Psycho-Babble Medication Thread 75408

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Re: David Burns

Posted by Cecilia on January 24, 2002, at 4:32:09

In reply to Re: David Burns is a psychiatrist , posted by Lisa01 on January 23, 2002, at 15:13:36

> > Clearly Burns is a psychiatrist, not a psychologist. I have his latest updated "Feeling Good" and while Im not a big fan of any kind of talk therapy, I found the updated drugs section in the second half of the book to be OUTSTANDING. In fact, the drugs section of "Feeling Good" is worth the price of the book IMO. Its written in plain English and is clear, concise, useful information about psychiatry drugs used to treat depression. I would rely on this information anyday. One thing I like about Burns is he obviously does not believe in overmedicating his patients and this is clearly obvious in his drugs section of Feeling Good.
> >
> > His drug information is first class info.
> >
> > Old School
>
> I was quite sure that he could not have prescribed drugs as a psychologist--I believe only M.D.'s and psychiatrists only have this 'power'--and he talks extensively in the book about his prescribing experience with the various drugs and the feedback from his patients.
>
> I would also point out that I did not take the dosage advise from the book alone but also from my family physician, who thought that beginning on the 10 mg. dose would be best. He has since approved a move to twice daily with a close watch on side effects (I still get dizzy and disoriented following the afternoon dose, but am waiting this out hoping for the benefits!)
>
> Lisa

Does anyone know if anything happened to Dr. Burns? I used to read his web site (feelinggood.com) in which he would personally answer readers questions, but he stopped writing in it after Sep. 11 and now his web site has disappeared altogether. Dr. Burns is indeed a psychiatrist, but makes it clear in his web site that he has little faith in medication and believes CBT to be much more effective. I guess CBT works well for some people, but I`ve never figured how you make yourself BELIEVE the so-called rational thoughts, especially on an emotional, not just intellectual, level. And some of it is pretty oversimplistic, like the shame-attacking exersises where you do embarrassing things on purpose; for someone with deep rooted shame issues this makes about as much sense as curing broken bones by breaking a few more. Cecilia

 

Re: David Burns

Posted by OldSchool on January 24, 2002, at 10:30:56

In reply to Re: David Burns , posted by Cecilia on January 24, 2002, at 3:50:02

>
> Does anyone know if anything happened to Dr. Burns? I used to read his web site (feelinggood.com) in which he would personally answer readers questions, but he stopped writing in it after Sep. 11 and now his web site has disappeared altogether. Dr. Burns is indeed a psychiatrist, but makes it clear in his web site that he has little faith in medication and believes CBT to be much more effective. I guess CBT works well for some people, but I`ve never figured how you make yourself BELIEVE the so-called rational thoughts, especially on an emotional, not just intellectual, level. And some of it is pretty oversimplistic, like the shame-attacking exersises where you do embarrassing things on purpose; for someone with deep rooted shame issues this makes about as much sense as curing broken bones by breaking a few more. Cecilia


I have his book Feeling Good. I dont agree with much of the stuff in it. He criticizes the idea of depression having a chemical imbalance root cause, but then goes onto giving rave reviews of MAOIs. MAOIs are the most potent antidepressants available. What gives with that? What a hypocrite. Its obvious Burns is another idiot who has this mindblock many psychology buffs have to the basic fact that all of your thoughts, moods, feelings, perceptions, etc. are brain based. Everything starts in your brain.

He also admits bipolar disorder is heavily biological and genetic, but denies depression is biological. LOL

Old School

 

Re: David Burns is a psychiatrist OldSchool

Posted by Elizabeth on January 24, 2002, at 12:59:33

In reply to Re: David Burns is a psychiatrist , posted by OldSchool on January 23, 2002, at 14:33:08

> The above information is totally incorrect. I have David Burns's book "Feeling Good" right in front of me and it clearly says "David Burns, MD." His credentials are the following according to the book. "Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine."

Well, then he doesn't have any excuse, if he did indeed claim that 20 mg of Parnate should be enough for all or most patients. 20 mg of Parnate is a very modest dose, although it may of course be adequate for a few people.

You of all people should know that just because someone is a psychiatrist, that doesn't mean they know what they're talking about! (Not that Burns doesn't know what he's talking about; all I know is that he's wrong about this particular thing.)

-elizabeth

 

Re: David Burns and Parnate Lisa01

Posted by Elizabeth on January 24, 2002, at 13:07:37

In reply to Re: David Burns is a psychiatrist , posted by Lisa01 on January 23, 2002, at 15:13:36

> I was quite sure that he could not have prescribed drugs as a psychologist--I believe only M.D.'s and psychiatrists only have this 'power'--and he talks extensively in the book about his prescribing experience with the various drugs and the feedback from his patients.

That's right, psychologists can't prescribe drugs (thank goodness). A psychiatrist is an M.D. and as such can prescribe. I haven't read the book; I was going on memory from a discussion about it a very long time ago on Usenet! Sorry about that.

> I would also point out that I did not take the dosage advise from the book alone but also from my family physician, who thought that beginning on the 10 mg. dose would be best.

*Beginning*, sure. That doesn't mean that 10 mg is an effective dose! The 20 mg you're taking is also seldom enough. It is a good idea to increase it slowly (assuming your depression is not serious enough that you need to get to a target dose ASAP) since you seem to be sensitive to the side effects. A good *starting* dose isn't the same as an *effective* dose -- many people have to start at 5 mg/day of Paxil, for example. You might be lucky and find that 20 mg/day is enough Parnate for you, but I wouldn't count on it. You might go back and read Burns again -- I'm guessing that he didn't say that 20 mg is generally a sufficient dose.

