Loose Screws Mental Health News

ReadWriteWeb reports Stony Brook University researchers discovered too much exposure to “texting, instant messaging, and social networking” can make teenage girls more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression. This landmark discovery sampled a whopping 83 teenage girls.

computer useThe results of their tests, recently published in The Journal of Adolescence, showed that the girls who excessively talked with their friends about their issues had significantly higher levels of depression. Today’s online tools provide even more ways for this to occur. Says Dr. Davila, “Texting, instant messaging and social networking make it very easy for adolescents to become even more anxious, which can lead to depression.”

The problem with these electronic tools du jour is that they allowed the girls to discuss the same problems over and over again. This caused them to get stuck obsessing over a particular emotional setback, unable to move forward.

–snip–

It’s not necessarily the medium through which the chatter tasks place that’s the issue – it’s the amount of discussion that leads to the feelings of depression. Said Dr. Davila, “[The girls] often don’t realize that excessive talking is actually making them feel worse.”

So we can conclude then that keeping your teenage daughter from MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, AIM, and texting will help improve her mental health so she’s less likely to be depressed. Back in the day, I just wrote morbid poetry in a sad, lonely marble notebook. Alas, those days are gone. (pic via reviews-for-you.com)

On a related note, another study has discovered that teens who watch TV for long periods of time are more likely to be depressed. (Does nearly everything cause an increased risk of depression these days?) The study tracked over 4,000 teenagers and their TV-watching habits. The conclusion? Seven years later, participants were more likely to be depressed and the risk increase with each hour of television exposure. Perhaps it’s because TV creates an unrealistic perception of how a person should look and act and how life should be. Although researchers of the study did note that exposure to electronic media yielded the same result.

PregnantOn the Christian tip, I need to once again dispel this nasty rumor that the MOTHERS Act is intent on drugging pregnant women (and thereby the baby) to oblivion. (I addressed this issue around this time last year once again from Christians who think some left-wing liberal nuts are out to “indoctrinate hundreds of thousands of mothers into taking dangerous psych drugs.”) Once again, I need to repost the goal of the MOTHERS Act as stated in the original bill:

To ensure that new mothers and their families are educated about postpartum depression, screened for symptoms, and provided with essential services, and to increase research at the National Institutes of Health on postpartum depression.

The legislation is only intended to increase the resources for screening of mental issues in women. Women will NOT be forced to take medication if they do not want it.

In the Congressional findings, medication is mentioned only as a form of treating PPD. That’s not directly encouraging new moms to take drugs; it’s encouraging them to seek treatment, whether it be therapy or some other course. Not every new mom will need therapy, hospitalization, or medication, and this bill is far from attempting to “indoctrinate” moms with psych drugs. Also, the bill only mentions “medication” once. It does not even use the word “drug.”

It’s unfortunate to hear stories of women who suffered miscarriages or acted erratically as a result of medication. However, postpartum depression has become such a prevalent issue that proper screening — not necessarily medication — is needed. And the mother in conjunction with her doctor must make an informed and appropriate decision on how to proceed with treating her mental health. A great resource on the MOTHERS Act can be found at Postpartum Progress where blogger Katherine Stone vigilantly monitors the progress of this bill and clearly lays out what the bill entails:

  • Encouraging Health and Human Services (HHS) to coordinate and continue research to expand the understanding of the causes of, and find treatments for, postpartum conditions.
  • Encouraging a National Public Awareness Campaign, to be administered by HHS, to increase awareness and knowledge of postpartum depression and psychosis.
  • Requiring the Secretary of HHS to conduct a study on the benefits of screening for postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis.
  • Creating a grant program to public or nonprofit private entities to deliver or enhance outpatient, inpatient and home-based health and support services, including case management and comprehensive treatment services for individuals with or at risk for postpartum conditions.  Activities may also include providing education about postpartum conditions to new mothers and their families, including symptoms, methods of coping with the illness, and treatment resources, in order to promote earlier diagnosis and treatment.

Although a vote on the act was blocked in the Senate in September, Sen. Robert Menendez of NJ has reintroduced the bill, championing the cause for PPD awareness at the federal level.

