September 27, 2011
A recently released study about the effects of coffee use on depression has gained quite a bit of “buzz” in the Wall Street Journal, the LA Times, the New York Times and the Washington Post. The study suggests that there may be a positive protective relationship between regular coffee use in women and developing depression. In other words, women who drink coffee on a regular basis may be at decreased risk of developing an episode of depression.
Now, I am not ready to start “prescribing” coffee to my female patients who are dealing with depression for many reasons. First and foremost, the study doesn’t suggest that coffee is necessarily useful in treating depression; it only speaks to preventing depression. But there are many other reasons as well, including the fact that though it may be tempting to believe that if we simply ingest a tasty beverage (or pill or herbal remedy or something else) we will be happy, life rarely is that simple.
I was pleased to read that the study mentioned the potential harmful effects of coffee intake. Perhaps the old mantra, “everything in moderation” applies here.
September 15, 2011
Time Magazine ran an interview style article with a recent president of APA that, in my opinion, demonstrated a horribly misguided understanding of psychotherapy. The piece starts out by addressing a very real and complex set of public health problems: there are many people in need of psychological treatment that don’t have access; there is confusion about what works in psychotherapy (and why); there are quacks out there treating patients without adequate training and supervision; etc. However the quality of the article quickly slides out of control with bizarre misrepresentations of psychotherapy efficacy literature, personal opinions stated as fact and other unsubstantiated claims about the benefits of psychotherapy.
I feel it was irresponsible of Time Magazine to run such a piece without a balanced perspective, without interviewing someone more familiar with or who has more in-depth understand of the psychotherapy efficacy literature.