-elizabeth

 

Re: David Burns and Parnate

Posted by Lisa01 on January 24, 2002, at 13:14:45

In reply to Re: David Burns and Parnate Lisa01, posted by Elizabeth on January 24, 2002, at 13:07:37

You might go back and read Burns again -- I'm guessing that he didn't say that 20 mg is generally a sufficient dose.


Hi Elizabeth--thanks for all your input. Burns does say that he will sometimes go to 30 mg. Parnate but very rarely to 40 or more. He emphasized that many respond so well to 10 or 20 that they do not need to go any higher. I was hoping to be one of those people. One thing that is unclear in Burns is how long to give it at 20 mg before determining you need more (my fam. phys. says 2 weeks). At this point I don't even notice partial benefits which makes me wonder if it just needs more time...

Lisa

 

Re: David Burns OldSchool

Posted by Elizabeth on January 24, 2002, at 13:24:48

In reply to Re: David Burns , posted by OldSchool on January 24, 2002, at 10:30:56

> I have his book Feeling Good. I dont agree with much of the stuff in it.

I agree, and I'm surprised to hear that you have the book. Any particular reason you got it?

> He criticizes the idea of depression having a chemical imbalance root cause, but then goes onto giving rave reviews of MAOIs. MAOIs are the most potent antidepressants available.

Well, if they are the best ADs, maybe it just means he thinks the other ADs are weak and don't do much. (BTW, I'm guessing that you mean the *strongest* or most *effective*. Potency just means the effective dose is low -- so Parnate is more potent than Nardil, and Paxil is more potent than Zoloft, but MAOIs and other ADs can't really be compared in potency since they do different things.)

> What gives with that? What a hypocrite. Its obvious Burns is another idiot who has this mindblock many psychology buffs have to the basic fact that all of your thoughts, moods, feelings, perceptions, etc. are brain based. Everything starts in your brain.

A lot of people seem to have a hard time grasping this idea. Anyway, that must be why I thought Burns was a psychologist, because he's such a CBT cultist.

Out of curiosity, have you tried CBT or other talk therapy, and if so what did you think of it? (My experience with CBT was much like Cecilia's.)

> He also admits bipolar disorder is heavily biological and genetic, but denies depression is biological. LOL

So he buys the idea of a biological basis for some mental disorders, but denies that depression is one of them, huh? Personally I've never heard of *anyone* with serious depression who was cured by CBT.

Yes, the brain gets sensory input from external experiences, and in the long term these experiences affect what we call "personality," but whether or not a major depressive episode will occur is largely predetermined, probably at least in part by genetics. (There may be other factors, such as autoimmune conditions.) So I don't think that people with depression that has recurred for more than a couple times are likely to benefit from personality or behavior modification (the supposed effect of CBT).

-elizabeth

 

Re: David Burns is a psychiatrist

Posted by OldSchool on January 24, 2002, at 14:25:44

In reply to Re: David Burns is a psychiatrist OldSchool, posted by Elizabeth on January 24, 2002, at 12:59:33

> > The above information is totally incorrect. I have David Burns's book "Feeling Good" right in front of me and it clearly says "David Burns, MD." His credentials are the following according to the book. "Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine."
>
> Well, then he doesn't have any excuse, if he did indeed claim that 20 mg of Parnate should be enough for all or most patients. 20 mg of Parnate is a very modest dose, although it may of course be adequate for a few people.
>
> You of all people should know that just because someone is a psychiatrist, that doesn't mean they know what they're talking about! (Not that Burns doesn't know what he's talking about; all I know is that he's wrong about this particular thing.)
>
> -elizabeth

Elizabeth, I agree Burns is biased against meds. Thats obvious from his book. I read in his book that he prefers to "keep the dosage low." I know thats BS. He also criticizes SSRIs, in favor of the older tricyclics. That is BS as well, as the SSRIs are much cleaner drugs with fewer side effects.

All that being said, Burns's book is worth reading. Some of the things he says about meds is true, while some of it is junk. I have the ability to discern the junk from the good stuff.

I dont think CBT, nor any other talk therapy gets to the "root" of severe mental illness.

Old School

 

Re: David Burns

Posted by OldSchool on January 24, 2002, at 14:35:19

In reply to Re: David Burns OldSchool, posted by Elizabeth on January 24, 2002, at 13:24:48

> > I have his book Feeling Good. I dont agree with much of the stuff in it.
>
> I agree, and I'm surprised to hear that you have the book. Any particular reason you got it?

Because I read some stuff saying that CBT can be useful for refractory depression. I was skeptical and still am. However I wanted to read the book, which I havent done yet. I have read parts of the meds section in it though. Plus Ive had such a hard time tolerating meds in the last year that I figured I better start doing some things in case someday all I can tolerate is ECT. Although I think the experience with Amantadine recently has explained a lot...it totally "loosened me up" and I found I could add drugs while on Amantadine easily.

> > He criticizes the idea of depression having a chemical imbalance root cause, but then goes onto giving rave reviews of MAOIs. MAOIs are the most potent antidepressants available.
>
> Well, if they are the best ADs, maybe it just means he thinks the other ADs are weak and don't do much. (BTW, I'm guessing that you mean the *strongest* or most *effective*. Potency just means the effective dose is low -- so Parnate is more potent than Nardil, and Paxil is more potent than Zoloft, but MAOIs and other ADs can't really be compared in potency since they do different things.)

