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Depressed? Net-based Treatments Can Help 154

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the online-wellness dept.
Jung and the Restless writes "Researchers at an Australian university have found that regular visits to therapeutic and educational web sites can successfully treat depression. Researchers directed patients to The MoodGYM, a cognitive behavior therapy site, and BluePages, a depression education site. After 12 months, users of both web sites reported improvement, with the educational site working out better than the behavior therapy site. A psychotherapist who did not participate in the study says that the results aren't all that surprising. 'Cognitive behavioral strategies — sometimes in conjunction with medication — are the most effective means of treating depression,' and 'a person who is visiting an educational site like BluePages is taking the necessary steps with her own self-care. That's a key component of successful treatment for depression'"
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Depressed? Net-based Treatments Can Help

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  • by DamnYouIAmALion (530667) on Friday October 27, 2006 @03:58AM (#16606082)

    I had this same problem, the doctors were going the medication route - but I also had anxiety, so giving medication with poor documentation and statistics just made things worse. In the end I managed to spend time with a psychologist (not easy, they're either very expensive or very busy) which helped a great deal - although not until some time after the fact when you process and understand what they're saying.

    They get you only so far - and at that point you'll eventually get the willpower to 'pick yourself up' and start building your life back. It takes time, but it's really worth it.

    - Andy.

  • by darrenadelaide (860548) on Friday October 27, 2006 @04:11AM (#16606152)
    Hi,

    Just thought you may find http://www.beyondblue.org.au/ [beyondblue.org.au] of interest.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 27, 2006 @04:17AM (#16606178)
    The problem is that CBT and medication are the best ways to treat depression. They are both better than "talk" therapy for nearly all patients, though the medication route is a bit problematic - most patients get the best medication for them after trying quite a few different types. So, if one type of drug isn't working, you shouldn't be afraid to try different ones, possibly of a different class.

    It is true that for a significant minority of sufferers of depression, that even trying both of these treatments they get little response. For people with refractory depression like this, I believe there isn't much other than trying to "wait it out" with standard treatment, or going the more severe route of electroshock therapy. There are new drugs coming out all the time, so people who have refractory depression are often shuttled onto new drugs as they become available. There are also new experimental treatments like electrical brain stimulation that may prove helpful for some...

    It can be a struggle, but hang in there - doctors are getting better at successfully treating it all the time (well, they can't get worse anyway ;).
  • book review... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Pflipp (130638) on Friday October 27, 2006 @06:59AM (#16606798)
    I started reading this [amazon.com] book (or at least, the Dutch translation).

    Already it has learned me a lot about my complaints, ranging from severe tension problems and psychological problems (which could be categorized as depression, I'm afraid).

    It is really written very well and it's worth reading just about every page, but what it boils down to is that people today (and both me and computer programmers in general not in the least) try to rationalize too much of what they feel, or channel it in accepted ways.

    For instance, when I was totally angry at a collegue once, but couldn't deal with it appropiately, all I did was go to my boss and say 'I would like to go home now, I cannot concentrate on work any longer'. It went downhill from there because I couldn't cope with being unhappy with the situation (I like to be positive about things, but I couldn't find too much to be positive about). I thought I was going crazy (I was) and my muscles ground my bones to dust every day. On top of that I started to worry about my (mental) health, of course.

    For a large part I already learned to accept that I would be so much better off simply finding a more normal place to work (it can be crazy here), but the book gives me insights beyond my current problem. I have not finished it yet, but for the first time I enjoy reading a book that tries to teach me exactly how I am 'crazy'.
  • by Shinglor (714132) <[luke.shingles] [at] [gmail.com]> on Friday October 27, 2006 @07:31AM (#16606932)

    Psychologists are not real mediacal[sic] doctors.

    That's true, a psychologist with a medical degree would be called a psychiatrist. A psychiatrist is able to prescribe medications as well as using psychotherapy and counselling.

  • Ketamine (Score:3, Informative)

    by bri2000 (931484) on Friday October 27, 2006 @07:36AM (#16606944)
    I would second that and a recent study seems to confirm it (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/5253800.stm [bbc.co.uk])

    In my own experience and I recently suffered a very serious depressive episode which resulted in my being absent from work for two months. It went on, seemingly endlessly, with the pills I was presecribed and the counselling making no noticable difference. Until a friend of mine, who had seen the above mentioned study, offered me a line of k. I had only ever taken k once before, about 4 years previously, and thoroughly enjoyed it. So I snorted it and had my trip which enabled me to look into myself and see my problems from an entirely new angle, get some perspective on them and do a proper mental inventory. The next morning I woke up for the first time in weeks not feeling tearful or suicidal and, in the two months or so since I took the k, my recovery has been consistent and marked. Of course, it could just be a coincidence and other peoples' mileage may vary, but I firmly believe that just one line of k (I didn't take any more) made a real and lasting contribution towards treating my depression and psychiatrists should be open to trying it (which I would imagine the drug companies would hate, given the prices they charge for proprietary anti-depressants).

