Month: August 2015

Five Things To Know To Keep Your Relationship Alive

As human beings we often find that our lives are structured around relationships. These include our relationships with our families, friends, co-workers, peers, and significant others. For the latter relationship, many of us may expend extra time and energy into not only finding a significant other, but in trying to make the relationship work as well. There are many reasons why some relationships simply don’t work out. Some of the most common issues are incompatibility, trust issues, poor communication, and different priorities, to name a few. However, what many of us may not realize is that certain characteristics we may initially consider positive in a relationship, are actually problems in disguise.

Here are 5 common but surprising reasons relationships fail:

1. Too Compatible

Many of us believe that the key to any successful relationship is compatibility – and this is true! After all, who doesn’t want a like-minded partner with whom one can get along and share common interests with? So where is the problem? Unfortunately, there is such a thing as being “too compatible”, and this usually occurs when the elements of compatibility are based on immature, rather than mature, characteristics possessed by either party. If a couple is similar in the ways in which they are immature, this can lead to problems. For example, two lifestyle abusing and risk-taking persons may facilitate and encourage one another’s self-destructive habits, or two insecure and anxious persons may form a co-dependent relationship or magnify each other’s insecurities.

The key to a successful relationship is to find someone with whom you are not only compatible, but compatible in the sense that you each elicit each other’s more mature tendencies versus the destructive, immature ones. In this way, both similarity-based and “opposites attract” relationships can be successful.

2. Using Sex to Mask Issues

A good, healthy sex life can be a mutually enjoyable aspect of any sexual relationship. As such, sex can be a good way to build intimacy, trust, and reinforce bonds between couples. However, sex can be problematic if it is used as a method of masking or avoiding problems. Some couples may use sex in response to issues or disagreements instead of actually facing the problem itself. In this way, rather than being dealt with, whatever issues the couple may have been dealing with are instead pushed to the background where they are neglected and left to fester.

Unfortunately, many may have the misconception that good sex automatically equals a good relationship. While sexual compatibility can be important, it is not the sole qualifying characteristic in what defines a good relationship. Eventually, if a couple’s sex life becomes less active, the issues which were previously avoided will inevitably rise to the forefront en masse, becoming a much larger problem than they would have likely been before if they had been dealt with individually as they occurred. When this happens, arguments can be explosive and unresolved tension can lead to the dissolution of the relationship.

3. Avoiding Problems to Avoid Arguments

I think we’ve all at some point heard someone proclaim “we never argue!” in regards to their relationship with their partner. In fact, perhaps we are that person. Communication professor and life coach Preston Ni of Psychology Today states: “I’ve been teaching communication and helping people improve relationships for twenty-five years. During this time, I’ve met many highly successful couples (partners in a happy relationship for twenty or more years). Without exception, all of them argue from time to time.” So what does it mean to claim to not argue? Well firstly, conflicts and arguments will not necessarily put a relationship in jeopardy. Successful couples can solve problems as they arise and let them go without attacking one another. Moreover, they have the capacity to learn and grow from these occasional difficulties which then strengthens their relationship with one another.

Conversely, couples who claim to never argue are usually those who are together for a relatively short while, usually five years or less, and who at once claim that their relationship is ideal only to, at a later date, announce that they are no longer together. Why is this? It seems as though if the relationship is not ideal then there’s no relationship at all. The truth is that never arguing does not mean a relationship is without problems, it simply means that whatever problems that may exist are being ignored or pushed away rather than dealt with. Once again, by avoiding problems, you’re really allowing them to accumulate until they become unbearable. This results in a rude awakening, usually in the form of a failed relationship.

4. Being Too Attached

It is natural and healthy to feel a certain attachment to those whom you care about, especially in romantic relationships. However, there comes a point when attachment exceeds normal, healthy boundaries and becomes excessive. Researchers Bartholomew and Horowitz note that there is a style of attachment known as Anxious-Preoccupied that is not conducive to maintaining a healthy relationship. One who is Anxious-Preoccupied may desire to spend as much time as possible with their partner due to the insecurity they experience when alone. Furthermore, these individuals are prone to experiencing negative emotions within the relationship which necessitates constant reassurance to make them feel safe and good about themselves. This can be overwhelming for the partners of those who are Anxious-Preoccupied as they can often give the impression of being too clingy, needy, or possessive. Remember that while attachment is acceptable, over-attachment can be unhealthy. Everyone needs space and the key to being in a successful relationship with another person is to begin with developing a healthy relationship with oneself.

