Mental Health Archive


A cure for the wintertime blues?

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a type of depression that begins in late fall and early winter, is caused by lack of sunlight exposure. Common symptoms of SAD include lack of sexual energy, overeating, problems sleeping, and social withdrawal. SAD is also associated with impaired cognitive function. Getting more sunlight from being outdoors or sitting in front of a sunlit window helps stimulate the brain's 24-hour sleep-wake clock. Taking antidepressants and using light therapy (which involves sitting in front of a light box) also can help manage SAD.

FDA approves first pill for postpartum depression

The FDA approved the first pill for postpartum depression in August 2023. The fast-acting drug, zuranolone (Zurzuvae), is taken for just two weeks.

Blasting through mental health misperceptions

An estimated 58 million American adults live with a mental illness such as anxiety, depression, or bipolar disorder. More women than men receive treatment such as medication or counseling. But despite its pervasiveness, mental illness remains stigmatized. Scientific advances are helping dismantle damaging public attitudes about mental illness. People with mental health challenges can help combat stigma by embracing treatment, not taking other people's offhand comments personally, and sharing their personal stories.

Loneliness vs. isolation: Which one is worse?

Both loneliness and isolation were associated with poor health outcomes in a 2023 study. However, social isolation was a stronger predictor of physical decline and early death, while loneliness was more predictive of mental health issues such as depression.

UK study confirms Mediterranean lifestyle benefits

A 2023 study of about 110,000 people in the United Kingdom suggested that those who most adhered to a Mediterranean lifestyle had a 28% lower risk of dying from cancer and a 29% lower risk of dying prematurely from any cause, compared with those who least adhered to the lifestyle.

10 ways to find purpose in life

Having a sense of purpose is linked to important health benefits, such as longevity and sharp thinking skills. There are many ways to cultivate a sense of purpose. Ideas include thinking about one's strengths or skills and how to apply them; becoming a mentor; volunteering time to a worthy cause; reading Viktor Frankl's book Man's Search for Meaning; writing about lived experiences and sharing the information with family or friends; and thinking of longtime dreams and ways to achieve elements of them.

"Unsticking" sticky thoughts

It's hard to get rid of sticky thoughts, which play repeatedly in the mind and cause distress. Strategies that can help include going for a walk, staying busy by scheduling activities, limiting worry time to one specific period of each day, and talking to family and friends. If sticky thoughts don't go away after a few weeks, it might be time to talk to a primary care doctor or a therapist. Treatment might involve cognitive behavioral therapy, which helps someone recognize sticky thoughts and redirect them in ways that are less negative and more manageable.

Is online gambling harming you?

Online gambling is a popular and growing business, but for millions of Americans, what begins as occasional fun can lead to devastating problems. Trouble with gambling often builds gradually and severe gambling problems share risk factors with substance-related disorders.

For mellow movement that helps your heart, try tai chi

Tai chi is a gentle, adaptable practice that features flowing movements combined with breathing and cognitive focus. It may be especially helpful for people who are recovering from a heart attack or other medical problems or who have heart failure. Tai chi also can be a gateway to other types of physical activity because the practice may improve balance, reduce the risk of falls, and even help ease lower back pain—a common reason for avoiding exercise.

Try this: Take a tactical breather

Tactical breathing used by military and law enforcement personnel can help people manage anxiety and stay mentally sharp during stressful situations. It can also help calm a racing mind or soothe pain.

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