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No, Eating Chocolate Won’t Cure Depression

A recent study published in the journal Depression and Anxiety has attracted widespread media attention. Media reports said eating chocolate, in particular, dark chocolate, was linked to reduced symptoms of depression.

A recent study published in the journal Depression and Anxiety has attracted widespread media attention. Media reports said eating chocolate, in particular, dark chocolate, was linked to reduced symptoms of depression.

Unfortunately, we cannot use this type of evidence to promote eating chocolate as a safeguard against depression, a serious, common and sometimes debilitating mental health condition.

This is because this study looked at an association between diet and depression in the general population. It did not gauge causation. In other words, it was not designed to say whether eating dark chocolate caused a reduction in depressive symptoms.


Read more: What causes depression? What we know, don’t know and suspect


What did the researchers do?

The authors explored data from the United States National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. This shows how common health, nutrition and other factors are among a representative sample of the population.

People in the study reported what they had eaten in the previous 24 hours in two ways. First, they recalled in person, to a trained dietary interviewer using a standard questionnaire. The second time they recalled what they had eaten over the phone, several days after the first recall.

The researchers then calculated how much chocolate participants had eaten using the average of these two recalls.

Dark chocolate needed to contain at least 45% cocoa solids for it to count as “dark”.


Read more: Explainer: what is memory?


The researchers excluded from their analysis people who ate an implausibly large amount of chocolate, people who were underweight and/or had diabetes.

The remaining data (from 13,626 people) was then divided in two ways. One was by categories of chocolate consumption (no chocolate, chocolate but no dark chocolate, and any dark chocolate). The other way was by the amount of chocolate (no chocolate, and then in groups, from the lowest to highest chocolate consumption).


Read more: Monday’s medical myth: chocolate is an aphrodisiac


The researchers assessed people’s depressive symptoms by having participants complete a short questionnaire asking about the frequency of these symptoms over the past two weeks.

The researchers controlled for other factors that might influence any relationship between chocolate and depression, such as weight, gender, socioeconomic factors, smoking, sugar intake and exercise.

What did the researchers find?

Of the entire sample, 1,332 (11%) of people said they had eaten chocolate in their two 24 hour dietary recalls, with only 148 (1.1%) reporting eating dark chocolate.

A total of 1,009 (7.4%) people reported depressive symptoms. But after adjusting for other factors, the researchers found no association between any chocolate consumption and depressive symptoms.

Few people said they’d eaten any chocolate in the past 24 hours. Were they telling the truth? from www.shutterstock.com

However, people who ate dark chocolate had a 70% lower chance of reporting clinically relevant depressive symptoms than those who did not report eating chocolate.

When investigating the amount of chocolate consumed, people who ate the most chocolate were more likely to have fewer depressive symptoms.

What are the study’s limitations?

While the size of the dataset is impressive, there are major limitations to the investigation and its conclusions.

First, assessing chocolate intake is challenging. People may eat different amounts (and types) depending on the day. And asking what people ate over the past 24 hours (twice) is not the most accurate way of telling what people usually eat.

Then there’s whether people report what they actually eat. For instance, if you ate a whole block of chocolate yesterday, would you tell an interviewer? What about if you were also depressed?

This could be why so few people reported eating chocolate in this study, compared with what retail figures tell us people eat.


Read more: These 5 foods are claimed to improve our health. But the amount we’d need to consume to benefit is… a lot


Finally, the authors’ results are mathematically accurate, but misleading.

Only 1.1% of people in the analysis ate dark chocolate. And when they did, the amount was very small (about 12g a day). And only two people reported clinical symptoms of depression and ate any dark chocolate.

The authors conclude the small numbers and low consumption “attests to the strength of this finding”. I would suggest the opposite.

Finally, people who ate the most chocolate (104-454g a day) had an almost 60% lower chance of having depressive symptoms. But those who ate 100g a day had about a 30% chance. Who’d have thought four or so more grams of chocolate could be so important?

This study and the media coverage that followed are perfect examples of the pitfalls of translating population-based nutrition research to public recommendations for health.

