The gray days of winter bring many people down, but a few simple steps can pep you up, an expert says. A condition known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD) can cause feelings of sadness or depression, lack of energy, problems sleeping, moodiness, changes in appetite and loss of interest in usual activities. "It is most common among people who live far north or south of the equator and usually occurs in fall and winter, although some people experience SAD in the spring," said Dr. Madhavi Singh, a family medicine doctor with Penn State Health. "More women than men are diagnosed with this disorder, which most commonly appears between ages 20 and 30," Singh said in a health system news release. Although the causes of SAD aren't known, it's thought that three factors are involved. Shorter days may disrupt your body clock and affect sleep, while a drop in serotonin levels linked to reduced sunlight can affect mood. Also, lower melatonin levels that occur in cold months with less sunlight … [Read more...] about Simple Ways to Beat Winter Mood Disorders
(Reuters Health) - People who have disrupted sleep cycles or less variation in their activity levels around the clock may be more likely to have depression, bipolar disorders and other mental health issues, a UK study suggests. Past research has found that people with a circadian rhythm, or biological clock, that’s out of step with their daily routines - like split shift or night shift workers - can have an increased risk of emotional, behavioral and psychological problems. The current study examined 24-hour activity levels for 91,015 participants who agreed to wear accelerometers on their wrists for one week in 2013-2014 and completed mental health surveys a few years later. Researchers focused on so-called relative amplitude, or how much people’s activity levels varied between their busiest and most restful portions of a 24-hour cycle. They scored circadian amplitude from zero to 1, with higher values reflecting a clearer distinction between the least and most active … [Read more...] about Disrupted sleep cycles linked with mood disorders
Art Institute of Chicago "Self-Portrait" by Vincent Van Gogh, 1887 In an article published this week in Aeon, Christa Taylor, a postdoctoral researcher at the Yale University Center for Emotional Intelligence, takes a fascinating look at the myth of the “mad genius” — the common belief that creativity is inherently linked to depression and other mood disorders. As Taylor points out, the idea that a mental disorder is a sign of creativity first emerged during the Romantic Era and has been part of popular lore ever since. But is there any good scientific evidence of this connection? Trying to answer that question raises some “knotty, multi-layered” research-related problems, says Taylor. “It is not as straightforward as just seeing if ‘creativity’ is correlated with ‘mood disorder.’ ” It’s important, however, that we get a clearer answer to the question, she stresses. The perpetuation of the myth may be … [Read more...] about Is there a link between creativity and mood disorders? Well, it’s a thorny, nuanced issue.
A disrupted body clock may boost the risk of developing mood problems ranging from garden-variety loneliness to severe depression and bipolar disorder, researchers said Wednesday. The largest study of its kind, involving more than 91,000 people, also linked interference with the body's "circadian rhythm" to a decline in cognitive functions such as memory and attention span, The AFP reported. The brain's hard-wired circadian timekeeper governs day-night cycles, influencing sleep patterns, the release of hormones and even body temperature. Earlier research had suggested that disrupting these rhythms can adversely affect mental health, but was inconclusive: most data was self-reported, participant groups were small, and potentially data-skewing factors were not ruled out. For the new study, an international team led by University of Glasgow psychologist Laura Lyall analysed data -- taken from the UK Biobank, one of the most complete long-term health surveys ever done -- on 91,105 … [Read more...] about Disrupted Body Clock Linked to Mood Disorders: Study
April 9, 2018 Michael Joyce is a writer-producer with HealthNewsReview.org and tweets as @mlmjoyce A Wall Street Journal article published last week (‘The Food That Helps Battle Depression‘) had this subheading: “The right kind of diet may give the brain more of what it needs to avoid depression, or even to treat it once it’s begun” It’s a bold claim for which the story provides little in the way of compelling evidence. Experts we spoke to said the story goes way beyond the science in this emerging field. Allen Frances, MD “The fact that almost no research has been done on the topic gives free rein to wildly speculative and potentially harmful hype,” said Allen Frances, MD, a former chairman of the psychiatry department at Duke University. “It makes great sense to have a healthy diet for many reasons, but preventing or treating depression would not rate high among them. Except for a placebo effect, eating your way out of … [Read more...] about Food for mood: A Wall Street Journal article makes bold claims with little evidence