Lifestyle, Uncategorized

How Friends Impact Your Health

How Friends Impact Your Health

How Friends Impact Your Health

 

There is a strong connection between friendship and health. Recall the happiest times of your life, and those memories likely include friends celebrating with you. Just as important, true friends support you through the bad times that happen in every life, from everyday disappointments to the heartbreak of loss. That’s what good friends do.

Friendship enriches our existence and makes life’s journey more enjoyable. Friends give us a sense of belonging and bolster our self-esteem. Yet, our closest friends will “tell it like it is” and encourage us to change bad habits or adopt good ones. Best friends assume the role of trusted confidante. Who better to listen to your rant in a non-judgmental way than your best friend? Having someone with whom you can talk about anything promotes healthy stress management.

Even self-described loners need interaction with people. Appropriate doses of companionship are especially helpful to prevent loneliness if you live by yourself. The never-married or single-again adult can too easily fall into the trap of staying home too much and eating solitary dinners off a tray in front of the TV. A tendency toward reclusivity may become more pronounced after retirement. Finding one still wearing pajamas mid-day is a red flag that it’s time to get out of a rut.

Many people carry friendships from high school or college into adulthood. New friendships are formed with compatible individuals met through work or after moves to new neighborhoods. Sometimes, life changes—increased workloads, rearing children, caring for aging parents—interfere with existing friendships, and we let them slip out of our lives. Career moves may require relocation and leaving friends behind.

Extroverts—naturally outgoing and sociable— find it easy to meet people and form new friendships. They are often described as, “She never meets a stranger,” or “He makes friends everywhere he goes.”

The naturally shy, socially anxious, or introverted person does not meet people or form new attachments easily. Social events are often avoided. Small talk is dreaded like torture. Without coaxing from others to join in or a personal effort to overcome inhibitions and fears, this individual may let friendship slide—perhaps forever.

It takes effort to make friends and nurture friendships. While social networking can provide connections and relieve loneliness to some extent, making 100 new “friends” online does not take the place of face time in offline relationships. Meeting new people and discovering common interests and values requires getting off the sofa and going out there….Go where you will find other people doing things you are likely to enjoy.

If you like to read, join a book discussion group. Think about those things you really enjoy—cooking, gardening, crafts, music, live theater—and search for groups that share your interests. Volunteer your time with a charitable organization where you’ll come together with others whose compassion for these issues matches your own. Take a continuing education class at your local community college—inexpensive, short-termed and a broad variety of topics. Learning something new enhances conversation.

Friendships—whether existing or new—must be nurtured to last and grow. In order to have (and keep) friends in your life, you must also be a good friend. Forge a positive attitude, practice tolerance, and don’t be judgmental. Friendship is a two-way street, and both parties in the relationship must be willing to give, not just take. Cultivate active listening skills. (Some of the best listeners are those who don’t like to talk, but make a great audience for the more talkative.)

Cultivating and cherishing friendships can affect anyone’s longevity. A ten-year Australian study of 1500 senior citizens by Flinders University’s Centre for Ageing Studies found that the participants who had a large support group of friends outlived those with the least friends by 22%. As one’s social connections decrease, the risk for mortality increases. Julianne Holt-Lunstad, PhD, assistant professor of psychology at Brigham Young University, states the mortality risk is nearly as great as that created by smoking.

So…fill the friendship “prescription” for good health. It’s a renewable prescription for life!

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Lifestyle, Uncategorized

The High Cost of Ignoring Your Intuition

The High Cost of Ignoring Your Intuition

 

The High Cost of Ignoring Your Intuition

 

Cindy met Bill through her tennis club. He was charming, good-looking, and he swept her off her feet in a whirlwind courtship. Pushing for a quick marriage, he proposed after only two months. Though she felt a few flutters of anxiety, Cindy accepted, hoping for true love. Six months later, she deeply regretted the haste. Bill turned out to be both alcoholic and verbally abusive, with the threat of physical abuse lurking in the volatile atmosphere. Frightened, she moved out and filed for divorce. Later, she reflected on how she had gotten herself in such a painful place.

