19 Jul 2015

What is Major Depressive Disorder?

Depression or as it is ‘medically’ known as ‘Major Depressive Disorder – MDD’ is a mental illness that affects your day-to-day mood and ability to function in many different areas. I have written previously on this topic here. I love this website – Black Dog Institute , and I can’t explain it better than they have. Have a look here and understand the in’s and out’s of depression. This is my favorite video on the subject    
12 Apr 2015

Women and Depression – 6th World Congress on Women’s Mental Health

This blog post is a brief review of the ‘Depression’ topics at the 6th World Congress on Womens Mental Health, which recently held in Tokyo, Japan. Women are twice as likely to develop depression compared to their male counterparts. Depression in women was covered in detail at the Congress. Some of the topics covered were working women and the problems that they have – with the dual responsibility of work and family. One of the Japanese professors Prof. Toshiko Kamo presented a fascinating talk on Women’s Mental Health in Japan, showing how women move through different psychological stages in their […]
09 Feb 2015

What are antidepressants?

The term ‘antidepressants’ can get confusing because although antidepressants were originally marketed as treatments for depression, they have been found to work in other conditions. They are used in anxiety disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, social phobia, premenstrual syndrome, insomnia, pain relief, headaches/migraine prevention. The three main neurotransmitters (brain chemicals) they target are serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. Different medications affect different neurotransmitters in the brain. Molecules of the antidepressants bind to nerve cells in the brain and affect their basic functioning. Here is a picture of a nerve cell in the brain. Put very simply, it is a […]
08 Feb 2015

Exercise helps decrease depressive symptoms

When I ask my depressed patients if they exercise, I get groans and sighs of guilt since they have ‘given up’ with their exercise programs. I realize that exercising may be the absolute last thing you feel like doing when you are depressed. However, research shows that exercise is a natural ‘anti-depressant’ and is useful as an alternate or add on to therapy and medication. Many patients don’t want to take medication, or want to keep their medication doses as low as possible. If exercising regularly helps to do this, why not give it a try? At this point, I […]
29 Dec 2014

How does my Doctor choose my Antidepressant ?

I can only really comment on what I think about when deciding to start a patient on these medications, based on my experience and studies. This is not medical advice, more my opinion on the thought process behind the science. I have made it quite simple so if you have specific questions you can comment below/email me or ask your treating doctor. I try and match up my patients with the medication I’m prescribing. This helps them stay on the medication if they experience minimal side effects and benefit from the meds. This is not always an easy thing to […]
04 Dec 2014

Finding professional help for depression in South Africa

There are a few ways to find help for treatment of depression. In the private sector, initially I would advise approaching a general practitioner who can confirm the diagnosis and start treatment if necessary. Alternatively, make an appointment with a psychologist in your area and discuss your concerns with him/her. If your depression is complicated and not responding well to treatment, I would recommend that you see a psychiatrist for a more intense assessment. In the public sector there are local mental health clinics in all districts ( definitely in Gauteng). Go to your local clinic and ask to see […]