FROM OUR EXPERTS
Depression doesn't just happen, it happens for a reason. Sometimes the reason is evident and sometimes it isn't. When we can't establish the reason, the temptation is to consider depression ‘endogenous' (from within) and we assume therefore it must be due to some chemical imbalance in the brain. But what comes first, the chemicals or the cognitions? Or is it more of an interchange where one affects or influences the other, and have we underestimated the capacity of the brain to heal itself?
Having briefly set the scene I'd like to side step briefly. Judy and Alfredo are regular HealthCentral contributors. When they commented on my post, why depression can make sense , two things emerged. The first was the notion that the way we think could influence our biology and the second was a question about the way our view of depression and other issues tends to be dominated by a particular model of thought. Their helpful contributions set the scene for this Sharepost.
Although Xyrem (sodium oxybate) failed to gain FDA approval for the treatment of fibromyalgia, it is sometimes prescribed off-label to treat the sleep problems that commonly accompany FM. Thus far, Xyrem only has FDA approval to reduce attacks of muscle weakness (cataplexy) and treat daytime sleepiness in patients with narcolepsy.
This week the FDA reminded both healthcare professionals and patients that the combined use of Xyrem with alcohol or central nervous system (CNS) depressant drugs can markedly impair consciousness and may lead to severe breathing problems (respiratory depression). The use of alcohol with Xyrem is a new contraindication added to the Xyrem label.
In addition to alcohol, medications that should be avoided when taking Xyrem include:
Sedating antidepressants or antipsychotics
The use of Xyrem along with these products or other CNS depressants increase...
Many of our moods depend on our nervous system. Too much or too little of the chemicals that speed things up or slow things down and the whole thing can go out of kilter. The basis of many of our medications is to correct these imbalances. In this Sharepost I’m taking a look at just a handful of the essential neurotransmitters and the way they work?
Glutamate and GABA can be thought of as mainstay neurotransmitters. They slog away in high concentrations within the brain where one (glutamate) is the throttle and the other (GABA) acts as the brake. Glutamate has an important role in learning and memory but too much and it can lead to agitation, impulsive behavior and even violence. GABA has the opposite effect. It increases our levels of tranquility by inhibiting too much nerve activity. Some of the most frequently used drugs for anxiety enhance the action of GABA.
Serotonin is all about serenity and hopefulness in moods. The latest generation of SSRI drugs, su...
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