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Depression: It’s a Word We Use a Lot, But What Exactly Is It?

By Depression, Mental Health

People with depression experience symptoms that affect their mood, cognitive function and physical health. from www.shutterstock.com, CC BY-ND Depression: it’s a word we use a lot, but what exactly is it? Samuel Clack, Victoria University of Wellington and Tony Ward, Victoria University of Wellington Depression is a serious disorder marked by disturbances in mood, cognition, physiology and social functioning. People can experience deep sadness and feelings of hopelessness, sorrow, emptiness and despair. These core features of depression have expanded to include an inability to experience pleasure, sluggish movements, changes in sleep and eating behaviour, difficulty concentrating and suicidal thoughts. The first diagnostic criteria were introduced in the 1980s. Now we have an expanded set of concepts for describing depression, from mild to severe, major depressive disorder, chronic depression and seasonal affective disorder. Over the past 50 years, our understanding of depression has advanced significantly. But despite the wealth of research, there is no clear consensus on how this mental disorder should be explained. We propose a new route through the thicket. Read more: What causes depression? What we know, don’t know and suspect Classifying mental disorders How we describe and classify mental disorders is a fundamental step towards explaining and…

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1 In 3 Young Adults Is Lonely – And It Affects Their Mental Health

By Anxiety, Depression, Mental Health

One in three 18 to 25 year olds reported feeling lonely three or more times in the past week. Todd Diemer 1 in 3 young adults is lonely – and it affects their mental health Michelle H Lim, Swinburne University of Technology More than one in three young adults aged 18 to 25 reported problematic levels of loneliness, according to a new report from Swinburne University and VicHealth. We surveyed 1,520 Victorians aged 12 to 25, and examined their experience of loneliness. We also asked about their symptoms of depression and social anxiety. Overall, one in four young people (aged 12 to 25) reported feeling lonely for three or more days within the last week. Read more: Loneliness is a health issue, and needs targeted solutions Among 18 to 25 year olds, one in three (35%) reported feeling lonely three or more times a week. We also found that higher levels of loneliness increases a young adult’s risk of developing depression by 12% and social anxiety by 10%. Adolescents aged 12 to 17 reported better outcomes, with one in seven (13%) feeling lonely three or more times a week. Participants in this age group were also less likely to report…

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Are Memories Reliable? Expert Explains How They Change More Than We Realise

By Mental Health

Are memories reliable? Expert explains how they change more than we realise Robert Nash, Aston University Your memory probably isn’t as good as you think it is. We rely on our memories not only for sharing stories with friends or learning from our past experiences, but we also use it for crucial things like creating a sense of personal identity. Yet evidence shows that our memory isn’t as consistent as we’d like to believe. What’s worse, we’re often guilty of changing the facts and adding false details to our memories without even realising. To understand a bit about how remembering works, consider the “telephone game” (also known as “Chinese whispers”). In the game, one person quietly whispers a message to the person beside them, who then passes it on to the next person in line, and so on. Each time the message is relayed, some parts might be misheard or misunderstood, others might get innocently altered, improved, or forgotten. Over time the message can become very different from the original. The same can happen to our memories. There are countless reasons why tiny mistakes or embellishments might happen each time we recall past events, ranging from what we believe is…

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More Australians Are Diagnose With Depression And Anxiety But It Doesn’t Mean Mental Illness Is Rising

By Anxiety, Depression, Mental Health

More Australians are diagnosed with depression and anxiety but it doesn’t mean mental illness is rising Anthony Jorm, University of Melbourne Image: Women are almost twice as likely to be diagnosed with depression or anxiety as men. Eric Ward Diagnoses of depression and anxiety disorders have risen dramatically over the past eight years. That’s according to new data out today from the Housing Income and Labour Dynamics (HILDA) Survey, which tracks the lives of 17,500 Australians. The increase spans across all age groups, but is most notably in young people. The percentage of young women (aged 15-34) who had been diagnosed with these conditions increased from 12.8% in 2009, to 20.1% in 2017. In young men, there was a similar increase, from 6.1% to 11.2%. But this doesn’t mean Australians’ mental health is worsening. Read more: Explainer: what is an anxiety disorder? What’s behind the numbers? HILDA surveys collate data on the “reported diagnosis” of depression and anxiety disorders. Many people with these conditions have remained undiagnosed by a health practitioner, so it could simply be a matter of more people seeking professional help and getting diagnosed. To find out whether there is a real increase, we need to survey…

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Dissociative Disorders Are Nearly As Common As Depression. So Why Haven’t We Heard About Them?

By Mental Health, Therapy, Trauma

Dissociative disorders are nearly as common as depression. So why haven’t we heard about them? Mary-Anne Kate, University of New England Dissociative disorders are often said to be rare. But our soon-to-be published analysis of international studies suggest they affect 10-11% of the population at some point in their lives. This makes them nearly as common as mood disorders (such as clinical depression). So what are dissociative disorders, why is diagnosis controversial and how can people be treated? Read more: Mood and personality disorders are often misconceived: here’s what you need to know What is dissociation? Dissociation occurs when a person experiences being disconnected from themselves, including their memories, feelings, actions, thoughts, body and even their identity. People with dissociative disorders have one or more of the following symptoms: amnesia and other memory problems a sense of detachment or disconnection from their self, familiar people or surroundings an inner struggle about their sense of self and identity acting like a different person (identity alteration). For some people, symptoms can last days or weeks, but for others they can persist for months, years, or a lifetime. Dissociation allows the person to compartmentalise and disconnect from aspects of traumatic and challenging experiences…