My general advice is, if you enjoy chocolate, go for darker varieties, with fruit or nuts added, and eat it mindfully. — Ben Desbrow


Blind peer review

Chocolate manufacturers have been a good source of funding for much of the research into chocolate products.

While the authors of this new study declare no conflict of interest, any whisper of good news about chocolate attracts publicity. I agree with the author’s scepticism of the study.

Just 1.1% of people in the study ate dark chocolate (at least 45% cocoa solids) at an average 11.7g a day. There was a wide variation in reported clinically relevant depressive symptoms in this group. So, it is not valid to draw any real conclusion from the data collected.

For total chocolate consumption, the authors accurately report no statistically significant association with clinically relevant depressive symptoms.

However, they then claim eating more chocolate is of benefit, based on fewer symptoms among those who ate the most.

In fact, depressive symptoms were most common in the third-highest quartile (who ate 100g chocolate a day), followed by the first (4-35g a day), then the second (37-95g a day) and finally the lowest level (104-454g a day). Risks in sub-sets of data such as quartiles are only valid if they lie on the same slope.

The basic problems come from measurements and the many confounding factors. This study can’t validly be used to justify eating more chocolate of any kind. — Rosemary Stanton


Research Checks interrogate newly published studies and how they’re reported in the media. The analysis is undertaken by one or more academics not involved with the study, and reviewed by another, to make sure it’s accurate.

Associate Professor, Nutrition and Dietetics, Griffith University

Rosemary Stanton is a Friend of The Conversation.

Visiting Fellow, School of Medical Sciences, UNSW

Source: No, eating chocolate won’t cure depression

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I’m Not Broken, But I’m Definitely Glitching

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They’re right. I’m not broken. It’s not that I can’t be fixed. It’s not that I can’t overcome my anxiety. It’s not that there is no hope and I should just be thrown out like the pieces of my favorite porcelain mug that I accidentally dropped. I can be put back together and there’s a great possibility that I will one day return to my former, non-anxiety-filled self.

I’m not broken, but I’m definitely glitching.

definition of the word glitch

I can’t wake up, get myself ready for the day and get things done, without some sort of malfunction. Anxiety has been a constant disruption in my daily life, for years now.

Some days it’s the inability to stop working long enough for a little self-care. Other days, my anxiety level is so high, I have to lay down or cry, or a combination of the two. Then, there are the days when I have errands to run, but have to continuously tell myself that I won’t have a panic attack while we’re on our way to the store, inside of the store, or on the way home from the store.

I’m not broken, but I’m definitely not ok.

My mind’s first reaction to just about any invitation, experience or opportunity is fear. Pure fear. Fear that I’ll have a panic attack in front of people. Fear that they will talk about me. Fear that they will stare. Fear that my kids will witness it. Fear of how far our car will be from wherever we are and whether or not I can get back to it quickly, if I need to. Fear of waiting on a line that might be one minute too long and I’ll have to walk out of the store, because the anticipation of the anxiety attack has already overcome me and I know I can’t come back from that.

I know I’m not broken, but sometimes I don’t believe it.

Every morning, I tell myself that this is not permanent. Nothing in life is. Tomorrow will be better. I will overcome something big today and celebrate my victories, no matter how small. With each victory, every obstacle ahead will seem easier and easier. I don’t have to settle for what anxiety has brought into my days.

I’m not broken. I’m just glitching and glitches can be fixed.

When a computer glitches, we restart or reset it. I just need to restart myself, clear my memory of the thoughts and feelings that seem to be the root of the problem. If I can get rid of whatever combination of factors that created the glitch in the first place, I can restore myself to the time when I didn’t have a care in the world.

But what are they? How do I find them and more importantly, how do I drag them to the trash?

My faith is bigger than my anxiety.

I have faith that one day, those obstacles won’t be an issue anymore.

Fear won’t be an issue anymore.

Anxiety won’t be an issue anymore.

I refuse to believe that anxiety will cause a total system failure. I have too much life left to live. Too much to see. Too many places I want to travel to. Too much to say to too many others like me who are reading this and know exactly what I’m feeling.

We may be glitching, but we aren’t broken.

