in Books Films Television, Specific psychiatric disorders

More reading material: Beating stress, anxiety and depression

theguardian online today has a story on its main page which is titled ‘Why smiles are better than Prozac’

On closer inspection, it’s less an article, more an advertorial for a book called ‘Beating stress, anxiety and depression’ by Jane Plant and Janet Stephenson.  The  article says that the book is ‘new’ but the page says that it came out at the beginning of May this year.  I can only imagine that they were short of copy and rehashed a press release that they found knocking around the office.

Be this as it may, this is the sort of thing that catches my eye.  The introduction is available for perusal online, and Plant and Stephenson say some sensible things – like advising us to ignore celebrity culture – but I am concerned about some of the things they say particularly when they assert that levels of neurotransmitters should be assessed in patients suffering from depression.  The neurotransmitter hypothesis is problematic, as discussed by and, and this sort of test are likely to be more expensive than meaningful.

Daily Mail article on the same book title: ‘How the wrong drugs could be causing your depression’.

Best read it before I comment further.  If anyone has read it and would like leave a comment below I would be most grateful.

Also in the paper today Rachel Cooke has this to say about reality TV and meeting Jodie Marsh

What strikes you most about Marsh when you meet her is not her pleasure at the unexpected turn her life has taken, but her implacable anger…..(about four paragraphs)….I’ve lost count of the number of times youth workers and criminologists alike have made the connection, as they discuss knife crime, between low self-esteem and anger. Well, there is an awful lot of anger among those who participate in reality TV, the majority of which, it seems to me, is the result of low self-esteem, and Marsh is no exception.

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  1. I haven’t read the Plant and Stephenson book either but couldn’t escape the fairly heavy round of promotion for this book. the Observer wrote an article on it, and the comments by Paul Corry of Rethink caught my eye:

    “Paul Corry, of the mental health charity Rethink, said the authors were right to stress that some patients could be successfully helped with non-drug treatments, such as talking therapies and lifestyle changes.

    And sufferers should always receive a personally tailored treatment plan rather than routinely being given antidepressants. But he argued that there was less evidence to back claims that certain foods could help alleviate the symptoms of mental health disorders.

    ‘The evidence base for food’s claimed benefits to mental health – for example, the idea that consuming omega-3 fatty acids will improve the flow of chemicals in the brain – is really, really weak,’ said Corry. ‘We certainly wouldn’t recommend that you could eat or drink your way out of depression, anxiety or schizophrenia, although they do have a role to play.

    ‘[But] long-term unemployment, poor housing, lack of money and limited social contact are more important non-drug determinants of mental illness than food and drink.’ ”

    I was glad to see someone countering the all-too frequent ‘fish-oils cure all ills’ line, and drawing attention to the all-too often overlooked social factors.

    Clearly lifestyle factors are important in mood disorders, and it is very difficult to help patients with changing these in a clinic setting, (especially when a proportion of patients are looking for simple, tablet-based answers to complex problems) so a book encouraging people’s self-efficacy is useful, but the danger in over-stressing diet and lifestyle factors is that you stigmatise people who continue to suffer – ‘if you’re miserable it’s your fault, because of what you eat/your habits/your job’, which is very close to saying; ‘why can’t you just snap out of it?’.

  2. I’d love to know what could get me over Sunday night depression.

    I have now taped FPs ‘Bang Head Here’ chart to my wall. I’m sure it will work.

    But, is self-administrated pain really the answer ????

    Probably not. Although I’m sure it’ll help :>

  3. I`ve also suffered from anxiety attacks for more than four years. It was horrible. I finally managed to overcome it. What you need is to first accept it even before starting to treat it. Accepting and facing it is one of the most important key factors to your healing.

    Exercies and body relaxation methods will help. However medication is not the cure. It`s a short time relief and nothing more.

    A healthy diet is an important key factor aswell.

  4. Good article with quality content. There are many different ways to beat stress and anxiety. I think the “Bang Head Here” poster might be the most effective I have seen.