Undergraduate and graduate students alike often suffer from anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues (1, 2). Many students move to new cities or countries to start their degree and thus lack social connections and support, commonly feel overwhelmed by teaching and research loads, and often have persistent fears of failure and inadequacy.
In one study of over 3,000 international graduate students, 44% said they had mental health issues that “significantly affected their well-being or academic performance” (3). In addition, these can lead to graver health concerns, most dramatically suicide, which, among college students across 10 universities, was found to be highest among graduate students (4).
You should hear the stories that circle amongst the graduate students. Very little attention is given to the mental health of graduate students, which are a unique group of college students with different workloads, personal issues, and stressors than undergraduates.
Click through for the citations.
A 2010 study by the Treatment Advocacy Center found that more than three times as many severely mentally ill persons in the U.S. are doing time in jails and prisons than receiving treatment in hospitals. Other studies indicate a near-tripling over the last 30 years of the percentage of U.S. inmates who suffer from severe mental illness, to a current level of at least 16%.
The primary mission of the Treatment Advocacy Center is to promote mental health laws and policies which, if fully implemented by state mental health systems, would minimize – if never fully eliminate – the tragedy of people with severe mental illness falling into the clutches of the criminal justice system. In this report, we look to how state criminal justice officials are responding to the colossal failure of their mental health counterparts to meet this challenge.
Research conducted by the Treatment Advocacy Center
Jenn Ackerman - Trapped
With nearly 25% of prisoners in Kentucky suffering from schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and other serious mental health problems, photographer Jenn Ackerman set out to find out what happens to the mentally ill after they commit a crime.
See more here.
"The doctors could address my symptoms. But they didn’t much care about my vanishing sense of self…
I couldn’t bear the thought of socializing; one night I jumped out of the car as my husband and I were driving to a party.”
Closure of mental hospitals and rise in prison rates, 1934-2010, US. From Bernard Harcourt
The development of mood-related disorders, such as depression, in prison can have costly effects on an inmate’s fate after release, a new study argues.
While many common psychiatric disorders found among inmates and former inmates were developed in childhood, researchers noted a prevalence of mood disorders developed during incarceration.
Males conservatively make up approximate-ly 10% of anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa patients (bulimia nervosa is the more common disorder). The typical age range at presentation is adolescence to young adulthood. However, for binge eating disorder, rates for males are comparable to those for females, and at presentation, patients are typically adults. Binge eating disorder is often associated with obesity and the medical consequences of weight gain.
Even though countless studies show that psychotherapy helps people living with depression and anxiety, drug therapy has become the most popular course of treatment over the past decade.
"Mental illness and depression get a lot of attention during October and that gives us a good opportunity to highlight the benefits of psychotherapy for these disorders. While medication can be an appropriate part of treatment, people should know that psychotherapy works!"
APA is introducing an animated video series about a fictional miracle drug called “Fixitol.” The videos are a parody on drug ads, drawing attention to the value of psychotherapy as a treatment option.
"Hundreds of studies have found that psychotherapy is an effective way to help people make positive changes in their lives. Compared with medication, psychotherapy has fewer side effects and lower instances of relapse when discontinued."
See #2 here.
Is your nail biting pathological? Some psychiatrists think so.
[…] in pathological groomers, those behaviors go haywire. Instead of being triggered by, say, a hangnail, the pathological nail biter is triggered by driving, reading or feeling stressed out. “After a while, the behavior becomes untriggered,” says Mathews. “It becomes just an automatic behavior that has no relationship to external stimuli at all.”
Until recently, the DSM treated pathological grooming a bit like an afterthought and put it in a catch-all category called “not otherwise classified.” But the new DSM proposes to lump together pathological groomers and those with mental disorders like OCD. That includes people who wash their hands compulsively or have to line up their shoes a certain way.
To put it nicely, I don’t see it without the neurological or genetic evidence to support it. There are some distinct differences between excessive self-grooming and OCD. The learned behavior aspect of self-grooming needs to be examined in more detail. These are behaviors that we are most likely picking up from models. They may share similarities, but lets not lump them together until more research supports that notion. We don’t want another hoarding incident.
The 6 distinct stages of Bipolar.
To really see where we are on the spectrum from high to low we need to consider all of the aspects of our lives: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, social, and career/financial. It is probably more accurate at any given time to say that we are really in a “mixed state” instead of somewhere on a straight line between the two poles, so we must see even the expansion of bipolar to Bipolar Disorder and Bipolar IN Order as just a convenient simplification of a much more complex topic.
Click the link above to learn more about Bipolar Disorder or for a detailed account of each stage.
Battery Life Anxiety (BLA)
An increased level of stress and worry brought about by the fear that a person’s cell phone battery will not last until the end of the day, leaving the individual without the use of a cell phone. The increased anxiety usually begins when the individual first leaves his or her place of residence and notices that the cell phone is not fully charged. Throughout the day, the individual will repeatedly check the cell phone’s battery level, causing the battery to loose life at a quicker pace. Additionally, the individual will alter his or her normal cell phone usage in order to save some battery life for the rest of the day or night.
