Category "Anxiety"

14Apr

Ketamine for depression divides experts: ‘I’ve seen these drugs come and go’ – National

by BBG Hub

Depression can be completely debilitating, making it difficult to do even the simplest tasks — like getting out of bed or brushing one’s teeth.

Unfortunately, it’s very common. According to the World Health Organization, more than 300 million people around the world are currently suffering from depression.

Now, there may be a new way to treat the illness: ketamine.

READ MORE: ‘Emotionally draining’: The effect depression has on tasks like brushing hair, showering

Ketamine is commonly used as an anesthetic and painkiller in animal and human surgery. It also rose to popularity as a party drug in the 1990s. Now, it’s being lauded as a possible cure for treatment-resistant depression.

“We have a large sub population in our country with depression who can’t work… they just can’t break this vicious cycle,” said Dr. Roger McIntyre, president of the Canadian Rapid Treatment Centre of Excellence (CRTCE).

McIntyre hopes ketamine can break that cycle.

The CRTCE, which administers rapid onset treatments for depression in the form of ketamine injections, is the first of its kind in Canada.

How does the treatment work?

At the CRTCE, ketamine is delivered through intravenous infusion. According to the clinic’s website, “the protocol for administering ketamine is still being refined. Nonetheless… most individuals will receive four infusions (i.e. two infusions per week for two weeks).”

The cost of this treatment at the CRTCE is $3,000, and it is not paid for by the public health plan of Ontario (OHIP).

The process is overseen by a physician trained in anesthesia, as well as a nurse.

“The dose of ketamine by someone on the street… is about 10 times higher than the dose [you would be given] if you went to the hospital this afternoon for a procedure that required anesthesia,” said McIntyre. “The dose that we use to treat depression is about one-10th… of the dose used in anesthesia. So we’re using ‘sub-anesthetic doses.”

According to McIntyre, this does not mean the process is without safety concerns.

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“[We] know it’s generally well received by patients, but it would be inaccurate to say that you don’t get any side effects,” said McIntyre. 

According to Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), ketamine can produce “vivid dreams and a feeling that the mind is separated from the body.” This effect is known as “dissociation.”

The intensity of the effects depend on several factors, including: your age, your body weight, how much you take, how often you take it, how you take the drug and more.

“Some people do become addicted, and continue to use ketamine even when they plan not to or despite its negative effects,” as stated on the CAMH website.

Ketamine works faster than other treatments

If a patient presents with intense suicidal thoughts, ketamine may be a more effective short-term treatment than other antidepressant medication.

“Most antidepressants take approximately four, six or even eight weeks to work. That’s a long time,” said McIntyre. “If you’re suffering, ketamine can work within one day.”

Dr. David Gratzer, a psychiatrist at CAMH, is hopeful about the effects of ketamine on depression for this reason.

READ MORE: 8 signs your child may be going through depression

“We are looking for a way of providing more rapid relief of depression than one might ordinarily see with Prozac and [similar] drugs,” said Gratzer.

“The evidence is there but we have to take it with a grain of salt because it’s early days. That being said, we do seem to find evidence that it helps people very quickly, particularly people who have many thoughts of suicide.”

Ketamine is a last-ditch effort for those who have tried everything else

Depression is difficult to understand — even for medical professionals.

“As with most diseases in physical medicine and mental health, we have a sense of what’s involved but we don’t exactly know,” said Gratzer.

According to Gratzer, doctors do know that family history and certain traumatic life events are connected with a higher risk of depression.

“However, two people can be raised in the same household and eat the same foods and have a relatively similar childhood and one can get heart disease while the other doesn’t,” said Gratzer.

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“Likewise, you can get [depression] and your sibling may not. So, while we do recognize there’s a strong genetic component… it’s not 100 per cent. There’s more going on.”

Because of the evasive nature of depression, finding a treatment that works can be difficult.

Once someone is diagnosed, they are usually prescribed one of or a combination of three kinds of treatment: exercise, talk therapy and medication. According to Gratzer, patients “do the best” when they do all three.

READ MORE: Is ASMR an effective way to treat anxiety and depression?

But, for some patients, none of these treatments work. And that’s where ketamine can be an exciting option.

“Ketamine is one of a handful of medications that is out of the box,” said Gratzer. 

To be eligible for treatment at the CRTCE, there are three criteria: you are over the age of 18, you are medically stable and you have had a minimum of two other treatments for your depression.

‘Early reports are good, but now we need to take it to the next step’

McIntyre admits that the full effects (positive and negative) of the drug are unknown.

An issue McIntyre and his team are paying close attention to is the impact ketamine can have on other organs, like the kidney or the bladder.

Another is whether ketamine can act as a gateway to other, more severe drug abuse, said McIntyre. 