I think the guy is just full of it to a large extent, although I still liked some of what he writes especially about meds. He believes in being cautious with meds and I agree with that.

>
> > What gives with that? What a hypocrite. Its obvious Burns is another idiot who has this mindblock many psychology buffs have to the basic fact that all of your thoughts, moods, feelings, perceptions, etc. are brain based. Everything starts in your brain.
>
> A lot of people seem to have a hard time grasping this idea. Anyway, that must be why I thought Burns was a psychologist, because he's such a CBT cultist.
>
> Out of curiosity, have you tried CBT or other talk therapy, and if so what did you think of it? (My experience with CBT was much like Cecilia's.)

Nope Ive never been in any therapy. The closest to therapy Ive ever been in was my offline support group...it was kind of like a real informal, loose group therapy session. Very informal which I like.

>
> > He also admits bipolar disorder is heavily biological and genetic, but denies depression is biological. LOL
>
> So he buys the idea of a biological basis for some mental disorders, but denies that depression is one of them, huh? Personally I've never heard of *anyone* with serious depression who was cured by CBT.
>

Yep...thats exactly what he does. He says bipolar is clearly biological and genetic but rejects these ideas for regular depression. He says many people with bipolar will need to be on lifetime medication, but those with depression "rarely require lifetime drugs." In other words, the guy is an idiot.

> Yes, the brain gets sensory input from external experiences, and in the long term these experiences affect what we call "personality," but whether or not a major depressive episode will occur is largely predetermined, probably at least in part by genetics. (There may be other factors, such as autoimmune conditions.) So I don't think that people with depression that has recurred for more than a couple times are likely to benefit from personality or behavior modification (the supposed effect of CBT).

Me either. This stuff is largely pure neurology in my opinion. Its your brain and CNS. Sometimes the endocrine system has something to do with it or as you mentioned the autoimmune system.


Old School

 

Re: David Burns

Posted by Emme on January 24, 2002, at 16:10:59

In reply to Re: David Burns, posted by OldSchool on January 24, 2002, at 14:35:19

Hi Folks,

Funny this thread should come up. I'm partway through the book. I personally find a lot that's objectionable and a lot that's good (besides the thorough medicine listing at the end). First of all, I don't think we should disregard the usefulness of CBT. *Every* human being, mood disordered or not, can use a reality check now and then. To me, CBT is just a formalized system of being aware of how your thoughts and reactions relate to what may or may not actually be going on. When I look at his descriptions of cognitive distortions, I see myself so clearly in some of them. While I'm not big into writing it all down, it doesn't hurt to have my awareness raised. My therapists have used some aspects of CBT (though not in the rigid cultlike manner as Burns prescribes). Although it's certainly not enough to manage my illness without meds, I can't say it hasn't been helpful.

Do I think CBT has or can "cure" my serious mood disorder? No! I *know* that I need careful psychopharmacologic management. Do I think there's a genetic component to my illness? My family history says absolutely. And I can't process any CBT while severly depressed - the meds have to bring me up a bit. I suspect my illness is more "biologically" based than "psychologically" (if we're gonna draw a line between the brain and the mind). But hey, any adjunct tool that can help me manage better can't hurt. I just don't expect CBT to be the magic key.

On the negative side: I do agree the book and techniques have an almost cultlike feel to them. I totally agree that it's ridiculous that he says bipolar is genetic and depression is not. It also sounds a bit hard to believe when he says he has cured suicidal patients in incredibly short periods of time. And that he's rarely had a patient need onoging drug treatment beyond a year or so. I also worry that all his glowing stories might make people who've had CBT feel like failures if they haven't had resounding success with CBT. I worry that the book might encourage folks to abandon their medicine without appropriate discussions and oversight from their doctors, or to not recognize when they need to really think about starting meds. Yeah, I know he puts in caveats about when to call in a professional and all that. But I think his anti-drug stance poses possible dangers.

Oh, and the guy's way too long winded (unlike this post :) He could've made his points in a quarter of the space and his writing style irritates me - he writes as if his audience is a bunch of third-graders. How annoying.

Emme

 

Endogenous (Chemistry) vs. Exogenous (Life Events)

Posted by Rick on January 24, 2002, at 19:19:43

In reply to Re: David Burns, posted by Emme on January 24, 2002, at 16:10:59

I probably shouldn't reprint an entire editorial here (the one I printed a snippet of in another post), but it may add some historical perspective to the Burns discussion. (Although it does veer off in a different direction.)

If I understand what folks are saying, Burns is suggesting that unipolar depression in general is what used to be called exogenous depression, i.e. caused by life events (vs. chemistry) and thus treatable only with talk.

From
Medscape Mental Health
Medscape Psychopharmacology Today
Endogenous Versus Exogenous: Still Not the Issue

Thomas AM Kramer, MD

[Medscape Mental Health 7(1), 2002. 2002 Medscape, Inc.]

Many readers may recall a time during the early 1980s when it was believed to be important to classify depression as either endogenous or exogenous. The idea was that there was a difference between depression precipitated by life events, called exogenous depression, and depression that was inherent to the patients' physiology, referred to as endogenous depression. The theory was that patients with exogenous depression did not respond to antidepressants -- ie, tricyclic antidepressants or monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) -- because, presumably, their depression was not a function of their physiology but rather a reaction to their life situation. As such, they required treatment with some form of talking therapy. This theory, as it was promoted at the time, not only made the distinction between endogenous and exogenous depression based on symptoms (ie, did they or did they not have vegetative symptoms of depression), but also by assumed etiology. Thus, it was believed that depression precipitated by the loss of a loved one or any other grief-inducing event would not respond to antidepressants because it was exogenous, ie, not physiological.