5. Being Too Nice

While kindness is always appreciated, there can be a thing as being too nice in a relationship. This is especially true when one’s kindness and affection is taken for granted by someone who doesn’t demonstrate gratitude or reciprocate. Ni explains: “The economy runs on the law of supply demand: The more something is available in abundance, the less values it has. The same rule applies to the economy of human relations. In the presence of a self-centered and inconsiderate mate, the more a nice person gives thanklessly, the less [they’re] valued.” Thus, it is important for any healthy and successful relationship to know how to set boundaries and to respect them so that kindness may be appreciated but not taken advantage of.

Faking Intimacy in Long Term Relationships

I’m sure we’re all at least vaguely familiar with the idea of faking orgasms or sexual response. This is often parodied on television and in movies, usually portrayed by women faking satisfaction with their male partners. This dishonesty, however, can mean constructing an artificial barrier between oneself and one’s partner at the exact moment when we should be at our most emotionally open and authentic. After all, this brings up the issue of not only faking orgasm but, on a deeper level, the problem of faking intimacy.

It is possible to love others in a number of ways, from the truly devoted and passionate to the superficially infatuated. Intimacy, though, is something else entirely. According to the psychosocialist Erik Erikson and his personality theory, intimacy is a developmental issue which is usually confronted by young adults once they’ve established their sense of identity. As Dr. Susan Krauss Whitbourne, author and professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, states: “True intimacy, in the Eriksonian sense, involves sharing much- but not all- of your identity with your partner. If you think of a Venn diagram, true intimacy would occur when there’s perhaps a 50% overlap between the two circles representing the identity of you and your partner.”

The Three Components of Intimacy

Years ago, Dr. Whitbourne conducted a study with doctoral student Joyce Ebmeyer in which identity and intimacy in married couples were examined. They developed a model based on Erikson’s theory in which they defined intimacy on three “C” dimensions: communication, commitment and closeness. Being high on the communication dimension means that one can talk openly and honestly with their partner. To be high on the commitment dimension means that one has made the decision to stay in a long-term relationship with their partner. High closeness means that one feels closer to their partner than anyone else.

According to Dr. Whitbourne, it is by using these three dimensions that you can “map the intimacy” of any couple. She explains: “ People high on communication and closeness, but not commitment, enjoy each other’s company but don’t feel that they want to (for the moment) decide whether to stick together. Being high on communication and commitment means that you’re in a long-term relationship and find it easy to talk to each other, but you don’t feel particularly close now even though you might have at one time. Finally, being high on closeness and commitment means that you feel that you and your partner are psychologically on the same page, want to stay together, but find it hard to talk to each other at other than a superficial level.”

Can Intimacy be Faked?

It is within this framework that one can begin to see how intimacy could potentially be faked. In relationships which demonstrate high commitment but low levels of closeness and communication, the desire to remain in the relationship may be there, but the relationship itself may feel hollow and empty. Moreover, if communication is high in a committed relationship but closeness is low, the couple may be able to communicate things such as what to have for dinner or who is picking up the kids after work, and even when to schedule sex, but the lack of closeness in the relationship is what ultimately leads to faking intimacy; what Dr. Whitbourne and Ebmeyer called “pseudo-intimacy”.

Why Do We Fear Intimacy?

Trying to define a relationship within these dimensions can be difficult, but it becomes even more so when you consider that individual intimacy levels may vary. Each partner may demonstrate higher characteristics of one dimension versus another, making it difficult to classify the intimacy status of the couple as a whole. But ultimately, this model shows that it is in fact possible to fake intimacy. The next question, however, would be why? Researchers studying the fear of intimacy believe that anxiety is in part responsible for why people avoid closeness.

One reason for this may stem from a fear of losing the self in the process of becoming close. Erikson proposes in his theory that to be truly intimate one must be secure in their own identity. This security in ourselves is what allows us to feel comfortable with merging a portion of our identity with others within a relationship without fearing that we will lose our own identity in the process.

Compatible Fears and Intimate Relationships

Maria Pedro Sobal, a psychologist at the University of Porto, Portugal, and her collaborators divided fear of intimacy into two categories: fear of the loss of the other, or FLO, and fear of the loss of self, or FLS. Using an online sample of 276 heterosexual couples aged 18-55, of whom half were married, Sobal and her team looked at how each partner matched in FLS or FLO to predict relationship satisfaction. This is because, as Dr. Whitbourne explains, “According to similarity theory of relationships, people should be most satisfied if their own fear of intimacy matches that of their partner. Although fear of intimacy should be negatively related to relationship satisfaction, if you and your partner prefer distance rather than closeness, then it should be the match that counts the most in predicting how satisfied you feel with each other.”

