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Recent research: six studies on depression – bereavement, pregnancy, bipolar disorder, suicide, & stress in hospital staff

Five of these six studies are from last month's American Journal of Psychiatry.  Kendler et al discuss the many similarities and only occasional differences between bereavement-related and other life event-related depression - an issue explored further in Maj's editorial.  Li et al show that depression in pregnancy (exacerbated further by stressful life events and obesity) increases the risk of preterm delivery.  Miklowitz reviews research on the value of adjunctive psychotherapy for bipolar disorder sufferers (already taking medication) and discusses the various ways it can be helpful.  Oquendo et al (in a freely viewable editorial) argue that suicidal behaviour should be placed on a "separate axis" in the next version of the DSM diagnostic system.  Finally Vertanen et al, in an interesting study, demonstrate that increased hospital overcrowding - measured by bed occupancy rates - is associated with increased use of antidepressants by hospital staff.

Kendler, K. S., J. Myers, et al. (2008). "Does Bereavement-Related Major Depression Differ From Major Depression Associated With Other Stressful Life Events?" Am J Psychiatry 165(11): 1449-1455.  [Abstract/Full Text]  

Life review, traumatic memories & therapeutic writing

In the Dzogchen teachings there’s an analogy to ringing a bell (to instantly see the illusory nature of the self).  You briefly ring it and then the continuity of the sound evolves for as long as it will.  And then you ring it again.

- Sam Harris

This section includes charts to help clarify life history, traumatic events, childhood experiences, and therapeutic writing.  It overlaps with some of the handouts given in the linked "PTSD assessment, images, memories & information" section .  I use "therapeutic" writing as a general term covering all types of writing that have been shown to be helpful & "therapeutic".  When describing the form of therapeutic writing, developed by Jamie Pennebaker and other researchers, that focuses particularly on writing one's "deepest thoughts & feelings" about life traumas & difficulties, I tend to use the term "expressive" writing (to distinguish it, for example, from other forms of therapeutic writing focusing on diverse topics such as "best possible selves", "intensely positive

Acute stress disorder

A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor

- Franklin Roosevelt

Acute stress disorder

Posttraumatic stress disorder

“ Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground. ” - Jelaluddin Rumi

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

PTSD assessment, images, memories & information

"Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy." - Thich Nhat Hanh

Here are a whole series of handouts and questionnaires on intrusive memories, imagery, trauma and PTSD.  They overlap with handouts listed in the "Life review, traumatic memories & therapeutic writing" section of this website.  The "tag cloud" provides links to further relevant information - for example by clicking on tags like "PTSD""trauma" or "imagery".  Also of specific relevance are three posts about Marylene Cloitre's

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