Dr Neal Ranen Psychiatrist Blog

Holidays Cause Social Anxiety to Surface

Dealing With Anxiety During the Holidays The holiday season is accompanied by many emotions and expectations. Gifting, family gatherings, office parties, school programs, social events and more are at an all-time high during this time of year. It is quite common for social butterflies to surface and make a grand attempt to attend almost every […]

Using Genetic Testing for Psychiatric Medication Selection

Genetic Testing for Psychiatric Medication in Baltimore I am a big fan of genetic testing and frequently utilize it in my practice. It allows for your unique genetic profile to be considered in medication decision-making. The DNA testing of relevant genes reveals how your body processes medication, and how well various medications may work for […]

Antidepressants Work!

Despite publications and media attention to the contrary, those of us in clinical practice, as well as our patients, have no doubt that antidepressants work. Confusion may arise because of the nature of FDA Registration clinical trials and what they are designed to achieve, and the placebo effect. Now, a large-scale analysis, published in the […]

New Antidepressant

A new medication, vilazodone, has been approved by the FDA for the treatment of depression. It is going to be marketed under the brand name “Viibryd.” It acts as an SSRI (see blog dated June 27, 2010 for an explanation of SSRIs), plus modifies a serotonin receptor which may provide enhanced benefits. There is already […]

Chronic Unpredictable Stress and the Genetics of Depression

Another finding has just been published strengthening the association between genetics — factors we inherit from our parents — and depression. This study demonstrated a doubling of the activity of a particular gene in people with a history of depression compared to those without depression. There was also an increase in the activity of this […]

Caffeine, Depression, and Anxiety

Caffeine is a stimulant. This means it can make people feel more awake and alert. Other effects caused by activating the nervous system can include an increase in heart rate and feeling shaky. Caffeine works by blocking the docking station, or receptor, on nerve cells for the chemical Adenosine. Adenosine is a constituent of the […]

Personality Disorders

The term “Personality Disorder” (PD) is, unfortunately, steeped with pejorative connotations. In fact, it sounds more like an insult than a therapeutic label. Nonetheless, the concept of a PD in its clinical terms is helpful in recognizing enduring counterproductive ways people interpret and react to their environment. Personality disorders are typically manifest in how people […]

ADHD and Genetics

A recent study discovered a genetic variation associated with ADHD. The study found a greater likelihood of missing or duplicated segments of DNA (known as copy number variations) in children with ADHD. Therefore, rather than being perceived as being lazy or acting badly, this helps us understand that there are biological mechanisms contributing to ADHD […]

Depression Without Depressed Mood?

When we use the term “Depression” in the casual sense, we mean sad or down in the dumps. When used as a medical term, “Depression” refers to a whole group of symptoms that together form its actual “textbook” definition. This constellation of symptoms, which are spelled out in DSM — the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual […]