Health Conditions / Mental Health / Anxiety Disorders

These Stress Relief Activities Actually Work, According to Experts

These Stress Relief Activities Actually Work, According to Experts

If you feel like your stress has been next-level lately, you might find a tiny bit of comfort in the fact that you’re definitely not alone. According to the American Psychological Association’s 2022 Stress in America report, concerns about money and global uncertainty, to name two huge factors, have spiked personal stress to sky-high levels in the US.Part of the reason we’re all so unnerved: 87% of respondents agreed that “it feels like there’s been a constant stream of crises over the last two years” (understatement) and 73% reported that they feel “overwhelmed by the number of crises facing the world right now.” And on top of an ongoing global pandemic, ever-upsetting news cycles, and rising gas and grocery costs, many of us are also still dealing with common daily-life stressors like family, career, and relationship drama. There’s no quick-fix way to make stress disappear, of course. (And if it’s a chronic issue that’s preventing you from living a fulfilling life, talking to a professional may be the best way to relieve some of the pressure and improve your well-being—more on that later.) But there are expert-backed stress-relief activities you can experiment with when you’re feeling overwhelmed.By drawing from research on psychology practices including cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness, and meditation, you might be able to build a kit of coping tools that work for you when life becomes too much. Below, two licensed therapists share their favorite strategies for getting short-term relief from stress and anxiety. What is stress, exactly? According to the National Institute of Mental Health, stress is your body’s reaction to something that’s happening to you or around you. An important presentation at work, a hectic and noisy commute, or even a date with someone you’re excited to meet can all put your body on notice that something big is happening, which can activate your fight-or-flight stress response.1 A stressor can be a one-time thing (like an upcoming exam or turbulent flight) or a long-term occurrence (in the case of a chronic health condition, for example, or an overwhelming job).Stress is a bit different than anxiety, though, which many of us are also familiar with. When you’re stressed out, your physical symptoms will usually naturally resolve once the stressor goes away. Anxiety, on the other hand, which is your body’s internal reaction to stress, might not dissipate so quickly. Even when there isn’t an immediate physical or emotional threat, anxiety is a psychological state that tends to linger. Some physical symptoms of both stress and anxiety include:An elevated heart rate Increased blood pressureHeadacheRestlessness or insomniaRacing thoughts or worry No matter how your stress manifests, if it starts to feel overwhelming and you’re looking for relief, consider trying some of these expert-backed stress-reduction strategies for relaxing your mind and body:Stress-relief activities that actually workCount down to get grounded.When your internal pressure is high, tuning into your external environment is one stress-relieving practice that might help you feel a bit more chill. Rhayvan Jackson-Terrell, LCSW, wellness director at NYC Health and Hospitals and a telehealth therapist, tells SELF that she often recommends the “5-4-3-2-1 method” to her clients as a mindfulness activity designed to get you out of your head and into the present moment. 

