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Stressing Over Work? A New Study Says Expressive Writing Can help Brain Relax and Perform Tasks Efficiently

Expressive writing can not only help individuals process past traumas or stressful event but also prepare for stressful tasks in the future

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Stressing over tasks is not going to help achieve targets. But turns out writing about it can. (Representational Image ), Pixabay

New York, September 15, 2017 : If the anxiety of performing an upcoming task is giving you stress, simply writing about your feelings may help you perform the task more efficiently, suggests new research.

The research – published online in the journal Psychophysiology — provides the first neural evidence for the benefits of expressive writing, said lead author Hans Schroder, a doctoral student in psychology at Michigan State University (MSU) in the US.

“Worrying takes up cognitive resources; it’s kind of like people who struggle with worry are constantly multitasking — they are doing one task and trying to monitor and suppress their worries at the same time,” Schroder said.

“Our findings show that if you get these worries out of your head through expressive writing, those cognitive resources are freed up to work toward the task you’re completing and you become more efficient,” Schroder said.

For the study, college students identified as chronically anxious through a validated screening measure completed a computer-based “flanker task” that measured their response accuracy and reaction times.

Before the task, about half of the participants wrote about their deepest thoughts and feelings about the upcoming task for eight minutes. The other half, in the control condition, wrote about what they did the day before.

While the two groups performed at about the same level for speed and accuracy, the expressive-writing group performed the flanker task more efficiently, meaning they used fewer brain resources, measured with electroencephalography, or EEG, in the process.

While much previous research has shown that expressive writing can help individuals process past traumas or stressful events, the current study suggests the same technique can help people — especially worriers — prepare for stressful tasks in the future.

“Expressive writing makes the mind work less hard on upcoming stressful tasks, which is what worriers often get ‘burned out’ over, their worried minds working harder and hotter,” Jason Moser, Associate Professor at MSU.

“This technique takes the edge off their brains so they can perform the task with a ‘cooler head,'” Moser added. (IANS)

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Common Drug Form Effective in Treating Children With Anxiety Disorder

The findings confirm the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry's recommendations that SSRIs should be considered as the first-line of medication treatment for anxiety in youth, Strawn noted

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Probiotics Not Effective in Reducing Anxiety: Study
Anxiety linked to kicking, yelling during sleep: Study. Pixabay

Researchers have found that selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are very effective in treating children and adolescents with paediatric anxiety disorder.

They reached the conclusion after examining common medications prescribed for children and adolescents with anxiety disorders.

SSRIs are the most commonly prescribed anti-depressants, which can ease symptoms of moderate to severe depression and cause fewer side effects compared with other anti-depressants.

Symptoms of anxiety include recurring fears, aversions to social situations as well as being unable to control worries. It could manifest into troubled sleep, difficulty in concentrating, and heart and digestive issues.

According to the American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP), anxiety disorders are the most common type of mental health disorder in children.

“Clinicians have limited data to help them select from among the evidence-based treatments for patients with anxiety. This meta-analysis provides guidance in terms of medication-specific differences in efficacy and tolerability among medications, commonly used to treat pediatric patients with anxiety disorders,” said Jeffrey Strawn, Associate Professor at the University of Cincinnati in the US.

Victimization in early school days leads to anxiety. Pixabay
Victimization in early school days can also leads to anxiety. Pixabay

“Our study synthesises evidences from multiple trials to guide clinicians and patients in deciding which medication to go for while treating children and adolescents with anxiety disorders,” said Eric Dobson, psychiatry resident at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston.

For the study, researchers studied 2,623 patients, aged 11 and a half years on average. Patients with social anxiety disorders with moderate severity were randomly assigned to receive medication or placebo and had .

The results, published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, showed among anxious youth treatment response was more effective with SSRIs than with serotonin-norepineprhine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs).

Also Read- Risk of Cervical Cancer Highest in Middle-aged Indian Women

While SSRIs were the most tolerable class of medication, tricyclic antidepressants were the least tolerable, findings revealed.

“This comprehensive evaluation comparing efficacy and tolerability of treatments in pediatric anxiety disorders suggests that SSRIs are superior to SNRIs and all other classes of medications,” said Dobson.

The findings confirm the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry’s recommendations that SSRIs should be considered as the first-line of medication treatment for anxiety in youth, Strawn noted. (IANS)