The case against spanking your children: Study finds it can lead to mental illness

Think spanking will make your child behave?

In fact, a new study discovered that children who receive spankings are more likely to be anti-social, aggressive and suffer from mental health and cognitive difficulties.

The study by the University of Texas and the University of Michigan finds the more a child gets spanked — defined by an open hand on the backside — the more likely they were to defy their parents. Their study, published in the Journal of Family Psychology, analyzed five decades of spanking research representing around 160,000 children, according to the news site Mic.com, a website geared towards millennials.

“Our analysis focuses on what most Americans would recognize as spanking and not on potentially abusive behaviors,” says Elizabeth Gershoff, an associate professor of human development and family sciences at The University of Texas at Austin.

“We found that spanking was associated with unintended detrimental outcomes and was not associated with more immediate or long-term compliance, which are parents’ intended outcomes when they discipline their children.”.

“We as a society think of spanking and physical abuse as distinct behaviors,” Gershoff said. “Yet our research shows that spanking is linked with the same negative child outcomes as abuse, just to a slightly lesser degree.”

Spanking of children is still a popular mode of discipline in households. A 2013 poll found that 81% of Americans “say parents spanking their children is sometimes appropriate,” according to NBC News.

“We hope that our study can help educate parents about the potential harms of spanking and prompt them to try positive and non-punitive forms of discipline,” Gershoff said.

To read the whole Mic.com story click here.

When should you take a mental health day off from work?

The mental health day used to be known as playing hooky from work, but more employees are realizing that at times it is necessary to take a day and recalibrate. Think of it as stepping off the gas pedal as your car’s RPMs threaten to overheat and blow the engine.

Still, how does one decide when it’s time to take that day and when to simply power through?

Amy Morin is a psychotherapist and author of the international bestselling book, 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do. On Forbes’ website, she helps employees navigate this new area.

She suggests treating mental health like physical health. For instance, if you caught a cold, you might decide to tough it out at work. But if you had the flu, it’s best to stay home for not only are you incapable of doing your job you may infect your co-workers.

And trust me, crazy is just as infectious as H2N2 virus.

Psychotherapist Amy Morin says workers need to treat their mental health just like they do their physical health.

“As a psychotherapist, I’ve helped many people determine whether they were mentally healthy enough to do their job,” Morin writes. “And much of it depends on the mental health issue you’re grappling with and what kind of work you do.”

For instance, if you drive a bus and are having trouble concentrating because of depression that is a bit more concerning than driving your laptop in your cubicle.

So here are Morin’s suggestions:

  • When you’re distracted by something you need to address. If you’re behind on your bills and taking a day off to tackle your budget could help you feel as though you’re back in control, it may make sense to take a day to address it so you can reduce your anxiety.
  • When you’ve been neglecting yourself.  Just like electronic devices need recharging, it’s important to take the time to charge your own batteries. A little alone time or an opportunity to practice some self-care can help you perform better.
  • When you need to attend appointments to care for your mental health. Whether you need to see your doctor get your medication adjusted or you need to schedule an appointment with your therapist, taking a day off to address your mental health needs is instrumental in helping you be at your best.

Morin notes that only 17 percent of the U.S. population is functioning at optimal mental health., according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

Employers would be wise to pay attention to this awful statistic. The Center for Prevention and Health estimates mental illness and substance abuse issues cost employers up to $105 billion annually.

Giving a worker a mental health day now and then actually can save money.

Read all of Morin’s piece on Forbes by clicking here.

More Americans suffering untreated mental illness, study finds

Feeling like there’s a little more mental illness out there in America these days? You are correct.

According to a new study published Monday in the journal Psychiatric Services,  Americans are more stressed, depressed and anxiety-ridden.

And even worse news is that many are unable to get the services they desperately need.

Judith Weissman is a research manager in the department of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City and lead researcher of an evaluation of federal health data.

“Mental illness is on the rise. Suicide is on the rise. And access to care for the mentally ill is getting worse,” she said.

About 3.4 percent of the U.S. population — an estimated 8.3 million American adults —  suffer from serious psychological distress Previous estimates put the number of Americans suffering from serious psychological distress at 3 percent or less, the researchers said.

Much of the distress, Weissman said, is an after-effect of the Great Recession that began in late 2007 and caused long-term emotional damage to many Americans.

Because of the Great Recession, more Americans needing psychological or psychiatric services have gone without.

“The recession seemed to have pushed the mentally ill to a point where they never recovered,” she said. “This is a very disturbing finding because of the implications of what mental illness can do to a person in terms of their ability to function and their life span.”

