mental health

Green Tea and Blueberry Supplement Improves Cognition

A supplement that is composed of blueberry and green tea was shown to modestly improve cognitive processing speed in older, cognitively healthy adults. This finding is “noteworthy” since “most often affected early on in the course of cognitive aging, and successful performance on these tasks often underlies more complex cognitive outcomes, such as memory and […]

Feb 19, 2014
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Pregnancy and Severe Mental Illness

Teen pregnancy is an increased risk for teenage girls with severe mental illness. A new study from Canada suggests that girls should become a special target for anti-pregnancy efforts. Researchers also note that the pregnancy rate in girls with psychological problems has not dipped as fast as those without, indicating they are not as effected […]

Feb 18, 2014
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Parent Delivered CBT Shown to Reduce Anxiety in Kids

Five to ten percent of children have some form of anxiety disorder, which can increase problems later in life, such as mood disorders and substance use. A new study, published in British Journal of Psychiatry, found that parent delivered cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), with the guidance of a therapist, is effective in treating child anxiety disorders. […]

Jan 29, 2014
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Talking About Your Bipolar Disorder

Striking up a conversation about your bipolar diagnosis can be challenging and emotional, and not exactly an ice-breaker. However, being proactive about your treatment and disorder will set a positive tone, whether you are breaking the news for the first time or wanting to talk further about it. Psychiatrist Daniel Wilson, MD, chair of psychiatry […]

Jan 24, 2014
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Precautions for Alzheimer’s Patients in Cold Weather

With record low cold temperatures sweeping across the nation, it is important for caregivers to understand certain care tips for patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia. Most individuals experience weather related challenges in the winter, but those with Alzheimer’s can by more severe. Here are a few tips on how Alzheimer’s patients can handle cold temperatures, […]

Jan 22, 2014
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Parent Behaviors Linked to Kids’ Anxiety, Depression

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Young people whose parents tend to fight with each other or are too involved in their kids’ lives are at increased risk of depression and anxiety, according to a new comprehensive review of past studies.

Kids tend to first experience depression or anxiety between ages 12 and 18, the authors write. They reviewed 181 papers published on potential links between how parents behave and which young people experience either disorder.

It’s impossible to say how important parenting is relative to other factors that might influence depression and anxiety, like bullying at school, study author Marie Yap said, but “it is clear from the wider body of research that by virtue of their role and presence in children’s lives . . . parents have an incredibly important role, both directly and indirectly.”

In the new analysis, stronger links were seen between parenting and depression, including sad moods and decreased interest in activities, as compared to anxiety.

Keeping constant track of kids’ whereabouts while giving them an autonomous say in family decisions were parent behaviors associated with lower levels of depression.

Parents who were harsher, fought more, were over-involved or generally “aversive” had kids who more often experienced both depression and anxiety, according to the review in the Journal of Affective Disorders.

“In our meta-analysis, (aversiveness) includes harshness, meanness, sarcasm, hostility, criticism, punishment and shaming or rejecting behaviors by the parent towards the teenager, as well as parent-teen conflict,” Yap said.

Identifying the exact parental factors linked to depression and anxiety could help prevention efforts, she said. However, the researchers noted that there are many factors involved in the development of anxiety and depression that can’t change.

Important messages from this study are that parents should try to be supportive, warm and open with their kids, give them clear guidelines and boundaries, but at the same time allow them freedom to learn from their own mistakes and not to over-control them.

“But the most important message for parents, perhaps by way of a caveat, is this: Don’t blame yourselves when things go wrong,” Yap said. “Such research evidence should be used to inform and empower parents in enhancing their children’s mental health, not to use for blaming them.”



Dec 19, 2013
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More Anxiety for College-Age Cellphone Addicts

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A new study is suggesting that college students who can’t keep their hands off their mobile devices, “high-frequency cellphone users”, report higher levels of anxiety, less satisfaction with life and lower grades than peers who use their cellphones less frequently. The researchers also found that the results may apply to people of all ages who have grown accustomed to using cellphones regularly, day and night. “People need to make a conscious decision to unplug from the constant barrage of electronic media and pursue something else,” said Jacob Barkley, a study co-author and associate professor at Kent State University. “There could be a substantial anxiety benefit.”

For this study, researchers surveyed around 500 male and female students at Kent State University. The researchers captured cellphone and texting use, and used established questionnaires about anxiety and life satisfaction, or happiness. Questions examining cellphone use asked the students to estimate the total amount of time they spent using their mobile phone each day, including calling, texting, using Facebook, sending photos, checking email, gaming, surfing the internet, watching videos and tapping all other uses driven by apps and software.

On average, students reported spending 279 minutes, which is almost five hours, a day using their cellphones and sending 77 text messages a day. The researchers said that this is the first study to link cellphone use with a validated measure of anxiety with a wide range of cellphone users. Within this sample of college students, as cellphone use increased, so did anxiety. The study authors noted that the data they collected in previous studies, suggest that some cellphone users may experience anxiety as a result of a perceived obligation to remain constantly connected to various social networks through their phones. “We need to try to understand what is behind this increase in student anxiety,” said Andrew Lepp, lead study author and an associate professor at Kent State University. “At least for some students, the sense of obligation that comes from being constantly connected may be part of the problem. Some may not know how to be alone to process the day’s events, to recover from certain stressors.”

