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In the New York Times (1/15, Subscription Publication) “Opinionator” blog, author Daniel Smith wrote, “According to the National Institute of Mental Health, anxiety disorders now affect 18 percent of the adult population of the United States, or about 40 million people. By comparison, mood disorders — depression and bipolar illness, primarily — affect 9.5 percent. That makes anxiety the most common psychiatric complaint by a wide margin, and one for which we are increasingly well-medicated.” Smith observed, “Just because our anxiety is heavily diagnosed and medicated, however, doesn’t mean that we are more anxious than our forebears. It might simply mean that we are better treated.”
— “It’s Still the ‘Age of Anxiety.’ Or Is It?,” Daniel Smith, New York Times, January 14, 2012.
HealthDay (1/13, Preidt) reports, “Blogging appears to help teens deal with social problems,” according to a study published online Jan. 4 in the journal Psychological Services. Among “161 Israeli high school students, 124 girls and 37 boys, average age 15, who had some level of social anxiety or distress,” teens who blogged “showed significant improvements in self-esteem, social anxiety, emotional distress and the number of positive social behaviors, compared to the teens who wrote in a private diary or did nothing. The greatest improvements were seen in teens who were told to write about their social problems and whose blogs were open to comments,” the study found.
HealthDay (1/13, Mozes) reports that a new study presented at a British psychology meeting “finds an association between the increasingly popular use of Web-enabled cellphones and a rise in stress levels. The reason: a relentless need to immediately review and respond to each and every incoming message, alert or bing.”
Interestingly, “investigators did not link stress to the professional use of smartphones for work purposes. Rather, it’s the personal use of such devices, to keep tabs on friendships and social networking ‘news,’ that is the culprit.” Researchers arrived at these conclusions after surveying some 100 people about their smartphone use.
The Baltimore Sun (1/13, Cohn) reports, “A pair of expert consultants and leading officials from Clifton T. Perkins Hospital Center told a state legislative panel Thursday what steps they think are necessary to make the facility safe after three patients were killed in 14 months and three other patients were charged in their deaths.”
The experts’ “recommendations for improving safety at the state’s maximum security psychiatric facility included hiring 28 more workers, improving communications among labor and management, and increasing training and security-related technology.”
In a press release (1/12, pdf), the American Psychiatric Association wrote, “On Wednesday, January 10th American Psychiatric Association President Dr. John Oldham, MD participated in a meeting led by First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House to reaffirm the APA’s pledge of active participation in the Joining Forces Campaign to support returning veterans and their families.
Dr. Oldham joined leaders of several national healthcare organizations along with the Department of Defense and Veterans Administration in declaring their commitment to the First Lady’s cause.”
The press release also pointed out, “The APA, which has been involved with the program for over a year, has played an important role in easing the transition for service members returning from combat, and for their families readjusting to having them home.”
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