Tag Archives | Anxiety

The Most Common Mental Health Problem is ‘Contagious’

via Psyblog:

Anxiety is ‘contagious’ and can be passed from parents to children and the other way, a new study finds.

The ‘catching’ nature of anxious thoughts and behaviours exists over and above the effects of genetics.

That’s the conclusion of a new study of twins conducted by researchers in the UK.

Professor Thalia Eley, who led the study, said that anxious parents should avoid passing it on to their children through their behaviour:

“Our research shows that even if you have had to cope with high levels of anxiety yourself, it is not inevitable that this will follow in your children.

There are many things that can be done at home to prevent or reduce anxiety in children and adolescents.

Whilst a natural tendency when your child is anxious is to try to protect them, it can be more helpful to support them in taking small age-appropriate risks.

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DEA approves study using MDMA for anxiety in seriously ill patients

Henry Riley (CC BY 2.0)

Henry Riley (CC BY 2.0)

Amid growing support for the therapeutic use of psychedelics, the DEA has approved a clinical trial that uses MDMA to treat anxiety.

Renee Lewis has the story at Al Jazeera:

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has approved the first clinical trial using MDMA along with psychotherapy to treat anxiety among people with life-threatening illnesses, researchers told Al Jazeera on Tuesday, adding that public support for the therapeutic use of psychedelic drugs is rapidly growing.

“The tide has changed for psychedelic research,” said Brad Burge, the communications director for the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), a California-based nonprofit research group that studies medicinal uses for psychedelics and marijuana and is sponsoring the study. The DEA approved the project on Friday, he said.

Unlike Ecstasy or Molly — names for MDMA sold on the street and often mixed with dangerous adulterants — pure MDMA has been proved “sufficiently safe” when taken a limited number of times in moderate doses, MAPS says on its website.

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Mastering the Mind and Body Through Meditation, Jiu-Jitsu and Ayahuasca with Nicolas Gregoriades| the midwest real podcast

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Nic Gregoriades is a world-traveling, ayahuasca-drinking, elite Jiu-Jitsu black belt. He’s founder of the Jiu-Jitsu Brotherhood and co-host of The Journey Podcast.

Via Midwest Real

“Life is not a problem to be solved, it is a mystery to be lived” – Osho 

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What a mind-blasting reminder that is, “life is not a problem.” So many of our personal shortcomings, issues and anxieties stem from just such a mindset- living life as if it’s a series of problems to be solved. Over the centuries, we’ve questioned and tinkered with what life is and what it “means” so much that we’ve condemned ourselves to a poisonous abyss of paradigms, expectations and momentum.

Overcoming that conditioning isn’t about running off into the woods and becoming a Luddite. We can’t just climb out of the proverbial pandora’s box of knowledge, stimulation, passion and competition we’re immersed in. But, there’s a beautifully simple escape sitting right behind the eyeballs you’re using to stare at this screen.… Read the rest

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Anandamide: The Feel-Good Gene

Emperor Traianus Decius (Mary Harrsch).jpg If you’re lucky you have a genetic mutation that produces high levels of  anandamide, which Richard A. Friedman refers to as “the so-called bliss molecule and our own natural marijuana.” He describes the latest neuroscience research in the New York Times:

Chances are that everyone on this planet has experienced anxiety, that distinct sense of unease and foreboding.

Most of us probably assume that anxiety always has a psychological trigger.

Yet clinicians have long known that there are plenty of people who experience anxiety in the absence of any danger or stress and haven’t a clue why they feel distressed. Despite years of psychotherapy, many experience little or no relief. It’s as if they suffer from a mental state that has no psychological origin or meaning, a notion that would seem heretical to many therapists, particularly psychoanalysts.

Recent neuroscience research explains why, in part, this may be the case. For the first time, scientists have demonstrated that a genetic variation in the brain makes some people inherently less anxious, and more able to forget fearful and unpleasant experiences.

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Woman’s Rare Case of ‘Seasonal OCD’ Cured

Porsche Brosseau (CC BY 2.0)

Porsche Brosseau (CC BY 2.0)

Agata Blaszczak-Boxe writes at LiveScience:

A rare case of “seasonal” obsessive-compulsive disorder in a woman highlights the complexity of this mental health condition, researchers say. The woman’s OCD symptoms appeared every year when winter began, and then ended as the seasons shifted toward summer.

After living with the condition for a decade, the woman was treated at a clinic and recovered, the case report said.

Psychiatrists “do believe that there is a tie between times of the year and the exacerbation of illness,” said Dr. Howard L. Forman, an attending psychiatrist at Montefiore Medical Center in New York, who was not involved in the woman’s case.

