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Anxiety and Depression

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Children of Adults with Anxiety Disorders May Need Help Too

Researchers Identify Gene Linked to PTSD

Alone: The Mental Health Effects of Solitary Confinement

Children in U.S. and U.K. Share Risk Factors for Behavior Problems

The Pain of Social Rejection: As far as the brain is concerned, a broken heart may not be so different from a broken arm.

Series: Core Competencies for Kids

What Self-Esteem Really Means

The Crucial Role of Self-Control

Decision-Making Skills

Prosocial Skills

Moral Intelligence

Bye-Bye Boot Camp: Positive Parenting for Challenging Kids


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The Motivation Equation:
Understanding a Child's Lack of Effort

Why Empathy Is Not Indulgence

The Praise Wars: Are Children Overpraised?

 

 

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Even Depressed People Believe That Life Gets Better


October 21, 2014—Adults typically believe that life gets better—today is better than yesterday was and tomorrow will be even better than today. A new study shows that even depressed individuals believe in a brighter future, but this optimistic belief may not lead to better outcomes. The findings are published in Clinical Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

The research shows that middle-aged adults who had a history of depression tended to evaluate their past and current lives in more negative terms than did adults without depression, but this negativity didn't extend to their beliefs about the future:

"It turns out that even clinically depressed individuals are also characterized by the belief that one's life in the future will be more satisfying than one's past and current life," explains psychological scientist and lead researcher Michael Busseri of Brock University in Canada. "And this pattern of beliefs appears to be a risk factor for future depression, even over a 10-year period."
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Talk Therapy, Not Medication, Best for Social Anxiety Disorder, Large Study Finds

 

But many lack access to trained therapists, choose medication or nothing at all to treat the common mental illness

September 25, 2014—While antidepressants are the most commonly used treatment for social anxiety disorder, new research suggests that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is more effective and, unlike medication, can have lasting effects long after treatment has stopped.
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Extra Exercise Helps Depressed Smokers Kick the Habit Faster

 

New research shows quitting cigarettes is a more complicated struggle when mental health is a factor

July 22, 2014—People diagnosed with depression need to step out for a cigarette twice as often as smokers who are not dealing with a mood disorder. And those who have the hardest time shaking off the habit may have more mental health issues than they are actually aware of.
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Researchers Find Impaired Self-Face Recognition in Those with Major Depressive Disorder

July 16, 2014—Neuropsychological impairment has long been established as a fundamental characteristic of depression, but a specific pattern of impairment that is widely recognized has not been summarized. However, new research has found self-serving bias and self-recognition bias to be impaired in individuals suffering from major depressive disorder (MDD) compared with a control group. This research lays the groundwork for further study on the etiology and pathological mechanisms of major depressive disorder.
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Antidepressant Drugs Do Not Improve Well-Being In Children And Adolescents

July 5, 2014—A study published in the current issue of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics analyzing the use of antidepressant drugs in children and adolescents questions the effect of antidepressant drugs on overall well-being.
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Behavioral Therapy in Pediatric Antidepressant Treatment Reduces Likelihood of Relapse

DALLAS; July 2, 2014—Cognitive behavioral therapy in addition to medication improves the long-term success of treatment for children and adolescents suffering from depression, a new UT Southwestern Medical Center study indicates.
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Maternal Depression Peaks at Four Years Postpartum

May 21, 2014—Maternal depression is more common at four years following childbirth than at any other time in the first 12 months after childbirth, and there needs to be a greater focus on maternal mental health, suggests a new study published today (21 May) in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
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Mothers’ Symptoms of Depression Predict How They Respond to Child Behavior

May 15, 2014—Depressive symptoms seem to focus mothers’ responses on minimizing their own distress, which may come at the expense of focusing on the impact their responses have on their children, according to research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.
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Love Makes You Strong: Romantic Relationships Help Neurotic People Stabilize Their Personality