6 Signs Your Anger Issues Would Benefit From Therapy, According to Experts

6 Signs Your Anger Issues Would Benefit From Therapy, According to Experts

Not only can these emotional eruptions be harmful to yourself and others, but they likely mean you’re struggling with managing an underlying problem. Maybe you feel unnerved about your overwhelming job or your dysfunctional relationship, or maybe you’re struggling with disordered eating. It’s worth exploring how early experiences with trauma might be contributing to your anger issues too, Dr. Fedrick says. For example, if you grew up in an unstable or abusive household, you might have learned to adapt by being overly accommodating or leaving the room instead of expressing your feelings. “When there is unprocessed trauma, you might carry these beliefs (like ‘people are not safe’ or ‘I can’t trust anyone’) into adulthood,” Dr. Fedrick explains.If you’re regularly bottling up your feelings or forcing yourself to smile when you’re struggling, you may end up flipping out over seemingly unrelated things as a result, Dr. Robbins says. A therapist can help you unpack and address the roots of your rage, and they can teach you how to express your emotions in a healthier, less volcano-esque way.5. You’re showing other signs of depression.Along with more well-known symptoms like sleeping too much or too little, having difficulty concentrating, and feeling sad or hopeless, irritability and anger are also signs of clinical depression. Remember, anger doesn’t have to look like yelling or breaking things to disrupt your quality of life. If you’re experiencing any of the depression symptoms above and you also notice that you’re easily irritated over the smallest annoyances or mistakes, or that maybe you’re fixating on past failures and getting fired up as a result, talking to a professional might help, Dr. Fedrick says.As with anxiety, depression is something your primary care doctor can screen you for and discuss treatment options, including therapy or prescription antidepressant medications, to relieve your symptoms. If your anger is, indeed, depression-related, a therapist can help you identify any contributing life circumstances and develop new strategies to cope, says Dr. Robbins.6. Your personal relationships are suffering.Arguments are bound to happen in any relationship—and no one likes to be told to calm down— but if your partner, say, frequently leaves the room to escape your wrath or tells you that your rage scares them, your anger is likely masking a deeper problem, Dr. Robbins says. And if your loved ones often seem blindsided when you snap at them, that’s another red flag: a sign of misplaced anger, which can erode your bond over time. If, for example, you’re stressed about your boss cutting back on hours at work, you might take it out on your mom by speaking to her in a harsh tone or saying things you’ll later regret, Dr. Robbins says.Therapy can provide a neutral and supportive space to help you figure out what’s really triggering your anger and learn alternative behaviors that’ll promote intimacy versus making you feel further apart from the people you care about. For example, a therapist can help you learn to pause and gather your thoughts before responding, encourage you to use “I” statements (“I feel frustrated when you cancel our plans to hang out with your friends”), or suggest that you practice being more vulnerable (“I’m worried about money or losing my job”) or assertive (“I need you to call when you’re going to be late”) in the moment, instead of bottling up your feelings, Dr. Robbins explains.How to find help for coping with angerDeciding you’d like to talk to someone to help you unpack and manage your anger is one thing, but if you’re new to therapy or don’t currently have a therapist you love, finding that person might feel overwhelming. Luckily, there are quite a few resources that can make the process less intimidating.

What Do We Do With All This Anger?

What Do We Do With All This Anger?

If you feel emotionally pummeled by any of this, you aren’t alone. Survey after survey shows that we’re sad, and worried, and stressed—and furious. That’s why, when we started discussing anger at SELF a few months ago, I felt some solace. Our editors opened up to each other about the last time they were consumed by anger and shared the feelings that accompanied it: anxiety, grief, guilt, fear, helplessness, depression. Sound familiar? We kept coming back to a couple of key questions: What can our anger tell us? And how can we turn it into something meaningful? Those are the questions we’ll be trying to answer all week. Our editorial package, All the Rage, dives deep into this often-taboo emotion, in all its complexity and messiness. (To be clear, this is an exploration of moral anger. We’re not publishing this package to justify the behavior of hot-headed folks who have taken to screaming at service workers just trying to do their jobs or the politicians who spew self-serving propaganda after narrowly losing an election.)For this collection of 10 articles, our writers and editors talked to 20+ experts about the science of anger. In these articules, you’ll find actionable, empathetic advice about how to turn your anger into action, no matter the circumstances. Here are three key themes to expect:Acknowledging your angerIn a forthcoming article about how therapists cope during fits of frustration, Jessi Gold, MD, says it best: “What I need is to just be angry, call it anger, and not judge myself for it.” When I let my anger get the best of me, I almost always feel ashamed once I start to cool down, but the experts SELF spoke with have reassuring things to say here: It’s okay to just feel it if you need to—ideally while you mentally or physically remove yourself from the rage-inducing situation and before you take it out on others.When you take the time to reflect on your anger, you have the opportunity to ask yourself what, exactly, is at the heart of it. Are you deeply sad about something? Do you feel overwhelmed? Is mounting stress catching up with you? Or are you just genuinely mad? Recognizing your anger for what it is can be a valuable step in figuring out what you need to move forward.Using madness as motivationWhatever’s triggering your anger, you can harness that explosive energy into something good, either for yourself or your community—ideally both. As psychologist Ryan Martin, PhD, author of Why We Get Mad: How to Use Your Anger for Positive Change, says in a forthcoming article about how anger can affect your health, “Anger alerts us to a potential injustice, and it energizes us to confront that injustice.” This could mean seeking therapy because you’re having a hard time keeping your anger under control, or this could look like engaging in activism so you can get involved with a cause you’re fiercely passionate about. If issues like climate change, gun violence, racial injustice, or lack of access to affordable, equitable health care infuriate you, for example, chances are there are other people who feel the same way and who are taking action. “Being in community is a way to navigate rage,” psychologist Cicely Horsham-Brathwaite, PhD, previously told SELF. “Rage is not just an individual experience; it is a communal, collective experience.” Taking care of yourselfLike all intense emotions, anger’s effects can go beyond your mind. Your physical body will feel the stress too, so it’s imperative to be gentle with yourself. When you can’t seem to get out of your head, do something—anything—that feels soothing. If you have a second to simply pay attention to your breath, do a mental body scan or go for a slow walk in a calming environment, you may be surprised to realize that you’re super hungry, exhausted from lack of sleep, or restless from spending too many hours at your desk.You can’t help yourself or be there for your community if you don’t practice self-care. That’s something my anxiety has taught me too. After my last panic attack, the rage eventually retreated (and, not to worry, I took it as my sign to find a new therapist). Now, when those uncomfortable feelings swell to the surface, I try to pay close attention to the anger in particular, because I know it’s trying to tell me something. Anger is a flashing signal that helps us survive—but only if we listen to it.You can read more content from All the Rage here. SELF will be publishing new articles about anger all week.