In retrospect, this rather dualist approach to depression seemed to imply that only some behaviors had anything to do with the chemistry of the brain, but other behaviors were somehow exempt. All of this thinking came, to a certain extent, from the discovery of monoamine neurotransmitters and their role in depression. Since antidepressants seemed to increase the amount of norepinephrine, serotonin, and perhaps dopamine by making more neurotransmitters seemingly available, it made sense at the time to understand depression as a deficit of these neurotransmitters. Ignoring the fact that the effect of these drugs on the neurotransmitters was virtually immediate, their effect on the patient took considerably longer. The assumption was that the depressed patients clearly needed more of something, and the neurotransmitters were the best candidate at the time. It was hard to believe, then, that life events could change fundamental biochemistry. We now are fairly certain -- armed with new knowledge from various studies about dietary manipulation, blood and CSF level monitoring, and other sophisticated methodology -- that the deficit model of neurotransmitters is considerably more simplistic than whatever the reality of the pathophysiology of depression is.

Much more recently, we came up with a new application of the semantic distinction between endogenous and exogenous. In spite of the data that question the validity of a deficit paradigm, we continue to think of psychopharmacology as somehow having an effect on some sort of balance. One often hears patients parroting this idea by referring to themselves as having a chemical imbalance. As we strive to somehow rebalance that imbalance, we struggle to conceive of exactly what it is that is out of balance. Throughout most of the history of the treatment of depression, we have done this with reuptake blockers, which ostensibly increase the amount of neurotransmitter available to the outside of the neuron by blocking reuptake. These drugs, by the semantic distinction described above, would be exogenous, ie, they are not something that the body naturally produces but are ingested to achieve an impact on the balance of neurotransmitters.

More recently, we have begun to get interested in the use of endogenous compounds, ie, hormones or other substances that are naturally produced by the body, in the treatment of depression. The idea is that if we administer substances that the body already has, but perhaps doesn't have enough of, this may treat the depression. Recent studies have shown that estrogen supplementation, growth hormone, and even secretin, which is used in the treatment of autism, may have beneficial effects in depressed patients. The idea here is once again to rebalance an imbalance by giving the actual substance that the body may be in deficit of. This brings about interesting discussions concerning the actual definition of a drug and whether it is somehow better or safer to give, as treatment, substances that are already found within the body.

This kind of work can be misleading or deceiving. Virtually every medical disorder that results from having too little of a hormone has a companion disorder that is a result of too much of that same hormone. In addition, it is often impossible to deliver a naturally occurring neurotransmitter or hormone to its target in all cases.

One intriguing example of this was the development of gabapentin. Gabapentin is a biologically derived compound that was developed with a very simple idea. Many of the drugs that we use to treat epilepsy are active in the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) system. The idea was that if we could somehow give the patient GABA, instead of drugs that accentuate the GABA system, we would somehow have a better, purer response. There was only one problem with this idea: GABA does not cross the blood-brain barrier. All of the GABA that is in the brain was manufactured there. In order to give the brain a dose of GABA, you would either have to inject it directly into the brain, a procedure that most patients would object to if it were done on a regular basis, or modify the GABA molecule in some way that would maintain its action but allow it to cross the blood-brain barrier. That clever thing was done; a pentin ring was attached to GABA, and thus gabapentin was born. It works quite well, and everyone was happy until someone actually conducted studies of gabapentin receptor binding. What they discovered was that gabapentin had absolutely no interest in GABA receptors or any GABA circuitry, but seemed to be very interested in the glutamate system, where it turns out all of its actions take place. In other words, the drug's efficacy had nothing to do with the ideas behind its development. I have been told this story informally, and I have no idea if it is actually true, but it illustrates the point I am trying to make quite nicely.

I propose a reframing of the paradigms that we use for psychopharmacology and its relationship to neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters slosh around the body, and specifically inside the brain, in relatively constant amounts. The drugs that we give, even MAOIs, do not really affect the number of neurotransmitters in the body very much. What these drugs do is affect receptors. Instead of being concerned about the effect of norepinephrine and serotonin, we really need to redefine our concept of psychopharmacology as receptor drugs. Saying, for example, that selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) treat depression by increasing serotonin is like saying that a boat sinking on the ocean needs to have reduced water levels. The water is there and all around. To fix the boat you need to plug the holes. That will be a great deal more effective than worrying about decreasing the overall amount of water in the system.

SSRIs affect the serotonin transporters in cell membranes; they do not necessarily affect the overall level of serotonin. There is no deficit or surplus of serotonin; there are cells with impaired ability to have certain levels of serotonin on either side of their membranes. If serotonergic drugs really did affect serotonin overall, they would cause absolutely horrible GI side effects, since the gut has considerably more serotonin and serotonergic neurons than the brain has. This is also why different patients get better on different SSRIs. These agents may all block serotonin reuptake, but each is structurally distinct and thus may bind differently to serotonin transporters, depending on the patient. Similarly, dopamine blockers that are used to treat psychosis do not affect dopamine as much as they lower the sensitivity of certain cells to dopamine by blocking some of their receptors. This has no effect on the total volume of dopamine. It is even more likely that some drugs that appear to work by serotonin receptor blockade actually work by shunting the serotonin moving around from one receptor group to another. In other words, if a certain class of serotonin receptors is completely blocked, the serotonin has no choice but to bind to other receptors.

