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Exercise May Be Treatment Option for PTSD, and Other News

Person running on a treadmillResearchers are increasingly turning their attention to the role exercise might play in treating posttraumatic stress (PTSD).

Seven to eight percent of the population develop PTSD at some point. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and prolonged exposure therapy (PE) can both treat symptoms. Many people experiencing PTSD continue to experience symptoms even after therapy, and both CBT and PE require trained, skilled practitioners. Particularly for people with PTSD who face financial barriers or who live in isolated areas, skilled treatment may not be a viable option.

One recent study found that exercising three times per week for two weeks reduced fearful bodily sensations by as much as 12 weekly sessions of CBT did. The study was observational rather than clinical, so further research is needed to more formally define the effect of exercise on people with PTSD.

Therapists routinely recommend exercise for depression, thanks to a decade of research pointing to its treatment value. As PTSD research continues, exercise could also become standard treatment for symptoms of trauma.

ADHD Rates Rise Around Globe, But Sympathy Often Lags

Attention deficit hyperactivity (ADHD) is on the rise worldwide, with a 381% increase in diagnosis rates from 1989 to 2001 in Germany. The United States saw a 50% rise in ADHD prescriptions between 2007 and 2012. In Israel, use of ADHD medications doubled between 2005 and 2012. The $11 billion market for ADHD medication fuels concern about over-reliance on medication, and speculation that financial incentives are driving up the diagnosis rate. For children with ADHD, the symptoms—difficulty concentrating, impulse control, and depression, among others—are very real. The political backlash against ADHD, though, means many children with this condition do not get much sympathy, and may even hear that their diagnosis is not real.

Psychologists’ Betting Market Hints at Most Reliable Research Findings

Recent research showing that the results of only 39% of psychological studies can be reproduced has raised concerns about the reliability of psychological research. A new study suggests psychologists could not predict which studies would successfully be reproduced. In fact, their predictions were about as accurate as a coin toss. When psychologists were encouraged to bet on research results using real money, though, they predicted results with 71% accuracy.

Many Americans 30 and Older Find Happiness Elusive

A study that looked at surveys of 1.3 million Americans ranging in age from 13 to 96 between 1972 and 2014 suggests Americans older than 30 are less happy than ever before. But people in their teens and twenties actually have higher levels of life satisfaction. Though researchers did not directly test why this might be, they speculate that high expectations in early life followed by the potentially challenging realities of young adulthood could explain the gap.

Small Towns Face Rising Suicide Rates

Though suicide rates are increasing everywhere, the rise in small towns is especially pronounced. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide rates rose 7% in metropolitan counties between 2004 and 2013. In rural counties, suicide rates increased by 20%.

Losing a Parent in Childhood May Raise Suicide Risk Decades Later

The death of a parent in childhood could double a person’s risk of suicide even 40 years later. Researchers compared more than 189,000 Scandinavian children whose parents died before the child’s 18th birthday to almost 2 million children whose parents did not die. They followed each group for 40 years. The suicide risk in the group of children whose parents did not die was 0.07%, compared to 0.14% among children who experienced the death of a parent. The results were more pronounced in boys who lost a parent, with an overall risk of 4 in 1,000, compared to 2 in 1,000 for girls who lost a parent.

New Study Explores How Anxiety Can Aggravate Asthma

People who are sensitive to anxiety—fearful of becoming fearful—are more likely to struggle with managing asthma symptoms, a new study suggests. In a task designed to mimic the symptoms of asthma, people with greater symptoms of anxiety sensitivity were also more likely to report difficulties breathing. Strategies that reduce anxiety, such as exposure therapy, might therefore also reduce asthma symptoms.

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  • layna

    November 16th, 2015 at 8:18 AM

    I am telling you, there are things where there is no better medicine that a little bit of exercise. It might be a daunting thing at first but once you get used to it you will see that the end result is one of the best feelings.

  • Samantha

    November 16th, 2015 at 3:43 PM

    I don’t necessarily understand why the rates of ADHD are on the rise but we cannot blame the child for something that they can neither control nor help. Wouldn’t you want someone to be sympathetic to you if you have a child with an illness that kept them from achieving everything that they could? I know that it is difficult for many of us to understand but lack of understanding should not necessarily mean that there is a lack of sympathy for their situation also.

  • Tara

    November 17th, 2015 at 10:49 AM

    seems like that is a big problem for the entire field in general when results cannot be replicated

  • Lauren

    November 19th, 2015 at 12:33 PM

    I have friends who are always complaining about life in general, that being an adult was nothing like they ever imagined that it would be. I see this a lot in my friends who always had parents who did EVERYTHING for them when we were younger and I think that this is a big part of the problem actually. They have never really had to figure out some of the tough things on their own and now when they have been thrown into the real world they are not quite sure what to do.

  • Burt

    November 20th, 2015 at 9:45 AM

    I grew up in a small Western town, and I am telling you that even though I would not change how I grew up for anything, I know that there were always people there looking for the first way out of town. They could never handle the isolation and the lack of “things” when they knew that there was so much more out there. I have lost a lot of friends over the years to suicide and it is always the people that I grew up with who I knew just never were happy with where they were but who could also never find a way to change that.

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