The study included national health data from a survey conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 35,000 households nationwide participate each year.

“We need to increase access to care for the mentally ill,” Weissman told CBS. “We also need to put trained psychiatrists and mental health providers within the primary care setting.”

LSD for depression? It may not be worth the trip

A psychiatrist writing in the New York Times today is taking on the trend of using the hallucinogen drug LSD to combat depression, saying it is untested and possibly dangerous.

Who knew taking acid might be dangerous? Anybody who ever had a bad trip, possibly.

Richard A. Friedman is a professor of clinical psychiatry and the director of the psychopharmacology clinic at the Weill Cornell Medical College.

lsd
LSD is often taken in tiny paper tabs often decorated with a variety of images, in this case a heart.

He is empathetic that for the third of patients with major depression who get no relief from pharmaceuticals that hallucinogenics may offer some hope.  A recent psilocybin study claims that the mushroom-derived hallucinogenic relieves anxiety and depression.

Then there are the anecdotal reports about microdoses of LSD, as well a book on the subject.

Friedman says LSD is an unregulated drug in which users can’t be sure what they are even taking.

He says it is also too early to say that taking these drugs are not habit-forming, as proponents suggest. And studies of hallucinogenics have shown they can be debilitating behaviorally with bad trips or flashbacks in recreational users, Friedman points out.

 

lsd2
An illustration of LSD, Lysergic acid diethylamide.

Though Friedman doesn’t address it in his column, there is also hallucinogen persisting perception disorder that can affect users of LSD, MDMA, mushrooms and mescaline. One sufferer said he had been hallucinating that all trees sported human faces for two decades after one potent LSD trip.

“The bottom line is that we don’t know how safe or effective psychedelics are because most of the data have been anecdotal or from small trials,” Friedman writes.

Read the whole column by clicking here.

Is there a mental health crisis at Florida’s state universities?

State universities are overrun with students seeking mental health counseling, unable to meet the growing demand.

As a result, according to a Tampa Bay Times story, students struggling with depression or other mental illness must wait for weeks, even a month, before being seen.

Ten of Florida’s 12 state universities fail to meet recommended staffing levels for counselors, the newspaper reported. Student counseling clients have jumped nearly 50 percent in a six-year period.

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State universities are overrun with students seeking mental health counseling, unable to meet the growing demand.

Ten of Florida’s 12 state universities fail to meet recommended staffing levels for counselors.

In Florida, over a six-year period, student counseling clients have jumped nearly 50 percent.

The Florida Legislature rejected a request to provide more mental health money for universities. This year the state university system is asking for $14.5 million to hire 137 new staffers for counseling centers.

University of South Florida psychology professor Jonathan Rottenberg told the newspaper that if nothing is done “we’re going to have something of a lost generation.”

“We know that the number of counselors we need per student is way off at every university,” Norman Tripp, a member of the state’s higher education board and a leader of the charge told the Times.

“We know for a fact that students who need immediate service are told that they have to come back three or four weeks later. We know that when they should be providing a one-hour service, they’re getting a half hour.”

The college years are notorious for mental health issues as students for the first time face a new environment and academic and social stress. Mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia, can emerge for the first time during the college years.

Some experts worry that without a serious commitment to collegiate mental health, many students will face serious long-term harm.

“If we do nothing,” said USF psychology professor Jonathan Rottenberg, “we’re going to have something of a lost generation.”

The Times reported that potential new mental health counselors could be on their way. Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton could get potentially 13 new staffers.

To read the whole Tampa Bay Times story click here. 

Depression: researchers find biomarker for disorder

Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center found a physical difference in the brain that may serve as a biomarker for depression.

UPI, reporting on a study published in Neuropsychopharmacology, says researchers came across the discovery while comparing the brains of people at high and low risk for depression based on their family history.

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Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center found a physical difference in the brains that may serve as a biomarker for depression, according to a study is published in Neuropsychopharmacology.

“These findings suggest that looking at activity in the DMN may offer an objective method of identifying people who are at risk of developing major depression,” said Dr. Myrna Weissman, a professor of epidemiology at Columbia University Medical Center.

“This may represent a another way toward advancing prevention and early intervention for this major public health issue.”

Using MRI scans, researchers found the DMN system is more active when people are thinking deeply about something, and shown to have increased connections in people with major depressive disorder.

Dr. Jonathan Posner, an associate professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center said the research could lead to  behavioral interventions, such as meditation and mindfulness – the later has been successful in treating addiction and obsessive compulsive disorder.

Read the whole UPI story by clicking here.