For years we have struggled to attribute fluctuations in neurotransmitters to drugs' mechanisms of action. Once we begin to conceive of drugs as affecting receptors, things generally seem to make more sense. Even the hormonal treatments described above have their effects at the actual receptors on the cells. Newer exciting treatments, such as the use of corticotrophin-releasing factor antagonists to treat depression and anxiety, and the most recent work, involving the noncontroversial use of a controversial compound, RU486, for the treatment of depression, are aimed at antagonizing hormonal receptors. Why should we concern ourselves with receptors? Because of Willie Sutton's law. Sutton, the noted bank robber, when asked why he robbed all those banks, replied, "Because that's where the money is."


Disclaimer
The opinions expressed are those of Dr. Kramer and do not reflect those of the American Board of Psychiatry & Neurology or the Directors of the ABPN.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thomas AM Kramer, MD, is Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Northwestern University, Chicago and Deputy Executive Vice President of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.

 

Re: David Burns and Parnate Lisa01

Posted by Elizabeth on January 25, 2002, at 1:13:25

In reply to Re: David Burns and Parnate, posted by Lisa01 on January 24, 2002, at 13:14:45

> Burns does say that he will sometimes go to 30 mg. Parnate but very rarely to 40 or more. He emphasized that many respond so well to 10 or 20 that they do not need to go any higher. I was hoping to be one of those people. One thing that is unclear in Burns is how long to give it at 20 mg before determining you need more (my fam. phys. says 2 weeks).

A general rule that I find helpful: your doctor should always overrule what you read in a book!

It is certainly true that you may need to raise the dose (and I doubt that 20 mg/day is a sufficient dose of Parnate for most people; chances are you will need to raise it). I think that you should wait if you're having trouble tolerating it, though -- don't rush it unless your situation is truly urgent. Most side effects will dissipate with time.

-elizabeth

 

Re: David Burns-Emme

Posted by Cecilia on January 25, 2002, at 2:56:47

In reply to Re: David Burns, posted by Emme on January 24, 2002, at 16:10:59

> Hi Folks,
>
> Funny this thread should come up. I'm partway through the book. I personally find a lot that's objectionable and a lot that's good (besides the thorough medicine listing at the end). First of all, I don't think we should disregard the usefulness of CBT. *Every* human being, mood disordered or not, can use a reality check now and then. To me, CBT is just a formalized system of being aware of how your thoughts and reactions relate to what may or may not actually be going on. When I look at his descriptions of cognitive distortions, I see myself so clearly in some of them. While I'm not big into writing it all down, it doesn't hurt to have my awareness raised. My therapists have used some aspects of CBT (though not in the rigid cultlike manner as Burns prescribes). Although it's certainly not enough to manage my illness without meds, I can't say it hasn't been helpful.
>
> Do I think CBT has or can "cure" my serious mood disorder? No! I *know* that I need careful psychopharmacologic management. Do I think there's a genetic component to my illness? My family history says absolutely. And I can't process any CBT while severly depressed - the meds have to bring me up a bit. I suspect my illness is more "biologically" based than "psychologically" (if we're gonna draw a line between the brain and the mind). But hey, any adjunct tool that can help me manage better can't hurt. I just don't expect CBT to be the magic key.
>
> On the negative side: I do agree the book and techniques have an almost cultlike feel to them. I totally agree that it's ridiculous that he says bipolar is genetic and depression is not. It also sounds a bit hard to believe when he says he has cured suicidal patients in incredibly short periods of time. And that he's rarely had a patient need onoging drug treatment beyond a year or so. I also worry that all his glowing stories might make people who've had CBT feel like failures if they haven't had resounding success with CBT. I worry that the book might encourage folks to abandon their medicine without appropriate discussions and oversight from their doctors, or to not recognize when they need to really think about starting meds. Yeah, I know he puts in caveats about when to call in a professional and all that. But I think his anti-drug stance poses possible dangers.
>
> Oh, and the guy's way too long winded (unlike this post :) He could've made his points in a quarter of the space and his writing style irritates me - he writes as if his audience is a bunch of third-graders. How annoying.
>
> Emme

Yes, I definitely feel there`s a sort of "blame the patient" attitude about CBT. He talks a lot about doing homework; if you don`t get better it`s because you haven`t done your homework. And his dramatic success stories do indeed make me feel worse about myself, though I seem to have that problem with all self help books. Cecilia

 

