Heavy Cell Phone Use Linked to Depression, Sleep Problems in Young People

By Traci Pedersen Associate News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on June 17, 2012 
 Young people who heavily use cell phones and computers also complain more about sleep disturbances, stress and other mental health problems, according to researchers at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.
“Public health advice should therefore include information on the healthy use of this technology,” says researcher Sara Thomée from the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg.
Doctoral student Thomée and her research team conducted four separate studies aimed at investigating the correlation between computers and cell phones, and their impact on the mental health of young adults.
Researchers gave questionnaires to 4,100 young adults (ages 20-24) and interviewed 32 heavy users of information and communication technology (ICT).
The findings reveal that extreme use of cell phones and computers may be linked to stress, sleep disorders and depressive symptoms. The researchers could not determine causation, so it may be that people with depression or sleep problems are simply more likely to reach out to others using mobile technology.
“We looked at the effects both quantitatively and qualitatively and followed up the volunteers a year on,” explains Thomée, who will present the results in her upcoming thesis.
To read more, click here. 

11 Signs You Need to Change How You Communicate

By Christy Matta, MA

Strained relationships create stress and can have a negative impact on your mood and your ability to function throughout the day.  When you’re in conflict with someone else, you’re more likely to be worried, distracted or highly emotional.
We cannot make other people act as we’d wish, but we can become aware of when we act in ways that lead to problems in relationships.  As we identify our own communication problems, we can choose to make changes in how we interact. If you do, you might just find that you’re able to solve intractable problems and that habitual conflicts no longer occur.
Making even small changes to how you communicate can improve the quality of your relationships.

Signs You Need to Change Course:

  1. You get an angry response.  You might have good reason to confront someone, but if you are getting an angry response, it may be time to step back and assess your goals in the situation.  When interactions begin to deteriorate into angry reactions, they often stop being productive.  Try taking a breather and remembering what you wanted to achieve when you began the interaction.  For example, were you hoping for an apology, did you want the other person to help you out or acknowledge wrong doing?  Is it a case of misunderstandings?  How might you describe your goal to the other person and ask for what you want, rather than become distracted by angry comments? Click here to read more.

25 Suggestions for Living a Contented Life by Managing Emotions, Part 1

By Karyn Hall, PhD

Emotionally sensitive people react to events quickly and with intense emotions, and then have difficulty getting their emotional reactions to subside. Finding ways to manage emotions effectively can decrease the pain they experience.
Below are some suggestions for coping with intense emotions.
1. Practice mindfulness. Mindfulness helps reduce anxiety and stress for everyone. Consider a way to practice mindfulness everyday that is easy to remember. Maybe mindfully brush your teeth or mindfully drink your coffee. Consider using a bracelet or a sticky note to remind yourself.
2: Play. If possible, find a way to laugh today. Be silly. Giggle. Dance, watch a comedy, run in the park, buy a balloon, dabble with paints, gather friends for games or play games designed for one player. Just for a few minutes. Enjoy a simple pleasure and focus completely on the activity – not on your concerns.

3. Practice gratitude. Each evening go through your day and list three things you are grateful for. Be specific. Then focus on those three experiences or interactions or things. Savor the positive
4: Nurture relationships. Friends will likely always make you angry or upset, but having friendships is one of the keys to contentment. When you spend time with friends, focus on what you like, what energizes you. Review the positive experiences in your mind to equal out the natural inclination to go over and over painful experiences.
5: Give up your attachment to outcomes. Being too attached to certain outcomes or living a certain way or having a certain solution limits you and leads to suffering. Be open to what comes.
Click here to read more.

CBT, Supportive Therapy Equally Effective for Bipolar

By Traci Pedersen Associate News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on July 8, 2012 

A recent study has found that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and supportive therapy are equally effective in treating the symptoms of bipolar disorder.
Researchers, led by Thomas D. Meyer, PhD, at Eberhard Karls Universität in Tübingen, Germany, wanted to investigate the effectiveness of currently available treatments for the disorder.
Bipolar disorder is a mental illness in which the sufferer experiences extreme and abnormal mood swings, from manic highs to potentially dangerous low depression. Over five million people in the United States suffer from bipolar — about 1.6 percent of the population.  It is the sixth leading cause of disability worldwide, and causes significant stress on families and relationships.
Earlier studies have proven that CBT is an effective treatment for the disorder, but these studies did not compare CBT to other types of treatments.
The randomized controlled trial included 76 patients with bipolar I or bipolar II. Patients were given either CBT or supportive therapy for 20 sessions over nine months. The participants were then followed for up to two years.
To read more, click here.