The CRTCE website states that, “it is critical to understand that ketamine researchers are still exploring a multitude of ways that ketamine infusions impact the human brain. They are working towards understanding why this form of treatment works so quickly and effectively.”

Despite its positive impact thus far, Gratzer isn’t ready to call ketamine a “wonder drug” yet.

WATCH BELOW: 5 ways to help a friend with postpartum depression





“I’m optimistic, but I’ve got a few gray hairs, so I’ve seen these wonder drugs come and go,” he said.

“We need to take it to the next step… can we use it on more people safely? What sort of side effects do they get? Are the effects [on depression] we see with ketamine lasting?”

Gratzer is interested to see whether the effects of ketamine can remain beyond the days after it’s injected.

“It’s great that some people might see relief… if you’ve got a pain on your left hand, it’s great that you feel better with a Tylenol. But that tends to fade and maybe what you really have is a little infection of the skin and what you should really take is antibiotics,” said Gratzer. 

“I hope this is working out because it will be helpful, but I don’t really know and I don’t want to be too optimistic. Like a lot of private healthcare, the sales pitch may not be as good as the reality.”

If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, resources are available. In case of an emergency, please call 911 for immediate help.

The Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention, Depression Hurts and Kids Help Phone 1-800-668-6868 all offer ways of getting help if you, or someone you know, may be suffering from mental health issues.

[email protected]

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.




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29Jan

Super Awesome Science Show recap: Sharing stress – National

by BBG Hub


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Have you ever had a great day in which nothing can go wrong, and then out of nowhere, a stressed person enters the room and your good feelings are replaced with feelings of anxiety and nervousness? You’re not alone. We may not realize it but stress is contagious and on this week’s episode of The Super Awesome Science Show, we find out how this happens.

We first start with Dr. Stephanie Preston at the University of Michigan. She has studied how our compassion, known as empathy, can be a trigger for sharing someone else’s stress. She’ll help us to appreciate how our ability to care for someone else can work against us.


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Working moms 40% more stressed than women without kids: study

Our next guest explains that stress can also be shared through our noses. Dr. Jaideep Bains at the University of Calgary has uncovered how the odours we make when stressed may have an influence on other people. While his studies are in mice, his proposal of an “alert pheromone” may offer some perspective as to why some people just smell stressed.

In our SASS class, we examine how we can help to avoid sharing stress by being around friends. Dr. Loren Martin from the University of Toronto Mississauga explains that stress can be buffered by having people around us and dividing up the effect.


READ MORE:
Kelowna RCMP test pilot project using animals to reduce work stress

If you enjoy The Super Awesome Science Show, please take a minute to rate it on Apple Podcasts and be sure to tell a friend about the show. Thanks to you, we’ve been nominated for a Canadian Podcast Award as Outstanding Science and Medicine Series. Let’s keep the awesome momentum going together!

Twitter: @JATetro

Email: [email protected]

Guests:
Dr. Stephanie Preston
https://lsa.umich.edu/psych/people/faculty/prestos.html
Twitter: @prestostwit

Dr. Jaideep Bains
University of Calgary
https://hbi.ucalgary.ca/profiles/dr-jaideep-bains
Twitter: @stressynomics

Dr. Loren Martin
University of Toronto Mississauga
https://www.utm.utoronto.ca/psychology/faculty-staff/martin-loren
Twitter: @_ljmartin

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.




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26Nov

5 simple ways to manage your daily anxiety – National

by BBG Hub


When you have anxiety, sometimes it can be difficult to get through the day.

And with the holidays around the corner, some people with anxiety can feel pressure to feel or perform a certain way, said Jessica Borelli, associate professor of psychological science and the University of California, Irvine.

“Holiday schedules also change people’s routines. Both of these factors can increase anxiety,” she told Global News.  “Sometimes anxiety can be free-floating in that it can attach itself to anything passing by rather than being focused on the actual source of fear.”

READ MORE: How climate change can cause depression, anxiety – ‘We will all be affected’

For instance, she added, someone who is anxious about seeing an ex at a holiday party may worry excessively about running out of detergent a few days before the party and not having time to buy more.

“Even though solving the detergent issue itself should be relatively simple, the worry may be a result of these larger fears rather than actual fears about logistics,” she explained. “You can identify whether this is happening to you if your worry is a shape-shifting worry. Meaning that if you get rid of one worry, it is quickly replaced with another worry.”

Make time to talk to someone

Talking to a mental health expert can help you tackle some of these larger issues you have day to day. “Allowing yourself to experience and express those larger fears to a trusted person can help you move through them and resolve them for good,” Borelli said.

And with any type of anxiety, it’s important to reach out for help.  “I recommend reaching out for help when your anxiety starts to impact your daily living — your relationships, your work, your ability to manage daily tasks, or your general quality of life,” she continued.