Re: David Burns

Posted by Blue Cheer 1 on January 25, 2002, at 5:39:48

In reply to Re: David Burns, posted by Emme on January 24, 2002, at 16:10:59

> Hi Folks,
>
> Funny this thread should come up. I'm partway through the book. I personally find a lot that's objectionable and a lot that's good (besides the thorough medicine listing at the end). First of all, I don't think we should disregard the usefulness of CBT. *Every* human being, mood disordered or not, can use a reality check now and then. To me, CBT is just a formalized system of being aware of how your thoughts and reactions relate to what may or may not actually be going on. When I look at his descriptions of cognitive distortions, I see myself so clearly in some of them. While I'm not big into writing it all down, it doesn't hurt to have my awareness raised. My therapists have used some aspects of CBT (though not in the rigid cultlike manner as Burns prescribes). Although it's certainly not enough to manage my illness without meds, I can't say it hasn't been helpful.
>
> Do I think CBT has or can "cure" my serious mood disorder? No! I *know* that I need careful psychopharmacologic management. Do I think there's a genetic component to my illness? My family history says absolutely. And I can't process any CBT while severly depressed - the meds have to bring me up a bit. I suspect my illness is more "biologically" based than "psychologically" (if we're gonna draw a line between the brain and the mind). But hey, any adjunct tool that can help me manage better can't hurt. I just don't expect CBT to be the magic key.
>
> On the negative side: I do agree the book and techniques have an almost cultlike feel to them. I totally agree that it's ridiculous that he says bipolar is genetic and depression is not. It also sounds a bit hard to believe when he says he has cured suicidal patients in incredibly short periods of time. And that he's rarely had a patient need onoging drug treatment beyond a year or so. I also worry that all his glowing stories might make people who've had CBT feel like failures if they haven't had resounding success with CBT. I worry that the book might encourage folks to abandon their medicine without appropriate discussions and oversight from their doctors, or to not recognize when they need to really think about starting meds. Yeah, I know he puts in caveats about when to call in a professional and all that. But I think his anti-drug stance poses possible dangers.
>
> Oh, and the guy's way too long winded (unlike this post :) He could've made his points in a quarter of the space and his writing style irritates me - he writes as if his audience is a bunch of third-graders. How annoying.
>
> Emme

I see Dr. Burn's as more of an opportunist than anything else. Essentially, he took the ideas of Aaron Beck, M.D. (father of congitive therapy) and ran with them. He did his psychiatry residency at the Philadelphia VAMC and gave the hospital an undeserved black eye when he described (in his preface if memory serves me) a patient he passed on the elevator there who was returning from his 18th shock treatment, and was yelling "I want to die." I haven't looked at Feeling Good since it was first published, but I think he claimed that it was at this point when he decided there 'must be another way' (to treat depression). In any case, I know psychiatrists who remember him well, and he routinely used drugs in his practice.

I don't care about his drug recommendations since he's not a psychopharmacologist.

I've tried manualized CT/CBT before, but it's of no value if you're in a state of depression that makes it impossible to carry out the "homework assignments" that are part of the therapy. For those who are experiencing mild to moderate depression, I think it's an excellent adjunct to medications.

Blue

 

Re: David Burns

Posted by Lisa01 on January 25, 2002, at 7:42:10

In reply to Re: David Burns, posted by Blue Cheer 1 on January 25, 2002, at 5:39:48


> I've tried manualized CT/CBT before, but it's of no value if you're in a state of depression that makes it impossible to carry out the "homework assignments" that are part of the therapy. For those who are experiencing mild to moderate depression, I think it's an excellent adjunct to medications.
>
> Blue

I see that most of you are referring to CBT in the context of depression. I am inclined to agree that depression is likely more brain-based than mind-based (for lack of more scientific terminology). My personal demon is SP, and I do think there is--for me anywhere--a direct correlation between my thoughts ("I'm going to blow it" , "Everyone can see how nervous I am") and how anxious I become. I also know I am pre-disposed to social anxiety in that I had several early traumatic experiences with performance situations and have, I believe, come to dread them based on that. I think that I need meds at least temporarily until I can learn to 'correct' the way I look at performance situations, because my fears are overblown in terms of--and this is something Burns talks about--extremity and likelihood (I'm not using his terminology here)i.e. the outcome is not usually as bad as I anticipate and sometimes the situation I dread most does not even occur (e.g. someone asking a question I cannot answer at a presentation). I don't think CBT can be written off, or seen as a cure-all either. A combination of both meds and some kind of therapy can be more helpful for some than meds alone.

Anyone out there had luck with CBT for SP?
Lisa

 

in defense of CBT

Posted by sid on January 25, 2002, at 9:06:28

In reply to Re: David Burns, posted by Lisa01 on January 25, 2002, at 7:42:10

Behavior and thoughts affect brain chemistry. CBT does not pretend that depression is not a brain chemistry problem. It can be used, as well as meds to treat depression. It does not have a 100% rate of success, and meds don't either. Acupuncture can help too, and it does not have a 100% success rate either.

I did have success with CBT and acupuncture to get rid of a major depression, and I think CBT helps me everyday of my life now. It is some kind of emotional/psychological education that everybody should have in my opinion. The world would be a much better place if all of us were aware of the f*** up behavior, thoughts and relationships we carry on. But some people are not open to learning. I bever did much of the homeworks as I used to find them to anal for me. However I did understanf the different concepts that could help me and found ways to "catch myself" thinking or doing something that could hurt me in the long run, and change some of my behavior and thoughts. It was difficult at first, felt artificial, and then, with time and practice, it felt more normal. And the depression lifted.

Also, CBT has nothing to do with guilting the patient. Does a diabetic feel guilty because he has to learn to eat better and exercise more? Does he think that the insuline will do all the work, no matter what he does? Of course not ! So why do depressive people think the meds will do it all? I am not sure... I think it's another tool that can help, and I don't see why people don't use it more.

Since all this I thought I had chronic depression that would not lift, although I felt 90% better than during my major depression, which was horrible and not event-based. I still wonder how it is I did not kill myself then. So I decided to try meds for the residual depression. As it turns out, it seems I have an anxiety disorder, and my doc is not convinced that I still have depression. I did a test the other day and ranked very very low for depression and high for anxiety. So I guess I'm taking meds for anxiety at this point. I am not sure if different CBT techniques could help, I just got tired of making efforts and decided to rely on meds at this time. CBT does require efforts indeed, that's the downside: no free lunch. However, it does help for the rest of your life, even if it is not a panacea. Meds aren't either, from what I read on this web site.

