Mental Health

Substance Abuse, Psychosis Affect Men and Women Differently

Published on October 29th, 2014 in Mental Health

Substance-Abuse-Psychosis-Affect-Men-and-Women-DifferentlySignificant numbers of the people in the U.S. dealing with serious substance-related issues also have symptoms of a highly destabilizing mental state called psychosis. Some affected individuals meet the basic criteria used to identify a substance- and mental health-related condition called dual diagnosis. In a study published in September 2014 in the Journal of Dual Diagnosis, researchers from two U.S. universities used a two-year project to compare the gender-based differences in the effects of simultaneous substance problems and psychosis-related symptoms. These researchers identified several such differences that may ultimately affect the course of successful treatment.

ADHD and Bipolar Disorder Present Mental Challenges

Published on October 14th, 2014 in Mental Health

ADHD-and-Bipolar-Disorder-Present-Mental-ChallengesThe ability to think about multiple concepts at the same time is impaired in patients with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and markedly worse in patients with comorbid bipolar disorder. New research suggests inflexible thinking in those with ADHD may be entirely due to the bipolar disorder.

When Disability Leads to Depression

Published on September 11th, 2014 in Mental Health

177247852One day you’re working – and then you’re not. Developing a disability as an adult, whether it’s from an injury or a chronic illness, creates plenty of challenges. You find yourself unable to work or enjoy the activities you love. Sometimes this shift is temporary, but in some cases, it’s permanent. Either way, disability has the potential to generate negative feelings and, for many individuals, depression.

Seniors and Problem Gambling: A Growing Addiction

Published on September 10th, 2014 in Mental Health

Addiction to illegal drugs and addiction to alcohol often co-occur within an individual with a mental disorder, such as depression or anxiety. In addition, those with a substance use disorder may cite stress as a factor that led to the development of their addiction. When it comes to pathological gambling, there may be a connection to stress, and gambling may be a way that some individuals self-medicate to reduce the effects of stress in their lives. With the recent explosion of online gambling options, individuals may have this type of self-medication available at all times. Recently, a group of researchers examined the factors involved with the development of gambling addiction, such as stressful life events, the proximity to gambling opportunities, as well as motivation and frequency in gambling-related behaviors (Thomas, Allen, Phillips & Karantzas, 2011). To determine how these factors are connected with the development of a gambling addiction, the researchers recruited 347 participants, of whom 229 were female, through flyers on public message boards. The participants all used electronic gambling machines (EGM). The researchers administered a survey that gathered demographic information as well as assessing the level of EGM gambling the participant was engaged in. The participants were also asked about stress levels since beginning EGM use and whether they used behaviors such as consuming alcohol, using drugs or eating to manage emotions related to events in their lives. Responses were measured using a 0 for “never” and 4 for “a lot of time”. The participants also completed measures of EGM motivation, which assessed avoidance, accessibility and motivation, as well as the problem gambling severity index. The tools examined aspects such as whether gambling provided a break from stress or an opportunity to meet new people, versus other factors like proximity of a gambling outlet. The results showed that self-reported stress was connected with avoidance, accessibility and motivation, and self-reported stress was connected with general avoidance coping and, in turn, avoidance-motivated gambling. Among participants who indicated a stronger avoidance motivation and a stronger accessibility motivation for gambling, there was also a higher level of gambling-related problems and an increased frequency of using EGM games. The authors of the study note that the design of the study is correlational, and does not provide any information about causality between the factors and gambling behaviors. In addition, the findings are all based on self-report and carry with them the limitations that stem from possible alterations in responses from reality. The findings demonstrate that avoidance of stressful life events is an important factor connected with gambling. The study also shows that the use of drugs and alcohol to avoid problems is connected with avoidance-motivated gambling. Further study that focuses on the manipulation of certain factors may provide important information about causal relationships between stress and gambling.Opportunities to gamble present themselves to all Americans of any age and from all walks of life. From gambling meccas like Atlantic City and Las Vegas, to local casinos and online gaming, gambling is available to nearly everyone. Some people, though, are targeted more often than others. Senior citizens, retirees with no day jobs and with pension money and Social Security income, are easy targets for the industry. If you have an older loved one, be aware of the risks of gambling, the possibility of addiction and the fact that she and her money are being targeted.

Report Shows Many with Depression Never Seek Treatment

Published on August 26th, 2014 in Mental Health

177247852Depression awareness campaigns in various forms of media have gained traction. One potential consequence of this widespread awareness is that depression’s pervasiveness is often mistaken for a sign that it’s not a serious disorder. Those who are depressed may downplay their symptoms and resist seeking help because they don’t think the issue will be recognized as serious disorder.

Talking Through Trauma an Important Part of Healing

Published on August 22nd, 2014 in Mental Health, Therapy, Trauma and PTSD

TalkingThroughTraumaanImportantPartofHealingPost-traumatic stress disorder is one emotional reaction to having lived through an intense experience. Certainly the horror and stress of war are capable of affecting a person long after the immediacy of battle has passed. But war is far from the only trauma which can imprint on a person’s emotional state. Trauma can take many forms and its impact too can surface in myriad ways.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy Found Effective for Patients with Borderline Personality Disorder

Published on August 12th, 2014 in Mental Health

DialecticalBehaviorTherapyFoundEffectiveforPatientswithBorderlinePersonalityDisorderBorderline personality disorder (BPD) is an illness characterized by stormy relationships, low self-regard and problems managing strong emotions. People with BPD are more frequently hospitalized for psychiatric care than patients with other kinds of personality disorders or those with major depression. How to successfully reduce the number of required inpatient services was the subject of a recent study.

Two Therapies Found Effective in Treating Borderline Personality Disorder

Published on August 11th, 2014 in Mental Health

180916661Borderline personality disorder (BPD) affects up to 2 percent of the population, according to a team of researchers in Spain who investigated which therapies offer the greatest benefit to patients with the condition. The team systematically reviewed published studies on the most popular therapies used in treating BPD. The outcomes associated with BPD are often disheartening. At best, patients exhibit heavy use of medical services; at worst, they experience early death or suicide. This has led to widespread acknowledgement in the mental health community of the importance of properly diagnosing the condition and developing more effective treatment for it. Of late, there have been a number of randomized and controlled trials investigating the efficacy of various forms of psychotherapy used to treat BPD. The Spanish review does a careful job of sifting through the related data within its own narrow confines of evaluation.

Untangling the Knot of Comorbid PTSD and Addiction

Published on June 4th, 2014 in Mental Health

149367878Because it’s not uncommon for two conditions to show up at the same time, medicine has a word for the phenomenon – comorbidity. In the case of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), many people with the condition are often struggling with some form of addiction at the same time. A person who is willing to seek help for PTSD can be gently helped to also address their addiction issue, but treating the PTSD should take precedence. This treatment approach is referred to as the trauma-informed method.

Why Do Some People Develop Delayed PTSD?

Published on May 5th, 2014 in Mental Health

Why Do Some People Develop Delayed PTSD?Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a potentially debilitating response to life-threatening events that occurs in a significant minority of adults and children. Established guidelines prevent doctors from diagnosing PTSD until 30 days after a traumatic event. However, some people develop a delayed form of the disorder and don’t display any symptoms for a number of months after the opening of this diagnostic window. In a study published in August 2013 in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, an Australian research team investigated the potential causes for delayed PTSD. This team concluded that people with delayed symptoms have certain backgrounds that distinguish them from people who experience the effects of post-traumatic stress relatively rapidly.

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