May 9, 2014—It's springtime and they are everywhere: Newly enamored couples walking through the city hand in hand, floating on cloud nine. Yet a few weeks later the initial rush of romance will have dissolved and the world will not appear as rosy anymore. Nevertheless, love and romance have long lasting effects.
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Researchers Find New Chemical Involved in Depression Risk

March 26, 2014—Scientists have shown for the first time that a chemical in the brain called galanin is involved in the risk of developing depression.
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Social Groups Alleviate Depression

March 19, 2014—Building a strong connection to a social group helps clinically depressed patients recover and helps prevent relapse, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Queensland. Senior Fellow Alexander Haslam, lead author Tegan Cruwys and their colleagues conducted two studies of patients diagnosed with depression or anxiety. The patients either joined a community group with activities such as sewing, yoga, sports and art, or partook in group therapy at a psychiatric hospital.
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Effective Treatment for Youth Anxiety Disorders Has Lasting Benefit

 

New study finds majority of youth respond well

Washington D.C., February 27, 2013— A study published in the March 2014 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry found that the majority of youth with moderate to severe anxiety disorders responded well to acute treatment with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), medication (sertraline), or a combination of both. They maintained positive treatment response over a 6 month follow-up period with the help of monthly booster sessions.
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Remission from Depression Much Slower in Adults Who Were Abused in Childhood

TORONTO, ON; January 9, 2014—Remission from depression is delayed in adults who have experienced childhood physical abuse or parental addictions, a new study by University of Toronto researchers has found. The study is published this week in the journal Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology.
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Blue Monday: Brutal Cold, Short Days, Post-Holiday Letdown Raise Risk of Depression

Maywood, IL; Jan. 3, 2014—The first Monday after the holidays can be a depressing time for people coping with a post-holiday letdown and a type of depression triggered by short days called seasonal affective disorder (SAD). And this year, First Monday will be especially blue, due to the added stress of the brutal cold in the forecast, said Loyola University Medical Center psychiatrist Dr. Angelos Halaris, who specializes in treating depression.
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Getting Excited Helps with Performance Anxiety More than Trying to Calm down, Study Finds

 

Simple statements about excitement could have big effects, research shows

WASHINGTON; December 23,2013—People who tell themselves to get excited rather than trying to relax can improve their performance during anxiety-inducing activities such as public speaking and math tests, according to a study published by the American Psychological Association.
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Depression in Pregnant Mothers May Alter the Pattern of Brain Development in Their Babies

 

Reports a new study in Biological Psychiatry

Philadelphia, PA, December 4, 2013—Depression is a serious mental illness that has many negative consequences for sufferers. But depression among pregnant women may also have an impact on their developing babies.
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Depression in Pregnancy: Mothers Prefer Therapy over Medication

 

Journal of Psychiatric Practice provides guidance for clinicians on women's preferences and concerns about treating depression during and after pregnancy

Philadelphia, PA; November 18, 2013—Women with depression in the perinatal period experience a high degree of conflict in deciding whether and how to treat their depression, but strongly prefer treatments other than antidepressant medications, reports a study in the November Journal of Psychiatric Practice. The journal is published by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, a part of Wolters Kluwer Health.
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Are Probiotics a Promising Treatment Strategy for Depression?

 

New study considers concept of "psychobiotic"

Philadelphia, PA, November 14, 2013—Probiotics are not new, but their status as a nutritional buzzword is. But what are they, and why are they important? Probiotics are live bacteria that help maintain a healthy digestive system. The development and marketing of products that contain live bacteria has flourished as there is a growing perceived interest in the ingestion of 'natural foods' that might promote health.
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How Are Children Affected by Maternal Anxiety and Depression?

