Wild thoughts

Most people feel sleepy, grumpy, or dopey when they haven’t gotten enough hours of sleep. A new study in the Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry puts forth a theory on why sometimes less sleep can also lead us to be more depression-y and anxious-y. Their research takes aim at a common symptom of those conditions known as repetitive negative thoughts (RNT), which is basically your mind being a jerk and not letting you stop thinking about bad things. Using eye-tracking technology, they showed volunteers positive, negative, and neutral images, and found that volunteers fixated on the negative images longer and more intensely than the neutral and positive ones. They blame a lack of cognitive resources caused by not enough sleep for their inability to filter negative thoughts.

4. Not spending enough time on the (psychiatrist’s) couch?

Sometimes what seems like a lot is still insufficient. That was the gist of at least one psychiatrist’s response to the finding that 17% of American adults take a psychotropic medication to cope with conditions like depression, anxiety and insomnia. Given the “rate of psychiatric disorders in adulthood being close to 25% of the population in any 12-month period” Dr. Victor Fornari hypothesizes there is still a proportion of the population going untreated. However, the study found most RXs were written by a primary care physician rather than a psychiatrist, indicating patients lost out on psychotherapy and other means to learn coping strategies for mood, thought and behavioral issues, which can lead to long-term use, dependence and adds to rising costs of healthcare.

5. Feed your head

What’s worse than having anxiety and depression? Having anxiety and depression about your cancer diagnosis and the potential for relapse. While the mushrooms your mother gives you may not do anything at all, two separate studies have shown that a single dose of magic mushrooms demonstrated “immediate, substantial, and sustained clinical benefits” with respect to anxiety and depression for about 80% of study participants with minimal side effects. Furthermore, these psychological benefits were immediate for most patients (unlike antidepressant meds that might take weeks to show benefit) and lasted longer than 6.5 months, the duration of the follow-up period. This is particularly good news because cancer-related psychological distress can be resistant to conventional therapy, and cancer treatments have been a gateway to recreational use…thanks, marijuana.