Coffee Good for Depression. Sybil Revealed. Bipolar Questions Answered. – 3 New Things

Keep up with mental health news. Three new things in mental health to learn this week:

  • The more coffee (caffeine) your drink, the less likely you’ll be depressed
  • Clinical records of real-life Sybil (part of the basis of “multiple personality disorder”) show likely falsehoods and unethical treatment
  • Get your bipolar questions answered by a clinical psychologist

More Caffeine Decreases the Risk of Depression

This is one of the most marvellous pieces of mental illness information I have heard in a long time – caffeine (coffee) consumption is inversely related to depression. (More on effects of caffeine on mental illness.) In other words, the more coffee you drink the less likely you are to be depressed! Crazy, no?

Well, I guess no. According to a 10-year study of 50,739 women, the women who drank more caffeine were less likely to be depressed. Compared to depressed women who drink one or less cups of coffee per week:

  • The relative risk of depression was 0.85 for women consuming 2-3 cups of coffee per day
  • The relative risk of depression was 0.8 for women consuming 5 or more cups of coffee per day
  • (No increase or decrease in risk was seen in those who drank decaffeinated coffee.)

Increased Caffeine Decreases Depression RiskThat means that women who drank more than 5 cups of coffee per day had even less risk of being depressed than those who drank 2-3 cups of coffee per day. It’s astounding, really.

Now, I’m not suggesting you buy a Starbucks or anything, but the data is quite incredible. I know one thing, I’m not skipping my morning coffee.

(According to their data, 2,607 cases of depression were identified. That number seems really low so they may have set their bar quite high for what qualifies as “depression” and thus this relationship may really exist between caffeine and severe depression, I’m not sure.)

Real Story Behind Sybil and Multiple Personality Disorder

One the more popular pieces on the Bipolar Burble written by a guest author was Everything You Know About Dissociative Identity Disorder is Wrong by Holly Gray. In this article, Holly exposes some of the myths about dissociative identity disorder – previously known as multiple personality disorder. And, of course, multiple personality disorder was made famous by the book (and movie) Sybil.

Dissociative Identity Disorder and Symbil

Provided by Wikipedia

As Holly points out, there aren’t really “multiple personalities” or multiple people, inside one person with dissociative identity disorder, so the name was a misnomer and based on some very bad information – much of it from Sybil’s very public case. And A Girl Not Named Sybil in the New York Times aims to explore some of the problems with the story of Sybil, now known to actually be a woman named Shirley Mason.

Among other things, Mason’s therapist prescribes drugs in an unhealthy (addiction promoting) way and repeatedly administers sodium pentothal (truth serum as it has been commonly known). The article seems to suggest that Mason may have been making some things up and her therapist may not have been acting ethically, possibly making Mason actually worse. Do read the article. It goes to show you how one very loud, possibly untrue, case can overshadow reality.

Bipolar Question and Answer Session

Now, really, I’m your question and answer girl. You have questions, I have answers. But perhaps you’d prefer someone with a Phd to talk to. Well then you might try Dr. Rob (yes, I know). He’s hosting a live bipolar question and answer session on October 24th. You can submit confidential questions now or do so during the live session. If I can find the time I might just take a gander myself.

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