• Meditation and Marijuana May Help With Anxiety And Depression

Meditation and Marijuana May Help With Anxiety And Depression

by Alice G Walton

A huge number of people deal with chronic anxiety, either in the form of generalized anxiety or social anxiety disorder, or both. There are certainly effective treatments out there, but this week, a couple of studies have been in the news. One study, from Washington State University, looks at the role pot may play: More specifically, it tries to quantify the ratio of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) that’s most effective for stress, anxiety, and depression.

The other, from Michigan Technological University, finds that a single session of mindfulness meditation has a significant effect on the anxiety of people with mild-moderate anxiety. But there’s an important caveat that’s worth pointing out.

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• How Exercising Can Slash The Risk Of Depression

How Exercising Can Slash The Risk Of Depression

April 24, 2018

Keeping fit can slash the risk of depression by a third, research reveals.

The benefit comes from hitting the National Health Service (NHS) target of 150 minutes of exercise a week. (NHS is part of England’s Department of Health and Social Care.)

It can include brisk walking, taking the stairs, cycling and gardening.

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• ‘Deaths of Despair’ Take Toll Across U.S.

‘Deaths of Despair’ Take Toll Across U.S.

Snippets from the article:

By Betsy McKay and Renée Rigdon

April 2018

A grim tally of “years of life lost” shows that substance abuse, suicides and diabetes drove a rise in premature deaths in nearly half the country, according to researchers who mapped variations in death rates among people 20 to 55 years old.

The research offers a detailed look at the trends pulling down life expectancy among young and middle-aged Americans in recent years. So-called “deaths of despair,” including drug overdoses, have been on the rise, especially amongwhite Americans, according to recent studies.

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• Exposure to even very low levels of light at night has been linked to an increased risk of depression, according to a study published this month in the American Journal of Epidemiology

Exposure to even very low levels of light at night has been linked to an increased risk of depression, according to a study published this month in the American Journal of Epidemiology

March 2018

Exposure to light at night, even at very low levels, has been linked to an increased risk of depression, according to a study published this month in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

In general, nighttime light has been shown to disrupt internal sleep/wake cycles, which is an ever-growing concern as more people are using their phones and tablets in bed, or leaving the TV on as they sleep.

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• How Long-Term Depression Alters the Brain

How Long-Term Depression Alters the Brain

by Maria Cohut
March 2018

Depression has become a common mental health problem. For some, this condition lingers for many years, and scientists now strive to understand how that might affect the brain, and how treatments should be adjusted to address these changes.

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), across the United States, 8.1 percent of people over the age of 20 have depression over any given 2-week period.

Looking at cases in which major depression lasts for over a decade, researchers from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Ontario, Canada wanted to investigate whether living with this condition for so long would significantly impact the brain, and if so, how.

Dr. Jeff Meyer, from the CAMH, led a study focusing on that question. He and his team compared the brain scans of people who had lived with untreated depression for 10 years or longer with those of people with a shorter history of depression.

The findings — published last week in The Lancet Psychiatry — suggest that specialists might want to change their approach to treating long-term depression as it progresses to match its increasing neurological impact.

Through the PET scans, Dr. Meyer and team found that the concentration of TSPO was 29–33 percent higher in the brains of people who had lived with depression for more than a decade.

These inflammation markers were seen in three brain regions in particular: the prefrontal cortex, the anterior cingulate cortex, and the insula.


• CDC: 1 In 12 Americans Has Moderate To Severe Depression. That Might Be An Underestimate

CDC: 1 In 12 Americans Has Moderate To Severe Depression. That Might Be An Underestimate

[Article opens with long explanation of a test used to measure or determine depression]

Using this test, the CDC has been tracking depression for several years. A new report reveals its prevalence among American adults aged 20 and over:

As shown, 76.3% had no or minimal depression, while a substantial proportion of Americans suffered mild (15.6%), moderate (5.1%), or severe (2.9%) depression. Combined, 8% (roughly 1 in 12) Americans have moderate to severe depression. And, as is typical, women are more likely to be depressed than men.

However, given that the CDC used the PHQ-9 as its measuring tool, it is likely underestimating the true extent of the problem. In 2013, the Los Angeles Times wrote:

A new study has found that people suffering a major depressive episode who report they have become grouchy, hostile, grumpy, argumentative, foul-tempered or angry will likely have a “more complex, chronic and severe form” of major depressive disorder than those who do not acknowledge irritable feelings and behavior.

The point is that feeling sad or worthless is not the only way in which depression manifests itself. Being perpetually angry at the world is another face of depression. If social media is any indication, there may be a lot more depressed people out there than the CDC realizes.

• #MeToo Movement Helps To Shed Light on Depression in Men

Some of what this article is discussing some liberals refer to as “Toxic Masculinity,” which is not, contrary to what some conservatives believe, saying that all men are abusive or that masculinity itself is toxic.

Toxic Masculinity refers to rigid societal gender expectations for boys and men, ones which can harm males (as well as females), such as what is discussed in this article.

#MeToo Movement Helps To Shed Light on Depression in Men

In the shadow of #MeToo revolution there is a quieter evolution occurring in the world of men: Famous men are coming forward to discuss their battles with anxiety and depression.

Just this Tuesday, NBA superstar Kevin Love penned a powerful pieceabout a panic attack he suffered during a game on Nov. 5, 2017. It is easy to miss the connection between Love’s story and the fight for gender equality. Males, from boys to old men, are prisoners of our own perceived indestructibility.

Love’s revelations about his battle with anxiety are part of a larger movement to destigmatize mental health and treat it as something more than the blues. Love was inspired by a former teammate, DeMar DeRozan, who himself came forward to discuss his depression in late February.

There are many obstacles to confronting mental health, but a common barrier for men is masculinity and gender expectations of male toughness, which Lovehighlighted, “Growing up, you figure out really quickly how a boy is supposed to act. You learn what it takes to ‘be a man.’ It’s like a playbook: Be strong. Don’t talk about your feelings. Get through it on your own.”

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