How to Cope If Family Gatherings Trigger Your Social Anxiety

How to Cope If Family Gatherings Trigger Your Social Anxiety

Thanksgiving is nearly here, and I’m starting to feel a bit jittery about all the awkward interactions I’m about to have with family members and long-lost acquaintances from high school. The small talk always seems to cover the same ground: work, relationships, politics, future plans—you know, all the touchy topics that get to the core of where you’re at in life. If the idea of seeing family or old friends overwhelms you or you experience social anxiety to any degree—whether you get jittery in social situations or have been diagnosed with social anxiety disorder—you probably know what I’m talking about. These feelings can manifest in many ways, but at its core, social anxiety stems from a dynamic fear or worry that you may be judged, watched, or embarrassed by others, per the National Institute of Mental Health. It can strike in the moments leading up to an event, in the middle of an interaction, or days later when you’re replaying certain moments in your head. From stressful small talk to deep discussions, the conversations that go down at holiday soirees can feel particularly intense; not to mention, they can act as a reminder that maybe you’re not exactly where you’d like to be at this stage in your life—or that you moved away from home for a reason. “It’s normal to feel like a broken record when you’re sharing the things you decide to disclose to family or friends,” Mandy Doria, MS, a licensed professional counselor and assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, tells SELF.To help alleviate some of the stress and anxiety you may be feeling around all the social events on your schedule, it’s best to come up with a game plan. Below are three things you can do to prep for the scenarios that might make your palms sweaty and your heart rate spike.Think of some talking points—and keep comforting people close.Planning ahead can ease some worries, especially if you’re expecting to deal with a few uncomfortable interactions. Doria recommends brainstorming a few topics you actually want to talk about so you can easily dodge the stickier discussions you may be roped into.For example, if you already suspect your nosy aunt will ask about your recent breakup, come ready to pivot to another topic or have some backup questions handy. After all, it’s not too hard to get people to talk about themselves, especially if you use a bit of flattery. Consider a response like: “Oh, I appreciate you asking but it’s not all that interesting. I want to hear more about how the renovation is going. Do you have progress pics of your lovely kitchen? I’m dying to see it!”On the other hand, if your dad starts going on about how he wants you to move closer to home, you can try to put a positive spin on your response: “I guess that means you’ll need to visit me soon. Should we plan a weekend for us in 2023? I’d love to show you some of my favorite spots.” If it helps, consider rehearsing how you’d like to tackle these conversations to alleviate the pressure of being put on the spot. “Remember these annoyances are temporary and remain confident in what you decide to talk about or not talk about,” Doria says.