 

Re: in defense of CBT

Posted by Dinah on January 25, 2002, at 9:33:21

In reply to in defense of CBT, posted by sid on January 25, 2002, at 9:06:28

Actually, if you read this board you will find me frequently recommending CBT because both studies and my personal experience show that it works well for some disorders. The ironic part is that I hate it, at least in it's purest form. Whenever I read someone like Burns or when my therapist used to give me homework I would feel like I was a dog or seal being trained. I would want to balance a ball on my nose and clap my flippers. And it did make me feel bad about myself. It makes it sound like simple behaviorism and life's not like that.
That being said, there's no reason to throw out the baby with the bathwater. There is a lot of good common sense in CBT and I extract that part of it and leave the rest behind. I've learned to stay calm during a panic attack and deal with my OCD. There are certain things like agitated depression that CBT cannot touch. I've learned to work around what I cannot change and to change what I can. But I don't use pure CBT. I read a lot and skim over what irritates me. My therapist has learned to slip in CBT in a non-doctrinaire conversational style that doesn't irritate the heck out of me. And medication fills in where CBT can't help.

 

Re: David Burns-Emme

Posted by OldSchool on January 25, 2002, at 11:25:47

In reply to Re: David Burns-Emme, posted by Cecilia on January 25, 2002, at 2:56:47

>
> Yes, I definitely feel there`s a sort of "blame the patient" attitude about CBT. He talks a lot about doing homework; if you don`t get better it`s because you haven`t done your homework. And his dramatic success stories do indeed make me feel worse about myself, though I seem to have that problem with all self help books. Cecilia


The problem with many talk therapies is that they simply do not work for the more severe mental illnesses. And when the therapy fails to provide the "relief" the psychology people sometimes claim it will provide, then the problem is with YOU. "Oh you didnt work hard enough in therapy." "Oh you dont want to get better bad enough." Its all a crock.

Major depression is a neurological illness, a brain based illness and anything less is a lie. Many people who adhere to these psychological notions of severe mental illness are in serious denial. They cant face up to the hard fact that they are truly sick in the medical sense. Talk therapy is an excuse, a reason to avoid the cold hard fact that major depression is a brain based illness.

Old School

 

Re: David Burns-Emme OldSchool

Posted by ray on January 25, 2002, at 15:16:29

In reply to Re: David Burns-Emme, posted by OldSchool on January 25, 2002, at 11:25:47

Sorry I didn't read all this thread but noticed topic and wanted to throw in 2 cents.

I only have a few books I like, one is Burn's.
I have a (my opinion) at least 50% baseline untreated very severe SP and dysthmia. I don't think it is 100%, but somewhere between 50-100 genetic.
I think the chronicity of a given disorder and (I suppose better by idential twin studies) are good indicators of genetic involvement.

Anyhow, I still think Burn's is helpful. For severe chronic disorders I consider it a 2nd add on, not a primary.
But I think CBT and Burn's extra ideas can be very useful. I've used them myself at times with success.
Recognized ones distorted, illogical, irrational thoughts real time can be very helpful, as many of these disorted thoughts tend to be "automatic" and the person is unaware of their irrationality.

As an example (we all do it but just as example).
The statement "it's all a crock" below ....

This is a good example of "all or nothing" thinking, or "black and white" thinking.
There are no inbetween's in the statement "It's all a crock".
The statement implies something (the book's techniques) are either:

a) Totally good. 100% the best way to go.
b) Totally bad, a sham, 100% useless

A more realistic statement would be that clearly some of the techniques are helpful for some people. It is an overwhelmingly popular book and I myself who come across as pro-med and anti-therapy to most of those I talk to still feel different therapies can offer a lot of help.
Sorry not trying to critize just wanted to point out something applicable to CBT.

I noticed that I do a lot of "mind reading",
"jumping to conclusions", "should statements",
"all or nothing thinking", and a few others.
(ie; about half of the 10 main ones!!!)

True it is not science, just an approach.
However I do want to say I don't think it is a crock.
I also think it is especially useful for mild to moderate depression.

And I notice he likes Parnate best! :)

Jumping down (from box) , I have plenty of problems I have to get to work on!!! :)

Ray

http://www.socialfear.com/

> >
> > Yes, I definitely feel there`s a sort of "blame the patient" attitude about CBT. He talks a lot about doing homework; if you don`t get better it`s because you haven`t done your homework. And his dramatic success stories do indeed make me feel worse about myself, though I seem to have that problem with all self help books. Cecilia
>
>
> The problem with many talk therapies is that they simply do not work for the more severe mental illnesses. And when the therapy fails to provide the "relief" the psychology people sometimes claim it will provide, then the problem is with YOU. "Oh you didnt work hard enough in therapy." "Oh you dont want to get better bad enough." Its all a crock.
>
> Major depression is a neurological illness, a brain based illness and anything less is a lie. Many people who adhere to these psychological notions of severe mental illness are in serious denial. They cant face up to the hard fact that they are truly sick in the medical sense. Talk therapy is an excuse, a reason to avoid the cold hard fact that major depression is a brain based illness.
>
> Old School

 

Re: in defense of CBT Dinah

Posted by sid on January 25, 2002, at 15:21:58

In reply to Re: in defense of CBT, posted by Dinah on January 25, 2002, at 9:33:21

Good for you.

I read about CBT years ago, and with time, I keep doing some of the stuff that helps. I simply forgot what got on my nerves. Indeed, the "homeworks" are sometimes weird and I once fought with a therapist not to do an assignment that I found pointless and a sheer waste of time. Each person needs to adapt depending on their personality, as in anything else in life.

