Health

NIMH Leadership Describes Suicide Prevention Research Priorities

The suicide rate in the U.S. has been steadily increasing over the past 2 decades. In 2018 alone, more than 48,000 Americans died by suicide. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) is committed to bending the curve of suicide in the U.S., and together with the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, NIMH pledged to reduce the suicide rate by 20% by 2025. This commitment has shaped NIMH’s suicide prevention research agenda, leading the Institute to focus…

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Young People Are Lonelier and More Suspicious of Others

In a YouGov survey last year, pollsters asked more than 1,200 Americans, “How many friends do you have?” 22 percent of millennials said they had zero friends. Baby boomers: 9 percent. Also in the report: “Millennials are more likely than older generations to report that they have no acquaintances (25%), no close friends (27%), and no best friends (30%).” I was dismayed at these results. I decided to run a poll on Twitter, to see how my results would compare. More…

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What We’ve Learned About Emotional Eating

The internet is full of memes about gaining weight during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s no surprise: Being stuck at home without normal activities and constant access to food can easily lead to overeating. On top of boredom and proximity to food, the worries and stress that accompany a global pandemic can easily lead to emotional eating. In fact, there is an entire body of evidence on how our emotions influence our eating behaviors. Researchers have learned that emotional eating is…

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Fast-Fail Trial Shows New Approach to Identifying Brain Targets for Clinical Treatments

A first-of-its-kind trial has demonstrated that a receptor involved in the brain’s reward system may be a viable target for treating anhedonia (or lack of pleasure), a key symptom of several mood and anxiety disorders. This innovative fast-fail trial was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), part of the National Institutes of Health, and the results of the trial are published in Nature Medicine. Mood and anxiety disorders are some of the most…

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How Racial Minorities View Interracial Couples

In 1958, Richard Loving, a White man, and his wife Mildred, a Black woman, were arrested for the crime of being married. Although the couple had been legally wed in the District of Columbia, they became outlaws when they moved to Virginia, where interracial marriages were then illegal. This incident eventually led the 1967 landmark case of Loving v. Virginia, in which the U.S. Supreme Court struck down laws banning interracial marriages. Today, about 12% of American couples…

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Deconstructing anxiety

I have always found it tremendously frustrating that our rational minds can’t convince us that most of our fears and anxieties are nothing to be afraid of. Many of my clients express the same frustration. As philosopher Michel de Montaigne said, “My life has been full of terrible misfortunes, most of which never happened.” Sadly, this is true for many of us, and no amount of positive thinking, affirmation or even cognitive transformation will touch…

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It May Be Time for You to Do a Body Image Checkup

As a component of people’s identity, body image forms a central focus. Body image is defined as your internal representation of your physical self, and includes such features as self-perception of your height, age, weight, attractiveness, and functionality or your body’s ability to perform actions of importance to you. Along with these cognitive components are the emotions attached to these internal representations. Do you feel too heavy, old, unattractive, and weak or are you happy with most aspects of…

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Ricky Gervais teaches Hollywood what speaking truth to power really means

If you had “host Ricky Gervais becomes a conservative darling” in your office Golden Globes pool, congratulations, because you must have won a bundle. The rest of us will continue our slow, astonished blink as we contemplate the fact that this year’s most talked-about speech slammed not oil companies or gender inequality, but Hollywood hypocrisy: “You say you’re woke,” said Gervais, “but the companies you work for — I mean, unbelievable: Apple, Amazon, Disney. If ISIS started…

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Alcohol Consumption Worsens Global Burden of Disease

Study results published in Lancet Public Health underscores the significant worldwide burden of disease attributable to alcohol. Alcohol-attributable death rates were highest in Eastern Europe, sub-Saharan Africa, and countries with low human development indices (HDIs). Across countries, alcohol use disproportionately affected young people and men.   Kevin Shield, PhD, led study efforts to investigate global trends in the alcohol-related burden of disease. The investigators conducted a comparative risk assessment for 2000, 2005, 2010, 2015, and 2016 using alcohol exposure…

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Largest Ever Genome-Wide Association Study Finds Genetic Risk Factors for Anxiety

The largest study ever conducted on genetic risk factors for anxiety, a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of 200,000 participants recently published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, found significant associations between self-reported anxiety and specific single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Daniel Levey, PhD, from the department of psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, and colleagues pulled data from one of the largest biobanks in the world, the Million Veteran Program. To assess anxiety and related…

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