Excessive Use Of Smartphone Leads to Mental Distress Among Adolescents: Study

Excess smartphone use among teenagers is linked to mental health issues

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Smartphone mental health
Using smartphone for long hours every day may do you more harm than you can probably think of. Pixabay

Using smartphone for long hours every day may do you more harm than you can probably think of. Researchers have found that spending a lot of time with the device and on social media may lead to mental distress and suicidality among adolescents.

The findings, published in the journal CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) contains guidance for physicians, parents and teachers on how to help teenagers manage smartphone and social media use for a healthy balance between sleep, academic work, social activity, interpersonal relationships and online activity.

“Physicians, teachers and families need to work together with youth to decrease possible harmful effects of smartphones and social media on their relationships, sense of self, sleep, academic performance, and emotional well-being,” said lead author of the study Elia Abi-Jaoude from Toronto Western Hospital in Canada.

This review of evidence, led by the Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), focuses on smartphone use and does not consider online gaming.

Smartphone mental health
Parents should discuss appropriate smartphone use with teenagers to determine together how to reduce risks and set boundaries. Pixabay

“For adolescents today, who have not known a world without social media, digital interactions are the norm, and the potential benefits of online access to productive mental health information — including media literacy, creativity, self-expression, sense of belonging and civic engagement — as well as low barriers to resources such as crisis lines and Internet-based talking therapies cannot be discounted,” the authors wrote.

The researchers recommend that doctors should ask teenagers to reduce social media use rather than eradicate it completely and encourage parents to be part of the conversations.

Parents should discuss appropriate smartphone use with teenagers to determine together how to reduce risks and set boundaries.

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A recent poll from the US indicates that 54 per cent of teenagers think they spend too much time on their smartphones and about half said they were cutting back on usage.

“Encouragingly, youth are increasingly recognising the negative impact of social media on their lives and starting to take steps to mitigate it,” the authors wrote. (IANS)

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Women Anxious Before IVF May Face Serious Mental Disorders if the Treatment Fails: Report

Dr. Aswati Nair, Fertility Consultant, Nova IVF Fertility, Delhi sheds light on how depression and anxiety can affect IVF

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IVF or any fertility treatment can cause anxiety in a childless couple. Pixabay

Getting bouts of anxiety while going through In-vitro fertilization (IVF) or any other fertility treatment is common for any childless couple. Dr. Aswati Nair, Fertility Consultant, Nova IVF Fertility, Delhi sheds light on how depression and anxiety can affect IVF.

But it’s pivotal that the stress should be managed initially, if it is ignored it can take an emotional toll on women’s mental health. Firstly, opting to for IVF is a life-altering decision by a couple. Though it brings with it a renewed sense of hope and purpose, the experience can be an intense for everyone involved.

According to a latest report published in the ‘Fertility and Sterility Journal’, women who are stressed and anxious before IVF can face serious mental disorders if the treatment fails. The journal further added women should not feel pressured to be a “good IVF patient” who’s free of stress. And, they should not blame themselves if they feel stressed out and their IVF attempt fails. The doctors should facilitate psychological intervention, if need be to help women feel better, and not focus entirely on just increasing their chances of pregnancy.

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Women should not feel pressured to be a “good IVF patient” who’s free of stress. Pixabay

Relation between depression and infertility

It is still unclear whether depression itself can cause infertility but there are some studies available which found a correlation between depression and increased rates of infertility. Some suggests that an overlap in some of the hormonal issues are involved in both conditions. Moreover, depression disrupts your daily routine and lifestyle that adversely impact the fertility. For example, depression often causes an over reaction or lack of appetite,resulting in being overweight or underweight. All these increase the chances of infertility. Besides, sometimes depressed people get addicted to smoke or liquor to get rid of their negative thoughts, resulting in infertility issues.

Can pregnancy Cure Depression?

It has been witnessed that people, who have experiences infertility failures in the past, are more prone to depression during pregnancy and also have an increased chance of getting postpartum depression. A woman or a couple needs to understand that not being able to conceive or failing to become a parent through means like surrogacy or adoption,isn’t the end o the world. It is possible to find hope and happiness again if we just shift our focus on something else for some time. If depression has taken hold, it’s unlikely to resolve on its own. Depression due to a miscarriage or failed IVF treatment is tough to overcome. Researchers have found that it can stay up to three years irrespective of if you’re pregnant or not. Therefore, counseling is pivotal throughout the grieving process so that one can overcome this dark phase and start afresh with new hopes and outlook.

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Researchers have found that depression can stay up to three years irrespective of if you’re pregnant or not. Pixabay

Also Read: Above 51% Women Believe Indian Schools Don’t Have Menstrual Awareness Programme: Survey

Feeling better is the Key

Some couples feel antidepressants which are used for treatment have a negative effect on health as they cause hindrance when trying to conceive again. While once cannot completely rule this thought process out.

In fact, some studies have found that treating depression with counseling and anti-depressants together increased pregnancy success. That said, for milder depression, anti-depressant medications are just one of many treatment options. Depression can also be treated with psychological counselling, support groups, and mind-body therapies. (IANS)

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Youngsters With Mild or Moderate Mental Distress at High Suicide Risk: Researchers

Young people with even mild mental distress can become suicidal

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Measures to reduce suicide risk in youngsters should focus on the whole population, not just those who are most unwell. Pixabay

The vast majority of young people who self-harm or experience suicidal thoughts appear to have only mild or moderate mental distress, according to researchers.

Measures to reduce suicide risk in young people should focus on the whole population, not just those who are most distressed, depressed or anxious, said Cambridge University researchers during Mental Health Awareness week.

“It appears that self-harm and suicidal thinking among young people dramatically increases well within the normal or non-clinical range of mental distress,” said study senior author Peter Jones from Cambridge University in the UK.