October 23, 2013—Maternal symptoms of anxiety and depression increased the risk of emotional and disruptive problem behaviors in children as early as 18 months of age, according to new research findings from a longitudinal Norwegian study known as "Tracking Opportunities and Problems in Childhood and Adolescence" (TOPP). The risk persisted into adolescence and also gave an increased risk of depressive symptoms. The study is published in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics.
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Individuals Genetically Predisposed to Anxiousness May Be Less Likely to Volunteer and Help Others

 

MU researcher finds biological component of “prosocial” behavior linked to social anxiety

COLUMBIA, MO; October 14, 2013—Scientists increasingly are uncovering answers for human behavior through genetic research. Now, a University of Missouri researcher has found that prosocial behavior, such as volunteering and helping others, is related to the same gene that predisposes individuals to anxiety disorders. Helping such individuals cope with their anxiety may increase their prosocial behavior, the researcher said.
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Postpartum Depression Spans Generations

 

Animal study suggests stress-induced depression in new mothers extends to daughters

NORTH GRAFTON, MA; October 8, 2013—A recently published study suggests that exposure to social stress not only impairs a mother's ability to care for her children but can also negatively impact her daughter's ability to provide maternal care to future offspring.
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How Depression Blurs Memories

October 3, 2013—To pinpoint why depression messes with memory, researchers took a page from Sesame Street’s book.

The show’s popular game “One of these things is not like the others” helps young viewers learn to differentiate things that are similar—a process known as “pattern separation.”

A new Brigham Young University study concludes that this same skill fades in adults in proportion to the severity of their symptoms of depression. The more depressed someone feels, the harder it is for them to distinguish similar experiences they’ve had.
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Racism Linked to Depression and Anxiety in Youth

September 17, 2013—An international review led by the University of Melbourne has found children and young people experience poor mental health, depression and anxiety following experiences of racism.
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Diminishing Fear Vicariously by Watching Others

APS; September 16, 2013—Phobias—whether it's fear of spiders, clowns, or small spaces—are common and can be difficult to treat. New research suggests that watching someone else safely interact with the supposedly harmful object can help to extinguish these conditioned fear responses, and prevent them from resurfacing later on.

The research, published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, indicates that this type of vicarious social learning may be more effective than direct personal experience in extinguishing fear responses.

"Information about what is dangerous and safe in our environment is often transferred from other individuals through social forms of learning," says lead author Armita Golkar of Karolinska Institutet in Sweden. "Our findings suggest that these social means of learning promote superior down-regulation of learned fear, as compared to the sole experiences of personal safety."
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Mood is Influenced by Immune Cells Called to the Brain in Response to Stress

 

In Animal Study, Immune System Cells in Brain Lead to Anxiety Symptoms

COLUMBUS, OH; August 21, 2013—New research shows that in a dynamic mind-body interaction during the interpretation of prolonged stress, cells from the immune system are recruited to the brain and promote symptoms of anxiety.
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Brain Circuit Can Tune Anxiety

CAMBRIDGE, MA; August 21, 2013—Anxiety disorders, which include posttraumatic stress disorder, social phobias and obsessive-compulsive disorder, affect 40 million American adults in a given year. In a step toward uncovering better targets for treatment, MIT researchers have discovered a communication pathway between two brain structures—the amygdala and the ventral hippocampus—that appears to control anxiety levels. By turning the volume of this communication up and down in mice, the researchers were able to boost and reduce anxiety levels.
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Worms May Shed Light on Human Ability to Handle Chronic Stress

 

Rutgers scientists question why some suffer and others are better able to cope

August 15, 2013New research at Rutgers University may help shed light on how and why nervous system changes occur and what causes some people to suffer from life-threatening anxiety disorders while others are better able to cope.

Maureen Barr, a professor in the Department of Genetics, and a team of researchers, found that the architectural structure of the six sensory brain cells in the roundworm, responsible for receiving information, undergo major changes and become much more elaborate when the worm is put into a high stress environment.
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No Money for Diapers: A Depressing Reality for Poor Mothers

July 29, 2013—Low-income mothers who cannot afford diapers are also more likely to report symptoms of depression and anxiety, Yale University researchers write in the August issue of the journal Pediatrics. Three in 10 poor mothers report they cannot afford an adequate supply of diapers, the study found.
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People with Depression Tend to Pursue Generalized Goals

 

University of Liverpool research finds those with clinical depression are more likely to set abstract goals that are difficult to achieve

July 8, 2013—Researchers from the University of Liverpool have found that people with depression have more generalized personal goals than non-depressed people.
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Do Antidepressants Impair the Ability to Extinguish Fear?

