Indicators of despair rising among Gen X-ers entering middle age

Indicators of despair — depression, suicidal ideation, drug use and alcohol abuse — are rising among Americans in their late 30s and early 40s across most demographic groups, according to new research led by Lauren Gaydosh, assistant professor of Medicine, Health and Society and Public Policy Studies at Vanderbilt University. These findings suggest that the increase in “deaths of despair” observed among low-educated middle-aged white Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964) in recent studies may begin to impact the youngest members of Generation X (born 1974-1983) more broadly in the years to come.

The study, The Depths of Despair Among U.S. Adults Entering Midlife, appears in the American Journal of Public Health. Gaydosh’s co-authors are Kathleen Mullan Harris, Robert A. Hummer, Taylor W. Hargrove, Carolyn T. Halpern, Jon M. Hussey, Eric A. Whitsel, and Nancy Dole, all at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

In 2016, U.S. life expectancy began to decline for the first time in nearly a quarter-century, and researchers theorized that this was driven by a marked increase in deaths due to drug overdose, alcoholic cirrhosis and suicide among middle-aged whites with low education or in rural areas. At the time, this was explained by a unique triple-punch of worsening employment prospects accompanied by a declining perception of socioeconomic status and an erosion of social supports for this group. But studies to better understand those mortality trends did not definitively show that low-income rural whites were actually experiencing more despair than other groups.

Full story at Science Daily

The ‘burden of disease’ in those who recover from addiction

Recent research shows that more than one-third of people who are recovering from addiction continue to experience chronic physical disease.

Excessive use of alcohol and drugs can lead to mental and physical health issues, some of which include anxiety, depression, diabetes, liver disease, and heart disease.

Many of these conditions may improve after recovery, but some may linger and diminish the quality of life.

Full story at Medical News Today

Can changes in brain energy pathways cause depression?

New research has identified mutations in the DNA code that may affect energy metabolism. It also found a link to major depressive disorder.

The World Health Organization (WHO) describe depression as “the leading cause of disability worldwide.”

It affects more than 300 million people around the world.

Experts believe that many factors contribute to major depressive disorder (MDD).

These include genetics, environmental factors including abuse, brain physiology, and the immune system.

Full story at Medical News Today

Can scientists learn to remove bad memories?

Traumatic memories can severely affect a person’s quality of life when they become intrusive thoughts that lead to anxiety and continue to cause distress. For this reason, scientists are now looking into ways of weakening such memories and lessening their impact.

People who experience traumatic events may find their memories haunt them for a long time after the experience occurred.

Exposure to trauma can trigger numerous mental and emotional problems, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and anxiety disorders, for example, phobias.

Full story at Medical News Today

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