical conditions and involves matching treatment interventions with the outcomes for those treatments. For example, a provider would periodically measure fasting blood glucose or glycosylated hemoglobin in an individual with diabetes to make adjustments to the treatment plan, including medication and lifestyle changes. With healthcare insurance companies, including Medicare, tying reimbursements to healthcare outcomes, measurement-based care is becoming the norm. Measurement-based care fosters self-management by making the individual aware if they are on the right treatment plan or if they need to modify it in collaboration with their provider. Measurement-based care in depression is an algorithmic application of published, accepted, clinical guidelines and consists of four steps (Morris et al., 2012):
Step 1: Screening: Your provider may use one of the several available tools to screen for the presence and the severity of depressive symp…

11 Ways on How the Most Comprehensive Book on Depression is Changing the Concept of Self-Help

You probably have heard or read a few self-help books on depression. Here's a new book The Complete Guide to Self-Management of Depressionwhich to date is the most comprehensive self-help book on depression, and will change how depression is treated in the future. What makes this book different from others is highlighted by the following features unique to this book:

1. Depression is a complex illness, which presents in a myriad of ways and almost 60-70% people treated with antidepressants fail to achieve a symptom-free state when first treated with these medications. The treatment of depression cannot be pigeon-holed into one or two kinds of treatment modalities. This book offers the reader a broad menu of options for self-management of depression above and beyond medications.
2. Self-management is increasingly becoming the standard of care in people with long-standing medical conditions. Self-management puts one in the driver's seat with regards to making choices regarding o…

Feeling Depressed? Change these 11 Negative Types of Thoughts

People with depression often have negative or irrational beliefs, which continue to fuel their depressive thinking. According to the cognitive model of depression, the emotions in depression such as sadness, guilt, hopelessness, worthlessness, helplessness, anger, frustration, and anxiety are triggered by a dysfunctional thought process. This dysfunction involves misinterpretation or misattribution of situations, past events, memories, and even feelings leading to irrational thoughts – also called cognitive distortions – that in turn perpetuate depressive symptoms. These irrational thought patterns are described below:

1. All-or-None Thinking: This type of irrational thinkingis also called black-and-white thinking or dichotomous thinking. This is thinking in extremes or absolutes with no consideration for any alternatives in between the extremes. For example, if you get a below-average performance evaluation and feel that you will never get a good performance evaluation in the future, …

7 Questions That Will Help You Overcome Anxiety, Fear and Panic

Anxiety, fear and panic are associated with irrational thoughts involving themes of threat or danger. These irrational thoughts take the form of “if” or “what if” beliefs. For example, a person who is afraid of heights may think, “If I am on the elevator alone and it gets stuck, no one will be able to save me,” or a person with panic disorder may believe, “If my heart beats too fast, it means that I am probably having a heart attack.” The “if” and “what if” thinking in anxiety disorders is a byproduct of your irrational thought patterns, including magnification, catastrophizing, overgeneralizing, and “should” and “must statements.” Sometimes anxiety is a result of genuine problems or situations that have no solutions. The seven questions that you ask yourself to overcome anxiety are as below:
What is the likelihood of this happening?What is the evidence supporting my prediction?What are some other ways to look at this based on facts?Based on facts, what can happen most realistically?Ca…

Internet-Based Psychotherapy for Depression: Does it Work and What to Look For?

There are several internet-based psychological treatments available for treating depression. Most of the commercially available treatments are based on the principles of cognitive-behavioral therapy (Titov et al., 2014). Studies comparing internet-based therapy with face-to-face therapy demonstrate that internet-based treatments are as effective as face-to-face therapy (Andrews et al., 2010). Similar to other evidence-based therapies for depression, internet-based cognitive-behavioral therapy is a structured program divided into modules with assigned reading, worksheets, self-assessments, and homework. This may not be suitable for individuals who prefer a less structured therapy. In addition, like traditional face-to-face therapy, internet-based approaches may take time to be effective. If you don’t see any effect within 3 to 4 weeks after starting an internet-based depression intervention, it may be time to discuss potential barriers to using the program or other treatment options wi…

"How Do I Know If I Have Depression?" The Role of Self-Assessment

What is Self Assessment?Unlike other fields of medicine where illnesses can be diagnosed using laboratory tests or imaging techniques, psychiatry heavily relies on an individual’s account of their current and past symptoms. This is also true for depression. However, recounting one’s depressive symptoms without using an objective self-assessment tool is fraught with inaccuracies. People overemphasize symptoms that need urgent attention and miss some, especially if they are unaware of the full spectrum of depressive symptoms.
What are the Available Tools for Self-Assessment?The internet is flooded with the so-called "depression tests" with questionable validity. The following self-assessment tools have been extensively used in research and/or clinical settings and can be downloaded for no charge from the internet. 
Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology-Self Report (QIDS-SR16): This is a 16-item self-rating scale used for screening depression or assessing its severity (Lam…

11 Ways on How the Most Comprehensive Book on Depression is Changing the Concept of Self-Help

You probably have heard or read a few self-help books on depression. Here's a new book The Complete Guide to Self-Management of Depression: Practical and Proven Methods, which to date is the most comprehensive self-help book on depression, and will change how depression is treated in the future. What makes this book different from others is highlighted by the following features unique to this book:

1. Depression is a complex illness, which presents in a myriad of ways and almost 60-70% people treated with antidepressants fail to achieve a symptom-free state when first treated with these medications. The treatment of depression cannot be pigeon-holed into one or two kinds of treatment modalities. This book offers the reader a broad menu of options for self-management of depression above and beyond medications.
2. Self-management is increasingly becoming the standard of care in people with long-standing medical conditions. Self-management puts one in the driver's seat with regards…