June 10, 2013—An interesting new report of animal research published in Biological Psychiatry suggests that common antidepressant medications may impair a form of learning that is important clinically.
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Anxious? Activate Your Anterior Cingulate Cortex with a Little Meditation

WINSTON-SALEM, NC; June 3, 2013—Scientists, like Buddhist monks and Zen masters, have known for years that meditation can reduce anxiety, but not how. Scientists at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, however, have succeeded in identifying the brain functions involved. 

“Although we’ve known that meditation can reduce anxiety, we hadn’t identified the specific brain mechanisms involved in relieving anxiety in healthy individuals,” said Fadel Zeidan, Ph.D., postdoctoral research fellow in neurobiology and anatomy at Wake Forest Baptist and lead author of the study. “In this study, we were able to see which areas of the brain were activated and which were deactivated during meditation-related anxiety relief.” 
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To Suppress or To Explore?  Emotional Strategy May Influence Anxiety

Urbana-Champaign; May 13, 2013—When trouble approaches, what do you do? Run for the hills? Hide? Pretend it isn't there? Or do you focus on the promise of rain in those looming dark clouds?

New research suggests that the way you regulate your emotions, in bad times and in good, can influence whether—or how much—you suffer from anxiety.

The study, which appears in the journal Emotion, revealed that those who engage in an emotional regulation strategy called reappraisal tended to also have less social anxiety and less anxiety in general than those who avoid expressing their feelings. Reappraisal involves looking at a problem in a new way, said University of Illinois graduate student Nicole Llewellyn, who led the research with psychology professor Florin Dolcos, an affiliate of the Beckman Institute at Illinois.
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Risk of Depression Influenced by Quality of Relationships, Study Finds

U-M, April 30, 2013—The mantra that quality is more important than quantity is true when considering how social relationships influence depression, say University of Michigan researchers in a new study.

After analyzing data from nearly 5,000 American adults, the researchers found that the quality of a person's relationships with a spouse, family and friends predicted the likelihood of major depression disorder in the future, regardless of how frequently their social interactions took place.

Individuals with strained and unsupportive spouses were significantly more likely to develop depression, whereas those without a spouse were at no increased risk. And those with the lowest quality relationships had more than double the risk of depression than those with the best relationships.
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Mothers with Postpartum Depression Would Welcome Online Professional Treatment

CWRU, April 4, 2013—Mothers suffering from postpartum depression after a high-risk pregnancy would turn to online interventions if available anonymously and from professional healthcare providers, according to researchers from Case Western Reserve University’s Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing and College of Arts and Sciences.

Postpartum depression, a moderate to severe depression that can occur after a woman has given birth, affects about 7 to 15 percent of new mothers. The effects can be felt soon after delivery to as long as a year later.

The Case Western Reserve study, which recruited survey participants from four popular information sites for new mothers, found that many women don’t seek counseling because of the time constraints of caring for a new-born and the stigma attached to depression.

“Mothers cannot always find a sitter and then spend time driving to and from counseling,” said Judith Maloni, PhD, RN, FAAN, the lead investigator and professor of nursing. “An online intervention is available when the moms have time.”
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Negative Emotions in Response to Daily Stress Take a Toll on Long-Term Mental Health

APS, April 2, 2013—Our emotional responses to the stresses of daily life may predict our long-term mental health, according to a new study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

Psychological scientist Susan Charles of the University of California, Irvine and colleagues conducted the study in order to answer a long-standing question: Do daily emotional experiences add up to make the straw that breaks the camel’s back, or do these experiences make us stronger and provide an inoculation against later distress?
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People with Depression May Not Reap Full Benefits of Healthy Behaviors

DURHAM, NC; March 26, 2013—Depression may inhibit the anti-inflammatory effects typically associated with physical activity and light-to-moderate alcohol consumption, according to researchers at Duke Medicine.

