Owners of Sick Pets May Have Worse Mental Health, and Other News

Girl with a young dog enjoying a beautiful dayResearch on pets often focuses on how they can improve mental health. More than 90% of pet owners see their pets as family members. When family members get sick, it can be stressful.

A new survey—published in the journal Veterinary Record—of 238 pet owners suggests people caring for sick pets have higher rates of depression and anxiety than those whose pets are in good health. When pets became sick, owners reported high levels of caregiver burden—the same phenomenon people caring for chronically ill human family members experience.

People with sick pets also reported lower quality of life and higher rates of stress. This study is one of the first to look at caregiver burden in people caring for chronically ill animals, so the researchers say further study is needed.

These preliminary findings could help veterinarians increase their empathy and communication skills when interacting with people caring for sick pets.

PTSD Linked with Increased Lupus Risk

Women with a history of trauma or posttraumatic stress (PTSD) are at a heightened risk of developing the autoimmune disease lupus, according to research published in the journal Arthritis and Rheumatology. In the study, which involved nearly 55,000 women, trauma increased the risk of lupus nearly threefold.

For Worriers, Expressive Writing Cools Brain on Stressful Tasks

People who chronically worry may struggle to complete stressful tasks. According to new research, simply writing about their feelings can help worriers successfully complete challenging tasks with more efficiency.

Are Dads as Torn Between Jobs and Family Life as Moms?

Fathers now spend almost three times as much time caring for their children as they did in 1965. Yet, research on conflicts between work and family tends to focus solely on mothers. Fathers may struggle just as much as mothers to find a balance. About 7 in 10 Americans told researchers that babies should have equal bonding time with mothers and fathers. Half of survey respondents said employers pressure fathers to quickly return to work after having a child. About half also reported that mothers do a better job caring for babies than fathers.

Have You Got the Wrong Impression About Schizophrenia?

According to a survey of 1,500 people, myths about schizophrenia remain widespread. Survey participants mistakenly believed people with schizophrenia have split personalities and are dangerous. In reality, drugs and alcohol are more closely linked to violence than schizophrenia. Participants also overestimated the prevalence of schizophrenia, which affects about 1% of the population.

Death of Scout Schultz Highlights LGBTQ Mental Health Needs on Campus

The shooting of Georgia Institute of Technology LGBTQ+ student activist Scout Schultz highlights the need for better campus mental health care. Schultz, who was intersex and used they/their pronouns, was reportedly experiencing a mental health crisis before being fatally shot by police.

LGBTQ+ students experience mental health symptoms and diagnoses at higher rates than their peers. A 2017 study found these students may be reluctant to seek mental health care on campus. Even when they do seek care, they may face stigma. LGBTQ+ students are more likely to report feeling embarrassed about seeking mental health care, and to worry about their privacy. The Trevor Project sponsors a 24/7 helpline and chat service for LGBTQ+ youth. The helpline number is 1-866-488-7386.

People Are Using Siri as a Therapist, so Apple Is Seeking Engineers Who Understand Psychology

People sometimes turn to Siri, Apple’s automated assistant, for help with mental health difficulties or existential questions. So, Apple is seeking compassionate, socially aware engineers with a background in psychology to sharpen Siri’s awareness of human mental health.

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  • caroline

    caroline

    September 22nd, 2017 at 2:16 PM

    When we lost our Lab, Bo, I was literally sick for weeks after he died. I constantly second guessed what we did to try to treat him, did we let him hurt too long, would it have been better to let him go when we first got the diagnosis. But he was family and to NOT try felt so incredibly wrong and heartless. I am not sure that I will ever find another pet that I love like him and for the amount of hurt I am not sure that my heart is even ready to try to open up and give another pet a home. I feel like this is so selfish because I know that there are animals who need our help, but the thought of going through that again is almost more than I can bear.

  • jazz

    jazz

    September 23rd, 2017 at 8:57 AM

    No I really don’t feel like men feel that pull between work life and home life like most working moms do. I do not know none man who has that same level of guilt about not being home with the children. For them it is just like it is what is expected of them whereas with women it feels like even after all these years we are having to stake our claim in the professional world. And for many of us that means that we have to make sacrifices in terms of time at home with the children. Men are expected to do it and women are chastised if they take pleasure from a career.

  • kevin

    kevin

    September 26th, 2017 at 2:40 PM

    siri?? therapist?? no, that is wrong

  • Judy

    Judy

    September 27th, 2017 at 2:34 PM

    I have never heard these stats about the link between PTSD and lupus. That is pretty interesting. I am guessing that it could have something to do with how worn down so many people allow themselves to get after experiencing a traumatic event, and that this can then wreak havoc on your overall health and ability to fight off disease. I would be interested in learning more about this and how they started to put two and two together that there could actually be a correlation between these illnesses.

  • Christina D

    Christina D

    September 30th, 2017 at 11:36 AM

    I feel so terrible for the GA Tech student’s family. That child was giving a cry for help and was shot and killed instead.

    Shouldn’t more people be trained to understand the difference between hostile belligerence and simply acting out to get some help?

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