Something deep inside Cindy had sent up warning flares, telling her that she was moving too fast. But she’d plunged ahead, repressing her own better judgment, which was trying to get her to slow down. Why had she ignored the signals?

“I was afraid that if I told him I wanted to slow down, he might lose interest. He was so passionate, so full of life, and I felt so flattered that this great looking guy wanted me. All the women liked him. It wasn’t hard to imagine that he might drop me and move on to someone more willing.”

The high cost of ignoring your own signals? High-risk relationships and the likelihood of divorce. But most of all, the cost is to your own self-esteem, because the bottom line is that you let yourself down. You failed at your most basic job in life: taking care of you.

These days, Cindy is reluctant to accept even the most seemingly safe dates. She doesn’t trust herself, fearful of repeating the past and making another disastrous mistake. Self-forgiveness is the hardest when we know we didn’t protect ourselves.

The lesson is simple: never let your desire for a particular person override your common sense. When your gut is screaming at you, listen, honor what it is telling you, and proceed with caution. And this goes for any area of your life, not just relationships – trust your intuition, go with your gut.

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Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Bi-polar of Shizophrenic

bipolar

What are signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder and of schizophrenia?

 

To qualify for the diagnosis of bipolar disorder, a person must experience at least one manic episode. Symptoms of mania include

 

elevated, expansive, or irritable mood;

racing thoughts;

pressured speech (rapid, excessive, and frenzied speaking);

decreased need for sleep;

grandiose ideas (for example, false beliefs of superiority or failures);

tangential speech (repeatedly changing topics to topics that are hardly related);

restlessness/increased goal-directed activity; and

impulsivity, poor judgment, or engaging in risky activity (like spending sprees, promiscuity, or excess desire for sex).

While a major depressive episode is not required for the diagnosis of bipolar disorder, depression often alternates with manic episodes and tends to occur more often than mania in many people.

 

Symptoms of schizophrenia may include

 

delusions (beliefs not at all based in reality),

hallucinations (seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling, or tasting something that is not really there),

catatonia,

negative symptoms, like not talking (mutism, low motivation, and movement), and

disorganized speech or behavior.

 

What tests do health care professionals use to diagnose bipolar disorder and schizophrenia?

Since there is no one test that determines that someone has bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, health care professionals diagnose these conditions by gathering medical, family, and mental health information. The mental health professional will also either perform a physical examination or request that the individual’s primary care doctor do so, including lab tests to assess the person’s general health and whether he or she has mental health symptoms that are due to a physical condition.

 

 

What are treatments and medications for bipolar disorder and for schizophrenia?

 

People with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia can expect their mental health professionals to consider several interventions, including medications, psychotherapies, and lifestyle advice. Medication treatment of bipolar disorder tends to address relieving already existing symptoms of the illness and preventing symptoms from returning. For schizophrenia, medications have been found to be effective in treating the positive symptoms (for example, delusions or hallucinations).

 

Antipsychotic medications that treat the positive symptoms of schizophrenia and the manic and mixed symptoms of bipolar disorder include olanzapine (Zyprexa), risperidone (Risperdal), quetiapine (Seroquel), ziprasidone (Geodon), aripiprazole (Abilify), paliperidone (Invega), asenapine (Saphris), iloperidone (Fanapt), lurasidone (Latuda), and brexpiprazole (Rexulti). Older medications, like haloperidol (Haldol), chlorpromazine (Thorazine), and thioridazine (Mellaril), are more likely to cause muscular side effects, rarely one that can be permanent.