But as it turns out, the answer really depends on who you ask. Interestingly, for men, not women, fearing intimacy does not necessarily doom their relationship satisfaction. Men who were high in FLS were well matched with women who were also high in FLS. However, men who were high in loss of FLO were shown to be more satisfied with women who were low in FLS. By analyzing this data in terms of couples, not individuals, Sobal and her collaborators were able to examine fear of intimacy in two forms. In doing so, they discovered that, at least for men, faking intimacy, or being in a relationship without being too close, worked best when their partners were faking as well. But reaching this state takes time, and neither Sobal nor Dr. Whitbourne continued their studies with follow-ups to determine the long-term effects of such behavior. However, Dr. Whitbourne comments that: “It takes effort to work at the closeness within a relationship. If you don’t or can’t, it may be inevitable that the intimacy increasingly becomes faked.”

Faking Intimacy it Doesn’t Work

While one can potentially choose to fake intimacy within their relationship, more evidence on couple satisfaction points to how long-term satisfaction and happiness requires willingness to communicate and take risks with one’s partner, closeness, and, importantly, authenticity. For those of us who may have lost one or more of these connections, rediscovering them will be key to finding fulfillment in our relationships.

preteen daughter listening to music and rolling eyes with her mother trying to talk to her

5 Tips for Becoming a Better Communicator

We’ve all experienced situations where we’ve felt angry or upset while communicating with someone, but have refrained from actually expressing how we feel. Instead, we let those feelings fester inside until they become volatile. Consequently, we might feel as though we are isolated or unable to be honest about our emotions, or, we fear that by doing so we will incur some negative consequence. Italian psychologist Francesca D’Errico and philosopher Isabella Poggi define this behavior through a term they call “acid communication.” According to them, acid communication is when “The person who performs acid communication is feeling angry due to some feeling of injustice and would like to express one’s anger, but cannot do so due to a feeling of impotence, both to recover from the injustice undergone, and to prevent the negative consequences of one’s expression.” This negativity then manifests alternatively in indirect or passive aggression because the individual feels as though their discontentment cannot be expressed directly.

What is “Acid Communication?”

The acid speaker is likely to use irony, sarcasm, insinuation, and indirect criticism in both words and tone of voice to project an image of collected intelligence. The same goal can be accomplished using certain bodily gestures or facial expressions, like the a9ll-too-common eye-roll. Such tactics are usually subversive methods of expressing aggression, often associated with feelings of being attacked or put in a place where one is made uncomfortable but feels unable to effectively express that discomfort.

Unfortunately, acid communication isn’t an effective way of expressing one’s feelings or communicating with others. In fact, it can lead to more miscommunication and misunderstandings that if one is upfront and honest about how they feel. Moreover, acid communication can lead to harbored feelings of negativity and resentment both towards oneself and others, both of which can impact how one behaves in future interactions. There are several ways to avoid this style of communication and, as a result, communicate more successfully and effectively. Here are five examples of better techniques to use when communicating to avoid resorting to acid communication.

5 Ways to Become a Better Communicator

1. Don’t Dominate a Dialogue

Any successful dialogue is well-balanced and allows each participant to adequately express themselves. To ensure this, remember to be patient and allow others a chance to speak and express their thoughts and feelings. In doing so, don’t interrupt the other speakers. Doing so can make them feel as though their contributions aren’t valued and therefore upset them. Filling in awkward pauses or silences is one thing, but interrupting someone’s train of thought to interject your own thoughts and opinions is another. Also, both when initiating and maintaining a dialogue, be sure to frame your comments to allow for opportunities of interaction. What this means is that asking questions or leaving statements open for the input of others can be a good way to encourage your conversation partners to feel as though their thoughts and feelings are welcome and willing to be heard.

2. Respect Others’ Opinions

Just as you would expect others to listen to and respect your words and opinions, so you should demonstrate that same consideration to others. A key element of successful communication lies in good listening. After all, all perspectives are valid in their own ways. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to agree with everything someone else is saying. Disagreement is okay. That being said, regardless if an individual’s perspective is directly in line with your own, each person has a right to express their thoughts and opinions, and those thoughts and opinions deserve the same amount of respect as your own.

