Washington, June 26 (IANS) More than 30 per cent public health workers have reported symptoms of depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), because of the prolonged demand for responding to the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a study by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
To evaluate mental health conditions among the health care workers, the agency conducted a nonprobability-based online survey during March 29 to April 16, 2021.
Among 26,174 respondents, 53 per cent reported symptoms of at least one mental health condition in the preceding 2 weeks.
About one in three each reported symptoms of depression (32.0 per cent), anxiety (30.3 per cent), PTSD (36.8 per cent), while nearly 10 per cent reported of planning suicide.
The highest prevalence of symptoms of a mental health condition was among young workers below 29 years (47.4 per cent) and transgender or nonbinary persons of all ages (65.5 per cent) and those being unable to take time off from work.
"Implementing prevention and control practices that eliminate, reduce, and manage factors that cause or contribute to public health workers' poor mental health might improve mental health outcomes during emergencies," the CDC said, in its weekly MMWR report on Friday.
Most (92.6 per cent) respondents reported working directly on Covid-19 response activities; the majority (59.2 per cent) worked more 41 hours in a typical week since March 2020. Workers who could not take time off had a two-fold greater risk of reporting at least one mental health condition than those who could take time off.
"The prevalence of all four mental health outcomes and the severity of symptoms of depression or PTSD increased as the percentage of work time spent directly on Covid-19 response activities and number of work hours in a typical week increased," the CDC said.
New York, April 6 (IANS) Emergency medical service (EMS) workers are three times more at risk of mental health problems such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) compared to the general population, according to a new study.The findings showed that each day EMS workers experience a diverse array of occupational stressors -- routine work demands, critical incidents involving serious harm or death, and social conflicts."Each additional work demand or critical event that an EMS worker encountered on a given workday was associated with a 5 per cent increase in their PTSD symptom severity levels that day, while each social conflict was associated with a 12 per cent increase in their depression symptom severity levels," said lead researcher Bryce Hruska, Assistant Professor of public health at the Syracuse University in New York, US."Together, these occupational stressors negatively impacted mental health each day that they occurred," Hruska added.Exercising, socialising with other people, and finding meaning in a given day's challenges can help reduce mental health symptoms for EMS workers, revealed the study published by the Journal of Affective Disorders. "These activities had a beneficial impact on mental health; each additional recovery activity in which a worker engaged was associated with a 5 per cent decrease in their depression symptom severity levels that day," Hruska said. The researchers surveyed EMS workers at American Medical Response in Syracuse, for eight consecutive days in 2019 to better understand their mental health symptoms related to daily occupational stressors. EMS workers who looked for lessons to learn from the day's challenges had a 3 per cent decrease in their daily depression symptoms, the results showed.The Covid-19 pandemic has underscored the significant mental health burden experienced by EMS workers. Increasing interaction with family, friends and co-workers, recognising conflicts as an opportunity for learning, relaxing after a particularly demanding shift may help in alleviating the stress, the researchers said.--IANSrvt/bg
Toronto- A "brain training" may be an effective treatment for individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), researchers say.
The study, published in the journal Neurolmage: Clinical, indicates that neurofeedback, also called 'brain training,' -- consists of exercises where individuals regulate their own brain activity -- was effective in reducing symptoms of PTSD.
"Brain connectivity involves different parts of the brain communicating with each other and helps to regulate states of consciousness, thought, mood and emotion," said researcher Ruth Lanius from the Western University in Canada.
"Individuals with PTSD tend to have disrupted patterns of brain connectivity, but our research suggests they can exercise their brains to restore patterns to a healthy balance," Lanius added.
Neurofeedback uses a system called a neurofeedback loop in which a person's brain activity is measured through sensors placed on the scalp and displayed back to them using a computer interface. This allows the individual to complete exercises and visually see the results.
For the study, the team tested neurofeedback with a total of 72 participants, including 36 participants with PTSD and 36 healthy control participants.
Of those with PTSD, 18 were randomized to participate in neurofeedback treatment while the other 18 acted as a comparison group.
The study found that the severity of PTSD symptoms decreased in participants randomized to receive neurofeedback treatment.
After treatment, 61.1 per cent of participants no longer met the definition for PTSD. This remission rate is comparable to gold standard therapies like trauma-focused psychotherapy.
The research team also used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to capture brain scans of participants both before and after participation in the trial.
They found that individuals with PTSD experienced positive changes in brain connectivity in the salience network and the default mode network following neurofeedback treatment.