5 Ways to Reduce Stress During the Midterm Elections

5 Ways to Reduce Stress During the Midterm Elections

Voting in next week’s midterm elections is very, very important: Every single one of us needs to show up at the polls for the sake of the nation as a whole, as well as for our local communities. I’m excited to exercise my right to vote, but I’m also nervous about what may happen after I wait in line at my polling place, fill out my ballot, and return home—when all that’s left to do is wait and see what happens. I always feel a very specific type of dread after voting, even if I think the candidates I’ve chosen have a good chance.I have no doubt that being glued to different types of media for hours on end exacerbates that dread: There’s simply nothing healthy (or helpful!) about simultaneously blasting a cable network, doomscrolling through Twitter on my phone, and chaotically checking multiple news sites at once on my laptop late into the night. But I’ve personally always found the advice to “just unplug” a little irritating, given what’s at stake—like reproductive rights, climate change, gun control, civil rights, health care policies that affect millions of people, and so much more.Thankfully, I’m not the only one who finds that recommendation tone deaf—and just downright impractical. “Everybody always says, ‘Disconnect and take time off,’ but [elections] matter so much to us that it’s not realistic,” Justin Puder, PhD, a psychologist based in Boca Raton, Florida, tells SELF.While I know myself well enough to predict that I won’t be able to fully unplug on Election Day, I am going to make a concerted effort to lower my stress level in the days leading up to November 8. To figure out how to do that, I spoke with mental health experts who explained what you can do before and during the midterms to prioritize your well-being.1. Figure out exactly how you’ll respond when you hear people sharing political opinions that make you want to scream.If you’re lucky enough to be surrounded by people who share your values and politics, that’s great—don’t go out of your way to change that during midterms, Dr. Puder recommends.But most of us will likely come in direct contact with at least a couple of people we don’t agree with. Whether it’s in the break room at work, at a family gathering, or at the park you take your children to or walk your dog in, there’s a good chance you’ll hear a few people express terrible opinions and/or flatly incorrect information during this time—and it’s worth preparing for that in advance.A great way to do this is to rehearse exactly how you’ll respond if someone starts discussing a topic you don’t have the mental or emotional energy to argue about, Jessica Stern, PhD, a psychologist at NYU Langone, tells SELF. “Have something prepared,” Dr. Stern says. “Have a couple of stock responses that can divert the conversation.” If you know that one coworker will try to egg you on, Dr. Stern says you could use a script like this one: “I appreciate that you’re invested in this, but I would love if we could stay focused on our tasks at work right now.”

Adults Should Be Screened for Anxiety, New Draft Recommendation Says

Adults Should Be Screened for Anxiety, New Draft Recommendation Says

A mental health crisis has been swelling in the United States—and far too little has been done on a national level to improve how we identify, diagnose, and treat people who are living with conditions like anxiety and depression. Now, public health experts are taking a step toward getting people the care they need. In a draft recommendation published in late September, the US Preventive Services Task Force, a national panel of medical experts, said plans should be made to screen adults under the age of 65 for anxiety.In many ways this recommendation—which is the first of its kind—makes sense, given everything we’ve all had to cope with in the past couple of years. Even before the pandemic hit, feelings of mental and emotional distress were becoming more common, especially among young people and marginalized communities. Then, COVID happened, and the effects of the unrelenting stress that came with it were hard to ignore. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that the pandemic fueled a whopping 25% increase in anxiety and depression globally. An estimated 31% of adults will experience an anxiety disorder at some point in their lives, per the National Institute of Mental Health, while roughly 8% of adults experienced a major depressive episode in the last year.Yet, many people living with mental health conditions continue to go undiagnosed, in part because the symptoms are more difficult to recognize and come to terms with than, say, a physical issue like a broken bone or a heart attack, David Spiegel, MD, associate chair of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and director of the Center on Stress and Health at Stanford University, tells SELF. Stigma is another huge factor; people often feel “ashamed to come forward with what’s bothering them,” he adds.That’s why the idea of routine anxiety screenings is appealing; these exams could help health care providers ID people who are struggling much earlier so they can get the care they need to avoid “preventable suffering,” Dr. Spiegel says.The draft recommendation suggests that screenings should be done by primary care doctors. People would fill out questionnaires that explore mental health symptoms, the draft says. If they “screen positive,” they would then move on to a more thorough assessment to gauge the severity of the situation. Primary care doctors may then recommend and prescribe medication, if necessary, or they may decide to refer their patients to a licensed mental health professional.Of course, that process is overly simplified in many scenarios. Mental health care should be individualized because what works for one person may not work for another—but even just starting the conversation about what kind of help a person may need is a step in the right direction, experts say.The task force also acknowledged in the draft that there are a few key barriers to address to make these screenings feel worthwhile. First, even though primary care doctors are a go-to source for most health concerns, they usually aren’t specialists. That means they may not have the in-depth knowledge needed to help people with complex mental health circumstances, or they may simply not feel comfortable doing these screenings. On top of that, systemic issues like racial bias can absolutely interfere with effective screening and reaching an accurate diagnosis, the draft notes. (Only one in three Black adults who have a mental illness get the care they need, per the National Alliance on Mental Illness; they’re also less likely to receive consistent, culturally competent care, and they’re underrepresented in mental health research.)Many experts have also called out a major hole in this recommendation: As a country, we simply may not have the resources to keep up with a significant rise in mental health diagnoses, which seems to be a given if regular screenings are implemented. Sure, we can identify people who need help—but we also need enough helpers. Right now we’re facing a national shortage of mental health care workers; even when people can find a licensed mental health professional near them, there’s often a lengthy wait list that prevents them from getting timely care.The draft recommendation is a solid first step, and it will be considered for final approval after October 17—but we can’t just stop at screening. There needs to be a clear plan for next steps in place too. If we can pull that off, then many people will benefit from regular check-ins, says Dr. Spiegel, and hopefully, a plan that gets them the support they need.Related:

‘Spider-Man’ Star Laura Harrier Wants to Destigmatize Therapy in the Black Community

‘Spider-Man’ Star Laura Harrier Wants to Destigmatize Therapy in the Black Community

Laura Harrier covered a lot of ground in a recent interview with Cosmopolitan. She shared what her new home looks like (think 1920s Paris), her go-to reality TV show (90 Day Fiancé), and details about her friendship with Spider-Man: Homecoming costar Zendaya. But the 32-year-old actor also spoke candidly about how she prioritizes her mental health. When asked how she takes care of herself, Harrier said therapy gave her the tools she needed to feel good.“I really am a big advocate for therapy and for mental health care, especially in the Black community,” Harrier said. “That’s something that’s really improved my life and really helped me in significant ways, especially when dealing with my anxiety and panic attacks.”Harrier added that mental health needs to be prioritized just as much as physical health—and destigmatizing therapy can play a big role in that. “There’s been such a long history of ignoring mental health problems, of saying, ‘Oh, just suck it up,’ or, ‘I’m a strong Black woman. That doesn’t happen to me,’” she said, noting that she believes these tropes have been “taught over generations” and fueled by trauma. That’s why Harrier is passionate about working with the Black Emotional and Mental Health Collective (BEAM), which aims to help marginalized communities access the mental health care they need by connecting them with therapists and other healing resources.As for her personal well-being, Harrier said she turns to many tools outside of therapy. “I try to meditate. I can’t say that I’m the best with my track record of doing it every day, but I try to at least do some deep breathing,” she said. “I noticed I literally forget to breathe, which sounds wild, but sometimes I’m like, ‘Wait, I haven’t taken a real breath all day,’ and just taking 30 seconds to sit and do deep belly breathing is a game changer.”She also doesn’t subscribe to the idea that you have to do a daily workout class to stay healthy; instead, she determines what she needs at a given moment (which isn’t *always* an intense meditation session) and prioritizes that.“I think it’s so common to talk only about self-care as mediation, yoga, and working out, which are all important, but sometimes self-care is having a glass of wine with your best friend and laughing and watching shitty reality TV,” Harrier said. “Sometimes that’s the self-care that you need.”Harrier also shared her thoughts on issues like colorism in Hollywood (noting that she got called “Zendaya” frequently on the Spider-Man set) and the crucial need for abortion access in America—and no, she’s not worried about any potential backlash about speaking up. “I’m coming at these topics as Laura, as a woman of reproductive age who’s affected by Roe v. Wade. I’m affected by Black Lives Matter issues because I’m a Black person in America, because that’s my family, because that’s my little brother walking down the street that I worry about,” she said. “It’s not because of my job that I care about these issues. It’s because of my humanity that I do.”Related:

5 Ways to Actually Take Care of Your Mental Health in College

5 Ways to Actually Take Care of Your Mental Health in College

If you’re short on time, consider joining an intramural team, club sport, or group fitness class on campus. “This will give you an opportunity to connect with people and get regular exercise,” explains Dr. Adams. Think of it as a two-for-one deal for your mental and physical health. You may even want to look into exercise classes that will earn you credits. For example, Boston University offers everything from beginner weight lifting to marathon training so students can fit workouts into their class schedules.3. Don’t be tempted to pull all-nighters.This is admittedly easier said than done, especially during busy times like finals week. But when it comes to nurturing your mental health, prioritizing sleep is critical. “Our brains need sleep to learn, process emotions, make sense of difficult experiences, and interpret subtle signs from other people about how they’re feeling, which is important for relationships,” explains Dr. Adams. Ideally, you should try to aim for a minimum of seven hours of solid shuteye per night (we know, a tall order!)Dr. Adams recommends building your schedule around sleep, balanced eating, and classes first. “Other healthy activities can be tucked in around academic work and other obligations,” she adds. That means doing your best to plan ahead for big exams and papers, not waiting until the last minute to cram overnight.If you have roommates, Dr. Adams suggests having a chat about everyone’s schedules and establishing ground rules that protect late-night hours in your home. (For example, no loud music after 10 p.m.) While you’re at it, consider picking up some earplugs, wearing a sleep mask if needed, or listening to some form of white noise to help you get a good night’s sleep on the regular, says Dr. Adams.4. Find a self-care habit that you love.Self-care looks different for everyone, so there’s no right or wrong way to practice it. In fact, the strategies on this list—like exercise and getting enough sleep—totally count as forms of self-care. Other calming habits like journaling, meditating, crafting, reading, or even enjoying face masks with your roommates during a movie night can qualify as taking care of yourself.Regardless of how you choose to engage in self-care, know that it doesn’t need to be a picture-perfect practice. Start by slowly weaving a habit into your routine (say, about 10 minutes a day or 30 minutes a week), then note how you feel and decide if you want to adjust the time you spend on those activities.Even then, this will likely ebb and flow throughout the year, and that’s okay. “It’s important to be gentle with yourself,” says Dr. Adams. “If you miss your workout or meditation time today, you can pick it up tomorrow. Be intentional, experiment, and find what works for you.”5. Know that it’s okay to reach out for support.A major college perk is that you have all kinds of mental health resources at your fingertips. But knowing that these services are available to you and actually reaching out for help are two different things. Sometimes, it can be hard to see or admit to yourself that you’re actually grappling with a really tough problem. There are a number of ways that mental health issues can crop up for college students, including homesickness, peer pressure, and financial stressors, as well as traumatic events like sexual assault or potentially life-threatening mental health crises like eating disorders or suicidal thoughts, says Dr. Weller.