3. Everyone Should Feel Encouraged to Participate

While initially this might seem like it once again focuses on the other members of a conversation, you, too, should feel encouraged and welcome to participate. A successful dialogue takes places when all of the participants feel welcome to express themselves. Just as you’ve been encouraged to let others voice their perspectives and opinions, so, too, should you feel free to express your own. Stifling one’s feelings, as we’ve examined, can lead to those feelings manifesting later in negative and unproductive ways. Instead, be honest with your thoughts and feelings, and don’t be afraid to change the subject if the one you’re currently discussing has become uncomfortable, or if you feel that an important topic is being overlooked. The key to initiating this shift successfully is to be honest about why you’d like to change the subject in the first place. Doing this can allow for others to see your perspective so your efforts are seen as productive rather than intrusive.

4. Moderators are Facilitators, Not Participants

At first glance, leading a discussion can seem like a powerful position from which one can successfully control an entire conversation. However, think of this position as moderative versus dictative. Rather than taking advantage of this control and dominating the entire conversation with your opinions, take the opportunity to make sure there is an even flow of participation and everyone is being allowed to engage in the dialogue. Its a good idea to pay attention to the flow of topics among speakers and choose contributors in a fair manner, agreed upon by the conversation participants. Moreover, it’s okay to volunteer help and advice when it’s asked for, but imposing one’s knowledge on others can be abrasive and make others feel as though they are less intelligent or less capable. Expertise is valued, but be mindful of what language both verbal and nonverbal is being used to convey this knowledge to determine whether or not it is being utilized effectively.

5. Don’t Be Afraid to Reflect

Reflection can help bring psychological closure to any dialogue. Don’t be afraid to ask yourself whether your thoughts  about an issue have changed, or whether or your thoughts about the views of others have changed. Questions like these can help one better understand the full effect of any interaction and thus bring about a sense of closure. Keep in mind that being a good conversationalist is about more than just maintaining a dialogue. Truly successful communication is when people feel valued, respected, and listened to. It is these conversations that produce the greatest strides and sense of fulfillment both in oneself and in one’s dialogue partners.

Turn Jealousy into Motivation and Self-Acceptance

Jealousy is a tricky emotion, and one that we’re all vulnerable to at various points in our lives. According to Psychology Today:

Jealousy is a complex emotion that encompasses many different kinds of feelings that range from fear of abandonment to rage to humiliation. Jealousy can strike both men and women when they perceive a third-party threat to a valued relationship, it can be a problem among siblings competing for parental attention, or envy for a wealthier more successful friend. Conventional wisdom holds that jealousy is a necessary emotion because it preserves social bonds. But jealously usually does more harm than good to relationships, and can create relationship conflict and violence.”

This negativity associated with jealousy can be harmful not only to others but to the individual feeling jealous as well. Jealousy can be paralyzing – taking the form of a negative voice which can keep us from reaching our greatest potential by causing us to compare ourselves to others and quit when we feel that we’re not on the same pedestal. Jealousy, simply put, is an inhibitor.

3 Keys to Turning Jealousy into Motivation

So how can we take something negative like jealousy and turn it into something positive and productive? By turning the same feelings that contribute to jealousy instead into motivation. After all, there’s nothing wrong with trying to improve oneself to become a better person so long as the motivation is positive. Need an example? Here are three ways to turn jealousy into motivation and self-acceptance.

  1. Using Jealousy as an Opportunity to Learn – Jealousy does not have to be inhibitive. Perhaps there’s someone who demonstrates a skill or quality that you envy. Perhaps there is something you enjoy doing that you feel someone else is better at. Rather than quitting that activity that you enjoy because you think others are better, instead you could focus on what skills they possess that you could learn from. Take dancing, for example. Perhaps there’s someone whom you feel is swifter and more graceful at certain maneuvers. Instead of comparing yourself to them in a negative way, see what ways you can learn from their movements. Turn feelings of jealousy into something more productive. As Susan Harrow of Psychology Today says: “Jealousy doesn’t have to “freeze” you. It can be turned into motivational fuel, inspiring you to study and train more precisely, more intensely. Or perhaps, simply try something new to achieve the result that you want.”