 

Mood stabilizers like lithium (Lithobid) and antiseizure (anticonvulsant) medications like divalproex (Depakote), carbamazepine (Tegretol, Tegretol XR), and lamotrigine (Lamictal) treat active manic or mixed symptoms and those symptoms from returning. Antidepressants are the primary medical treatment for the depressive symptoms of bipolar disorder. Antidepressants include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) medications like fluoxetine (Prozac), sertraline (Zoloft), paroxetine (Paxil), citalopram (Celexa), escitalopram (Lexapro), vortioxetine (Trintellix), and vilazodone (Viibryd); serotonergic/adrenergic medications (SNRIs) like venlafaxine (Effexor), duloxetine (Cymbalta), desvenlafaxine (Pristiq), and levomilnacipran (Fetzima), as well as bupropion (Wellbutrin), a dopaminergic antidepressant.

 

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) can treat people whose symptoms of bipolar disorder or schizophrenia are severe and have inadequately responded to psychotherapies and a number of medication trials. Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) can treat resistant depression, as well.

 

Talk therapy (psychotherapy) is an important part of helping individuals living with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia achieve the highest level of functioning possible by improving ways of coping with the illness. Assertive community treatment (ACT) involves members of the treatment team having daily meetings with the schizophrenia sufferer in community settings (for example, at home, work, or otherwise in the community) rather than just in an office or hospital.

 

What is the prognosis of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia?

Bipolar disorder sufferers tend to have mood problems up to 60% of the time but can be helped with psychotherapy and medication. Schizophrenia has a more difficult course, less so with treatment. People with either condition are at risk for developing medical problems, other mental health disorders, taking their own life, or otherwise dying younger.

 

 

 

 

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Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Signs of an Evil Person

evilperson

Signs of an Evil Person

 

The Evil 8 and the Nefarious 15

 

 

Evil 8 (signs)

1.) Arrogant Entitlement

2.) Lack of Empathy

3.) No Remorse

4.) Irresponsible/Self-Destructive

5.) Thrive on Drama

6.) Brag about Outsmarting

7.) Short-Term Relationships

8.) Fantasy World/Delusional

 

Nefarious 15 (More Signs)

1.) Infiltrate your life

2.) Create Conspiratorial Conflict

3.) Depend on Approval

4.) Build a file

5.) Misdirect and Obfuscate (Obfuscation (or beclouding) is the hiding of intended meaning in communication, making communication confusing, willfully ambiguous, and harder to interpret.)

6.) Blame Others

7.) Lie

8.) Frauds/Cheaters

9.) Isolate Victims

10.) Abuse Authority

11.) Press Hot buttons

12.) Revisionist of History

13.) Two-faced/Gossip

14.) Paranoid

15.) Passive-Aggressive

 

This list explains the similarities between narcissists/ sociopaths/ psychopaths

I agree with this list and sadly, it explains the similarities between all those who have abused/harmed possibly you and others.

 

It is wisdom to not ignore potential issues in people.

It is wisdom to sit back and watch their behaviour over time, to discern who they are and what their motivations are.

 

Do Not Give People the Benefit of the Doubt!

 

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Health and Disease, Rx to Wellness, Uncategorized

Panic Attacks and Anxiety

panicattacks

Natural Remedies for Anxiety & Panic Attacks

Panic attacks can strike some of us more than most, but we all go through it sooner or later. Working to beat a deadline, pay a bill, especially in this economic recession paying attention to your mental health is important!

Some natural remedies for anxiety and panic attacks include supplements such as Omega-3 fatty acids and SAMe. You can also use techniques like meditation or yoga. These alternative techniques have already changed the lives of many of the 40 million Americans afflicted by anxiety and panic attacks, which needless to say can be very disruptive in your life.

 

What is a Panic Attack?

A panic attack is one type of anxiety order, with symptoms ranging from mild to severe. In this day and age I think most of us have experienced this. People suffering from panic attacks don’t experience the type of anxiety everyone feels from time to time though, necessarily. People who have actual panic attacks are dealing with a mental illness. There are physical symptoms to panic attacks, and not just mental, these include high blood pressure, irregular heartbeats, and chest pain which many experience as feeling like a heart attack. Some may even think they are dying; these attacks arrive suddenly and unpredictably.