"Neurofeedback could offer an accessible and effective treatment option for individuals with PTSD. The treatment is easily scalable for implementation in rural areas and even at home," the researchers said. (IANS)
New York, Dec 5 (IANS) Women with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression have an almost fourfold greater risk of early death from cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, type 2 diabetes, suicide, and other causes than women without trauma exposure or depression, warn researchers.The study, published in the journal JAMA Network Open, examined longevity--in a way, the ultimate health outcome--and the findings strengthen the understanding that mental and physical health are tightly interconnected"This is particularly salient during the pandemic, which is exposing many Americans and others across the world to unusual stress while at the same time reducing social connections, which can be powerfully protective for our mental health," said study author Andrea Roberts from the Harvard University in the US.For the results, the research team studied more than 50,000 women at midlife (ages 43 to 64 years).They found that women with both high levels of PTSD and depression symptoms were nearly four times more likely to die from nearly every major cause of death over the following nine years than women who did not have depression and had not experienced a traumatic event.The researchers examined whether health risk factors such as smoking, exercise, and obesity might explain the association between PTSD and depression and premature death, but these factors only explained a relatively small part.This finding suggests that other factors, such as the effect of stress hormones on the body, may account for the higher risk of early death in women with the disorders.Treatment of PTSD and depression in women with symptoms of both disorders may reduce their substantial increased risk of mortality, the researchers said."These findings provide further evidence that mental health is fundamental to physical health--and to our very survival. We ignore our emotional well-being at our peril," said study senior author Karestan Koenen.--IANSbu/arm
New York - Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) linked to alcohol use disorder, say researchers adding that males and females exhibit their own distinct symptoms and brain features of PTSD and alcohol use disorder.
The findings, published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, present a new model for identifying biomarkers that may indicate a person with PTSD is more likely to develop alcohol use disorder.
"Having PTSD significantly increases the risk of developing alcohol use disorder, as individuals use alcohol to cope with stress and anxiety," said study author Dean Kirson from the Scripps Research Institute in the US.
Yet the underlying biology of comorbid disorders is generally not well understood.
"We hope our new knowledge of sex-specific changes in the brain will help propel the development of more targeted treatments," Kirson added.
Alcohol abuse disorder is also common, affecting some 15 million people in the US.
Those with stress and anxiety disorders such as PTSD are not only more likely to abuse alcohol, but also have increased alcohol withdrawal symptoms and relapse risk.
For the study, the research team examined behaviour, sleep patterns, inflammatory immune responses and levels of a neurotransmitter known as GABA (short for gamma-Aminobutyric acid), which lowers anxiety and increases feelings of relaxation and is a common feature of alcohol dependence.
For both male and female rats, traumatic stress and alcohol exacerbated other behaviours common in PTSD, such as social avoidance startle reactions and defensive behaviour.
Those who were identified as "drinking-vulnerable" prior to trauma most strongly showed avoidance of trauma-reminiscent places.
However, the scientists noted key differences in how males and females behave following trauma and saw markedly different patterns of GABA signalling.
For example, males showed increased GABA receptor function, while females showed increased GABA release.
The team also found that males exhibited an immune-based biomarker--small protein known as cytokines, which are secreted by immune cells--that determined vulnerability to an alcohol use disorder. The females did not.
"We identified profiles of specific cytokines, many not previously linked to stress behaviours, that strongly related to poor drinking outcomes," the authors wrote
"These may be important clinically or even mechanistically, but they were unique to males, so we have work ahead of us to find similar biomarkers for females," they noted. (IANS)
London, Oct 18 (IANS) Almost a quarter of health-care workers (23.4 per cent) experienced post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms during the most acute phase of the previous pandemic outbreaks -- with 11.9 per cent of front-line workers experiencing symptoms almost a year on, new research has revealed.Mental health problems such as PTSD, anxiety and depression are common among healthcare staff during and immediately after pandemics, according to researchers from the University of East Anglia (UEA) in the UK."Nurses, doctors, allied health professionals and all support staff based in hospitals where patients with Covid-19 are treated are facing considerable pressure, over a sustained period," said Professor Richard Meiser-Stedman from UEA's Norwich Medical School.Researchers investigated how treating patients in past pandemics such as SARS and MERS affected the mental health of front-line staff.They looked at data about elevated levels of mental distress and found that more than a third of health workers (34.1 per cent) experienced symptoms such as anxiety or depression during the acute phase, dropping to 17.9 per cent after six months.This figure however increased again to 29.3 per cent after 12 months or longer.The team hoped that their work will help highlight the impact that the Covid-19 pandemic could be having on the mental health of doctors and nurses around the world."In addition to the challenge of treating a large volume of severely unwell patients, front line staff also have to contend with threats to their own physical health through infection, particularly as they have had to face shortages of essential personal protective equipment," Meiser-Stedman said.The media has reported that healthcare workers treating coronavirus patients will face a 'tsunami' of mental health problems as a result of their work."We wanted to examine this by looking closely at the existing data from previous pandemics to better understand the potential impact of Covid-19," the authors wrote.They estimated the prevalence of common mental health disorders in health care workers based in pandemic-affected hospitals.They looked at 19 studies which included data predominantly from the SARS outbreak in Asia and Canada, and which tended to focus on the acute stage of the pandemic -- during and up to around six weeks after the pandemic."We found that post-traumatic stress symptoms were elevated during the acute phase of a pandemic and at 12 months post-pandemic," said trainee clinical psychologist Sophie Allan.--IANSna/in