Researchers decipher new risk factors for anxiety

Researchers decipher new risk factors for anxiety

Living with anxiety is like a roller-coaster ride, as it can be thrilling and terrifying at the same time. Anxiety disorders have emerged as a serious health issue over the last few years. Although the exact cause of the disorder is yet to be deciphered, researchers claim that anomalies in the brain circuit can be one of the reasons for the occurrence of an anxiety disorder.

A study conducted by a research team from the University of Würzburg, Germany and published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry in February 2017, provides the details about a hitherto unknown genetic pathway for developing such diseases. The researchers illustrated about four different variants of the GLRB gene (glycine receptor B) that are responsible for triggering anxiety and panic disorders.  This study will enable better tailoring of the treatment for the patients.

Anxiety disorders, being one of the common mental disorders, have plagued about 40 million adults in the United States, in the age group 18 and above, highlights the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA). While some people reported suffering from extreme fear from specific situations or objects, some addressed the detrimental impact they face every day.

How does anxiety surface and evolve?

Anxiety disorders, a common mental health issue often marked by excessive fear and ruminations about certain situations and objects, apparently disturbs one’s daily activities. It is also associated with a range of problems, such as poor performance, cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, high economic costs, etc.

The study highlighted that the root cause of anxiety disorders lies in the fear circuits of the brain. Amygdala (and its subnuclei), nucleus accumbens, hippocampus, ventromedial hypothalamus, periaqueductal gray, a number of brain stem nuclei, thalamic nuclei, insular cortex and some prefrontal regions (mainly infralimbic cortex) have been included as the chief constituents of the fear circuitry. These regions play a crucial role in processing fear among people.

As such, fear and agony are some of the common features witnessed among people suffering from anxiety disorders. These factors tend to stand as the possible predictors of threat that guide the amygdala to act hyper in some anxiety situations. Several studies of extinction have reported that the stimuli that used to predict threat, i.e., the vmPFC and hippocampus, which also help in the process of learning and remembering, has evolved with time and is no longer performing its job. In fact, another reason for exaggerated fear, anxiety and distress is probably due to impaired extinction that no longer predicts threat.

Hyperekplexia is a paroxysmal neuromotor disorder that exhibits both dominant and recessive inheritance of mutations in pre- and postsynaptic glycinergic genes. The disorder can typically be figured soon after birth or within the first week of birth.

According to Professor Jürgen Deckert, member of the Collaborative Research Center (CRC) and director of the department of psychiatry at the JMU University Hospital, “The patients are permanently hypertonic and show pronounced startle responses, which may even cause sufferers to fall involuntarily. Similar to persons suffering from anxiety disorders, these patients develop behavior to avoid potentially frightening situations.”

Road to recovery

The above findings have the potential to increase the scope for improving treatment for anxiety disorders. Though the GLRB gene variants related to anxiety and panic disorders occur frequently and involve fewer consequences, they too have the potential to activate the brain’s fear network. Besides the above study, more number of studies are required to leverage the above findings for developing innovative therapies.

If you or a loved one is suffering from any form of mental disorders, it is imperative to seek help. Contact the Texas Mental Health Recovery Helpline to access the best evidence-based treatment plans. Call our 24/7 helpline number 866-596-4708 to avail the best mental health disorders treatment in Texas. You can also chat online with our medical advisers for any information pertaining to mental health treatment centers in Texas.

Blogging is good for mental health

Blogging is good for mental health

One of the main reasons why people suffering from mental disorders avoid getting a proper diagnosis is the fear and ridicule that such patients are often subjected to. However, in recent times, there has been a growing number of bloggers — psychiatrists and psychologists as well as recovered/recovering mental health patients — writing about their experiences with mental disorders, creating awareness to reduce stigma and making information accessible to help those who are suffering from such disorders.

The information which thus comes straight from the horse’s mouth not only educates readers about such problems, but also provides the writers with a platform for expressing their thoughts that plague the mental health patients day and night and bringing out the negativity. They can vent their fears, their feelings and their struggle with the illness, and can also get valuable information regarding symptoms and causes, professional centers of treatment, policies and programs offering support, and testimonies of other patients detailing their experiences.

A single platform can encourage even non-patients to offer their support and work for the betterment of the society. Blogging also acts as a therapeutic exercise for the writer as it gives him/her a sense of fulfilment and satisfaction for doing a good deed.

Connection between blogging and mental health

Writing or keeping a journal has always been beneficial for the mental health of a person even before blogging was started. Expressive writing is curative and helps manage stress and anxiety arising from day-to-day experiences. Mental disorders often start from occasional negative feelings that slowly start interfering with everyday affairs to the extent that the symptoms become unmanageable. Writing is a constructive means to manage anger and frustration, disappointments and failures, and feel better gradually.

Blogs written by mental health professionals and by patients can build a knowledge system where everyone can share ideas, view and opinions freely without fearing judgment and aftereffects. This can lead to a better understanding of the problems, seek solutions and make them available to a wider section of the society. Sometimes, seeing a closed one at home suffer from a mental illness pushes parents and siblings to start blogging in order to seek help and make the people understand the struggle of such patients. They not just take care of their loved one at home but also offer a vent to those experiencing similar problems and give them the comfort and guidance that might not be available to them.

