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Women are about twice as likely as men to develop major depression. They also have higher rates of seasonal affective disorder, depressive symptoms in bipolar disorder, and dysthymia (chronic depression).
More than mere sadness, depression can make someone feel as though work, school, relationships, and other aspects of life have been derailed or indefinitely put on hold. It can sap the joy out of once-pleasurable activities and leave someone feeling continuously burdened. This mood disorder may also cause physical symptoms, such as fatigue, pain, and gastrointestinal problems.
It remains unclear why a gender gap exists in depression. Researchers have examined genes, hormones, stress, and other factors in an effort to find an explanation for the discrepancy.
Assertive community treatment (ACT) offers individualized,
multidisciplinary care to the more severely mental ill, allowing
them the opportunity to live and function in their communities
instead of in institutions.
The multidisciplinary team of professionals may plan and monitor
treatment, accompany patients to medical and dental appointments,
represent them at hearings, and help them manage money, pay
bills, and apply for services. Patients also receive help with
housekeeping, shopping, cooking, transportation, finding and
keeping jobs, and obtaining housing. Team members educate the
patients about mental illness, provide drug abuse counseling, and
help patients cope with psychotic episodes and other psychiatric
crises. They may also order, deliver, and supervise the use of
Most of these services are provided not in a clinic but in a
patient's home or, for homeless patients, in a shelter or on the
streets. The staff meets daily to coordinate its work, and at
least one member is available at all times. The team takes
referrals but may also reach out to patients on its own. Team
members try to develop a long-term relationship with patients,
following them for years if necessary, even as they pass through
hospitals, jails, and homeless shelters.
All drugs cause side effects, but it turns out that placebo pills
also cause them. This is puzzling, because placebo pills are
usually made of sugar or some other inert substance and so
theoretically should have no biological effect. Even more
intriguing, the research suggests that the type of side effect a
placebo causes will vary depending on the active drug being
For example, researchers analyzed the findings of 69 randomized
clinical trials that compared different classes of migraine drugs
with placebos. All studies were "blinded" so that neither the
researchers nor the participants knew who was receiving the
placebo. In studies evaluating nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory
drugs (NSAIDs), patients assigned to the placebo arm most often
reported nausea, vomiting, and other gastrointestinal problems —
side effects that can occur after taking NSAIDs. In studies
assessing anticonvulsants, patients taking placebo most often
reported loss of appetite, memory problems, and upper respiratory
infections — all side effects of anticonvulsants.
An analysis of studies suggests that use of marijuana during
teenage years not only increases the risk of developing
psychosis, but may also cause psychosis to manifest sooner than
in others who are not marijuana users.
When young people with autism spectrum disorders leave high
school, they are less likely to continue making use of services
intended to help them socialize and improve their communication
My daughter tells me her new roommate is afraid to leave a
10-block area around their apartment in New York City. She has
something called agoraphobia. What is that?