Recommended therapy to treat Battery Life Anxiety: Unfortunately there is no evidence-based treatment currently recommended by mental health physicians to treat BLA. However, the individual can take preventative mesures to slow the spread of the anxiety: 1) Make sure that the cell phone gets charged at night or in the morning before he or she leaves the house, 2) Close all applications that the individual is not currently using in order to prevent unnecessary battery usage, and 3) realize that humans have existed for thousands of years prior to the creation of the cell phone and going a few hours without one is perfectly normal.
Please submit any and all questions or concerns about BLA to your local mental health physician.
- Research shows that therapy effectively helps many people with a wide variety of mental and behavioral issues.
- Therapy often works better than many medical treatments.
- Many studies have shown that therapy reduces disability and mortality, as well as healing emotional and physical problems. It also “improves work functioning and decreases psychiatric hospitalization.”
- Therapy teaches skills that allow people to continue to do better even after they complete therapy.
- Therapy is often as effective as, or more effective than, medication for a range of mental and physical health disorders. Also, unlike psychopharmacological treatments, it rarely causes harmful side effects. When medication is appropriate in treating depression and anxiety, it is often more effective when used along with therapy.
A lot of the advice can be applied towards a variety of mental illnesses. I’d like to highlight something said in the post: "remember that being a compassionate listener is much more important than giving advice."
Be an ally. Allies are not there to give advice; they are there to give support.
· Depression is a serious condition. Don’t underestimate the seriousness of depression. Depression drains a person’s energy, optimism, and motivation. Your depressed loved one can’t just “snap out of it” by sheer force of will.
· The symptoms of depression aren’t personal. Depression makes it difficult for a person to connect on a deep emotional level with anyone, even the people he or she loves most. In addition, depressed people often say hurtful things and lash out in anger. Remember that this is the depression talking, not your loved one, so try not to take it personally.
· Hiding the problem won’t make it go away. Don’t be an enabler. It doesn’t help anyone involved if you are making excuses, covering up the problem, or lying for a friend or family member who is depressed. In fact, this may keep the depressed person from seeking treatment.
· You can’t “fix” someone else’s depression. Don’t try to rescue your loved one from depression. It’s not up to you to fix the problem, nor can you. You’re not to blame for your loved one’s depression or responsible for his or her happiness (or lack thereof). Ultimately, recovery is in the hands of the depressed person.
· He or she doesn’t seem to care about anything anymore.
· He or she is uncharacteristically sad, irritable, short-tempered, critical, or moody.
· He or she has lost interest in work, sex, hobbies, and other pleasurable activities.
· He or she talks about feeling “helpless” or “hopeless.”
· He or she expresses a bleak or negative outlook on life.
· He or she frequently complains of aches and pains such as headaches, stomach problems, and back pain.
· He or she complains of feeling tired and drained all the time.
· He or she has withdrawn from friends, family, and other social activities.
· He or she is either sleeping less than usual or oversleeping.
· He or she is eating either more or less than usual, and has recently gained or lost weight.
· He or she has become indecisive, forgetful, disorganized, and “out of it.”
· He or she is drinking more or abusing drugs, including prescription sleeping pills and painkillers.
Sometimes it is hard to know what to say when speaking to a loved one about depression. You might fear that if you bring up your worries he or she will get angry, feel insulted, or ignore your concerns. You may be unsure what questions to ask or how to be supportive.
If you don’t know where to start, the following suggestions may help. But remember that being a compassionate listener is much more important than giving advice. Encourage the depressed person to talk about his or her feelings, and be willing to listen without judgment. And don’t expect a single conversation to be the end of it. Depressed people tend to withdraw from others and isolate themselves. You may need to express your concern and willingness to listen over and over again. Be gentle, yet persistent.
Ways to start the conversation:
· I have been feeling concerned about you lately.
· Recently, I have noticed some differences in you and wondered how you are doing.
· I wanted to check in with you because you have seemed pretty down lately.
Questions you can ask:
· When did you begin feeling like this?
· Did something happen that made you start feeling this way?
· How can I best support you right now?
· Do you ever feel so bad that you don’t want to be anymore?
· Have you thought about getting help?
Remember, being supportive involves offering encouragement and hope. Very often, this is a matter of talking to the person in language that he or she will understand and respond to while in a depressed mind frame.
What you can say that helps:
· You are not alone in this. I’m here for you.
· You may not believe it now, but the way you’re feeling will change.
· I may not be able to understand exactly how you feel, but I care about you and want to help.
· When you want to give up, tell yourself you will hold of for just one more day, hour, minute — whatever you can manage.
· You are important to me. Your life is important to me.
· Tell me what I can do now to help you.
· It’s all in your head.
· We all go through times like this.
· Look on the bright side.
· You have so much to live for why do you want to die?
· I can’t do anything about your situation.
· Just snap out of it.
· What’s wrong with you?
· Shouldn’t you be better by now.
Source: http://www.helpguide.org/mental/living_depressed_person.htm (abridged)
Heart palpitations are a common symptom of anxiety. Palpitations are often described as an unusual awareness of the heartbeat or feeling your heart pounding or racing. While palpitations are rarely serious, if you are experiencing these, it is a good idea to get checked by your doctor as sometimes palpitations can signal arrhythmia, tachycardia, bradycardia or atrial fibrillation.