READ MORE: Do your eyes twitch often? It could be a symptom of a mental health issue

“Or when you notice yourself engaging in or wanting to engage in unhealthy coping behaviours — drinking alcohol when you are stressed, over-exercising, restricting dietary intake, avoiding social contact, or engaging in other behavioral ‘numbing’ strategies.”

If you don’t have the option to access a professional, she also recommends reaching out to family or friends. “Talking about worries can help normalize the anxiety and cultivate the kinds of relationship connections in which negative emotions and experiences can be shared.”

5 ways to manage your anxiety

Besides taking a much-needed break, getting enough sleep and eating a well-balanced diet, there are other ways to control your anxiety. Below, Borelli shares five things people with anxiety can do to manage it day-to-day.

Scheduling ‘worry time:’ “Promise yourself that you will put away your worries for now and come back to them later… at a predetermined time.” This time should not be right before bedtime, she added, because that could lead to a disrupted sleep. “Finding a way to confine worrying to a certain time or place can help contain the power of the worry.”

Reaching out to trusted people: “Even if you don’t feel comfortable talking about the anxiety, calling an old friend to reconnect and talk about other things,” Borelli said. “Simply connecting with a trusted person could reduce your anxiety.”

READ MORE: How to manage panic attacks – and why you should never ignore them

Go to a place that or a person who evokes a strong sense of calm and safety: “If you can’t visit that place/person in real life, do it in your imagination.” Recall a time when you felt incredibly safe and comfortable and try to evoke those feelings again as you imagine the situation, she added.

Coming up with a list of empowering thoughts: Try to replace anxious thoughts that you have with these non-anxious, empowering ones. “These should be specific to you and should be thoughts that reliably help you relax.” You can tell yourself things like, “I can get through this, just like I’ve gotten through so many hard things before,” or, “It’s just another day in a string of days.”

Distract yourself: “Listening to music that’s relaxing or watching a funny episode [of a show you like] will help.”

[email protected]

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.




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3Oct

This school voted to swap clapping for ‘jazz hands’ to help students with anxiety, sensory issues – National

by BBG Hub

Students at the University of Manchester have voted to swap loud clapping for “jazz hands” at certain school events in an effort to accommodate people with anxiety or sensory issues.

The university’s student union decided they’ll hold applause, cheering and whooping at their gatherings and replace it with the British Sign Language equivalent: a wave of both hands, the BBC reported. The student union said the wave, commonly referred to as “jazz hands,” will make events more accessible and inclusive for people who have autism or are deaf.

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In a statement, the University of Manchester Students’ Union said that they are not outright banning audible clapping at all school events, and are instead encouraging “the use of British Sign Language (BSL) clapping during our democratic events.” These events include meetings where members are invited to participate in decision making, the union said.

The student union will now encourage student groups and societies to do the same as part of inclusion training, said union member Sara Khan per the Irish Times.

READ MORE: Boy speaks clearly for first time after dentist notices he’s tongue-tied

According to Tanya Titchkosky, a professor of disability studies in the department of social justice at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto, acknowledging accessibility issues on campus is an important thing for universities to do. Many Canadian schools have a long way to go when it comes to accommodating students, she said.

Titchkosky said there are lots of different conditions people could have, like autism, anxiety or a medical condition, for which the use of “jazz hands” would be beneficial. While this population may be small, she said, addressing the varying needs of students is a move in the right direction.

“There’s so little that’s done on university campuses to recognize the diversity of the student body in terms of disability,” Titchkosky told Global News. “So little is done collectively, [and] almost everything is always [done by] an individual with a disability who goes and seeks their private accommodations.”

READ MORE: Are you suffering from mental fatigue? Here’s what to look for

The students’ vote initially received backlash when it was thought that they outright banned clapping on campus. Clapping, after all, is a large part of how society responds to people and events, and is key component of concerts, sporting games and debates.

Some people on Twitter said that the university had gone too far, and were upset over the idea of silent applause.

Following the backlash, the students clarified their position on clapping.

“We are not banning audible clapping,” the union said in their statement. “Nor are we applying this motion to all events held at the Students’ Union. The Union holds a huge number of events, including gigs, theatre productions and sport. This policy has no bearing on those events which make up the majority of a packed calendar at the Students’ Union.”

While Titchkosky said the vote by Manchester students is commendable, she said it’s important for people with other accessibility needs to be considered, too. Students who are blind, for example, should be included in accommodations.

“Accommodations have to continue to be imagined as being inclusive to whoever happens to be present,” she said. “But personally given what I’ve experienced, … I really think it’s fantastic that students are bringing the possibility of imagining a diverse student body for faculty, students and staff.”

“I jazz hands them for that.”

[email protected]

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.




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