 

Natural Remedies

You can treat panic attacks naturally by learning mind and body relaxation techniques such as yoga and meditation, eating more omega-3 fatty acids, and also fights depression and anxiety, and you can try SAMe, a supplement that replaces what is lost as we age, which looks as the most promising natural remedy for panic attacks.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids (Salmon, Mackerel, Sardines, Walnuts and Flaxseed)

We’ve all been told (hopefully) that Omega-3 fatty acids are good for cardiovascular health. This natural remedy is also great for anxiety disorders. In fact in places of the world where people eat a lot of Omega-3 rich foods (such as fish), we find less anxiety orders and depression. Foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids include Salmon, Mackerel, Sardines, Flaxseed, and Walnuts! Try adding one or more of them to your diet!

Meditation and Relaxation Techniques

It’s been proven that natural relaxation techniques such as yoga, tai chi, or meditation, will be of great benefit to anybody troubled by anxiety orders, and they will improve energy, concentration, and mood. By learning to calm and balance your mind and emotions your heartbeat will benefit and you will suffer from less panic attacks.

SAMe

SAMe is a long name, (S-adenosylmethionine) and what it is is a molecule within our bodies, but as we age, less is produced. In theory this can help treat depression holistically with very few side effects. A downside is that it is expensive and may interact badly with certain other medications. As always ask before taking anything.

 

Please share with family and loved ones.

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Dr M Williams

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Rx to Wellness, Uncategorized

How to Take A Mental Health Day

how to take amental health day

How to Take a Mental Health Day

Sometimes, you just need a break. Some folks call this a “mental health day,” but I like to keep things in a positive light (and out of respect for those who do have legitimate mental health diseases), so let’s rename this concept a self care day. A day dedicated to you.
Regardless of what you call it, though, taking a timeout is pretty essential, and in today’s culture, we can easily overdo it. In general, downtime is looked upon as lazy, or not really necessary. Things are changing, but it’s up to us as individuals to know when we need a break, and to make space to take it. How to Take a Mental Health Day

Here’s a quick guide on how to take a self care day.
Clear Your Schedule, Un-apologetically
The main requirement of a self care day is to ditch the scheduled appointments. Frankly, I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t mind a few less calendar appointments in their life.
If your appointments are with other people or recurring obligations, you don’t need to explain that you’re taking some self care time if you don’t feel it is helpful. In my opinion, if you’re just honest — sorry, something personal’s come up, I need to reschedule — then no harm, no foul.
I do mean clear everything possible; if you have children, find someone who can help you out.
Downshift
Now that you’ve cleared some space, downshift. A self care day is not “a day I catch up on errands and clean the house.” The laundry can wait. Weed the garden tomorrow. Do not wash the dishes in the sink unless you truly enjoy washing dishes. Nope. This is a day for you.
Start it out with activities specifically geared towards downshifting. Some examples/ideas to get you thinking: Something warm to drink, light some candles, run a hot bath, take a nap, stretch, meditate. What does slowing down mean to you?
Treat Yourself
I think the perfect self care day requires a little treat of some kind. Treating yourself means different things to different people, so do not think you need to be getting pedicures and eating dark chocolate. Choose things that really feel like a treat to you (think “guilty indulgences” without the guilt): pancakes, a walk, a swim in the pool, hug a tree, take an online yoga class.
Of course, if treating yourself feels like just reading in bed or laying on the couch and watching a fun movie on Netflix, so be it.
Pause to Reflect at the End of the Day
At the end of a self care day, I think it’s important to take a few moments to just reflect on the day and your experience. Perhaps you want to promise yourself that you will take a time out again when needed — maybe put it on the calendar now? Maybe you realized that one of your favorite treats you can be incorporated into you daily ritual instead. If nothing else, share some gratitude with yourself and give yourself a nice pat on the back for taking good care of yourself.

Remember: no matter how many responsibilities you have, your primary responsibility is to take care of YOU, so that you can show up fully to those other pieces in your life.
Please share with your family and loved ones.