The findings, published in the BMJ Open, show that public policy strategies to reduce suicide should support better mental health for all young people, not only those who are most unwell.

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Youngsters who self-harm or experience suicidal thoughts appear to have only mild or moderate mental distress. Pixabay

Previous studies have suggested that a broad range of mental health problems like depression anxiety, and low self-esteem can be measured together as levels of common mental distress (CMD).

In the current study, the research team used a series of questionnaires to analyse common mental distress in two large groups of young people between the ages of 14 and 24.

They also collected self-reported data on suicidal thinking and non-suicidal self-injury, both predictive markers for increased risk of suicide.

CMD scores increase in three significant increments above the population average: mild mental distress, followed by moderate, and finally severe distress and beyond – which often manifests as a diagnosable mental health disorder.

The findings showed that those with severe mental distress came out highest for risk of suicide.

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The findings showed that those with severe mental distress came out highest for risk of suicide. Pixabay

However, the majority of all participants experiencing suicidal thoughts or self-harming – 78 per cent and 76 per cent respectively in the first sample, 66 per cent and 71 per cent in the second-ranked as having either mild or moderate levels of mental distress.

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“It is well known that for many physical conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease, small improvements in the risks of the overall population translate into more lives saved, rather than focusing only on those at extremely high risk,” said Jones.

“This is called the ‘prevention paradox’, and we believe our study is the first evidence that mental health could be viewed in the same way. We need both public health and a clinical approach to suicide risk,” the researchers noted.

Meanwhile, a recent study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, revealed that COVID-19 pandemic may cause serious physical and mental health problems. (IANS)

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Re-kindle All Relationships During The Lockdown

Relationships can be mended in these tough times if you remember to keep these things in mind

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Relationships
Rejuvenate your relationship amid lockdown. Pixabay

BY PUJA GUPTA

Being in close proximity 24×7 due to restricted movement outside may create strain in relationships. Experts believe that just as the Coronavirus pandemic increased divorce rates in China and the rest of the world, it seems like India, too, could face this psychosocial crisis after months of lockdown.

Rahul Krishnan, co-founder of Bold Care, a digital men’s wellness platform, says that couples should utilise this time to rejuvenate themselves and their relationships. He suggests a few ways how couples can make the most of this period.

Find Balance In Your Relationship

The greatest friction during lockdown is when one partner or both the persons are anxious. The balance of power shifts when you’re both working from home. Remember to be patient and accommodating. To keep things pleasant in the long term, create a work schedule. During working hours, treat your partner just like you would treat your colleagues. When work hours are over, remember you’re at home, with your loved ones. Being able to distinguish your role through the day is a habit formation that goes a long way in strengthening relationships.

Make Time For Yourself

Being in constant contact with the same person for days on end can lead to frustration and irritation – for both of you! Making time for yourself to be alone is important, and it helps you to decompress and process your emotions. Take a little longer with your bath and grooming. Read a new book, re-read old favourites, or listen to a podcast. Spending time alone could be as simple as lying down, with no compulsion to make small talk.

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Rahul Krishnan, says that couples should utilize this time to rejuvenate themselves and their relationships. Pixabay

Exercise is a good way to get some alone time while also keeping yourself in shape. The endorphin rush that your body experiences during exercise is a great mood booster. Stretches and floor exercises are a good way to start. If you are missing your gym sessions, try exercises that use your own body weight such as pushups, pullups, squats and planks. Household items such as bags of flour, backpacks and water bottles can substitute weights. If you have space, there are plenty of dance exercise routines that you can try.

Reconnect With Your Partner

The lockdown opens up the possibilities for greater intimacy. Take this opportunity to reconnect with your partner. Unplug social media for a while and talk to each other, and check in with your partner’s feelings and fears. Make a work-at-home schedule so that you can spend more time together.

Board games are great at bringing people together. Some people might enjoy the mental intricacies of Chess and Scrabble. Others prefer the simplicity of Ludo, Snakes & Ladders, or Carrom that still hold their appeal across generations.

Lend A Helping Hand

This is the best time to collaborate on chores around the house and help each other out. Be willing to try out new tasks to the best of your abilities, and be mindful of what needs to be completed. Even a small attempt on your part goes a long way in easing both your workloads, and doing chores together can become a productive way to spend quality time.

Living In A Big Family

Larger families in lockdown together have made it difficult for couples to find their own space. If possible, go out for a short walk together and make grocery shopping a couple’s activity. Use your phone to keep personal conversations going and try out new ways to be intimate.

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Couples should effectively use the lockdown to mend their love. Pixabay

Mend Your Relationship

For couples in strained relationships, this lockdown is a good time to talk things out. Social distancing sparks an “us against the virus” instinct which is great for relationships. Focus on getting through this with your own and your partner’s mental and physical health intact. Co-existing, being kind, and extending compassion can heal rifts. If you have children, spend time doing simple activities that they enjoy. Make time to talk about their feelings and troubles and remember to give them their own space and privacy.

Staying Connected To Family

Scheduled video calls can make everyone feel connected easily. Keep in touch through messages for the rest of the time. But also remember that if you feel stressed, you’re allowed to take a break from social media. Mute notifications on apps when you need some peace and quiet, and change your status to indicate that you’re taking time off. Always keep your phone available in case of emergencies.

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Locked Down Away From Each Other

Many couples have been separated and stuck in different cities. A situation like this is always difficult and especially more stressful in these tough times. This is a good time to recreate the initial days of your relationship with intimate texts and long phone calls. Distance gives us newer perspectives and new opportunities to explore intimacy. Analyse your role in your relationships and see how you can better meet your partner’s needs and expectations, and they yours. (IANS)