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One In Four Australians Are Lonely, Which Affects Their Physical and Mental Health

By Counselling, Mental Health

One in four Australians are lonely, which affects their physical and mental health Younger Australians struggle more with loneliness than older generations. Toa Heftiba Michelle H Lim, Swinburne University of Technology One in four Australians are lonely, our new report has found, and it’s not just a problem among older Australians – it affects both genders and almost all age groups. The Australian Loneliness Report, released today by my colleagues and I at the Australian Psychological Society and Swinburne University, found one in two (50.5%) Australians feel lonely for at least one day in a week, while more than one in four (27.6%) feel lonely for three or more days. Our results come from a survey of 1,678 Australians from across the nation. We used a comprehensive measure of loneliness to assess how it relates to mental health and physical health outcomes. Read more: Politics with Michelle Grattan: Andrew Giles on the growing issue of loneliness We found nearly 55% of the population feel they lack companionship at least sometime. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Australians who are married or in a de facto relationship are the least lonely, compared to those who are single, separated or divorced. While Australians are reasonably connected…

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Review: Avicii True Stories

By Addiction, Anxiety, Counselling, Depression, Habits, Happiness, Mental Health

Review: Avicii True Stories Sex, Drugs and Rock n Roll You might wonder what place a review of a documentary about a dance music producer should have in a blog dedicated to mental health and wellness. For those who are unaware of the meteoric rise of Avicii (real name Tim Bergling) and his untimely passing, then this is a documentary that hits hard and raw. Avicii was only 18 years old when he was first discovered and began his career as a music producer and DJ. While performing in public never came easy for him, he performed over 800 shows in a short amount of time before finally retiring from touring at the start of 2017. What ‘Avicii True Stories’ really offers us is an insight into the torture that being on the road can be like for those people who suffer from stress and anxiety, and who really just want it to stop. As time goes on and it becomes more and more apparent that the touring lifestyle was taking too much of a toll on Avicii, we see his management continuing to push harder and harder for him to continue and to do more. Even in the final…

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Surviving Christmas 2018

By Anxiety, Depression, Hypnosis, Hypnotherapy, Mental Health, Mindfulness, Shame, Weight Management

Surviving Christmas 2018 While many people look forward to the end of year celebrations, there are also many other people who struggle to survive and experience stress, anxiety and depression from the Christmas period. For some, Christmas can be a costly experience that impacts on their financial well being. It can be an overwhelming period for people who live with anxiety and depression. It can be a period where high expectations are built, both by ourselves and from others, which can often be hard to meet. It can be a period where we eat too much, drink too much, or just party too much in general, leaving us feeling out of shape, fatigued and not feeling our best. Don’t get me wrong; it can also be a time of joy, happiness, child like wonder and an opportunity for harmonious families to get together. For every joy of love, peace and happy families though, there are an equal number who simply wish Christmas would pass quickly. While not necessarily related, there has been recent research to indicate that Christmas music may not be good for your mental health. Now, I’m not sure if this is 100% true or not but it…

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No Butts – It’s Time To Help People With Mental Health Conditions Quit Smoking

By Habits, Mental Health, Smoking Cessation

No butts – it’s time to help people with mental health conditions quit smoking Ben Harris, Victoria University; Holly Beswick, Deakin University; Jenny Bowman, University of Newcastle, and Kate Bartlem, University of Newcastle Australians with mental health conditions are more than twice as likely to be smokers as the general population. About 22% of people with a mental health condition smoke daily compared to a national rate under 13%. And the more severe your illness, the more likely you are to smoke. For example, about 60-70% of people with psychotic conditions such as schizophrenia smoke. We don’t have clear evidence for why this is the case, but there are several theories. These include that people with mental health conditions may smoke to self-medicate or to cope with social exclusion. People with mental health conditions are also more likely to have lower levels of education and higher levels of unemployment, which are accepted risk factors for smoking. Despite huge gains in getting Australians to quit since the turn of the century (22% of Australians smoked in 2001), people with a mental illness appear to have been left behind. They are a big group to overlook. More than 4 million Australians are…

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Toxic Workplaces Are Feeding The Impostor Phenomenon – Here’s Why

By Imposter Syndrome, Mental Health, Shame

Toxic workplaces are feeding the impostor phenomenon – here’s why Amina Aitsi-Selmi, UCL and Theresa Simpkin, Anglia Ruskin University Research suggests that around 70% of people will experience an illogical sense of being a phoney at work at some point in their careers. It’s called the impostor phenomenon (also known, erroneously, as a syndrome). These impostor feelings typically manifest as a fear of failure, fear of success, a sometimes obsessive need for perfection, and an inability to accept praise and achievement. The phenomenon is also characterised by a genuine belief that at some point you, as the “impostor”, are going to be found out for being a fake in your role. The phenomenon has been researched for more than 40 years and recent research into women working in sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), suggests that there is a much higher incidence of it in women in these non-traditional roles. Despite being something that affects people at an individual level, the relationship between toxic workplaces and well-being is well established. It seems that the impostor phenomenon breeds from a mix of genuine personal doubt over work abilities and the collective experience of a toxic work culture. Simply put, our modern…

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