Jennifer yashari

Depression and Holiday Stress: Are You Overwhelmed?

November 30, 2011 at 2:56 pm , by

Got the blues? You’re not the only one. Every month our friends at Yahoo! send us a snapshot of the top-spiking health searches, and this month the term “antidepressants” came in at number three (behind the more surprising “listeria” and “ear-wax removal”—go figure). In fact, in the past few months depression-related terms have been consistently at the top.

Then there’s this: a new report from Medco Health Solutions, Inc. found that 21 percent of American women took antidepressants in 2010, a 29 percent increase from 2001. When you look at drugs for mental health conditions on the whole, including anti-anxiety, antipsychotics and ADHD meds, roughly a quarter of adult women are taking them, compared with 15 percent of men.

We’re not surprised that depression is on women’s minds these days, considering the state of the world. Plus, the holiday season always adds stress along with the joys. Are you feeling more like Charlie Brown’s sad little tree this year? We asked Jennifer Yashari, M.D., a psychiatrist in Los Angeles and a member of the LHJ Medical Advisory Board, to shed some light on why depression seems to affect women more than men, and how to know if you need help.

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The Truth About Bipolar Disorder

April 27, 2011 at 4:52 pm , by

Drama and comedyIt’s been quite a week in Hollywood mental health news. Three months after her husband Michael Douglas was declared cancer-free, Catherine Zeta-Jones checked herself into treatment for bipolar disorder II. “This is a disorder that affects millions of people and I am one of them,” Zeta-Jones said in a statement to People magazine. Just days later, Disney star and musician Demi Lovato revealed she also suffers from the disorder, and tweeted her support for the actress.

While it may seem like bipolar is another one of those non-ailments that only happens to celebrities, like “a nervous breakdown” or “exhaustion,” the truth is that it’s a serious diagnosis affecting close to 6 million Americans.

There are two different types: bipolar disorder I is characterized by cycling between episodes of mania and depression. Catherine Zeta-Jones has bipolar disorder II, which is alternating between depression and hypomania, a less intense form of mania. What makes bipolar different from major depression are these manic or hypomanic episodes that make you feel on top of the world, says Jennifer Yashari, M.D., a psychiatrist in Los Angeles and a member of the LHJ Medical Advisory Board.

“That’s why bipolar can be complicated because many times people don’t want to be treated for mania—your mind races, and things come to you so quickly and easily,” she adds. For some patients, those manic episodes may feel creative, productive, even brilliant, while to others they may seem delusional.

So how do you know when you or a loved one needs help? “It’s tricky,” and there are a lot of misconceptions, Dr. Yashari says. Read on after the jump to learn the real story behind symptoms and treatment.

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