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Comment: Re:Now all they need to do... (Score 1) 138

by matthewv789 (#47965631) Attached to: New MRI Studies Show SSRIs Bring Rapid Changes to Brain Function

Very good answer. In the case of SSRIs, the brain's reaction, its developing tolerance to the dosage, is exactly how the beneficial effects for anxiety and depression occur. And this physical adaptation takes about two weeks. But it happens by initially introducing something that's pretty uncomfortable, essentially making the problem worse (increasing anxiety, agitation and nervousness) until the brain has a chance to adapt (in this case by making serotonin receptors less sensitive, recessing them into the cell wall or whatever specifically they do).

(And the other beneficial effects - feeling happier and more confident - come over time, weeks, months, years, as a result of being less sensitive.)

And you're right, it's a good question what happens after it's withdrawn. And the answer is usually that eventually the depression comes back.

You're also spot on about the oversimplification and denial and misunderstanding of how they work, and that's lead to all kinds of problems, like all the confusion over "if they make you happier, how can they increase suicide?" question, which is no mystery at all, and even expected, when you understand how they work.

Comment: Re:Interesting (Score 1) 138

by matthewv789 (#47962805) Attached to: New MRI Studies Show SSRIs Bring Rapid Changes to Brain Function

No, you sound normal, that's how they work. The first week is the worst, it gets better after that. But SSRIs are totally the opposite of addictive drugs, they don't give anything resembling immediate pleasure (in fact they can be somewhat to very uncomfortable for a while), and only benefit after weeks or months of use. They're basically giving you constant anxiety and nervousness - which is bad, except that it forces your brain to adapt by making the serotonin receptors less sensitive (which takes about two weeks). After that happens, things get better (for many patients), because their problem in the first place was being over-sensitive to normal everyday serotonin stimuli (which, unlike the drug, is periodic and based on events or situations, not constant) - that is, oversensitive to situations which made them nervous and whatnot. Now that the brain is less sensitive (so it can't hear the constant buzzing drone of the SSRI), it's also much less sensitive to those other stimuli too. It still may take months to years to not only notice this but start modifying behavior based on it (being less afraid), then feeling better about yourself because of what you've accomplished, how you're not afraid any more, made more friends, etc.

But even after that, there may still be this subtle sense of "buzzing" from the SSRI, as well perhaps as a sense of emotional numbness. Neither are very pleasant, so the temptation to stop taking them after a while can be pretty high, though maybe they're both just signs you're getting a higher dose than you need.

Comment: Re:Now all they need to do... (Score 1) 138

by matthewv789 (#47962783) Attached to: New MRI Studies Show SSRIs Bring Rapid Changes to Brain Function

SSRIs can increase suicidal tendencies when initially starting treatment. This is because SSRIs improve motivation before mood,

I am actually 100% sure this is not the reason, that's just the BS response idiot psychiatrists and hopeful medical researchers who have never taken an antidepressant in their life made up.

I never once experienced any change in motivation immediately after starting antidepressants (which I've done several times in my life). What I DID experience a change in, every time, was an increase in anxiety, agitation, and nervousness. More or less the symptoms I already had from feeling anxious, scared and depressed. And that's because the way these drugs work is to basically make the whole thing worse, forcing your brain to adapt, which takes about two weeks (the receptors for serotonin recess and deactivate). It's sort of like the SSRI turns on a loud noise, and over the course of a couple of weeks, the brain turns down the input volume control until it's inaudible again. And after that, the various normal everyday situations which would have made an oversensitive person react negatively or fearfully, are now also too "quiet" for that person to notice (now that the "volume" has been turned down).

And SOME SSRI's have a pretty severe withdrawal effect - Paxil is probably the worst, I don't think it should be prescribed to anyone, it's absolute hell to get off of, even trying to taper very gradually. Probably best to just go cold turkey and know you're going to suffer horribly for a week or so, rather than drag it out and suffer for months. It has to do with its extremely short half-life. Prozac, on the other hand, with a half life many times as long, does not have that problem. If you're going to take an SSRI, get fluoxetine (prozac) - which is generic now anyway, not to mention about the oldest and most tested of the SSRIs. Only try another if Prozac doesn't work for you or has intolerable side effects after a few months of taking it.

