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Time to rethink Mental Health, especially anxiety disorders and depression

The glob­al men­tal health cri­sis could cost the world $16 tril­lion by 2030. With men­tal dis­or­ders on the rise in every coun­try in the world, nowhere is immune.

Poor men­tal health stops employ­ees from reach­ing their full poten­tial and forces them to take more sick days, stunt­ing pro­duc­tiv­i­ty and eco­nom­ic growth. This is also a chal­lenge with soci­ety-wide ram­i­fi­ca­tions. Lone­li­ness and iso­la­tion affect many of the most vul­ner­a­ble among us. Peo­ple with seri­ous con­di­tions such as schiz­o­phre­nia or bipo­lar dis­or­der are espe­cial­ly like­ly to be mar­gin­alised by their com­mu­ni­ties. Those with the most severe con­di­tions pay with their lives, dying pre­ma­ture­ly – as much as two decades before their time.

For­tu­nate­ly, com­ing into Davos this year we are rid­ing a sea change in how the world approach­es men­tal health.

–> Keep read­ing Why this is the year we must take action on men­tal health over at the World Eco­nom­ic Forum blog.

Article in context:

Q: What do people with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, addiction, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and anxiety have in common? A: A brain with similar gray-matter loss

graymatter_comparison

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Dif­fer­ent men­tal dis­or­ders cause same brain-mat­ter loss, study finds (press release):

A meta-analy­sis of 193 brain-imag­ing stud­ies shows sim­i­lar gray-mat­ter loss in the brains of peo­ple with diag­noses as dif­fer­ent as schiz­o­phre­nia, depres­sion and addiction…The find­ings call into ques­tion a long­stand­ing ten­den­cy to dis­tin­guish psy­chi­atric dis­or­ders chiefly by their symp­toms rather than their under­ly­ing brain pathol­o­gy. Read the rest of this entry »

Study: Long-term use of anxiety and sleeping pills can increase Alzheimer’s risk

benzodiazepinesAnx­i­ety and sleep­ing pills ‘linked to demen­tia’ (BBC):

A study of old­er Cana­di­an adults found that past ben­zo­di­azepine use for three months or more was linked to an increased risk (up to 51%) of dementia…Benzodiazepines are used to treat anx­i­ety dis­or­ders and insom­nia.

Dr James Pick­ett, head of research at the Alzheimer’s Soci­ety, said Read the rest of this entry »

PTSD: Can we Disrupt the Reconsolidation of Traumatic Memories?

8% of Amer­i­cans suf­fer from PTSD and this rate increas­es up to 15% as far as vet­er­ans are con­cerned. PTSD or Post Trau­mat­ic Stress Dis­or­der is a type of anx­i­ety dis­or­der that occurs after see­ing or expe­ri­enc­ing a trau­mat­ic event. Peo­ple with PTSD have per­sis­tent fright­en­ing thoughts and mem­o­ries of the event. They may expe­ri­ence sleep prob­lems, feel detached or numb, or be eas­i­ly star­tled.

This arti­cle from the Dana Foun­da­tion asks a very inter­est­ing ques­tion:

Can we dis­rupt the recon­sol­i­da­tion of trau­mat­ic mem­o­ries that con­tribute to PTSD and bring relief to patients suf­fer­ing from this dis­or­der?

This com­plete and stim­u­lat­ing read tells us how mem­o­ries are formed and con­sol­i­dat­ed. The authors dis­cuss the dif­fer­ent tech­niques used or under research that can help PTSD patients. Since avail­able ther­a­pies have suc­cess rates of only 60%, this is a press­ing top­ic these days. The eth­i­cal ques­tion of whether it is okay to look for solu­tions to erase mem­o­ries is also raised.

Relat­ed arti­cle: Can Brain Fit­ness Inno­va­tion Enhance Cog­ni­tive Rehab?

The Future of Computer-assisted Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

The Wall Street Jour­nal had a very inter­est­ing arti­cle yes­ter­day, titled To Be Young and Anx­i­ety-Free, focused on the val­ue of cog­ni­tive behav­ioral ther­a­py to help chil­dren with high lev­els of anx­i­ety learn how too cope bet­ter and pre­vent the snow­ball sce­nario, when that anx­i­ety grows and spi­rals out of con­trol result­ing in depres­sion and sim­i­lar

- “…new research show­ing that treat­ing kids for anx­i­ety when they are young may help pre­vent the devel­op­ment of more seri­ous men­tal ill­ness­es, includ­ing depres­sion and more debil­i­tat­ing anx­i­ety dis­or­ders.”

- “Of course, most kids have fears with­out hav­ing a full-blown anx­i­ety dis­or­der. And some anx­i­ety is healthy: It makes sense, for exam­ple, to be a lit­tle ner­vous before a big test. Doc­tors and psy­chol­o­gists do cau­tion that the increased focus on child­hood anx­i­ety could lead to an over­diag­no­sis of the prob­lem. What makes anx­i­ety a true ill­ness is when it inter­feres with nor­mal func­tion­ing or caus­es seri­ous emo­tion­al and phys­i­cal dis­tress.”

- “But the use of anti­de­pres­sants in chil­dren has come under fire because Read the rest of this entry »

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As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters and more, SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking health and performance applications of brain science.

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