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Thursday, December 27, 2018

Are Smartphones and Social Media Sparking Rising Rates of Depression in Young Adults?

It’s a pretty known fact that teens and college-aged adults are facing a lot of pressure and anxiety – from student loans to active shooter drills to political division – but experts wonder if there’s something else contributing to the growing rates of depression among this group. Namely, smartphones, tables and social media.

“One can speculate that increased use of digital devices and social media are among the contributing factors,” Ramin Mojtabai, a professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, told USA Today. “There is some evidence that cyberbullying puts children and adolescents at increased risk of depression.”

Mojtabai was one of the researchers of an earlier study that discovered rapidly rising rates of major depression among teens and young adults. Among children ages 12 to 17, rates jumped to 11.3 percent in 2014, up from 8.7 percent in 2005. There was also an increase among young adults, but at a slower rate.

San Diego State University psychologist Jean Twenge also believes there’s a strong link between hours spent on these devices and signs of mental health distress. In her 2017 book, "iGen," she cited national health surveys and other statistics to show that teens who spend the most time on their screens are more likely to be unhappy.

"They are spending less time sleeping, less time with their friends face to face,” Twenge told USA Today. “It is not something that happened to their parents. It is not something that happens as a world event"

Perhaps this isn’t too surprising. One problem with social media, say experts, is that it can prevent young people from experiencing and then releasing emotions. When you text and post about your emotions and then check back for social media reaction, you perpetuate the emotion, lending it more power than it likely deserves.

Many young people mistakenly turn to drugs or alcohol to temporarily dull tough emotions like depression. But self-medicating is never a good idea. In fact, it can worsen the moods and emotions you were trying to suppress. It can make them become stronger, more frequent or longer in duration. 

Do You Need Dual-Diagnosis Treatment?
Co-occurring mental health conditions like depression may exist prior to substance abuse or develop as a side effect of drug and alcohol dependency. At Hope Academy, we conduct a series of tests upon admission to determine if mental illness is complicating substance abuse. Once we gain a comprehensive understanding of each patient’s individual health challenges, our addiction treatment team develops a customized program. To learn more, call 866-930-4673.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Drug Overdoses and Suicide Cause Drop in Life Expectancy Rates

Three new government reports show a slight decline in life expectancy – and drug overdoses and suicide are partly to blame.

In 20017, the average life expectancy was 78.6 years, which is a 0.1 year decrease from 2016. Women are still outliving men and the top causes of death, which account for nearly three-quarters of all deaths across the nation, remained the same: heart disease, cancer, unintentional injuries, chronic lower respiratory diseases, stroke, Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, influenza and pneumonia, kidney disease and suicide.

"Life expectancy gives us a snapshot of the Nation's overall health and these sobering statistics are a wakeup call that we are losing too many Americans, too early and too often, to conditions that are preventable," Dr. Robert Redfield, CDC director, wrote in a statement.

According to the CDD’s National Center for Health Statistics, overdose deaths topped 70,000 in 2017 and rates of suicide increased by 3.7 percent. A second report found that the rate increased from roughly 6 overdose deaths per 100,000 people in 1999 to nearly 22 per 100,000 in 2017.

Gender and age both played a role. For instance, drug overdose death rates were highest among males and adults ages 25 to 54. And adults 55 to 64 experienced the most significant increase (from 4 per 100,000 in 1999 to 28 per 100,000 in 2017.)

Here’s a look at a few more of the findings:

  • Ages 15 to 24: 13 per 100,000
  • Ages 25 to 34: 38 per 100,000
  • Ages 35 to 44: 39 per 100,000
  • Ages 45 to 54: 38 per 100,000
  • Ages 55 to 64: 28 per 1000,00

Location was also a factor, with the highest rates in West Virginia, where there were nearly 58 overdose deaths per 100,000 people. South Dakota and Nebraska had the lowest rates – 9 per 100,000 and 8 per 100,000, respectively.

Other states with high rates included:

  • Ohio: 46 per 100,000
  • Pennsylvania: 44 per 100,000
  • District of Columbia: 44 per 100,000
A third new government report revealed that rates of suicide, the tenth leading cause of death in the US, also increased: Between 199 and 2017, the rate increased 26 percent for men and 53 percent for women. "We must all work together to reverse this trend and help ensure that all Americans live longer and healthier," Redfield said in his statement.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment for Young Adults
One in 10 college students have considered suicide and it's the second-leading cause of death in college-age students. While suicide is very serious it's also very preventable. At Hope Academy, we conduct a series of tests upon admission to determine if mental illness is causing or complicating substance abuse. To learn more about our dual diagnosis treatment, call 866-930-4673. 

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