Heather is the Mom of three and a marketing professional. She enjoys graphic design, writing, photography and making new memories with her family.

My Parents’ Endless Rows Have Left Me Angry & Depressed

You are still carrying the scars from your upbringing, says Mariella Frostrup. Now your focus should be on yourself and how not to repeat the behaviours of your parents.

The dilemma I’m 22 years old and for as long as I can remember my parents have constantly had arguments in which they would be abusive to one another – mostly verbally, occasionally physically. As a teenager I struggled with my sexuality and coming out, and I had depression until I got treatment at university. Home didn’t provide respite and the constant rows made it worse.

I’d often get involved to try and make them stop, whereas my brother would retreat into his room to escape. In general, I’m happy, however I feel my ability to deal with conflict is damaged. I’m very passive and feel the need to please people. I worry about repeating these patterns when I have my own relationship. My brother also has mental health issues. Whenever I come home, they still argue and it never seems to improve. I feel angry at how selfish they were bringing up children through that, and I used to wish they’d get divorced, for all of our happiness. If I can’t change this, then what else can I do?

Mariella replies First, pity them. That’s three whole decades of dysfunctional partnership they’ve battled though. I appreciate that the reason you’ve written is to seek advice on how to escape the burden you continue to bear. It may sound over-optimistic, but shrugging off personal responsibility and learning from your parents’ mistakes rather than inheriting their predilection for pain are both entirely achievable goals.

Imagine how many missives I receive about bad parenting. As I said recently, I could quote Philip Larkin into next century and he’d still be the perennially appropriate choice. When it comes to parenting there are not only amateurs out there, but truly committed purveyors of discord with not a thought for those navigating the turbulent waters left in their stormy wake. The best you can hope for is that you can survive and thrive once you are liberated by honing your ability to learn from their flaws.

I used to elaborate on my damaged childhood until I heard stories that made my own experiences seem like kindergarten politics. It goes without saying that if the physical abuse was sustained or recurs, or the mental anguish continues to wreak havoc on either parent, then you must think about professional intervention.

The big mistake we all make is assuming that “professional” parents exist, that our experience is substantially different or that an idyllic segue from dependence into independence is a reasonable expectation. You and your sibling may well need to augment your coping skills as a result of your experiences. Your insecurities about coming out and your brother’s struggle with mental health issues are very likely to be connected (for help, refer him to Mind or the charity Family Lives on 0808 800 2222).

True emotional freedom is only possible once you banish any sense of culpability for your parents’ behavioural shortcomings and allow yourself the emotional space to become a distant and dispassionate observer. You can’t erase the damage they’ve already done, but you can certainly come to understand the emotional triggers that their warring created and manage them like you would any dysfunctional tendencies of your own.

The sins of our parents may seem as inescapable as our own, but I’ve never accepted the notion that what you are born into, or are subjected to in childhood should forever shape your experience of the world. We are all individuals with a unique opportunity to shape our lives as we desire, so learning from damage, rather than simply shouldering the burden, is incredibly important. Personal responsibility is something we don’t talk about enough in our blame-seeking society, as I’ve learned through travels to places where the hardships we experience still look like luxury.

Your letter provides further proof, however unnecessary, that the environment we are brought up in can have serious implications on how we go about our adult lives. It’s a responsibility that no budding parent can possibly imagine when the product of their physical passion turns into a living, breathing, vulnerable, judgmental human being.

As children we are dependent on our parents in a way we never will be again. We rely entirely on them to feed and clothe us, to love us, guide us, help us and hide us. What’s harder to imagine and certainly worth bearing in mind is that they are never perfect and often far from it.

Ponder on all the years they’ve squandered in a state of perpetual strife and then endeavour to ensure that you don’t repeat their behavioural patterns or let the legacy continue to impact on you in the way it has historically. It’s a tall order, but with focus and determination there’s very little we can’t overcome.

You might also want to copy them in on your beautifully articulate letter, or indeed this whole column, to ensure they know exactly what the toll of their indulgent skirmishes has been. If the damage is already done, you’ve nothing to lose.

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If you have a dilemma, send a brief email to mariella.frostrup@observer.co.uk.