  • That's unethical. You can't treat someone for a disease with a placebo.
    Of course you can. How do you think drug trials work? Ethical or not, an untreated control group is the only way to ensure that the treatment is effective, and that any improvement isn't due to environmental/unrelated factors.
    Another option is to use standard treatments combined with your new therapy, and then have a control group do standard treatments alone.
    This is also a valid option, but what happens when the standard treatements can't be combined with the new treatments?
  • by coleopterana (932651) on Friday October 27, 2006 @09:37AM (#16608110) Journal
    You absolutely have to use controls for your results to mean something in a definitive sense. As someone who's been involved in conducting clinical trials a great deal (plus my family members do the same as research psychiatrists and clinical psychologists) there are very strict rules for what you can and can't do. This includes informing the members of the study that they may receive a treatment that is in fact a placebo, but they generally won't be told if that's what they got till they are finished with the study. This isn't Tuskegee and it's not One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest either. This is the age of informed consent.
  • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Friday October 27, 2006 @11:28AM (#16609564) Homepage
    I thought that, in some cases, the control group was taking the most common treatment available for the disease, rather than a placebo. It would make sense, in cases where long-term damage could be avoided by treating the disease. But I don't know for sure.

    That is often the case ("usual" treatment as a control). However, it's often not an optimal one since the "usual treatment" may not have been well studied in the first place. This, in fact, is the more typical case in medicine since the bulk of our "knowledge" comes from what is essentially anecdotal evidence. As an example, treating ear infections in children with antibiotics has been standard of care until fairly recently. Drug companies would argue endless how much better their antibiotic was than their competition - full page ads in medical journals with multicolored graphs and stupid cartoons.

    As antibiotic resistant organisms started to flourish, researchers started to look more carefully at the literature and found that the decision to treat ear infections with antibiotics came about when oral antibiotics became easily available. Nobody had bothered to create the study that compared antibiotics vs. placebo. Or at least if they did, it wasn't published anywhere. Then, researchers had to go back and essentially repeat the experiment with controls and found that although some cases responded to antibiotics, others didn't, especially early on when the infection is presumed to be viral. There is still a lot of nuances in this common and seemingly simple part of everyday medicine that are poorly understood.

    Designing and executing decent medical research is damned hard and much of the stuff in the literature is just bloody awful, quality wise. Controls are only part of the problem, of course, but a rather basic one. OK, I'll just stop whining and just drink some more coffee..

  • by Hatta (162192) on Friday October 27, 2006 @04:58PM (#16615282) Journal
    Ketamine works like an SSRI but blocks a different group of neuro thingies

    Please don't spread misinformation like that. The action of ketamine is entirely unlike that of SSRIs. Sure they both inhibit some proteins in neurons but hell, if that's your criteria for "works like" you could say aspirin "works like" SSRIs. Your statement is so vague as to be misleading. SSRIs block the reuptake of neurotransmitters presynaptically so that there is more neurotransmitter available to cause a post-synaptic response. Ketamine blocks the postsynaptic NMDA receptor, inhibiting a post-synaptic response. SSRIs work on the serotonin system, ketamine on the glutamate system.

    The antidepressant response to ketamine is a truely novel phenomenon. I suspect it has some similarities to the response to electroconvulsive therapy, since many of the same players (NMDA receptor, CaMKII) are involved in each.

    In other news involving novel theraputic uses of recreational drugs, MDMA seems to help treat parkinsons symptoms. Check it out at the New Scientist [newscientist.com]. Maybe we can get Michael J. Fox to come out in favor of medicinal MDMA?
  • by cervo (626632) on Friday October 27, 2006 @09:39PM (#16618486) Journal
    At least you got CBT. My doctor insisted on only antidepressants, and even at that, he couldn't really be bothered to supervise or keep track of me. 2 Months and a few sample packs of Zoloft and then Wellbutrin later I stopped taking them and feel about the same. But from what I gather my doctor isn't the only pill pusher. The only odd thing is he never diagnosed me with depression...just sort of pushed the pills on me.

"A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices." -- William James

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