Patients with other mental health conditions, such as depression, may also get worse in the winter and feel better again in the summer, Forman said.

The 41-year-old woman came to an outpatient clinic during the month of October.

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Sleep Paralysis Linked to Genetics, Anxiety & Stressful Events

Henry Fuseli's "The Nightmare" may have been inspired by the chest-crushing sensation and hallucinations of sleep paralysis.  Credit: Henry Fuseli (1781)

Henry Fuseli’s “The Nightmare” may have been inspired by the chest-crushing sensation and hallucinations of sleep paralysis.
Credit: Henry Fuseli (1781)

No surprises here.

via Live Science:

People who’ve experienced the strange phenomenon of sleep paralysis may feel like they can’t move their body when they’re falling asleep or waking up, or may have hallucinations that there’s a malevolent presence pressing down on them. Now, a new study suggests the phenomenon may have a heritable cause.

In the study, researchers asked a group of more than 800 twins and siblings whether they had experienced sleep paralysis. The results showed that genetics were partially to blame for the strange phenomenon.

In addition, the people in the study who had anxiety, slept poorly or had experienced stress in their lives were more likely to have these nighttime bouts of paralysis, the researchers found.

The findings shed some light on what is still quite a mysterious condition, the researchers said.

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When Taking Anxiety Medication Is A Revolutionary Act

“Without the medicine, I live a life of ‘I can’t do this, but I’m somehow doing it anyway.’ With it, it’s more ‘this is sometimes difficult, but I got it'” writes Tracy Clayton at Buzzfeed:

If I had to describe what having anxiety feels like, I’d say that it’s kind of like walking through the world beneath tornadic skies without an umbrella, unsure if you’ll be able to find shelter if things get bad. When friends invite you out, you politely decline because while you’d like to enjoy their company, the sky could open up and wash you out to sea at any minute so it’s probably safer for you to stay at home. In the background of anything you do is the gentle hum of your nervous system as it tosses and turns, wondering when the deluge will hit, thinking about how unfortunate will be if you don’t survive it.

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Fear is the Mind-Killer

Porsche Brosseau (CC BY 2.0)

Porsche Brosseau (CC BY 2.0)

via Humanity Plus Magazine:

Anxious people tend to perceive their world in a more threatening way. That is, the more anxious a person is, the more likely they are to notice threatening things around them. This is called the threat bias.

Some researchers believe that the threat bias makes it harder for people to get rid of anxiety disorders because they get stuck in a loop – they feel anxious, they start noticing threatening things in their environment, and this in turn makes them even more anxious.

However, the threat bias isn’t just something that people with anxiety disorders experience. Everyone can have trouble keeping worrying thoughts and feelings of anxiety out of their minds. And there are things you can do to make it easier for your brain to inhibit worrying thoughts.

Read More: http://hplusmagazine.com/2014/11/04/fear-mind-killer/

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What If Everything We Know About Treating Depression Is Wrong?

"How to Overcome Depression" by Kevin Dooley via Flickr

“How to Overcome Depression” by Kevin Dooley via Flickr

Could it be that we’re treating the wrong part of the brain?

via AlterNet:

A new study is challenging the relationship between depression and an imbalance of serotonin levels in the brain, and brings into doubt how depression has been treated in the U.S. over the past 20 years.

Researchers at the John D. Dingell VA Medical Center and Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit have bred mice that cannot produce serotonin in their brains, which should theoretically make them always depressed. But researchers instead found that the mice showed no signs of depression, but instead acted aggressively and exhibited compulsive personality traits.

This study backs recent research that indicates that selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, may not be effective in lifting people out of depression. These commonly used antidepressants, such as Prozac, Paxil, Celexa, Zoloft, and Lexapro, are taken by some 10% of the U.S.

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The Science Behind Meditation and Dan Harris’ Journey to Serenity

9780062265425I’ll be the first to admit that I’m often uptight and easily stressed. I don’t meditate regularly, but when I do the relief I feel is often surprising. Just taking a few moments to focus on my breathing can release tension.

via Big Think:

Dan Harris is a self-described “fidgety and skeptical news anchor” who would probably be the last person you’d expect to buy into the hocus pocus of supposed new age wellness. But after suffering a live, on-air panic attack on “Good Morning America,” the ABC News correspondent took up meditation not because he was in search of a magical solution, but rather because of the overwhelming scientific evidence that it just works.

After his attack, Harris became an advocate for the practice and even wrote a book — 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works–A True Story – in which he compiled his personal story with copious amounts of research backing the benefits of meditation.

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