Follow her on Twitter @mariellaf1

 

 

Source: My parents’ endless rows have left me angry and depressed | Mariella Frostrup | Life and style | The Guardian

New Study Indicates Link Between Gut Bacteria And Depression

A new study looking at the gut bacteria of over 1,000 people in Belgium has found a possible link between certain types of bacteria and depression.The study published today in Nature Microbiology combined data from the microbiomes of 1,054 people enrolled in the Flemish Gut Flora project with self-reported and physician-diagnosed depression data. Using bioinformatics analyses, the researchers were able to identify certain groups of bacteria, which were either positively or negatively correlated with mental health…………..

Source: New Study Indicates Link Between Gut Bacteria And Depression

We Need to Talk More About Mental Health at Work – Morra Aarons-Mele

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Alyssa Mastromonaco is no stranger to tough conversations: she served as White House deputy chief of staff for operations under President Obama, was an executive at Vice and A&E, and is Senior Advisor and spokesperson at NARAL Pro-Choice America. So when Mastromonaco switched to a new antidepressant, she decided to tell her boss. “I told the CEO that I was on Zoloft and was transitioning to Wellbutrin,” Mastromonaco said. “I can react strongly to meds, so I was worried switching would shift my mood and wanted her to know why…….

Read more: https://hbr.org/2018/11/we-need-to-talk-more-about-mental-health-at-work

 

 

 

 

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What Stress, Change, And Isolation Do To Your Brain – Christine Comaford

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Change happens. Adversity happens. Conflict happens. Then your brain and body tries to cope with it. Your brain releases stress hormones, like cortisol, which then fire up excessive cell-signaling cytokines which alter your physiology. Suddenly your ability to regulate your behavior and emotions is compromised. Your ability to pay attention is compromised, your memory, learning, peace, happiness are all compromised. Why? Because all that change has caused your system to be overloaded with stress…….

Read more: https://www.forbes.com/sites/christinecomaford/2018/10/20/what-stress-change-and-isolation-do-to-your-brain/#2f51c4481940

 

 

Your kindly Donations would be so effective in order to fulfill our future research and endeavors – Thank you

 

 

The Surprising Link Between Language and Depression – Emily Petsko

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Skim through the poems of Sylvia Plath, the lyrics of Kurt Cobain, or posts on an internet forum dedicated to depression, and you’ll probably start to see some commonalities. That’s because there’s a particular way that people with clinical depression communicate, whether they’re speaking or writing, and psychologists believe they now understand the link between the two. According to a recent study published in Clinical Psychological Science, there are certain “markers” in a person’s parlance that may point to symptoms of clinical depression……

Read more: http://mentalfloss.com/article/540559/surprising-link-between-language-and-depression

 

Your kindly Donations would be so effective in order to fulfill our future research and endeavors – Thank you

 

Why You Should Be Using Worry Time To Help Tackle Anxiety – Me Against Myself

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During my recent studies and research on anxiety I came across the notion of ‘Worry Time’. To begin with, this baffled me. Why would I put aside time to worry each day? Surely this seems counter-productive when you suffer with anxiety? Surely you don’t want to be having extra time to worry when you already suffer with anxiety? This isn’t the case at all. In fact, when I read about worry time I felt suspicious about whether or not this would work but nonetheless I decided to give it a go. In this article, I am going to describe the process of worry time and why I think it’s important and a great way to start tackling your anxiety……

Read more: https://meagainstmyself.blog/2018/09/18/why-you-should-be-using-worry-time-to-help-tackle-anxiety/

 

 

Your kindly Donations would be so effective in order to fulfill our future research and endeavors – Thank you

 

6 Ways To Cope With Depression & Lift Your Mood

how to cope with depression when you're feeling down

Some days, you just can’t bear to feel depressed for another minute. Are you looking for some things that you can do to help with depression when you simply can’t stay down?

Do you have days where you wake up depressed and wonder how you are going to get through your day? Where you know that you have to function but you just don’t know how?

When it comes to coping with depression, here are 6 things you can do right now to lift your mood and bring yourself out of it — even for just a few moments:

1. Get some exercise.

 

One of the quickest and most effective ways to alleviate depression is getting some exercise.