  1. Using Jealousy as a Way to Ground You in the Present – Oftentimes when feelings of jealousy come about, they signal that our minds have “left” the present moment. After all, how can we be focusing on our present selves when our minds are instead focusing on the actions and successes of others? When feeling jealous, your “mind is caught up in what other people are doing and how they are doing it better. That kind of mental departure leads to distracted, fragmented work. It’s hard to do your best work when you’re not fully engaged in the present moment and it just doesn’t feel good either.” Instead, learn to be aware of this departure from the present. Take a few deep breaths and ground yourself in the moment. Don’t worry about what others are doing, focus on you.

  1. Turn Jealousy into Self-Reflection and Acceptance – As we’ve previously discussed, jealousy can come from a departure from the present self and a misdirected focus on others, which often leads to negative thoughts and inhibitions. It’s important to remember to not be overly concerned about how others do things if it has no impact on you. After all, we have our own skills and abilities to be proud of. As Harrow states: “We all have skills and strengths that other people find enviable. Sometimes, though, caught up in a whirlwind of jealousy, we can’t see our own gloriousness. Not surprisingly, self-acceptance is a key happiness factor.” Its unfortunate that aspirations of success often come with the consequence of comparing ourselves with others; after all, success is all too commonly defined against its absence, therefore many believe that in order to be successful, others must be less successful. However, this isn’t the case. Learn to appreciate your own success, as well as the success of others. Similarly, each person possesses valuable traits and skills unique to them, so learn to identify and accept your own unique qualities as well as those of others. The talents of others do not diminish your own talents. Be proud of who you are and, in doing so, learn to accept the successes of others without using them as a negative comparison to yourself.
young woman in orange running suit jogging on road with sunset in background

Improving Mental Fitness and Energy

What many people may not realize is that mental strength, like physical strength, is acquired through exercise. We can make our minds stronger over time by making our personal growth and development a priority, and always focusing on our mental energy. Just as we might carve out time in the day to go to the gym or train our bodies so, too, should we remember that our minds are just as if not more important. There are a number of healthy habits that can aid in this strengthening. Below, we’ll discuss 8 of the best practices of enhancing one’s mental strength and resilience.

1. Use Your Mental Energy Wisely

To be mentally strong, you’ll need to learn how to use your time and energy carefully and for maximum benefit. In today’s world, it’s very easy to find oneself distracted from things that really matter by a number of comparatively unproductive and unimportant tasks. To be mentally strong is to learn how to avoid these unnecessary distractions and to direct your efforts to the things that matter most to accomplish your goals.

2. Establish Goals and Work Towards Them

Building off of the first practice, mental strength can be built and maintained when you establish clear goals for yourself both personally and professionally. These goals should be meaningful and purposeful. Don’t limit yourself to goals that only provide immediate but hollow gratification. Keep your long-term goals in mind and don’t allow these short-term rewards to be a distraction. Furthermore, treat any obstacles as challenges to be overcome, not as limitations. No obstacle can prevent your success if you dedicate your mind to surpassing it. Doing this will not only help you achieve your goals but will also improve your mental strength.

3. Reframe Negative Thoughts

It’s no secret that negativity doesn’t help anyone achieve optimum mental energy. Everyone experiences negative thoughts sometimes, but the important thing is to not let those thoughts consume you or stop you from following your ambitions. While it may be difficult at first, try to silence pessimistic sentiments with positive reinforcement and productive inner dialogue. With practice, you will learn how to not only develop a resilience against harmful negativity, but also strengthen your overall mind and will. Be your own best friend and coach you won’t struggle to be motivated.

4. Reflect on Your Progress

A good way to enhance your mental strength is to take some time to reflect on your progress towards your goals daily. Make note of the things you’re doing well, and don’t be afraid to acknowledge any areas which might need improvement. After all, holding yourself accountable for mistakes is all a part of progressing towards your goals and growing stronger as a person.

5. Balance Emotions with Logic

Emotions can be powerful. Feelings often play a strong role in our choices, perceptions, and behaviors. But don’t let your emotions completely control you. Remember that you are in control, and pay attention to the ways that your emotions can influence your judgment. The key not only to improving your mental energy, but also to building a stronger mind is in learning how to balance feelings with logic to make the best possible decisions in any situation.

6. Practice Gratitude

We often feel as though we deserve more than we have. Oftentimes these feelings might have justification, but rather than dwelling solely on what we don’t have it’s also important to remember to be grateful for what we do. Mental strength can be enhanced through the practice of gratitude. Everyone has things in their lives for which they can be grateful, learning to recognize and acknowledge these things can not only help the mind but can also increase your overall happiness in your life.

