[Research] Predicting Depression Treatment Effectiveness

April 21, 2017
Christian Rehab Network
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Depressed women sitting on the floorDepression is a complex disease. Symptoms can range from irritability, feelings of worthlessness and loss of energy, just to name a few. (Some individuals even report physical changes such as gastrointestinal problems and chronic joint pain.)

The signs and symptoms of depression vary and the therapies designed to manage the condition are diverse as well. And, patients react to those treatments in different ways. Given that, how can clinicians pinpoint which therapy (or combination of therapies) for depression will work the best?

Answering this question underlies the basis of the research directed by Conor Liston, a psychiatrist at Weill Cornell Medical College. Liston and his team are currently working to classify the various subtypes of depression using MRI scans of the brain and then identify the most effective treatments for each subtype.

The scientists first scanned the brains of 1,118 research participants. Among those, 458 had already received a clinical diagnosis of depression.  Specifically, they wanted to better understand the level of activity among the medial prefrontal cortex and other areas of the brain. After reviewing the MRIs for various patterns of brain activity, Liston and team were able to identify four distinct depression subtypes.

And their results were remarkable. Among those with depression, they found that each subtype responded very differently to various therapies and medications. Based on the research findings, the scientists could predict how to best treat the patient for depression just by reviewing an image of their brain activity. In general, patients that exhibited a lot of activity in their medial prefrontal cortex responded more quickly to cognitive behavioral therapy in contrast to individuals with lower levels of activity in that region of the brain.

“The type of brain that responds to psychotherapy is where there’s a strong pattern of connectivity between the frontal areas of the brain, which are involved more in thinking, talking, and problem-solving, etc., with other portions of the brain. Whereas people who have low connectivity — the opposite pattern — respond to the medication,” says psychologist W. Edward Craighead, one of the authors of this study.

Mental Health Treatment for Christians

Individuals with behavioral health issues, such as depression, often struggle with addiction. That’s why we specialize in offering a variety of mental health services for Christians. To help address a complex dual-diagnosis, we can help with medication management, group and individual therapy and faith-based support. If you are dealing with behavioral health and addiction issues, please call (877) 310-9545 to explore your addiction treatment options at Christian Rehab Network.

Seasonal Affective Disorder: When Winter Brings on the Blues

December 14, 2016
Christian Rehab Network
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Woman with seasonal affective disorderEverybody has the occasional bad day when your computer crashes right in the middle of a big work assignment or your mechanic is the bearer of bad (and expensive) news. But, for some people, those bad days can stretch into weeks or even months during winter.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that affects up to 20 percent of the population causing symptoms including weight gain, overwhelming fatigue and a heightened sense of irritability.

If you are starting a new life of sobriety and think you might have seasonal affective disorder, it’s important to talk to your recovery team to get a professional diagnosis. They can put together a targeted treatment plan to help you avoid turning to drugs or alcohol as a way of self-medicating.

Though, similar to many other behavioral health issues, making healthy lifestyle choices can help alleviate the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder. Here are a few you might consider.

(1) Keep your home and office light and BRIGHT.

Many researchers believe that the root cause of SAD is related to the limited hours of daylight during the winter months. While you can’t fast forward to spring, you can alter your environment. Keep the curtains open at home and put a lamp on your desk at the office.

(2) Get some fresh air.

When you don’t feel like yourself, you might be more inclined to stay inside and hibernate. But, that will likely only exacerbate your mood. Make a point of spending some time outside every day. Even just a brief walk around your block can help.

(3) Nourish yourself with walnuts, salmon and flaxseed.

They offer a good, natural source of omega-3 fatty acids, a healthy fat shown to boost brain health. It works by increasing the level of dopamine in your brain and facilitating neuronal growth in your frontal cortex.

Christ-Based Behavioral Health Treatment

At Christian Rehab Network, our team of credentialed therapists and pastors specialize in treating co-occurring disorders that often accompany addiction. With Christ-based care, we can help you start a new life of sobriety and address other issues including depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder. If you are searching for help strengthening your relationship with Christ while overcoming an addiction to drugs or alcohol, call (877) 310-9545 to learn more.

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