Study: Light therapy for S.A.D. may also help with sleep, alertness

By R. Ryan S Patel DO, FAPA OSU-CCS Psychiatrist

S.A.D. or Seasonal Affective Disorder, is depression that occurs in a seasonal pattern, most commonly in the winter months, and sometimes it is called “winter depression” (1).

Additional symptoms may include fatigue, weight gain, increased appetite, oversleeping (1) occurring in a seasonal pattern.

SAD may often co-occur with a variety of other mental health conditions.

It can often occur as part of other mood disorders such as depressive disorders, bipolar disorder, etc (2).

What are some Treatment options for S.A.D.? (3)

  • Counseling
  • Medication
  • Vitamin D (5)
  • Light therapy
  • Other helpful strategies for improving depression may include :  nutrition (6 ), exercise (7 ), and being socially active.

A recent study looked at the impact of light therapy on sleep and circadian rhythm.

What was the study?

The study authors (8) identified and reviewed 40 available studies on the subject.

What were the results?

  • The study authors (8) found that while both bright light and SSRi’s helped mood, bright light therapy also helped with sleep wake cycle.
  • Separately (9), an analysis of 3 randomized trials found that dawn simulation ( a type of light therapy delivered in the mornings) helped with mood and reduced difficulty awakening and reduced morning drowsiness (9).

What are some caveats?

While the treatments are beneficial:

  • Light therapy can have side effects (10) such as mania, hyperactivity, irritability, headaches, etc.
  • Other treatment options mentioned above can also have side effects.

For this reason, if you are experiencing a seasonal pattern of depression, please seek the help of a mental health professional to determine IF and how much and what type of treatment may be best for you.

What are some of OSU’s campus resources for S.A.D. ?
•  OSU Office of Student Life- Counseling and Consultation Service
OSU Wilce Student health center

• OSU Student Wellness center (Wellness coaching, nutrition)
• Exercise at the RPAC

Are there any other helpful resources?

Disclaimer: This article is intended to be informative only. It is advised that you check with your own physician/mental health provider before implementing any changes. With this article, the author is not rendering medical advice, nor diagnosing, prescribing, or treating any condition, or injury; and therefore claims no responsibility to any person or entity for any liability, loss, or injury caused directly or indirectly as a result of the use, application, or interpretation of the material presented.

References

  1. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/seasonalaffectivedisorder.html
  2. American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), American Psychiatric Association, Arlington, VA 2013.
  3. Lam RW, Levitt AJ (editors). Canadian Consensus Guidelines for the Treatment of Seasonal Affective Disorder. Vancouver, British Columbia, Clinical & Academic Publishing, 1999. http://www.ubcsad.ca/.
  4. American Psychiatric Association. Practice Guideline for the Treatment of Patients with Major Depressive Disorder, Third Edition. October, 2010. http://psychiatryonline.org/guidelines
  5. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/seasonal-affective-disorder/index.shtml
  6. http://u.osu.edu/emotionalfitness/2018/06/28/food-choices-to-improve-depression/
  7. http://u.osu.edu/emotionalfitness/2017/10/20/weight-lifting-exercise-and-mental-health/
  8. Menculini G, Verdolini N, Murru A, et. al. Depressive mood and circadian rhythms disturbances as outcomes of seasonal affective disorder treatment: A systematic review. J Affect Disord. 2018 Dec 1;241:608-626. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2018.08.071. Epub 2018 Aug 15.
  9. Avery DH, Kouri ME, Monaghan K, Bolte MA, Hellekson C, Eder D. Is dawn simulation effective in ameliorating the difficulty awakening in seasonal affective disorder associated with hypersomnia? J Affect Disord. 2002 May;69(1-3):231-6.
  10. https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/light-therapy/about/pac-20384604

 

Electronic Gaming and Mental Health

By R. Ryan S Patel DO, FAPA OSU-CCS Psychiatrist

Electronic gaming is very common among young adults and comes in many forms including smartphones, tablets, computers, game consoles, etc.

By some estimates, the market size for electronic gaming is almost the same size as the movie industry.

Almost 90% of people ages 16 to 24 play video games (1); and almost half were at risk of video game addiction (2).

While many adults engage in gaming in healthy ways, gaming addiction has been linked to insomnia, anxiety, depression, stress among college students (3).

One study looked at  gaming addiction, and depression (4).

Who was studied?

3267 undergraduate students from United States, China and Singapore(4).

What was studied?

Rates of addictions to Internet use, online gaming, and online social networking,

Their association with depressive symptoms (4).

What were the results?

31% of male students were addicted to online gaming, compared to 13% of female students (OR = 0.522, 95% CI = 0.440-0.620) (4)

37.3% of female students were addicted to social networking compared to 27.8% of male students (OR = 1.543, 95% CI = 1.329-1.791). (4)

Regarding depression rates:

  • Among students with online gaming addiction depression rates were 65.5% for students in United States, 70.8% for China, and 69.6% for Singapore. (4)
  • Among students with internet addiction, depression rates were 76.5% for students in United States, 88.9% for China, and 75.9% for Singapore. (4)
  • Among students with online social networking addiction, depression rates were 68.8% for students in United States, 76% for China, and 71% for Singapore. (4)

What are some signs of Internet gaming disorder?

