Facebook may actually benefit adult mental health

It is a common belief that using social media platforms can adversely affect people’s mental health, but new research has shown that using these networking sites can reduce an adult’s risk of experiencing depression or anxiety.

Facebook’s reputation has sunk in recent years for a variety of reasons, including its role in the 2016 elections and the recent data breach.

In addition, studies have suggested that social media can cause psychological distress, loneliness, and depression. For example, research from 2019 suggested that quitting Facebook may improve overall well-being.

Full story at Medical News Today

Physician licensing laws keep doctors from seeking care

Despite growing problems with psychological distress, many physicians avoid seeking mental health treatment due to concern for their license. Mayo Clinic research shows that licensing requirements in many states include questions about past mental health treatments or diagnoses, with the implication that they may limit a doctor’s right to practice medicine. The findings appear in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

“Clearly, in some states, the questions physicians are required to answer to obtain or renew their license are keeping them from seeking the help they need to recover from burnout and other emotional or mental health issues,” says Liselote Dyrbye, M.D., a Mayo Clinic physician and first author of the article.

The researchers examined the licensing documents for physicians in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., and renewal applications from 48 states. They also collected data in a national survey of more than 5,800 physicians, including attitudes about seeking mental health care.

Full story at Science Daily

Chemotherapy drug may increase vulnerability to depression

A chemotherapy drug used to treat brain cancer may increase vulnerability to depression by stopping new brain cells from growing, according to a new King’s College London study out today in Translational Psychiatry.

Depression is thought to be the least recognised symptom in people with cancer. It has previously been difficult to determine if some people with cancer develop depression as a result of chemotherapy or the stress of having cancer itself.

Although an early animal study, these findings are the first to suggest that chemotherapy causes behavioural and biological brain changes related to depression that are separate from the psychological distress resulting from a cancer diagnosis.

Full story of chemotherapy drug and depression at Science Daily

Study finds one in three former ICU patients shows symptoms of depression

A so-called meta-analysis of reports on more than 4,000 patients suggests that almost one in three people discharged from hospital intensive care units (ICUs) has clinically important and persistent symptoms of depression, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine. In some patients, the symptoms can last for a year or more, and they are notably more likely in people with a history of psychological distress before an ICU stay, the investigators say.

The prevalence of depressive symptoms in this population, described in the September issue of the journal Critical Care Medicine, is three to four times that of the general population, says study coauthor O. Joseph Bienvenu, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “Not only can people with depression have slower physical recovery, but they also experience financial strain because they often cannot return to work and their caregivers must stay home with them,” Bienvenu says.

Full story of former ICU patients and depression at Science Daily