Skip to main content

mental health mondays :: d for depression?

one of the things that makes depression so difficult to treat is that it can be difficult to distinguish whether it's a condition in itself or a symptom of something else. you can be depressed for no reason other than being depressed, but you can also be depressed as an effect of a condition that has nothing to do with your mood, your outlook or your neurotransmitters- kinda.

because if you've ever tried to diagnose yourself on line, you've probably noticed that depression is a
symptom of just about everything- as ubiquitous as headaches or stomach upset, which means that just because you're showing all the symptoms of depression doesn't mean that it's necessarily your problem. excessive drinking causes depression. so can surgery. a lot of medications can cause depression. thyroid problems can too. chronic or long-duration illnesses like cancer, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia or diabetes are known to cause secondary depression at much higher rates than are found in the general population.

on top of that, the brain is vulnerable to imbalances in hormones, enzymes, vitamins and nutrients which can trigger depression. so if you're ever wondering why it can be difficult to find a treatment for depression, keep in mind just how fantastically complex you are.

evidence on dietary methods of controlling depression and other mood disorders is often controversial, often because it isn't conducted using the same standards as pharmaceutical testing [double-blinding, use of a placebo control]. unfortunately, that is more than likely to continue, simply because the financial incentives to conduct these sorts of tests is pretty lean. however, i was sort of interested to see the results of this new study conducted by the stritch school of medicine at loyola university in chicago.

the study is pretty specific in its scope: the effects of vitamin d on pain caused by depression in women with type 2 diabetes. but that may be the way of the future when it comes to controlling mental disorders without relying on powerful pharmaceuticals for years or even decades- rather than taking one thing to treat a broad condition like depression, it may be necessary to address the syndrome bit by bit.

after all, while it might seem obvious that vitamin d- which we get from sunlight, among other sources- might be effective against seasonal depression, research has shown that that's not necessarily true. and yet the loyola study shows that it is a very promising treatment for a specific symptom of depression within a particular sub-group.

clearly, we're only beginning to understand the complexity of the long term treatment of mental and mood disorders. but for now, especially if you're a woman with type 2 diabetes, make sure you enjoy the 5 minutes of daily sunshine we've been getting. 

Comments

as long as you're here, why not read more?

long division

after the united states election last year, there were the usual calls for the country to unite behind the new president. that never happens anymore, because, since george w. bush scored a victory in 2004, having launched the country into a war in iraq for no reason, the people on the losing side of a presidential election have been pretty bloody angry about it. democrats hated bush 43. republicans really hated obama. democrats really hate trump.

it didn't help that trump didn't make the typical conciliatory gestures like including a couple of members of the opposite party in his cabinet, or encouraging his party to proceed slowly with contentious legislation. barack obama arguably wasted at least two and as many as six years of his tenure as president trying to play peacemaker before he felt sufficiently safe to just say "screw you guys" and start governing around the ridiculous congress he was forced to deal with. not-giving-a-shit obama was the best president in …

making faces :: i could maybe not buy this one thing

i've been into makeup on some level for a long time- much longer than i've been writing about it, for certain. even as a young woman, i loved the feeling of i got from applying a deep-hued lipstick and some mascara. it took years for me to figure out eyeshadow, and even longer for me to appreciate blush. but at this point, i think we can agree that i'm pretty much into the whole gamut. [except liquid and super-matte lipsticks, and most very sparkly eyeshadows. but that's because they're painful for me to wear.]

the thing about spending a long time collecting and holding onto just about everything is that you accumulate quite a stash. lately, i'm trying to force myself to think about what i already have before laying down money for something new. most recently, i found myself drawn to the modern renaissance palette from anastasia. me and a lot of people. by the time i started thinking about it, it was already sold out in my local sephora and online. i signed up…

...and my cup size is none of your damn business

this story, about a man who got a female coworker to trade email accounts with him for two weeks to see if he could see a difference in customer reactions, has been making the rounds on social media and beyond in the last week or so. earlier today, i posted it on my personal facebook page about it, and realised that i had a lot more that i wanted to share than made sense for a facebook post. so i've come here to rant.

a couple of things to start:

1. i've had some really good job experiences in my life. i'm both lucky and unlucky that the best of them came early on, but even in more recent years, i worked at a couple of places that treated workers, all workers, with respect. that respect can be expressed in different ways, but believe me, you know it when it's there. so i want to make it clear that #notallworkplaces fit the pattern i'm about to describe.

2. i am really, really, really grateful to martin r. schneider, who thought up and did this experiment, not just …