The finding—based on measurements of the cardio-metabolic risk marker C-reactive protein (CRP)—points to another potential danger of depression, which afflicts an estimated one in 10 adults in the United States. Study results were published online March 26, 2013, in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity.

"Our findings suggest depression not only directly affects an individual's mental and physical health; it might also diminish the health benefits of physical activities and moderate alcohol consumption," said lead author Edward C. Suarez, PhD, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke Medicine. "This appears to be specific to inflammation, which we know increases the risk for heart disease, so our findings suggest that depression could be a complicating risk factor."
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UNC Study Shows How Two Brain Areas Interact in Anxiety and Reward Behaviors

CHAPEL HILL, NC; March 20, 2013—New research from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine for the first time explains exactly how two brain regions interact to promote emotionally motivated behaviors associated with anxiety and reward. 

The findings could lead to new mental health therapies for disorders such as addiction, anxiety, and depression. A report of the research was published online by the journal, Nature, on March 20, 2013. 
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Mindfulness at School Reduces Likelihood of Depression-Related Symptoms in Adolescents

LEUVEN, BELGIUM; March 15, 2013—Mindfulness is a form of meditation therapy focused on exercising 'attentiveness'. Depression is often rooted in a downward spiral of negative feelings and worries. Once a person learns to more quickly recognise these feelings and thoughts, he or she can intervene before depression sinks in.

While mindfulness has already been widely tested and applied in patients with depression, this is the first time the method has been studied in a large group of adolescents in a school-based setting, using a randomised controlled design. The study was carried out at five middle schools in Flanders, Belgium. About 400 students between the ages of 13 and 20 took part. The students were divided into a test group and a control group. The test group received mindfulness training, and the control group received no training.

The results suggest that mindfulness can lead to a decrease in symptoms associated with depression and, moreover, that it protects against the later development of depression-like symptoms.
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Surprising Rate of Women Have Depression After Childbirth

CHICAGO, March 13, 2013—A surprisingly high number of women have postpartum depressive symptoms, according to a new, large-scale study by a Northwestern Medicine® researcher.

The study, which included a depression screening of 10,000 women who had recently delivered infants at single obstetrical hospital, revealed a large percentage of women who suffered recurrent episodes of major depression. When a new mother is depressed, her emotional state can interfere with child development and increases the rate of insecure attachment and poor cognitive performance of her child, Wisner said. Maternal prenatal stress and depression is also linked to preterm birth and other mental and physical health risks to both mother and child.
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Trickle-Down Anxiety: Study Examines Parental Behaviors that Create Anxious Children

BALTIMORE, MD; November 1, 2012—Parents with social anxiety disorder are more likely than parents with other forms of anxiety to engage in behaviors that put their children at high risk for developing angst of their own, according to a small study of parent-child pairs conducted at Johns Hopkins Children's Center.

These behaviors included a lack of or insufficient warmth and affection and high levels of criticism and doubt leveled at the child. Such behaviors, the researchers say, are well known to increase anxiety in children and—if engaged in chronically—can make it more likely for children to develop a full-blown anxiety disorder of their own, the investigators say.
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Feeling Guilty versus Feeling Angry: Who Can Tell the Difference?

September 24, 2012—Emotional Intelligence includes awareness of your own emotional states, but some are more difficult to nail down than others—especially for the clinically depressed, say researchers.
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Social Form of Bullying Linked to Depression, Anxiety in Adults

GAINESVILLE, FL; April 22, 2008—Spreading rumors and gossiping may not cause bruises or black eyes, but the psychological consequences of this social type of bullying could linger into early adulthood, a new University of Florida study shows.
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