While there is no uniform criteria, some signs could include (5,6):

  • Preoccupation. (The individual thinks about previous gaming activity or anticipates playing the next game; internet gaming becomes the dominant activity in daily life.)
  • Experienced withdrawal symptoms when internet gaming is taken away. (These symptoms are typically described as irritability, anxiety, or sadness, but there are no physical signs of pharmacological withdrawal.)
  • Developed Tolerance—the need to spend increasing amounts of time engaged in games.
  • Unsuccessful attempts to control the participation in gaming.
  • Continued excessive use despite knowledge of psychosocial problems.
  • Mislead/deceive family members, therapists, or others regarding the amount of gaming.
  • Use as escape or relieve a negative mood (e.g., feelings of helplessness, guilt, anxiety).
  • Loss of interest in previous hobbies and entertainment as a result of, and with the exception of gaming.
  • Jeopardized or lost a significant relationship, job, or educational or career opportunity because of participation in electronic gaming.

What are some caveats?

  • Further study is needed in the area of internet, and gaming addiction.
  • To learn more about internet addiction, click here.
  • While this study shows that males were more likely to have gaming addiction and female students were more likely to have internet addiction, newer research indicates that this gap appears to be narrowing.
  • For other studies on men and mental health, click here, and here.
  • To learn more about disparities of men, suicide, and mental health, go here:  Movember National Men’s Health Campaign.

Any other useful links?

Disclaimer: This article is intended to be informative only. It is advised that you check with your own physician/mental health provider before implementing any changes. With this article, the author is not rendering medical advice, nor diagnosing, prescribing, or treating any condition, or injury; and therefore claims no responsibility to any person or entity for any liability, loss, or injury caused directly or indirectly as a result of the use, application, or interpretation of the material presented.

References:

  1. Brand J. (2012). Digital Australia (2012). National Research Prepared by Bond University for the Interactive Games and Entertainment Association. School of Communication and Media, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Bond University.
  2. Hussain Z, Griffiths MD, Baguley T. Online gaming addiction: classification, prediction and associated risk factors. Addict Res Theory. 2012;20:359-371.
  3. Younes F, Halawi G, Jabbour H, et al. Internet addiction and relationships with insomnia, anxiety, Depression, stress and self-esteem in university students: a cross-sectional designed study. PLoS One. 2016;11:e0161126
  4. Catherine So-Kum Tang, PhD, Yee Woen Koh, PhD, and YiQun Gan, PhD Asia Pacific Journal of Public Health Vol 29, Issue 8, pp. 673 – 682 First Published November 30, 2017 https://doi.org/10.1177/1010539517739558
  5. American Psychiatric Association: Diagnostic and StatisticalManual of Mental Disorders, 5th ed. Washington, DC, American Psychiatric Publishing, 2013Section III (“Emerging Measures and Models”) of DSM-5 (1, pp. 795–796).
  6. Andrew K. Przybylski, Ph.D., Netta Weinstein, Ph.D., Kou Murayama, Ph.D. Internet Gaming Disorder: Investigating the Clinical Relevance of a New Phenomenon. Am J Psychiatry 2017; 174:230–236; doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2016.16020224.

Gratitude strategies to feel better fast

By R. Ryan S Patel DO, FAPA OSU-CCS Psychiatrist

One definition of gratitude is a state of mind where one feels and expresses thankfulness consistently over time and across situations (1).

Gratitude exercises can be quick, easy and can help improve happiness, stress, and depression (2, 3).

A study of 814 college students showed that students with higher gratitude levels were less depressed, had lower suicidal-ideation, and higher self-esteem (4).

What are some ways to use gratitude strategies/exercises to feel better fast?

  • Quick gratitude journal: write one or more things that you are grateful for on a daily basis.  As a way to make it part of a daily routine, could you consider thinking about gratitude during an activity that you do everyday.  Learn more here.
  • Consider giving 1 genuine compliment per day to someone.
  • Could you make a bulletin board with images and words that make you feel grateful.  This could be placed where you could see it regularly.
  • When walking, could you consider using your 5 senses to find something that you are grateful for?
  • A book about positive psychology: Authentic Hapiness by Martin Seligman.
  • Harvard’s link on gratitude exercise (click then scroll down the page):  http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/in-praise-of-gratitude

What are some resources to improve mental health?

Some people may need to practice this for a while before seeing major benefits.

Could gratitude practices help you feel better?

Disclaimer: This article is intended to be informative only. It is advised that you check with your own physician/mental health provider before implementing any changes. With this article, the author is not rendering medical advice, nor diagnosing, prescribing, or treating any condition, or injury; and therefore claims no responsibility to any person or entity for any liability, loss, or injury caused directly or indirectly as a result of the use, application, or interpretation of the material presented.

References:

  1. Emmons, R. A. & Crumpler, C. A. (2000). Gratitude as a human strength:
    Appraising the evidence. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 19, 56–69.
  2. http://u.osu.edu/emotionalfitness/2015/12/
  3. Oleary K, Dockray S. The Effects of Two Novel Gratitude and Mindfulness Interventions on Well-Being. THE JOURNAL OF ALTERNATIVE AND COMPLEMENTARY MEDICINE. Volume 21, Number 4, 2015, pp. 243–245.
  4. Lin CC. The relationships among gratitude, self-esteem, depression, and suicidal
    ideation among undergraduate students.  Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 2015, 56, 700–707. DOI: 10.1111/sjop.12252