Yet Another Study Suggests Ketamine May Ease Severe Depression

Yet Another Study Suggests Ketamine May Ease Severe Depression

The buzz around ketamine, a dissociative anesthetic drug, is booming. More and more research continues to suggest the drug has the potential to help people with severe mood disorders, including a new study that was just published in The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.For the study, researchers evaluated the drug’s effects in more than 400 people who received ketamine infusions in three unregulated private clinics in Virginia; people were paying for these treatments out of pocket and, on average, they received six infusions within 21 days. During each visit, the participants filled out surveys about their physical and mental well-being. The researchers found that 50% of people who were dealing with suicidal thoughts were in remission after six infusions, while 75% of them no longer experienced suicidal thoughts after 10 infusions. People also had a 30% reduction in anxiety symptoms within six weeks. The researchers note that the study is exciting because the findings shed some light on ketamine’s effectiveness in a “real-world” setting.But the strongest studies on ketamine therapy—and other forms of psychedelic therapy—have been done in tightly-controlled research settings, often with the addition of talk therapy, for a valid reason. “This treatment really does offer hope to a lot of people and it is very promising,” Gerard Sanacora, MD, PhD, a professor of psychiatry and the director of the Yale Depression Research Program who was not directly involved in the new study, tells SELF. “But it really needs to be used with caution and responsibility,” he says, because there’s always a risk of worsening certain mental health conditions when ketamine isn’t used appropriately. Here’s how this new research is contributing to experts’ understanding of this controversial drug.First, a little ketamine 101.Ketamine is an anesthetic that has some hallucinogenic effects, which is why you’ve probably heard of it making the rounds at music festivals. It can also cause dissociation, a short-lived mental state in which people feel disconnected and detached from reality. Though ketamine has psychedelic properties, many experts don’t classify it as a genuine psychedelic because it impacts a different part of the brain compared to drugs like LSD, as SELF previously reported.In 2019, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a nasal-spray medication derived from ketamine, esketamine, for treatment-resistant depression; no other form of ketamine is approved for the treatment of any mental health disorder. There’s a bit of a loophole, though. Ketamine is FDA-approved for general anesthesia, which means it’s legal to prescribe. Because of this, doctors are able to recommend ketamine “off-label” to people with severe mood disorders. This essentially means a health care provider prescribes an approved drug in a way that it wasn’t approved to be used, which is a relatively common practice even outside the world of psychedelic therapy.A growing body of research is starting to back up ketamine’s potential.Clinical study after clinical study has suggested ketamine, typically delivered via intravenous infusions, may help reduce depression, alleviate anxiety, and quell suicidal thoughts. “There is really strong evidence that it has a rapid onset of antidepressant effects that can be sustained with repeated dosing over time,” Dr. Sanacora explains.

Your Mental Health May Impact Your Long COVID Risk, a New Study Suggests

Your Mental Health May Impact Your Long COVID Risk, a New Study Suggests

We already know your emotional well-being can impact your body in many ways—from your heart health to your digestion. Now, new research suggests feelings like stress, depression, and even loneliness may increase your risk of developing a condition experts are just starting to learn more about: long COVID, which is estimated to affect between 20% and more than 50% of people who test positive for the virus.For the study, which was recently published in JAMA Psychiatry, the researchers asked nearly 55,000 people—none of whom had previously tested positive for COVID and 38% of whom were health care workers—to complete self-reported questionnaires about their mental health between April 2020 and November 2021. Using these responses, the researchers measured levels of depression, anxiety, loneliness, perceived stress, and general worry about COVID. (Only people who were not active health care workers were asked about stress and loneliness.) They also tracked who tested positive for COVID, and of those who did, whether they experienced “post-COVID-19 conditions,” which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describes as a “wide range of ongoing health problems” that can “last more than four weeks or even months after infection.”During the study, 6% of the participants (3,752 people) reported testing positive for COVID and about 44% of them said they experienced long COVID symptoms, such as lingering fatigue, problems with their taste or smell, shortness of breath, brain fog, and memory issues. All of the emotional states listed above were associated with a greater risk of long COVID—between 32% to 46%—but people who had “high levels” of two or more types of psychological distress before their infection had a nearly 50% higher risk of long COVID compared to those who did not feel a significant dip in their mood.“These results really reinforce the importance of mental health,” Erica Cotton, PsyD, a psychologist with the Northwestern Medicine Comprehensive COVID-19 Center who was not directly involved with the study, tells SELF. Having a greater awareness of this potential link may help doctors correctly diagnose people and appropriately treat them after symptoms develop, she adds.The study’s researchers stressed that their findings do not suggest that mental health issues can directly cause long COVID. They also argue that their research does not support theories that say long COVID symptoms are simply psychosomatic.Dr. Cotton says the study’s findings are actually pretty in-line with what experts know about how mental health can contribute to or exacerbate other physical health issues. Psychological distress, for example, has previously been linked to severe symptoms from various respiratory infections, including pneumonia, bronchitis, sinusitis, and the flu. The study authors also note that prior research has found that psychological distress may also be associated with long-term symptoms after a Lyme infection and in chronic conditions, like fibromyalgia, that can present with symptoms similar to long COVID.

PHP Code Snippets Powered By : XYZScripts.com