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Friday Roundup – Music, Brains, Panic, and More!

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Attention lovely readers! We at Healthshire will be providing you with a weekly Friday roundup of the latest in mental health news. Let us do all the work and be your one-stop-shop for all things current!

Friday Roundup – The Latest in Mental Health News

(and other stuff)

Music is Good For You

Research consistently shows that listening to music increases positive emotions by stimulating the reward centers of the brain, spiking dopamine, a neurostransmitter that contributes to feelings of positivity and even elation. Music also stimulates other areas of the brain, leaving almost no center in the brain unaffected.

The Huffington Post reports on 5 ways music contributes to our physical and mental well-being.

1. Music helps decrease stress and anxiety. 

2. Music helps with pain.

3. Music may increase immunity.

4. Music can help memory.

5. Music inspires us to exercise. 

Vulnerability of the Teenage Brain

NPR reports on a new book on brain development during adolescence, The Teenage Brain, written by Frances E. Jensen, M.D., neuroscientist and single mother of two. Jensen’s focus was on better understanding the impulsivity, moodiness, and irresponsible decision-making that is typical in teenagers.

The frontal lobes of teenage brains lacks insulation. According to Jensen, “teenagers are not as readily able to access their frontal lobe to say, ‘Oh, I better not do this.’ We have a natural insulation … called myelin. It’s a fat, and it takes time. Cells have to build myelin, and they grow it around the outside of these tracks, and that takes years.”

In an interview with NPR, Jensen continues: “The last place to be connected — to be fully myelinated — is the front of your brain. And what’s in the front? Your prefrontal cortex and your frontal cortex. These are areas where we have insight, empathy, these executive functions such as impulse control, risk-taking behavior.”

Panic Attack Myths

The Huffington Post reports on common misconceptions associated with panic attacks. Psychologist and clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Michigan, Ricks Warren, Ph.D., highlights that many people do not understand mental health issues to begin with, but especially so with panic attacks. Below are some of these “myths.”

Panic attacks are just a dramatized reaction to stress.

Panic and anxiety are synonymous. 

Panic is a lifelong disorder.

It isn’t easy to relate to someone who experiences panic attacks. 

You should avoid whatever instigates episodes of panic. 

Effects of Binge-Watching TV

Today reports on a study that focuses on the effects of sitting in front of the T.V. for hours at a time. Researchers evaluated just over 300 people to determine if the effects of binge watching TV were similar to behaviors related to binge eating and binge drinking. Participants were asked about their watching behavior and their moods.

The study found that 75 percent of participants binge-watch TV. Binge watching was more likely among individuals who reported increased feelings of depression and loneliness. Participants who found it difficult to regulate their emotions binge watched more TV and were found to be more likely to continue to the next episode. People who binge watch TV often are binge watching alone.

Wei-Na Lee, one of the study’s authors and a professor in the Stan Richards School of Advertising and Public Relations at the University of Texas, Austin, remarks: “We found that factors, such as loneliness and depression and loss of self regulation and self control, are [involved in binge TV watching].”

Although researchers found a link between feelings of depression and watching TV, the study does not provide any causal evidence. In fact, many participants reported using TV as a coping mechanism for when feeling down or especially distressed.


 

This week’s roundup is dedicated to hugs.

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