Frequent ‘I-Talk’ may signal proneness to emotional distress

We all know someone who seems to really enjoy talking about him- or herself. Yet while the chorus of “I, I, I” and “me, me, me” might convince us we are conversing with a classic narcissist, science suggests we shouldn’t be so quick to judge.

Researchers at the University of Arizona found in a 2015 study that frequent use of first-person singular pronouns — I, me and my — is not, in fact, an indicator of narcissism.

Instead, this so-called “I-talk” may signal that someone is prone to emotional distress, according to a new, follow-up UA study forthcoming in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

Full story at Science Daily

Networks of brain activity predict vulnerability to depression

Tapping into the electrical chatter between different regions of the brain may provide a new way to predict and prevent depression, according to new research by Duke University neuroscientists and electrical engineers.

The researchers found different networks of electrical brain activity in mice that were more susceptible to developing depression-like symptoms following stressful events than in more resilient mice.

If replicated in humans, these results could be the first step toward a test to predict a person’s vulnerabilty to developing mental illnesses like depression.

Full story at Science Daily

Self-compassion may protect people from the harmful effects of perfectionism

Relating to oneself in a healthy way can help weaken the association between perfectionism and depression, according to a study published February 21, 2018 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Madeleine Ferrari from Australian Catholic University, and colleagues.

Perfectionistic people often push themselves harder than others to succeed, but can also fall into the trap of being self-critical and overly concerned about making mistakes. When the perfectionist fails, they often experience depression and burnout. In this study, Ferrari and colleagues considered whether self-compassion, a kind way of relating to oneself, might help temper the link between perfectionist tendencies and depression.

The researchers administered anonymous questionnaires to assess perfectionism, depression, and self-compassion across 541 adolescents and 515 adults. Their analyses of these self-assessments revealed that self-compassion may help uncouple perfectionism and depression.

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Opioid cessation may be more successful when depression is treated

Opioid cessation in non-cancer pain may be more successful when depression is treated to remission, a Saint Louis University study shows.

The study, “Impact of adherence to antidepressants and on long-term prescription opioid use” was published in the February issue of the British Journal of Psychiatry.

Jeffrey Scherrer, Ph.D., professor of family and community medicine at Saint Louis University and his co-authors have found depression is a consequence of chronic opioid use. In the current study, they find that patients with chronic prescription opioid use and depression who adhered to anti-depressant medications were more likely to stop opioids.

Full story at Science Daily

Acne linked with increased risk of depression

In an analysis of one of the largest electronic medical records databases in the world, researchers found that patients with acne had a significantly increased risk of developing major depression, but only in the first 5 years after being diagnosed with acne.

The British Journal of Dermatology analysis included data from The Health Improvement Network (THIN) (1986-2012), a large primary care database in the United Kingdom.

The investigators found that the risk for major depression was highest within 1 year of acne diagnosis — a 63% higher risk compared with individuals without acne — and decreased thereafter.

Full story at Science Daily

Flawed research methods exaggerate the prevalence of depression

The common practice of using patient self-report screening questionnaires rather than diagnostic interviews conducted by researchers has resulted in overestimates of the prevalence of depression, according to an analysis in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

“These studies misrepresent the actual rate of depression, sometimes dramatically, which makes it very difficult to direct the right resources to problems faced by patients,” said Dr. Brett Thombs of the Lady Davis Institute of the Jewish General Hospital and McGill University, the study’s lead author. “Self-report questionnaires are meant to be used as an initial assessment to cast a wide net and identify people who may be struggling with mental health issues. However, we need to conduct a more thorough evaluation in order to determine an appropriate diagnosis and whether there may be other issues to address.”

Full story at Science Daily

People who sleep less than 8 hours a night more likely to suffer from depression, anxiety

Sleeping less than the recommended eight hours a night is associated with intrusive, repetitive thoughts like those seen in anxiety or depression, according to new research from Binghamton University, State University of New York.

Binghamton University Professor of Psychology Meredith Coles and former graduate student Jacob Nota assessed the timing and duration of sleep in individuals with moderate to high levels of repetitive negative thoughts (e.g., worry and rumination). The research participants were exposed to different pictures intended to trigger an emotional response, and researchers tracked their attention through their eye movements. The researchers discovered that regular sleep disruptions are associated with difficulty in shifting one’s attention away from negative information. This may mean that inadequate sleep is part of what makes negative intrusive thoughts stick around and interfere with people’s lives .

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After searching 12 years for bipolar disorder’s cause, research team concludes it has many

Nearly 6 million Americans have bipolar disorder, and most have probably wondered why. After more than a decade of studying over 1,100 of them in-depth, a University of Michigan team has an answer — or rather, seven answers.

In fact, they say, no one genetic change, or chemical imbalance, or life event, lies at the heart of every case of the mental health condition once known as manic depression.

Rather, every patient’s experience with bipolar disorder varies from that of others with the condition. But all of their experiences include features that fall into seven classes of phenotypes, or characteristics that can be observed, the team reports in a new paper in the International Journal of Epidemiology.

Full story at Science Daily

Marijuana use may not aid patients in opioid addiction treatment

Many patients who are being treated for opioid addiction in a medication-assisted treatment clinic use marijuana to help manage their pain and mood symptoms.

But new research led by Marian Wilson, Ph.D., of the Washington State University College of Nursing found that frequent marijuana use seems to strengthen the relationship between pain and depression and anxiety, not ease it.

“For people who are using cannabis the most, they have a very strong relationship between pain and mood symptoms, and that’s not necessarily the pattern you’d want to see,” Wilson said. “You would hope, if cannabis is helpful, the more they use it the fewer symptoms they’d see.”

Full story at Science Daily

Combinations of certain personality traits may guard against depression and anxiety

Though high levels of neuroticism put people at risk for depression and anxiety, if those same individuals are also highly extraverted and conscientious they could have a measure of protection against those disorders, according to the results of a new study by a team of University at Buffalo psychologists.

The findings, published in the Journal of Research in Personality, point to the importance of stepping away from focusing on single personality traits in clinical settings in favor of looking at how combinations of traits might work together to help either prevent or predict specific symptoms.

“We know individually how these traits relate to symptoms, but now we are beginning to understand how the traits might impact one another,” says Kristin Naragon-Gainey, an assistant professor in UB’s Department of Psychology and the paper’s lead author with Leonard Simms, associate professor of psychology.

Full story at Science Daily