Why feeling empathy could lead former drug users to relapse

Empathy, the awareness of another’s feelings and emotions, is a key feature in normal social interactions. But new research from the University of Minnesota suggests that empathy can have detrimental effects on an individual — and can push former drug users to relapse.

A group of researchers, led by Dr. Jonathan Gewirtz, performed a series of experiments to analyze links between empathy, stress, and drug use. First, they used behavioral conditioning to train a group of mice to mimic drug-seeking behavior. The mice were initially placed in a two-sided compartment, where a neutral saline solution was administered on one side and a dose of morphine on the other. When the treatment was repeated over the course of several days, the mice started associating one side with the drug treatment.

Next, the group of mice received only saline injections in either compartment for two weeks to mimic a period of sobriety.

Full story at Science Daily

Sex addiction may affect 10 percent of men, survey finds

Is sex addiction real? Researchers say it may be, or at least something close to it, and might be more common than anyone thought.

Ten percent of men and 7 percent of women say they have significant levels of stress and dysfunction because of their sexual thoughts or behaviors, the researchers reported Friday.

A national survey of more than 2,000 adults found on average, more than 8 percent of them reported symptoms of compulsive sexual behavior disorder — a persistent pattern of failure in controlling intense sexual urges that leads to distress and social impairment.

It’s definitely controversial, Janna Dickenson of the University of Minnesota and colleagues wrote in the Journal of the American Medical Association’s JAMA Network Open.

Full story at NBC news

How to recognize and cope with emotional exhaustion

Emotional exhaustion can arise when someone experiences a period of excessive stress in their work or personal life.

When people experience emotional exhaustion, it can make them feel emotionally drained, overwhelmed, and fatigued. These feelings tend to build up over a long period, though people may not notice the early warning signs.

This can have significant impacts on a person’s everyday life, relationships, and behavior.In this article, we discuss the symptoms, causes, and risk factors of emotional exhaustion, and we explore the many ways people can treat it or prevent it from happening.

Full story at Medical News Today

Stressed at work? Transcendental meditation may help

People who practice meditation often hail it as a fix for anything from anxiety to physical pain. Indeed, some studies suggest that it may improve our sense of well-being. Now, new research finds that one type of meditation — transcendental meditation — can relieve stress and boost emotional intelligence.

The practice of meditation does appear to bring many benefits, and recent studies have supported this idea.

For instance, meditators are less likely to experience cognitive decline, and practicing mindfulness techniques seems to reduce chronic pain.

Full story at Medical News Today

Demand For Veteran Counseling Puts Stress On The Counselors

Combat veterans from the Vietnam-era through the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan often turn to Vet Center counselors for help with post-traumatic stress or depression. And some of these counselors are themselves feeling stress – in part, they say, because of what they’re calling unrealistic productivity requirements.

Ted Blickwedel, 63, is a Marine Corps veteran living in Smithfield, R.I. And recently, when he was working as a clinical social worker at his local Vet Center in nearby Warwick, he began to think about suicide.

“I didn’t sit around and ruminate about how I’m going to go about taking my own life or anything,” he says, “but nonetheless, it was just this sense that I didn’t want to be here anymore.”

Full story at NPR.org