Exercise produces endorphins, which are chemicals that elevate your mood. So, simply put, it’s mighty difficult to be depressed when endorphins are racing through your body.

And don’t think that you have to go for a long run or hit the gym — although you certainly can. Research shows that all it takes is 30 minutes of exercise that raises your heart rate to get those endorphins raging.

So go for a walk, dance around your living room, and play with your kids. Do whatever you can do get that heart rate elevated and those endorphins activated.


RELATED: How To Deal With Depression And Anger At The Same Time


2. Eat a good breakfast.

Eating when you are depressed can seem almost impossible. But eating a healthy and protein-filled breakfast is an excellent way to elevate your mood.

Seratonin, another chemical mood enhancer, is produced by the breakdown of proteins in the body. Eating a protein-rich breakfast will, like exercise, produce chemicals in your body that alleviate depression.

So make yourself some eggs for breakfast. Or maybe some yogurt with fruit and nuts. Perhaps a chia seed pudding. Even cereal with milk will give you a good protein and serotonin boost first thing in the morning to get you on your way.

3. Have sex.

 

There are two things that happen when you have sex. The first is that you feel emotionally connected to someone and the second is that your orgasm generates all sorts of feel-good chemicals — chemicals that, once again, counteract that depressed feeling.

The other thing that happens is that sex keeps your mind off your depression and an excellent way to get rid of depression is to ignore it completely. Without your attention depression tends to slink away, unhappy that it isn’t occupying your every thought.

So have sex. You will be glad you did!

4. Schedule a coffee with a friend.

I know that when you are feeling depressed, getting out and talking with someone, anyone, seems daunting. But it has been proven that spending time with loved ones elevates one’s mood every time.

When we spend time with friends, the love, and laughter that we share trigger those feel-good chemicals, dopamine, and serotonin. So just by interacting with someone, sharing words and thoughts and laughs, you can raise your mood.


RELATED: 5 Ways To Hold Up Your End Of The Relationship When You Have Depression


5. Smile.

 

Did you know that the act of smiling actually elevates one’s mood?

The act of smiling, of your muscles working together to turn your mouth upwards, activates the release of those mood-enhancing chemicals — dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin. Once again, your body will be flooded with things that will reduce your depression immediately.

6. Do something nice for someone else.

An excellent way to lift your depression is to do something nice for someone else.

This world that we live in can be a very challenging place, with people rushing around with their own agendas, caught up in their worries. You are probably that way too.

So think about what it feels like when someone does something nice for you.

How about that gentleman who opened the door for you? Or the barista who put an extra shot in your cup, no charge. Or the lady who ushered you forward in the grocery line because you only had one item. Didn’t those small things make you feel great?

Do those kinds of small things for someone else and make someone else’s life a better place. By doing so, you will once again activate those feel-good chemicals in your body, ones that will wash that depression away.

So you see, there are things that you can do to help get rid of depression when you simply can’t be down.

Get some exercise, eat well, fool around, hang out with friends, smile and help others. All of those things will take you outside of yourself and make you feel better.

You can do it!

However, if your depression doesn’t get lifted, or it comes back, it is essential that you see your primary care doctor right away, to make sure that it doesn’t get worse and so that you can be happy.


RELATED: 5 Things You Must Try Before Turning To Mood-Boosting Medicines


Mitzi Bockmann is an NYC-based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. She works exclusively with women to help them to be all that they want to be in this crazy world in which we live. Contact her for help or email her at mitzi@letyourdreamsbegin.com.

lifehack.org | Anxiety vs Depression: What’s the Difference and How to Deal with Them? — mukeshbalani.com

mukeshbalani.com | “You heard it here first…if you haven’t already heard it elsewhere”… Anxiety vs Depression: What’s the Difference and How to Deal with Them? Mental health awareness has come a long way in the past few years. Yet whilst anxiety, depression and the like are talked about far more now than they ever were, […]

via lifehack.org | Anxiety vs Depression: What’s the Difference and How to Deal with Them? — mukeshbalani.com

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