And on a humorous note, if you are single and mentally ill, you can go to TrueAcceptance.com and find someone who suffers from mental illness just like you. That’s right, TrueAcceptance matches the mentally ill with… the mentally ill. The premise is based on the idea that matching people who both suffer from mental illness are more likely to understand and support each other. The idea amuses me but I’d be too afraid that being with someone else who suffers from mental illness would end up being an enabler. (via Fox News)

7 Comments

  1. Ana said,

    February 12, 2009 at 11:05 am

    I saw a link to this research on too much time on computer= depression; too much TV= depression.
    What next?
    Being too much indoors= depression
    Studying too much, being outside…
    Living= depression.
    Wow!
    That’s too much.

  2. Gianna said,

    February 12, 2009 at 4:26 pm

    I think the Mothers Act is all about drugging mothers…you can bet big pharma lobbyists are pushing this bill like crazy…
    I disagreed with you the first time you wrote about it and said nothing. This time I figured I’d say something..
    I’ve been following the critics perspective but unfortunately don’t have URL’s handy to support my argument which is lame, but I’m sick thanks to psych drugs that were pushed on me so I’m using that as my excuse…
    googe will find the critics if anyone wants the other side…there are damn good reasons to worry about mothers and children with this act.

  3. February 12, 2009 at 5:38 pm

    Gianna, when you’re feeling better or have a bit of energy, please feel free to provide me with links that voice the opposition with facts. I’ve read nothing other than crazy ranting and raving about this bill. I currently disagree with you but if I’m presented with factual evidence based off of the bill, I can always change my mind.
    Like I said, no pressure. If ever you have the energy for it.

  4. Gianna said,

    February 12, 2009 at 6:30 pm

    hey M,
    I will agree with you that their are ranters and ravers in the camps you’re talking about…but there is substance too…
    and I’m still to damn tired to do much of anything…
    I’ll try to get to it…but right now as soon as I can read more I need to be working on my blog which is being neglected…

  5. February 13, 2009 at 11:28 am

    No biggie, G. Just take care of yourself. ❤ you.

  6. June 10, 2009 at 11:40 pm

    Thanks for the post! Deep breathing exercises are excellent for anxiety and many people report positive results from mediatation. Some other natural anxiety remedies to look into are St.John’s Wort, SAMe, L-Theanine, and Tryptophan.

  7. AlbaH said,

    May 23, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    Just wanted to share this article…thanks, very nice blog!

    WHEN SOMEONE YOU KNOW STRUGGLES WITH FEAR, ANXIETY AND STRESS

    What do you do when someone you know has to deal with persistent fears, anxieties, or even depression? Well the first thing you need to do is to get the person to seek the services of a professional who can lead them in the right direction and give them the help they need. In addition, here are some other techniques you can use to help the person cope.

    Learn as much as you can in managing anxiety and depression. There are many books and information that will educate you on how to deal with fear and anxiety. Share this information with the person who is struggling. Education is the key in finding the answers you are looking for in managing your fears.

    Be understanding and patient with the person struggling with their fears. Dealing with depression and anxiety can be difficult for the person so do not add more problems.

    In every anxiety-related situation you experience, begin to learn what works, what doesn’t work, and what you need to improve on in managing your fears and anxieties. For instance, you have a lot of anxiety and you decide to take a walk to help you feel better. The next time you feel anxious you can remind yourself that you got through it the last time by taking a walk. This will give you the confidence to manage your anxiety the next time around.

    Challenge your negative thinking with positive statements and realistic thinking. When encountering thoughts that make you fearful or anxious, challenge those thoughts by asking yourself questions that will maintain objectivity and common sense. For example, you are afraid that if you do not get that job promotion then you will be stuck at your job forever. This depresses you, however your thinking in this situation is unrealistic. The fact of the matter is that there all are kinds of jobs available.

    Another thing to remember is that things change. For instance, you may feel overwhelmed today with your anxiety and feel that this is how you will feel the rest of the week or month. This isn’t correct. No one can predict the future with one hundred percent accuracy. Even if the thing that you feared does happen there are circumstances and factors that you can’t predict which can be used to your advantage. You never know when the help and answers you are looking for will come to you.

    When your fears and anxieties have the best of you, seek help from a professional. The key is to be patient, take it slow, and not to give up. In time, you will be able to find those resources that will help you with your problems.

    About the Author

    Stan Popovich is the author of “A Layman’s Guide to Managing Fear Using Psychology, Christianity and Non Resistant Methods” – an easy to read book that presents a general overview of techniques that are effective in managing persistent fears and anxieties. For additional information go to: http://www.managingfear.com/


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