Talk Therapy Best For Social Anxiety Disorder

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Talk Therapy – Not Medication – Best for Social Anxiety Disorder, Large Study Finds

By John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Anxiety girlWhile antidepressants are the most commonly used treatment for social anxiety disorder, new research suggests that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is more effective form of Anxiety disorder treatment and, unlike medication, can have lasting effects long after treatment has stopped.

Social anxiety disorder is a psychiatric condition characterized by intense fear and avoidance of social situations and affects up to 13 percent of Americans and Europeans. Most people never receive treatment for the disorder. For those who do, medication is the more accessible treatment because there is a shortage of trained psychotherapists.

The findings of the study, a network meta-analysis that collected and analyzed data from 101 clinical trials comparing multiple types of medication and talk therapy, are published online Sept. 26 in The Lancet Psychiatry.

“Social anxiety is more than just shyness,” says study leader Evan Mayo-Wilson, DPhil, a research scientist in the Department of Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “People with this disorder can experience severe impairment, from shunning friendships to turning down promotions at work that would require increased social interaction. The good news from our study is that social anxiety is treatable. Now that we know what works best, we need to improve access to psychotherapy for those who are suffering.”

The research was a collaboration between the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Oxford University and University College London, where Mayo-Wilson formerly worked.

For the study, Mayo-Wilson and his colleagues analyzed data from 13,164 participants in 101 clinical trials. The participants all had severe and longstanding social anxiety. Approximately 9,000 received medication or a placebo pill, and more than 4,000 received a psychological intervention. Few of the trials looked at combining medication with talk therapy, and there was no evidence that combined therapy was better than talk therapy alone.

The data compared several different types of talk therapy and found individual CBT was the most effective. CBT is a form of treatment that focuses on relationships between thoughts, feelings and behaviors. It helps people challenge irrational fears and overcome their avoidance of social situations, Mayo-Wilson says.

For people who don’t want talk therapy, or who lack access to CBT, the most commonly used antidepressants — selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) — are effective, the researchers found.

But they caution that medication can be associated with serious adverse events, that it doesn’t work at all for many people and that improvements in symptoms do not last after people stop taking the pills.

The researchers acknowledge that medication remains important but say it should be used as a second-line therapy for people who do not respond to or do not want psychological therapy. The group’s analysis has already led to new treatment guidelines guidance in the United Kingdom and, Mayo-Wilson says, it could have a significant impact on policymaking and the organization of care in the United States.

Social anxiety disorder typically begins in adolescence or early adulthood, and it can severely impair a person’s daily functioning by impeding the formation of relationships, by negatively affecting performance at work or school and by reducing overall quality of life. Because it strikes people at critical times in their social and educational development, social anxiety disorder can have important and lasting consequences.

“Greater investment in psychological therapies would improve quality of life, increase workplace productivity, and reduce health care costs,” Mayo-Wilson says. “The health care system does not treat mental health equitably, but meeting demand isn’t simply a matter of getting insurers to pay for psychological services. We need to improve infrastructure to treat mental health problems as the evidence shows they should be treated. We need more programs to train clinicians, more experienced supervisors who can work with new practitioners, more offices, and more support staff.”

“Psychological and Pharmacological Interventions for Social Anxiety Disorder in Adults: A Systematic Review and Network Meta-Analysis,” was written by Evan Mayo-Wilson, Sofia Dias, Ifigeneia Mavranezouli, Kayleigh Kew, David M. Clark, AE Ades, and Stephen Pilling.

The study was funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in England and Wales.

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Photo: By Maxwell GS on Flickr [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The Good News About Marriage

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The Good News About Marriage: Shaunti Feldhahn Interview

By Joy Eggerichs & Shaunti Feldhahn

THE 50% DIVORCE STATISTIC IS FALSE, FOLKS!!!

I don’t usually demand things, but I’m going to today. You must read Shaunti’s book or watch this interview I did with her. I’m literally telling everyone about her findings because it’s EXACTLY what my generation needs to hear. 

An entire session of The Illumination Project is based off the question, “Should we have hope for marriage?” It’s difficult to figure out the answer today when we’re only hearing the depressing stats about divorce and happiness in marriage. We’re left wondering if we should put our heart out on the line and go out on that date with the person we are on the fence about anyways, orrrr stay in our marriage when it gets a bit bumpy.

There’s good news–many of the stats that have been floating around for years are literally crap. (Sorry, mom.) This little conspiracy theorist (that is, me, not Shaunti) is picturing some crazy divorce lawyer who decided years ago to leak “bad news” so people would assume it was hopeless, give up and call him.

Ok, so maybe I’ve gone a little nuts, but Shaunti hasn’t. Listen in to her wisdom and expertise! And meet her cat, because he’s pretty pumped about this, too.