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Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Tears In The Wind

tearsinthewind (1)

Tears in the Wind

 

 

Stand and cry unto the wind and let me remove your pain.

 

For within the tears of love and life, there is no one to blame.

 

Let go of the secrets that you hold in tears you will not cry.

 

For holding them within your spirit will block your energies and spiritual abilities.

 

For you constantly must build the dam higher and higher to keep them back.

 

Tears are a gift of the Divine; to let go of whatever has blocked our spirits.

 

Pain, loneliness, sadness, grief and even joy.

 

Tears cleanse the spirit and bring renewed energy.

 

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Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Mantram? What is it?

In solitude there is healling. Speak to your soul. Listen to your heart. Sometimes in the absence of noise we find the answers.

In solitude there is healling. Speak to your soul. Listen to your heart. Sometimes in the absence of noise we find the answers.

Mantram: What Is It, And Should You Try It?

 

Mantram is a Sanskrit word that means, roughly, “instrument of thought.” As a discipline, it refers to the practice of silently repeating certain syllables or phrases. It is a way to keep the mind occupied by putting attention on sounds or words that are believed to have spiritual meaning and positive effects, and thus free from the usual endless succession of varied, distracting thoughts.

 

 

Mantram is most often associated with Hinduism, Buddhism, and other Eastern religions, but a similar practice is also part of Western religious tradition, as exemplified by the Roman Catholic Rosary and the Jesus Prayer (“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner”) of the Eastern Orthodox Church.

 

Some contemporary psychologists, however, recommend mantram as a purely secular method of diverting attention from troublesome thoughts in order to reduce anxiety, anger, and stress.

 

Several researchers have documented the efficacy of this method to improve emotional well-being. One study, published in the Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing in 2006, measured outcomes of a five-week program of mantram practice in a population of healthcare workers (nurses and social workers, primarily female), who were experiencing high stress.  Participants were asked to choose a mantram from recommended sayings from the major spiritual traditions and were given wrist-worn counters to tally the daily frequency of repetition. The investigators found that the program reduced stress and improved the emotional and spiritual well-being of the participants. They concluded that, “Mantram repetition is an innovative stress-reduction strategy that is portable, convenient, easy to implement, and inexpensive.”

 

 

As Dr. Weil says, “This accords with my experience. After reading about mantram in my early thirties, I began repeating om mani padme hum to myself when I was falling asleep, driving long distances, or just sitting quietly. After a time, I found I could use it to break cycles of worrying that made me anxious or kept me awake. It has also helped me get through dental procedures and remain calm in the midst of turmoil.

 

“I do not repeat the words on any fixed schedule or keep count of the number of times I do it, but I’ve done it so often that I can now slip into it almost without conscious effort. Because mantram repetition is, indeed, portable, convenient, easy to implement, and inexpensive, I recommend it to you as a method worth trying to take your attention away from thoughts that make you anxious or sad.”

 

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Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Are You Making Your Life Harder Than it Needs to Be.

walingupstairs

Are You Making Your Life Harder Than It Needs To Be!

 

10 Ways You’re Making Your Life Harder Than It Has To Be

 

  1. You ascribe intent.

Another driver cut you off. Your friend never texted you back. Your co-worker went to lunch without you. Everyone can find a reason to be offended on a steady basis. So what caused you to be offended? You assigned bad intent to these otherwise innocuous actions. You took it as a personal affront, a slap in the face.

 

Happy people do not do this. They don’t take things personally. They don’t ascribe intent to the unintentional actions of others.

 

  1. You’re the star of your own movie.

It is little wonder that you believe the world revolves around you. After all, you have been at the very center of every experience you have ever had.

 

You are the star of your own movie. You wrote the script. You know how you want it to unfold. You even know how you want it to end.

 

Unfortunately you forgot to give your script to anyone else. As a result, people are unaware of the role they are supposed to play. Then, when they screw up their lines, or fail to fall in love with you or don’t give you a promotion, your movie is ruined.