Indeed, CBT can be a good complement to meds.

 

Redirect: in defense of CBT

Posted by Dr. Bob on January 25, 2002, at 16:02:09

In reply to Re: in defense of CBT Dinah, posted by sid on January 25, 2002, at 15:21:58

> I read about CBT years ago, and with time, I keep doing some of the stuff that helps...

How about if discussion of CBT moves over to Psycho-Social-Babble? Here, I took the liberty of starting a thread:

http://www.dr-bob.org/babble/social/20020125/msgs/17202.html

Thanks,

Bob

PS: And any discussion of posting policies should of course take place at Psycho-Babble Administration...

 

We all know it's a brain-based disease!

Posted by sid on January 26, 2002, at 11:43:44

In reply to Re: David Burns-Emme, posted by OldSchool on January 25, 2002, at 11:25:47

It is a brain illness, we all know that much. What many people don't realize is that our behavior and thoughts affect our brain chemistry. So if CBT can help, why discard it?

Yes, many psychologists are bad ones. One needs to be choosy and careful. Heck, CBT can be learned on one's own, reading about it. The effect of behavior and thoughts on the brain have been known for thousands of years. Indeed, yoga is based on that and has existed for at least 5000 years. The western take on yoga is CBT. Nothing new there; new techniques, westernized approach. What's new is neurologist's realization that it can work indeed.

I just don't understand why some people posting here are so stubborn in their views on CBT. I take meds, I use CBT, I practice yoga, and I don't plan to be on this web site posting for very much longer, simply because I will heal myself using all I can to do so. The very fact that a person has dealt with depression for years, and that meds have not worked, should make them look for alternatives. Anyway. It has helped me, continues to do so, and I will continue to use the concepts of CBT on a daily basis. And my depression was VERY brain based. It happended to me during one of the best times of my life, when I should have felt great, surprisingly. I ended up staying in bed 22 hours a day for an entire week before I went to look for help (remaining 2 hours were spent going to the bathroom, showering, eating and crying while sitting in a chair). And I had a constant headache ("the depression headache," I used to call it) during my major depression, making it clear that somewhere in my head, something was not working the way it should. And CBT helped to get out of it. It took time, but the difference with meds is that CBT stays with me forever. I am convinced that I have smaller chances of having depression again because I did not rely only on meds.

That was my 2 cents, and I hope it can help other people.

 

Re: David Burns-Emme ray

Posted by sid on January 26, 2002, at 11:45:30

In reply to Re: David Burns-Emme OldSchool, posted by ray on January 25, 2002, at 15:16:29

Totally agree with you, Ray. Good for you!

 

Re: Redirect: in defense of CBT Dr. Bob

Posted by sid on January 26, 2002, at 11:50:23

In reply to Redirect: in defense of CBT, posted by Dr. Bob on January 25, 2002, at 16:02:09

Dr.Bob,
you're perperuating the problem by redirecting this thread.

Many of us think that CBT and meds and acupuncture and yoga, and... whatever works! can be used in conjunction against depression. If you put this thread in SPB, some people, for whom this might be beneficial, won't read what we have to say. I find that a lot of undfounded beliefs are transmitted on PB, and it is time for that to change.

Are you open minded? Do you want us, and your patients to get better? Then the conversation should include it all. With all due respect, I believe you are wrong here.

 

CBT is superior to medications

Posted by johnhill on January 27, 2002, at 1:04:37

In reply to Sorry Elizabeth Elizabeth, posted by sid on January 26, 2002, at 18:47:09

I was on several antidepressant with moderate sucess. I took effexor for 2 years, then Paxil for 1.5 years. Boy the side effects were tough. Then I bought Dr. Burns' book and read 10 pages a night. It was like a lightbulb went off in my head. My thinking patterns were distorted, and with the techniques in the Burn's book I corrected the self defeating behavior. No more medication for me, off for 3 years.

I suggest everyone here stopped obsessing on the medications and put some effort into therapy. The medications are just a crutch, a temporary bandaid, placebo. All you people need is alittle time on the therapist couch. It will cure depression and anxiety.

Love,

JohnnyJohn

 

Re: separating discussions

Posted by Dr. Bob on January 27, 2002, at 2:55:30

In reply to Re: Redirect: in defense of CBT Dr. Bob, posted by sid on January 26, 2002, at 11:50:23

> Many of us think that CBT and meds and acupuncture and yoga, and... whatever works! can be used in conjunction against depression. If you put this thread in SPB, some people, for whom this might be beneficial, won't read what we have to say. I find that a lot of undfounded beliefs are transmitted on PB, and it is time for that to change.
>
> Are you open minded? Do you want us, and your patients to get better? Then the conversation should include it all.

I understand what you're saying, but I think of the discussions on the different boards as parts of one big conversation.

It's fine to remind people about CBT by mentioning it here, but I'd like any ongoing discussion of it to take place at Psycho-Social-Babble (where it can be linked to from here, of course). I think it's important for the discussion here to stay focused on medication, but that does *not* mean that's all people should think about.

Like in the grocery store they separate the ice cream and the vegetables. That doesn't mean you should eat only one, it just makes *both* easier to find.

True, people might not go to the vegetable aisle. But they won't necessarily buy vegetables just because you have them next to the ice cream, either. You can lead a horse to vegetables, but...

I hope that makes some sense. Further discussion of what should be posted where should take place at Psycho-Babble Administration. Thanks,

Bob


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