When patients themselves come forward to make their struggle public, it can inspire many to walk down the same path. Blogging by psychiatrists and mental health workers can be motivational for the general population who can be better informed and sensitized about various mental disorders and how they affect the quality of life. But, one must keep in mind that though expressing thoughts through writing or blogging can make one feel better, professional help must be sought if someone keeps low mood or feels depressive for a longer period. What matters then is to speak up and take action before things go out of hand.

Knowledge helps, so does treatment

Mental disorders not simply affect the mind but also physical health. Past research has proved how a person’s deteriorating mental condition can lead to troubles of heart and lungs. It can damage work life and personal relationships. Therefore, a mental health professional must be consulted at the earliest.

If you know someone suffering from a mental illness, the Texas Mental Health Recovery Helpline can provide information about the best mental health disorders treatment in Texas. You may call at our 24/7 helpline number (866) 596-4708 or chat with our trained professionals to know more about some of the finest mental health treatment centers in Texas.

Costly treatment, indifference up America’s mental health burden

Costly treatment, indifference up America’s mental health burden

Millions of Americans are afflicted with various mental disorders every year and many of them continue with the struggle to come to terms with their problems. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) estimates that one in every five adults, or roughly 43.8 million, suffer from a mental illness in a given year. It also highlights the fact that serious mental illnesses result in lost earnings of $193.2 billion.

The current state of mental health looks grim. There is an increasing threat to one’s life due to silent suffering and unbearable pain. It is important to understand the reality surrounding mental health issues that are prevalent in the country and take appropriate measures at the earliest. Here we discuss some of them:

  • People suffering from mental illnesses are being victimized: There is a misconception that mentally ill people are violent and unpredictable, which has made them victims of social rejection and violence. The stigma associated with mental disorders dissuade people from seeking treatment at the right time, which, in turn, aggravate the condition and lead to other health and emotional problems. Such people also become victims of abuse. A past study by the University College and King’s College, London involving 303 outpatients, stated that 10 percent had experienced sexual harassment while 63 percent experienced domestic violence.
  • Increasing suicide rates: Suicide is directly linked to psychological health. The excruciating pain and lack of support forces an individual to take his/her own life. The number of suicide cases has seen an exponential increase in the recent past across all demographics in the country. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that in 2014, 42,773 suicide deaths were caused due to mental disorders.
  • Mental health care is costly: The cost of mental health condition is quite expensive in the U.S. with the spending reaching $201 billion in 2013. The cost burden increases as other health complications arise.
  • Mental health is not being taken seriously: People suffering from mental disorders avoid getting diagnosed because of the stigma attached to such disorders, however a previous study questioned the seriousness of treatment providers while treating mental disorders. The study stated that doctors were less likely to follow treatment protocols while treating mental disorders than while treating physical illnesses. The study assessed the use of five care management processes and found that in most cases, one process was followed while treating depression unlike in case of treatment of asthma, diabetes or heart failure.
  • The role of media: Media has significantly contributed to propagating stereotypes of people with mental disorders, and associating crimes and violence to symptoms of mental illnesses. Social media has also fueled feelings of unhappiness, stress, anxiety and depression as people draw comparisons with their friends and acquaintances and develop low self-esteem. However, some films have beautifully portrayed the geniuses of mentally ill people and their struggle in overcoming their condition. These days, celebrities are also speaking about their own experience with a mental illness and encouraging others to seek help.

Recognizing the growing need of bringing mental health at par with physical illnesses, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has decided to allocate a fund of $406 million towards research and awareness about serious mental illnesses. The need of the hour is providing education about mental health, expanding mental health services, giving the requisite training to more mental health therapists and doctors, and making health care information and services accessible to all.

Seek treatment at the earliest

Mental health problems affect not just those who suffer but also those living with them. An untreated mental condition can shatter personal relationships, lead to loss of job and affect social interactions. It is advisable to approach a therapist as soon as the symptoms surface so that the right treatment can be administered at the earliest.

The Texas Mental Health Recovery Helpline is a good resource to provide valuable information about mental health treatment centers in Texas that offer personalized therapeutic programs for faster recovery. Call us on our 24/7 helpline number (866) 596-4708 or chat with our trained professionals to get connected to the best mental health disorders treatment in Texas.

Ingredients of a successful therapy

Ingredients of a successful therapy

The desire to be heard uncritically and without interruption is probably the chief reason why people approach a therapist. It is easier to open up to a professional than to friends, family and colleagues. As the therapist has no ulterior motives for guiding the way one thinks, one can be completely honest and reveal intimate details of his or her life that are hidden from the rest. Read more

Cognitive behavioral therapy may address teen violence by inculcating corrective action

Cognitive behavioral therapy may address teen violence by inculcating corrective action

Childhood conditioning is often responsible for the way a teenager reacts to his or her environment. Children who have had a cushioned upbringing and a self-sustaining relationship with their parents are conscious of their actions. They are less likely to act in haste or display what is called in psychology “automatic behavior.” Even their words are measured and well thought of. In contrast, children growing in the ghettos, those with a traumatic childhood experience, children who live with single parents addicted to a substance or are abusive are more likely to ingrain negative behaviors. Lack of poor socio-economic conditioning often drives children to the world of crime. Their acts are often impulsive and sometimes of criminal nature.  Read more