THE SKIP-AHEAD NOTES (but you shouldn’t…):

0:00 – Who is on the cover of The Good News About Marriage?
2:56 – Debunking the myth that 50% of marriages end in divorce
5:08 – The common denominator that decides whether a marriage makes it. (Hope and the culture-wide feeling of futility)
7:26 –  Understanding divorce rate statistics
8:53 –  Who is at a higher risk for divorce?
9:20 – The real divorce rate.
11:49 – Asking a stranger, “What percentage of marriages do you think are happy?”
14:40 – Will divorce make you happier?
17:54 – One thing women can assume in marriage – and it’s not necessarily good.
19:07 – Intoducing Shaunti’s domestic cat and Joy’s feral cats
20:20 – Answers to the question, “Are you generally happy about your marriage?”
22:28 – Married people, chill out!
23:49 – Dating people, chill out!
25:03 – How many care deeply about their spouse? 99.375%
27:22 – The game changer that Shaunti and Emerson both agree on + a story
29:55 – 180 pages can save a marriage
31:05 – When Joy read The Good News About Marriage
32:14 – Good news on divorce rates of people of faith
36:20 – Living in community and living relationships in the light
37:50 – Strengthsfinder 2.0
39:43 – Joy’s conspiracy theorist heart and debunking stats from the U.S. Census Bureau
43:57 – Sometimes it’s death, not divorce
45:31 – Sliding vs. deciding and living together before marriage
49:15 – Joy’s take on, “If you wouldn’t buy a used car without driving it, why would you not live together before marriage?
49:57 – The perfect age for marriage
53:23 – Fear of marriage and spiritual talk
54:39 – Taking a step towards dating
55:48 – All of Shaunti’s books started with a fiction novel

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The divorce rate has been declining overall for years; it has declined 32% since its peak around 1980.

 -Shaunti Feldhahn,
The Good News About Marriage

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The Good News About Marriage - Shaunti FeldhahnHey! Shaunti has written a lot of books and studies. We’ve compiled alllllll of her books in a list for you.

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Shaunti Shaunti Feldhahnreceived her graduate degree from Harvard University and was an analyst on Wall Street before unexpectedly becoming a social researcher and best-selling author.  Today, she applies her analytical skills to investigating eye-opening, life-changing truths about relationships, both at home and in the workplace.  Her groundbreaking research-based books, such as For Women Only, have sold more than 2 million copies in 23 languages and are widely read in homes, counseling centers and corporations worldwide.

Self-Talk is Important

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Our self-talk – the things we tell ourselves based upon our assumptions and core beliefs about ourselves, others, and the world – is incredibly important.  Our self-talk has the ability to impact our emotions, our behaviors, and our physical health.

To receive help on improving your self-talk, call CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003.

self talk

National Depression Screening Day

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Tomorrow is National Depression Screening Day

National Depression Screening DayNational Depression Screening Day is held during Mental Illness Awareness Week each October. It is designed to call attention to the illness of depression on a national level, educate the public about its symptoms and effective treatments, offer individuals the opportunity to be screened for depression, and connect those in need of treatment to the mental health care system.

Starting with only 90 sites in its first year, the Screening Day program has grown to reach more than 85,000 people at 3,000 sites nationwide. This year MHAFC will be offering in-person screenings from 9-11 AM  at the following Columbus Neighborhood Health Center locations:

John R. Maloney Columbus Neighborhood Health Center
3781 S. High Street
Columbus OH 43207

Columbus West Family Health and Wellness Center
2300 West Broad Street
Columbus, Ohio 43204

We also offer a confidential screening tool on our website for anyone interested in taking the screening online. 

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For more information or help with depression, contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003.

Great News for Those Reading Non-Digital Books

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If you struggle with memory or comprehension, reading is a great mental exercise to strengthen those faculties.

As we are more and more submerged in the digital age, and as more people are starting to read books and news via the internet or a digital reading device, the question arises, “Is reading a digital book as helpful as reading an actual physical book?”

There have been arguments about the benefits of both categories, but now there has been a scientific study showing that holding a real, physical, non-digital book in your hands is better for you in the areas of stress, empathy, and sleep.  The article below explains the study.

Open Book Reading

Science Has Great News for People Who Read Actual Books

By Rachel Grate

‘s no secret that reading is good for you. Just six minutes of reading is enough to reduce stress by 68%, and numerous studies have shown that reading keeps your brain functioning effectively as you age. One study even found that elderly individuals who read regularly are 2.5 times less likely to develop Alzheimer’s than their peers. But not all forms of reading are created equal.

The debate between paper books and e-readers has been vicious since the first Kindle came out in 2007. Most arguments have been about the sentimental versus the practical, between people who prefer how paper pages feel in their hands and people who argue for the practicality of e-readers. But now science has weighed in, and the studies are on the side of paper books. 

Reading in print helps with comprehension. 

A 2014 study found that readers of a short mystery story on a Kindle were significantly worse at remembering the order of events than those who read the same story in paperback. Lead researcher Anne Mangen of Norway’s Stavanger University concluded that “the haptic and tactile feedback of a Kindle does not provide the same support for mental reconstruction of a story as a print pocket book does.”

