Your mental health app’s diagnosis could be way off

Apps that help us deal with our well-being can often be helpful and comforting, but how much should we rely on a mobile application to tell us how to cope with our mental health struggles?

According to new research conducted by the University of Sydney in Australia, there may be some major problems in the way mental health apps are framing mental illness and diagnosing users.

The research, which was recently published by the American Academy of Family Physicians, consisted of a qualitative content analysis of 61 mental health apps across the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia.

Full story at Medical News Today

Exercising Too Much Could Worsen Mental Health, Study Suggests

It’s a widely-held belief that exercise improves mental health, and a new study of 1.2 million Americans has added significant weight to the theory.

However, the researchers also found that exercising too much actually has a detrimental effect on one’s mental wellness.

The study, conducted by Yale University and the University of Oxford and published in The Lancet Psychiatry Journal, concluded that people who exercise report having 1.5 fewer days of poor mental health a month, compared to people who do not exercise at all.

Full story at the Independent.co.uk

Mass hysteria: An epidemic of the mind?

An outbreak of fatal dancing fits among members of the same community, men suddenly gripped by the sickening fear of losing their genital organs, and teenagers having mysterious symptoms after watching an episode of their favorite TV series — these are all instances of what we often refer to as “mass hysteria.”

“They danced together, ceaselessly, for hours or days, and in wild delirium, the dancers collapsed and fell to the ground exhausted, groaning and sighing as if in the agonies of death. When recuperated, they […] resumed their convulsive movements.”

This is a description of the epidemic of “dancing plague” or “dancing mania” as given by Benjamin Lee Gordon in Medieval and Renaissance Medicine.

Full story at Medical News Today

Kate Spade’s suicide is a reminder that anyone can experience mental illness

Yes, even someone as successful as Kate Spade can experience mental illness.

The death of the 55-year-old fashion designer Tuesday morning in her New York apartment was officially ruled a suicide by the city’s medical examiner’s office on Thursday. Some on social media this week have questioned how Spade, who seemingly had everything, could take her own life.

Spade’s husband, Andy, told The New York Times she suffered from severe depression. Mental illnesses are medical conditions. Just like diabetes and heart disease, they can affect anyone — regardless of their income or occupation.

“That (argument) doesn’t make any sense to me. That’s like saying someone’s really successful, I don’t know how she got cancer,” said Dr. Soroya Bacchus, a psychiatrist. “Mental disorders are an equal opportunity and have nothing do with success, education or where you grow up.”

Full story at CNBC

Featured News: Methadone Appears Safe and Effective in Treating Fentanyl Addiction: Study

Methadone appears safe and effective in treating people who use fentanyl, suggests a study presented at the recent annual meeting of the American Society of Addiction Medicine.

“Highly potent fentanyl – often in combination with other substances including alcohol and benzodiazepines – is highly dangerous and responsible in large part for the enormous spike in preventable drug overdose deaths,” said lead researcher Andrew Stone, M.D., Medical Director of Discovery House CTC of Northern Rhode Island. “We conducted this study to see if medication-assisted treatment is effective in treating those who use fentanyl, given its unique properties and extreme potency.”

Stone and colleagues performed urine drug screens on patients admitted to a methadone maintenance treatment program over a 10-month period. Patients were screened for substances including illicit fentanyl, opiates and methadone. Those who tested positive for fentanyl when entering the program appeared to require a slightly higher dose of methadone to reach abstinence. The relapse rate for those who did not test positive for fentanyl was 15 percent, compared with 41 percent for those who tested positive. Most relapses while in treatment involved fentanyl, regardless of which substances were found in the initial drug screen. “The greater relapse rate may be due to the inability of methadone to completely block the ‘high’ users experience with fentanyl,” Dr. Stone said.

Full story at drugfree.org