 

Lose your script. Let someone else star once in awhile. Welcome new characters. Embrace plot twists.

 

  1. You fast forward to apocalypse.

I have a bad habit of fast forwarding everything to its worst possible outcome and being pleasantly surprised when the result is marginally better than utter disaster or jail time. My mind unnecessarily wrestles with events that aren’t even remotely likely. My sore throat is cancer. My lost driver’s license fell into the hands of an al-Qaeda operative who will wipe out my savings account.

 

Negativity only breeds more negativity. It is a happiness riptide. It will carry you away from shore and if you don’t swim away from it, will pull you under.

 

  1. You have unrealistic and/or uncommunicated expectations.

Among their many shortcomings of your family and friends is the harsh reality that they cannot read your mind or anticipate your whims.

 

 

Did your boyfriend forget the six and a half month anniversary of your first movie date? Did your girlfriend refuse to call at an appointed hour? Did your friend fail to fawn over your tribal tattoo?

 

Unmet expectations will be at the root of most of your unhappiness in life. Minimize your expectations, maximize your joy.

 

  1. You are waiting for a sign.

I have a friend who won’t make a decision without receiving a “sign.” I suppose she is waiting on a trumpeted announcement from God. She is constantly paralyzed by a divinity that is either heavily obscured or frustratingly tardy. I’m not disavowing that fate or a higher power plays a role in our lives. I’m just saying that it is better to help shape fate than be governed by it.

 

  1. You don’t take risks.

Two words: Live boldly. Every single time you are offered a choice that involves greater risk, take it. You will lose on many of them but when you add them up at the end of your life you’ll be glad you did.

 

  1. You constantly compare your life to others.

A few years ago I was invited to a nice party at a big warehouse downtown. I was enjoying the smooth jazz, box wine and crustless sandwiches. What more could a guy want? Later in the evening I noticed a steady parade of well-heeled people slide past and disappear into another room. I peeked and saw a large party with beautiful revelers dancing and carrying on like Bacchus. Suddenly my gig wasn’t as fun as it had been all because it didn’t appear to measure up to the party next door- a party I didn’t even know existed until just moments before.

 

I do this frequently. Those people are having more fun. Mary has a bigger boat. Craig gets all the lucky breaks. Ted has more money. John is better looking.

 

Stop it.

 

Always remember what Teddy Roosevelt said: “Comparison is the thief of joy.”

 

  1. You let other people steal from you.

If you had a million dollars in cash under your mattress, you would check it regularly and take precautions to insure it is safe. The one possession you have that is more important than money is time. But you don’t do anything to protect it. In fact you willingly give it to thieves. Selfish people, egotistical people, negative people, people who won’t shut up. Treat your time like Fort Knox. Guard it closely and give it only to those who deserve and respect it.

 

 

  1. You can’t/won’t let go.

These are getting a little harder aren’t they? That’s because sometimes you have to work at happiness. Some hurdles are too difficult to clear by simply adjusting your point of view or adopting a positive mindset.

 

Do you need to forgive someone? Do you need to turn your back on a failed relationship? Do you need to come to terms with the death of a loved one?

 

Life is full of loss. But, in a sense, real happiness would not be possible without it.  It helps us appreciate and savor the things that really matter. It helps us grow. It can help us help others grow.

 

Closure is a word for people who have never really suffered. There’s no such thing. Just try to “manage” your loss. Put it in perspective. You will always have some regret and doubt about your loss. You may always second guess yourself. If only you had said this, or tried that.

 

You’re not alone. Find someone who understands and talk to that person. Reach out for support. If all else fails, try #10 below.

 

  1. You don’t give back.

One way to deal with loss is to immerse yourself in doing good. Volunteer. Get involved in life.

 

It doesn’t even have to be a big, structured thing. Say a kind word. Encourage someone. Pay a visit to someone who is alone. Get away from your self-absorption.

 

When it comes down to it, there are two types of people in this world. There are givers and there are takers. Givers are happy. Takers are miserable. What are you?