Our brains were not designed for reading, but have adapted and created new circuits to understand letters and texts. The brain reads by constructing a mental representation of the text based on the placement of the page in the book and the word on the page. 

The tactile experience of a book aids this process, from the thickness of the pages in your hands as you progress through the story to the placement of a word on the page. Mangen hypothesizes that the difference for Kindle readers “might have something to do with the fact that the fixity of a text on paper, and this very gradual unfolding of paper as you progress through a story is some kind of sensory offload, supporting the visual sense of progress when you’re reading.”

While e-readers try to recreate the sensation of turning pages and pagination, the screen is limited to one ephemeral virtual page. Surveys about the use of e-readers suggest that this affects a reader’s serendipity and sense of control. The inability to flip back to previous pages or control the text physically, either through making written notes or bending pages, limits one’s sensory experience and thus reduces long-term memory of the text. 

Reading long sentences without links is a skill you need — but can lose if you don’t practice. 

Reading long, literary sentences sans links and distractions is actually a serious skill that you lose if you don’t use it. Before the Internet, the brain read in a linear fashion, taking advantage of sensory details to remember where key information was in the book by layout. 

As we increasingly read on screens, our reading habits have adapted to skim text rather than really absorb the meaning. A 2006 study found that people read on screens in an “F” pattern, reading the entire top line but then only scanning through the text along the left side of the page. This sort of nonlinear reading reduces comprehension and actually makes it more difficult to focus the next time you sit down with a longer piece of text.

Tufts University neuroscientist Maryanne Wolf worries that “the superficial way we read during the day is affecting us when we have to read with more in-depth processing.” Individuals are increasingly finding it difficult to sit down and immerse themselves in a novel. As a result, some researchers and literature-lovers have started a “slow reading” movement, as a way to counteract their difficulty making it through a book. 

Reading in a slow, focused, undistracted way is good for your brain.

Slow-reading advocates recommend at least 30 to 45 minutes of daily reading away from the distractions of modern technology. By doing so, the brain can reengage with linear reading. The benefits of making slow reading a regular habit are numerous, reducing stress and improving your ability to concentrate. 

Regular reading also increases empathy, especially when reading a print book. One study discovered that individuals who read an upsetting short story on an iPad were less empathetic and experienced less transportation and immersion than those who read on paper. 

Reading an old-fashioned novel is also linked to improving sleep. When many of us spend our days in front of screens, it can be hard to signal to our body that it’s time to sleep. By reading a paper book about an hour before bed, your brain enters a new zone, distinct from that enacted by reading on an e-reader. 

Three-quarters of Americans 18 and older report reading at least one book in the past year, a number which has fallen, and e-books currently make up between 15 to 20% of all book sales. In this increasingly Twitter- and TV-centric world, it’s the regular readers, the ones who take a break from technology to pick up a paper book, who have a serious advantage on the rest of us. 

How to Deal with Emotional Vampires

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emotional vampireEmotional vampires.  They are out there.  If you encounter an emotional vampire – a person who consistently drains you of your emotional energy whenever you are with them – how do you manage the situation wisely?

These people sometimes do not know that they are draining you dry.  There are situations that you can simply avoid them.  But sometimes they are loved ones and sometimes they are your coworkers.  What now?

Listen to Julie Hanks, LCSW describe the various types of emotional vampires and her suggestions on managing them and the situations:

If you are having trouble dealing with an emotional vampire, or if you think you may be acting like an emotional vampire and would like help, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003.

Free Marriage Audio Book (October Offer)

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Free.  Believe it or not, there are some things in life that are still free.

He Wins She Wins MarriageBooks (print, electronic, and audio) are great ways to help you reach your goals in counseling and in life in general.  In fact, there is a counseling term for it: bibliotherapy.   So, check out this free audio book offer:

Once a month, the website christianaudio.com gives out a free audio book.

For the month of October, the book He Wins, She Wins: Learning the Art of Marital Negotiation by Willard F. Harley, Jr. is available to download in MP3 or M4B formats.   Harley has written other books on marriage, the best known marriage book he has written is His Needs, Her Needs: Building an Affair-Proof Marriage.

Here is a portion of the book’s description from amazon.com:

When you get married, you expect your relationship to be a partnership in which you make decisions and face the world together, united. But often a husband’s perspective and a wife’s perspective on the same issue can be very different and unity in decision making can be tough. Should spouses take turns getting their way? Should they compromise? Can they avoid making decisions altogether? Dr. Harley says there’s a better way–a way in which both partners get what they want and believe is best every time.

In He Wins, She Wins, Dr. Harley…walks couples through the five most common sources of conflict in marriage, (friends and family, career and time management, finances, children, and sex), applying the joint agreement rule in every situation. And he teaches readers how to resolve conflicts the right way, so that not only are those conflicts resolved once and for all but the couple’s love for one another actually grows and is sustained for the rest of their lives.