Don’t assume someone is fine just because they’re smiling.
Statistics show that nearly 80 per cent of people who have suffered with depression are likely to get it again. With the specific factors that put people at risk unknown, it’s a disheartening number for those who’ve previously battled with the illness to comprehend. There may be hope, however, with new research suggesting that a simple test could determine how likely a person is to relapse.
Have a look at the following photos and take note as to which image you are initially drawn to. According to the study, people who focus their attention more on the angry face are at a far greater risk of suffering with depression than those who look more at the neutral or happy expression.
For the purpose of the study, researchers at Binghamton University recruited 160 women – 60 of whom had a past history of depression – and showed them a series of two faces, with one displaying a sad or angry expression and the other a happy one. Using eye-tracking, they found that women who had previously suffered with depression focused more on the angry faces and were more likely to develop the mental illness again over the next two years.
Graduate student and lead author of the study Mary Woody, explained: “I think the most interesting thing about this is that we followed these women for two years, and the women who are paying attention to angry faces are the most likely to become depressed again, and they become depressed in the shortest amount of time. So they’re at greatest risk.”
“We might be able to identify women who are at greatest risk for future depression just by something as simple as how they pay attention to different emotional expressions in their world,” she continued.
Proffesor of psychology at the university, Brandon Gibb, also noted that in walking around day-to-day, we tend to pay attention to some things more so than others. Therefore, “if your attention is drawn to people who appear to be angry with you or critical of you, then you’re at risk for depression.”
There is hope. According to the research, computer programs and games are being used as a method to retrain peoples’ attention. Proving to be somewhat successful, the approach has shown promise in the treatment of anxiety and is now being tested as a treatment for depression.
“It’s a very important first step in developing a new line of treatment for people who are at risk for depression and for who currently have depression,” said Gibb. “Some people might be able to use this instead of traditional therapy or could use it as an adjunct to traditional treatment.”
Always speak to your doctor or seek help if feel you are at risk of suffering, or are suffering, with a mental health disorder.
Images via Daily Mail
Suicide rates boom over the festive season and it seems to be a trigger for many people with mental illnesses like depression or personality disorders. It’s mainly because they feel alone, hopeless, strained, useless, purposeless or utterly miserable. It’s difficult for them to watch the rest of society enjoying the festivities and celebrations, particularly when they feel like running away and hiding until its all over. Worse still, they may feel like the light at the end of the tunnel is too far away for them to reach.
Being a loved one watching someone close to them cope with this can be exceptionally difficult. Some will threaten suicide, while others withdraw as the thought continually crosses their mind. People with mental illness like Borderline Personality Disorder threaten suicide on a regular basis. Some do end up achieving their goal and many others have made unsuccessful attempts.
The seriousness of suicide is that no one ever really knows when it’s going to happen. So when loved ones do threaten to end their lives or begin to slide into the ibis, those closest to them often feel compelled to intervene. The main problem is, most of us are unsure of what to do or how to help. The following list are recommendations from Lifeline about how to help loved ones in the prevention of suicide.
1. Ask them if they have been thinking about suicide. Be direct stating, “Are you thinking about suicide?” Chances are, if they have been having thoughts about ending their lives, they will want to discuss it with someone they can be honest with.
2. Listen to them. You know the old saying a problem shared is a problem halved? Simply taking the time and effort to listen to someone in need can make a big difference. Avoid getting distracted by others, technology and allow time for them to be heard and appreciated.
3. Check their safety. Being alone at a time when suicide is becoming a viable option, isn’t ideal. If you need to, offer to stay with them or have them come with you. If you can’t do it, organise someone who can.
4. Ask for a promise or get a written contract that they won’t commit suicide. If they have been feeling like they have let people down, they will want to stick to the agreement.
5. Don’t lecture them about how they should feel or what they should do. Many people equate suicide with selfishness and a first response is about this. When someone is considering suicide, they may feel that life would be better for others if they weren’t around. Telling them that they are being selfish is counterproductive.
6. No-one should support a suicidal individual on their own. It can be mentally, emotionally and physically draining. To look after yourself engage the help of others, which may include family, friends and professionals like GP’s, counselors, psychologists or psychiatrists.
Lastly, the most important thing you need to do to support them is looking after your needs first. They may want to lean on you for a prolonged period of time and this will be exhausting. They also need to learn skills to cope on their own. Therefore, it’s imperative you let others know the situation and seek help immediately.
If someone you know is in need of help, the following contacts are available.
- Emergency 000
- Lifeline crisis 13 11 14
- Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800
- Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636
Image via usarmy.vo.llnwd.net