New Year’s Resolutions Could Harm Mental Health, and Other News

A woman reflects while drinking teaAs we bid farewell to 2014 and welcome 2015, many people find themselves making resolutions and setting goals. Often, these resolutions are extraordinarily challenging life changes such as quitting smoking, losing weight, or changing the way you interact with people. In an op-ed for, the website of The Houston Chronicle, Dr. Gregory Ramey argues that resolutions often set people up for failure. About 90% of resolution setters don’t achieve their goals, which can compromise self-esteem and undermine their willingness to continue making positive changes. Ramey suggests that making smaller, more gradual changes may be a better strategy if you want to ensure that 2015 is better than 2014.

Wealth, Power or Lack Thereof at Heart of Many Mental Disorders

A Berkeley University study of more than 600 men and women has found that a person’s sense of self-worth, whether inflated or deflated, may be at the core of many mental health issues. Researchers found that a person’s perceived social status was a good predictor of their mental health, with those who experienced anxiety and depression reporting little pride and power. By contrast, people vulnerable to mania or narcissism often reported intense pride and a preoccupation with the pursuit of power.

Hugs Help Protect Against Stress, Infection, Say Researchers

In a study of 404 healthy adults, researchers evaluated how hugs and social support might influence health. They found that strong social support, including frequent hugs, could improve immunity, protecting people against infections.

New Book Examines Shortcomings in US Mental Health System

Mass violence almost inevitably triggers discussions of mental health care, but those discussions tend to fade as the violence disappears from the headlines. A new book, The Virginia Tech Massacre: Strategies and Challenges for Improving Mental Health Policy on Campus and Beyond, explores potential policy changes in mental health that might reduce acts of mass violence. The book was edited by Robert Cohen, PhD, a visiting scholar at Northern Arizona University, and Aradhana Sood, MD, a psychiatry professor at Virginia Commonwealth University. Sood sat on the Virginia Tech Review Panel that was tasked with investigating the 2007 massacre.

Early Caregiving Experiences Have Long-Term Effects on Social Relationships, Achievement

A study of 243 adults born into poverty and followed until the age of 32 has found that experiences during the first three years can strongly affect life outcomes. Researchers found that children whose parents offered sensitive, responsive care prior to the age of 3 had better relationships, higher academic achievement, and better social skills.

Certain Parenting Tactics Could Lead to Materialistic Attitudes in Adulthood

Parents commonly reward their children with toys and other trinkets, but a new study suggests this strategy could backfire. Researchers found that children who received many material rewards were more likely to grow into materialistic adults. While occasionally buying things for children proved unproblematic, researchers highlighted the need to encourage gratitude.

Less Than Half of UK Prescriptions for Antipsychotics Issued for Main Licensed Conditions

Analyzing data submitted to the UK’s The Health Improvement Network (THIN) database, researchers found that less than half of prescriptions for antipsychotic drugs are written for the conditions those drugs are intended to treat. Elderly patients were twice as likely to receive these drugs compared to middle-aged patients. Anti-psychotics can have serious side effects, raising red flags about the safety of prescribing them for off-label uses.

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  • nan


    January 3rd, 2015 at 7:19 AM

    I totally agree about the resolutions- some of the things that I hear people saying that they are going to do all in one fell swoop- it just seems like they would probably have more success if they broke it down into more manageable pieces- but what do I know– it’s their resolution not mine so I guess we all have to do it our own way.

  • Taylor


    January 3rd, 2015 at 9:41 AM

    Why not reward your kids with hugs and kisses for good behavior instead of something that holds monetary value? I mean, the love that they get has to mean so much more than just those “things”.

  • Tess


    January 4th, 2015 at 8:41 PM

    Not a lot of things are perfect, including mental health but a concerted effort is needed to take it as close to it as possible because it just affects so many entities and people. more knowledge of it in the general populace, and an encouraging expert community that is ready to answer questions from the general public on some forum or platform would definitely be a good start in my opinion!

  • Adam


    January 5th, 2015 at 3:58 AM

    Unfortunately I do not think that it will be policy changes of any kind that can reduce the incidents of mass violence that we have seen cropping up all over the US for quite some time now. I think that this has somehow in a sick way become the norm, the thing that those with any kind of grievance and a little mental instability resort to when they are fed up with the world in which the live. I think that more than anything increasing awareness is key and also stressing to friends and families just how important it is to report ANYTHING that seems suspicious and out of the ordinary. You may think that you are hurting one person, but think of how many other lives could be saved if you would only speak up.

  • Therese


    January 5th, 2015 at 11:05 AM

    I am sure that there are some very good off label uses for many medications which are currently available but I would never think to do that with something so potentially harmful as an anti psychotic!
    Botox for stopping sweat production? Ok that works for some people that one doesn’t seem so dangerous.
    Not sure that I would play around with much else/

  • rob


    January 6th, 2015 at 3:52 AM

    I love to hug, that’s the way that I was raised.
    My wife? Not so much.
    I guess that in her family they did not do that much when she was growing up and so that is still something that makes her very uncomfortable.

  • Rebekah


    January 6th, 2015 at 3:47 PM

    It is always those things that happen early in life that can very much shape and form who you are

  • Daphne


    January 8th, 2015 at 3:53 PM

    I cannot tell you the number of times I have resolved to lose weight starting on a brand new January 1st and then still be making the same resolution the very next year. There is something that always seems to hold me back, I am not sure if it is just bad habits or fear of what a new life being thinner would hold for me.

    Once again I have resolved the same thing starting this year and 8 days in I feel like I am still doing pretty well but there are always these tempting things to eat and other things that I want to do that do not involve working out.

    I am trying to take it in small steps, learning to be ok when I fall off track, and also recognizing that every day is a brand new day and that I can always begin again.

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