While the researchers did not determine a cause-and-effect relationship, Barkley said that it is possible that those who are more anxious may use or check their cellphones more frequently. “And without a doubt, the more people use their cellphones, the less time they have to engage in other stress reducers, such as getting exercise, being alone and having time to think, talking with a friend face to face, and engaging in other activities they truly enjoy”, Barkley said. To help change this, study author Lepp says that “students need to shut off their phones, ignore text messages and try to insulate themselves from some of the extraneous distractions that reduce the quality of their work,” he advised. “And learn how to be alone with yourself.”


Dec 17, 2013
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Yoga Poses to Ease Anxiety

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It’s easy to become more stressed during the winter time. The holidays are approaching, the sun sets earlier, and the cold weather can keep you from doing things you enjoy. Whatever the reason is for anxiety, yoga can be the perfect fix.

Here are poses geared towards easing anxiety and a busy brain:

Cat/cow: While these two are technically poses, one is not often done without the other to counter. Cat/cow repetitions relieve any abdominal cramping caused by anxiety.

Come to all fours with hands under shoulders and knees under hips. On an inhale, look up and arch spine, rolling shoulders away from ears for cow. As you exhale, press the floor away with hands and knees, and round your spine. Do at least five complete breath cycles (five inhales/cats and five exhales/cows).

Devotional warrior: Open both the hips and shoulders-two places that tighten when we’re anxious-and improve focus with this pose.

From down dog, step right foot forward, spin back heel down, and inhale arms up to frame head in warrior one. Then allow hands to fall behind you, clasp them behind sacrum, take a big inhale to open chest, and use your exhale to fold yourself inside of your right knee. Stay here for at least five deep breaths, then repeat on the other side.

Seated forward fold: Do this introspective pose when you want to generate self-reflection.

From a seated position, extend legs long in front of you and together. Keeping knees soft, take a deep breath to fill yourself with space, and use your exhale to lean forward into the space you just created. If you have a tight lower back, sit on a block or blanket. Take at least five deep breaths here.

Twist: Erase any negative energy or unwanted thoughts with twists. With each exhale, picture yourself wringing out like a sponge, getting rid of what you don’t want or need in your body or mind.

Lying on the ground, hug right knee into chest, “T” arms out to either side, and allow right knee to fall to the left. You can stay with a neutral neck or, if it feels good, look to the right. You can also take left hand to right thigh to allow the weight of your hand to ground your twisted leg. Stay here for at least five deep breaths, and then repeat on the other side.

Legs up the wall: This pose allows your nervous system to chill, reroutes circulation, grounds you, and brings you back to the present.

Sit sideways next to a wall and then lie down on side, facing away from the wall with butt touching it. Using arms, lift legs up the wall as you roll over onto back. Allow arms to fall on either side of you. Palms can face up for openness or face down for an extra level of grounding. Stay here for at least five breaths or as long as you feel comfortable.



Dec 10, 2013
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When to Call a Doctor about OCD

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Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a type of mental illness that causes a person to have repeated unwanted thoughts. In order to get rid of the thoughts, the person will do the same tasks over and over. If you suspect that you have obsessive-compulsive disorder, it is important to seek treatment right away. Treatment will improve your quality of life, as well as the lives of your loved ones. Getting early treatment of OCD can help to reduce your symptoms and reduce the disruption the illness can create in your life. While there are many health professionals that can help to treat or monitor OCD, you may want to see a health professional who has had specific training in OCD management. Health professionals who can diagnose, treat, or monitor the progress of OCD include:

  • Family Medicine Doctor
  • Psychiatrist
  • Internist
  • Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner

Other health professions who are able to provide ongoing counseling and support of OCD but can’t prescribe medicines include:

  • Psychologist
  • Licensed Mental Health Counselor
  • Social Worker

It is very important to reach out to your doctor is you think you have OCD. They will be able to help you set treatment plans in motion and help you to reduce your symptoms and improve your quality of life.



Dec 02, 2013
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Materialism Makes Bad Events Worse

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Materialism is already known to have a direct negative effect on a person’s well-being; however, it is lesser known that materialism has an indirect negative effect by making bad events even worse. This insight comes from a recent paper co-written by a University of Illinois expert in consumption values. What does this mean? Basically, if you are a materialistic person, then you will perceive “bad” events—such as car accidents, deaths, etc.—as worse than a person who is not materialistic.

Aric Rindfleisch, John M. Jones Professor of Marketing in the College of Business, explains “If you’re a materialistic individual and life suddenly takes a wrong turn, you’re going to have a tougher time recovering from that setback than someone who is less materialistic.”

This is based on research that studied the impact of traumatic stress and maladaptive consumption. In the field study, which took place in Israel, when faced with a mortal threat from a terrorist attack, highly materialistic individuals reported higher levels of post-traumatic stress, compulsive consumption and impulsive buying than their less-materialistic peers.

The study also analyzed a survey in the US to build on results. According to the US-based survey results, the increased negative effects of materialistic people is likely due to materialistic individuals exhibiting lower levels of self-esteem, which lessen the ability to cope with traumatic events. Both components of the study provide evidence that high materialistic individuals seek comfort from stressful situations by engaging in impulsive consumption.

With the holidays approaching, Rindfleisch warns “In times of stress, people often seek solace through shopping…Soon after purchasing something this is a reduction of anxiety. But it doesn’t last very long. It’s fleeting. Materialists seek that as one of their coping mechanisms. And Black Friday and the holiday shopping season plays into that.”


Nov 27, 2013
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