Brain and Behavior

Psychology Around the Net: September 3, 2016

Here in the U.S., we're currently in the throes of Labor Day Weekend (and I'm at a local music and arts festival, celebrating!).

Labor Day is the first Monday of September, and although it gives us a nice little three-day weekend, it's about much more than that: Labor Day honors our country's labor movement and "constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country."

So, Happy Labor Day! I hope you're doing something to celebrate all your hard work and, once you get a chance, check out this week's latest in how your mood affects whether you live in the moment or the future, the new warning labels regarding opioid use with other medications, what your choice between iPhones and Androids says about your personality, and more!

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When You Put on a Happy Face but You’re Really Depressed

When we think of people with clinical depression, we think of individuals who are overtly sad -- a permanent frown etched onto their face. We think of people who can’t get out of bed and have a hard time working and performing tasks. People who look exhausted and disheveled. People who are withdrawn and isolate themselves.

Sometimes this is accurate. Sometimes, this is how depression manifests.

But other times, the face of depression is actually that of a happy person.
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Words of Hope for Anyone Struggling with Depression

One of the worst parts about depression -- and there are certainly many -- is that it robs you of hope. Hope that you’ll actually feel better. Hope that the darkness will lift. Hope that the emptiness will fill up and you’ll feel motivated and excited. Hope that it won’t be like this forever. Hope that you’ll get through it.

“I’ve been struggling with depression for almost 35 years,” said Douglas Cootey, who pens the award-winning blog
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Anxiety and Panic

Exercise Helps Your Mental Health, Depression & Anxiety: Now What?

At least once, your doctor or therapist has probably urged you -- get out and exercise more. It's the kind of simplistic advice that professionals feel good about doling out, because it's so easy to do. Exercise helps improve your mental health, and can reduce anxiety and depression symptoms.

But as anyone who's heard this advice knows, it's so much easier to recommend than do. While exercise can help our mental health, it can be hard to put into action without motivation. Moreover, a person who is depressed or anxious may find motivation, well, lacking.

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The Many Conditions that Mimic Depression

Finding the right diagnosis for any disorder requires a comprehensive evaluation. Indeed, many illnesses share many of the same symptoms.

Take symptoms such as headache, stomachache, dizziness, fatigue, lethargy, insomnia and appetite loss. There are countless conditions with these exact indications.

Similarly, many mental illnesses share the same symptoms, said Stephanie Smith, PsyD, a psychologist in practice in Erie, Colo., who specializes in working with individuals with depression. Which makes “the process of diagnosing mental illness tricky, to say the least.”
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Don’t Let Depression Steal Your Sexuality

Just work with me here...

I’ve been having a hard time writing these last couple of weeks. New insurance led to a switch in which particular generic form of my antidepressant I received, and lo and behold, the different one isn’t quite getting the job done.

I’ve been a bit weepy (ok, more than a bit -- pretty much anything involving dads gets me choked up...just happened while I was typing that) and a bit brain-foggy. I'm having a hard time focusing or getting stuff done (sorry if I owe you an email!). And I need to take occasional sobbing breaks while I am also getting hit with intermittent waves of free-floating guilt and paranoia.

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15 Quotes to Inspire People with Chronic Illness

Being sick is no fun. We all know that. But being chronically ill while maintaining a pleasant disposition is a daunting task even for the Greek gods. Every biological response in your body wants to lean into the creeping despair you feel. But by doing that with regularity, you'll soon feel as if you’ve given up entirely on life. You no longer have the strength to try to tease apart threads of joy from the suffocating blanket of pain that covers you.

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