Comment: Not surprising (Score 1) 138

by matthewv789 (#47962767) Attached to: New MRI Studies Show SSRIs Bring Rapid Changes to Brain Function

Yes, whenever I started taking antidepressants I could feel SOMETHING happening within a few hours, so that's not a surprise. But as others have said, the depression doesn't lift for a while - weeks to months. In fact, the nervousness and anxiety gets worse than ever for the first week. (No surprise that suicide is common soon after starting them.)

I think the reason is that at least some kinds of depression (anxious depression) are like having over-sensitive ears, and being bothered by the random noises that occur in daily life, which make us fearful and easily hurt, and hence we avoid certain kinds of situations, taking chances, socializing, etc.

SSRIs are like turning on a loud, steady noise, which at first overwhelms those sensitive ears, making us even more uncomfortable. But after a while, the body adjusts, and the ears become less sensitive, effectively turning down the volume until the loud noise is barely noticeable. After that, all the little, random noises that happen throughout the day are also barely audible. And those background noises were what was making us nervous before, but now that we can't hear them, they don't. (Of course I'm not talking about actual noises, that's just an analogy, but rather anxious/emotional/fear-based stimuli.) This process of physical adjustment takes about two weeks. (A number which has been validated directly in other experiments on how quickly the brain adapts by changing receptors. In this case, the receptors for serotonin recess into the cell wall and deactivate - the "turning down the volume", making them less sensitive to stimuli.)

Then, after we're no longer extra sensitive, we start taking more chances, being bolder and more outgoing (maybe without realizing it), because we stop anticipating the fear and hurt of rejection or failure. And after a while, we realize we can actually achieve things, have friends, be confident... and that's when we start feeling good about ourselves. This process can take months or years.

Comment: Re:Batteries? Seriously? (Score 3, Interesting) 491

by matthewv789 (#47869383) Attached to: To Really Cut Emissions, We Need Electric Buses, Not Just Electric Cars
Seattle used to have busses with both pantographs and diesel engines. In the transit tunnel, they'd connect to the wires and go all-electric. When the left and drove on city streets, they'd lower it and start the diesel. They ended up replacing most if not all with hybrids (meaning they do burn diesel in the tunnel too), which I believe turned out not to save any fuel or electricity.

Comment: Summers are not getting shorter (Score 1) 421

by matthewv789 (#47659115) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: Should Schooling Be Year-Round?

I don't think most school years are getting longer, except in cases where there is additional vacation during the school year (a 3 week winter break instead of 2, a week for ski week AND a week for spring break, etc.)

What's happening is that high schools are starting to follow the patterns colleges already did: schools on semesters start earlier (August or very early September at the latest), so that the entire semester can be finished before winter break. (High schools used to have winter break, then come back for a few weeks of instruction plus semester finals, which didn't make much sense.) Schools on quarters start later, since the first quarter is only 10 weeks instead of 15 so is easier to finish before winter holidays, but high schools are not generally on the quarter system.

Comment: Of course they want this (Score 1) 129

by matthewv789 (#47162343) Attached to: Whistleblowers Enter the Post-Snowden Era

By reporting internally:

  • The secrets stay secret. Congress, the Courts, and especially the American public will never know.
  • The problem can be "addressed" without doing anything.
  • The malcontent identifies him or herself to the higher-ups, who can decide how to handle him or her from there and most especially prevent them from doing more damage.
  • If the malcontent is not satisfied with the result and later leaks for real, he or she will be first on the list of people to look at to identify the leak.
  • If there is some shady practice that's becoming too well-known within the agency, it can be quieted down so fewer employees know about it.
  • Maybe, occasionally, there really is some wrongdoing they would like to know about and stop, limit, moderate, or otherwise actually address. (Har har, I know right? lol, rofl, lmao, etc.) More likely just legalize and legitimize.