 

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Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Too Much Online Time Raises Suicide Risk

Sisters teenage girls with smart phone and headphones listening music and ommunicate in social networks

Too Much Time Online Raising Suicide Risk in Teen Girls

 

A spike in the amount of time teenage girls in the United States spend online is a likely culprit behind the surge in rates of depression, suicide and contemplation of suicide, new research suggests.

 

The finding stems from an analysis of fatal injury data collected between 1999 and 2015 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as two large ongoing surveys that have been tracking the thoughts of roughly a half-million American teens since 1991.

 

“Around 2012, rates of depression, suicide attempts and suicide itself suddenly increased among teens, especially among girls,” said Jean Twenge. She is a psychology professor at San Diego State University and the study’s lead author.

“The increase occurred right around the same time smartphones became popular,” Twenge said.

 

“We found that teens who spent more time online were more likely to have at least one suicide-related outcome, such as depression, thinking about suicide, making a suicide plan, or having attempted suicide in the past,” she added.

 

The researchers first reviewed CDC data concerning teen suicide, finding that the suicide rate for girls aged 13 to 18 had shot up by 65 percent between 2010 and 2015. The investigators then reviewed teen responses to the Monitoring the Future survey and the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System survey.

 

The polls revealed that the percentage of girls who said they’d experienced symptoms of severe depression had increased by 58 percent in that time frame. Hopelessness and suicidal contemplation had gone up by 12 percent.

 

At the same time, nearly half of teens who indicated they spend five or more hours a day on a smartphone, laptop or tablet said they had contemplated, planned or attempted suicide at least once — compared with 28 percent of those who said they spend less than an hour a day on a device.

 

Depression risk was also notably up among teens who spent excessive time on a device, the findings showed. Results of the analysis were published Nov. 14 in the journal Clinical Psychological Science.

 

Boys are likely to be affected in the same way as girls, Twenge said, although she noted that boys tend to “spend less time on social media and more time on games, which might not affect mental health as much.”

 

Twenge also acknowledged the possibility “that instead of time online causing depression, depression causes more time online,” but she said that prior research suggests that’s not the case.

 

“In addition, depression causing online time doesn’t explain why depression increased so suddenly after 2012,” Twenge noted. “Under that scenario, more teens became depressed for an unknown reason and then started buying smartphones — an idea that defies logic.”

 

That said, teens who spend less than two hours a day online do not appear to face any elevated mental health risks, suggesting there might be a practical sweet spot for device use short of total abstinence.

 

“So parents can try to limit their teens’ use to two hours a day [and] insist that phones be left outside of the bedroom at night to encourage better sleep,” Twenge suggested.

 

Scott Campbell, an associate professor of communication studies at the University of Michigan, took a wary stance on the findings. He said more research is needed to focus not just on how much time kids spend online, but on what they’re actually doing while online.

 

“Like food, alcohol, sex, shopping and just about everything else, too much screen time is bad for you. In that sense, I am not terribly surprised that the heaviest of media users in this study reported the lowest well-being,” he said.

 

“However, I am very cautious about the findings because we need to be open to the possibility that depression might drive young people toward heavy screen time, as noted in the study,” Campbell added.

 

Dr. Anne Glowinski, a child psychiatrist, expressed little surprise with the study findings, while also suggesting that increased device use could be driving teenage mental issues on many fronts.

 

“For instance, increased virtual time could be related to nighttime virtual time — which is related to poor sleep, which is related to depression and thus suicide,” she said.

 

“Online time could [also] be taking time away from time that is mental health-promoting, such as community activities in person, time with family, exercise or meditation,” Glowinski suggested. She is director of child and adolescent psychiatry education and training at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

As for parental advice, Glowinski suggested that “it’s a good idea to have clear discussions before placing a smartphone in your child’s hands.” She also urged parents to set clear rules so that children know their usage is limited, both in terms of when they can hop online and what they are allowed to do once there.

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