Comment: Re:Ivy League Schools (Score 2) 106

by matthewv789 (#46795671) Attached to: Minerva CEO Details His High-Tech Plan To Disrupt Universities
In theory, but most of the people from those states don't really know anything about their state government's problems. And they seem to be happy to let the federal government grab every bit of power and money from the states, until suddenly they wake up wondering why their state government is so useless and on the brink of collapse, and the federal government is such an all-powerful bully.

Comment: Re:Ahh Yes the trend continues.. (Score 2) 220

by matthewv789 (#46795615) Attached to: California Utility May Replace IT Workers with H-1B Workers

Manufacturing may be, but what about manufacturing EMPLOYMENT? When you use robots and automation, there aren't so many employees.

And it may look large because US manufacturing is focused on large-ticket items, like aircraft and rockets and tanks. It's still the case that 99% of the routine goods that you buy (whether clothes or household items or toys or electronics) are made in China.

Comment: Re:Tech workers only? (Score 1) 220

by matthewv789 (#46795551) Attached to: California Utility May Replace IT Workers with H-1B Workers

I should also say that, predictably, the Indian workers for the contract companies tended to rarely stay in their jobs longer than a year, so quality tended to be poor and training was a constant battle. And with a 15%+ pay increase every year (vs 2-3% in the US, in the few years they actually gave any pay increases at all), they were going to catch up eventually. But even at the time, other managers admitted privately that management and other costs ate up the difference and they weren't actually saving any money...

...which made me wonder why they continued to do it. Some kind of corruption?I always thought that after the initial wave of super-cut-rate offshore work, that I had to be missing something, not seeing something, to explain why it continued when it decreased quality and didn't save on net costs.

Comment: Re:Tech workers only? (Score 1) 220

by matthewv789 (#46795511) Attached to: California Utility May Replace IT Workers with H-1B Workers
How do you know the managers aren't ALREADY from India? That was the case a couple of jobs ago for me, it was not exactly reassuring to hear from the high-level manager who was pushing for and managing the outsourcing, who happened to be Indian, that "these (offshore) people are not replacing any jobs in the US". It was completely false, of course, unless he meant that the six-month gap between each round of mass company-wide layoffs and adding more staffing to the offshore/outsource location were somehow disconnected. It really meant that each year they laid people off in the US when business slowed down, then added Indians a few months later when business picked up again. Since business was cyclical on an annual basis, it was a pretty predictable way to shift work offshore more and more each year.

Comment: Re:why not just go the trades / apprenticeship sys (Score 1) 106

by matthewv789 (#46795441) Attached to: Minerva CEO Details His High-Tech Plan To Disrupt Universities
Because then companies would have to pay for employees' training and education instead of letting people pay for it themselves. Didn't get overqualified enough for that internship or gain enough relevant skills on your own time and dime? No job for you, we'll just find somebody from India who did.

Comment: Re:Ivy League Schools (Score 1) 106

by matthewv789 (#46795431) Attached to: Minerva CEO Details His High-Tech Plan To Disrupt Universities

P.S.: Given what the Federal Govt. has become, are you so sure states' rights was a bad idea? You can trace the current Federal Govt. back to the centralization imposed (by both sides!) during the Civil War.

And the 17th Amendment didn't help either, now that there's no representation of state government interests in Congress.

Comment: Re:Who'll spit on my burger?! (Score 1) 870

by matthewv789 (#46581321) Attached to: Job Automation and the Minimum Wage Debate
A Burger King near me has had one of these ordering kiosks for several years. I always use it, I see some other people use it, but overall it's probably faster to let the human cashier handle the order, and most people don't bother with it. (It's got too many "newbie-friendly" voice prompts and delays and swooshing animations and whatnot, not to mention the frequent prompts of "would you like to add [X] to your order?".)

System going down in 5 minutes.