7. Learning to Manage Discomfort

At first glance, this might seem strange, but really its a necessary practice. Some people go to any length to avoid distress, even if it impedes their life and overall satisfaction, others go out of their way to endure pain simply to prove that they’re tough. In reality, there are many times in our lives where we will have to face situations in which we feel uncomfortable, when our mental energy may not be at full capacity. To be mentally strong is to learn how to deal with these situations and feelings of discomfort, particularly if the outcome of the situation serves a greater purpose.

All experiences are educational, even those that may initially seem unpleasant. For example, you might feel scared before giving a speech in front of an audience, but that speech might ultimately prove to be a pivotal success in your personal or professional life. While you might feel uncomfortable, to be mentally strong is to learn how to manage that discomfort and focus on the ultimate goal.

USPSTF Says Most Adults Should be Screened for Depression

It is estimated that around 1 in 10 Americans experience depression at some point in their lifetimes with Major Depression affecting approximately 7% of the total U.S. Population. With statistics like these, it’s not surprising then that according to a recent draft recommendation issued by the U.S. Preventative Service Task Force, all adults should be screened for depression including “pregnant and postpartum women”.

Survey of Participants Screened for Depression

In a previous 2009 recommendation, the USPSTF stated that adults should be screened “when staff-assisted depression care supports are in place, and selective screening based on professional judgment and patient preferences when such support is not available.” However, they have since amended this recommendation and they now suggest that doctors should screen all patients 18 and older for depression using the Patient Health Questionnaire, or PHQ. The PHQ is currently the most commonly used tool for screening patients for depression. The survey includes 9 questions which are meant to assess the individual’s overall mental health. For example, the PHQ may ask “Over the last 2 weeks have you been feeling tired or having very little energy?” or “Over the last 2 weeks have you had little interest or pleasure in doing things?” Patients are supposed to mark their answer on a 0-3 scale ranging from “not at all” to “nearly every day”. The scores are then added up to diagnose whether or not the patient is suffering from mild to severe depression. Such diagnosis will then help their doctor determine what treatment may be best for them.

Why Recommend Depression Screening?

But why the change in recommendation? According to the USPSTF, “In recognition that such support is now much more widely available and accepted as part of mental health care, the current recommendation statement has omitted the recommendation regarding selective screening, as it is no longer representative of current clinical practice.” In other words, the wide acceptance and increased availability of mental health care has effectively reduced some of the stigma regarding mental health screenings and diagnoses. The USPSTF also reports that “Depression is among the leading causes of disability in persons age 15 years or older. It affects individuals, families, businesses, and society. It is common in primary care patients. Depression is also common in postpartum and pregnant women and affects not only the woman but her child as well.” These facts and statistics have effectively contributed to the USPSTF’s stance on depression screenings and now they advise that general screening can potentially help with early detection and treatment of depression and depressive symptoms.

And according to the USPSTF, early detection and treatment can be highly beneficial. The USPSTF states that they have found “ adequate evidence that programs combining depression screening with adequate support systems in place improve clinical outcomes (i.e., reduction or remission of depression symptoms) in adults, including pregnant and postpartum women…that treatment of adults and older adults with depression identified through screening in primary care settings with antidepressants, psychotherapy, or both decreases clinical morbidity…[and] that treatment with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) improves clinical outcomes in pregnant and postpartum women with depression.” But what about the consequences of early detection and treatment? According to the USPSTF there are little to  none. Of course, women who are pregnant will likely need to be more careful about what medications they are taking while pregnant, but other treatments like CBT can be used alternatively or in conjunction with medication to treat depression.

The USPSTF insists that all adults be screened regardless of risk factors as such screenings are beneficial to the general adult population.Dr. Kristen Bibbins-Domingo, vice-chair of the USPSTF, explains that “Depression is not only common, it is one of the leading causes of disability in the United States. The Task Force’s recommendation for all adults to be screened by their primary care physician will help to identify depression and connect patients with the treatment and support they need.”

Official Announcement to be Made in Late August

Medical News Today reports that the “The USPSTF is taking public comment on the recommendation until August 24th. The expert panel will review all comments before making their final recommendation.” However, the USPSTF has made it clear that when it comes to depression, it’s important to screen early for maximum treatment benefit. With the lessened stigma surrounding mental health care, perhaps this new recommendation can be what’s needed to raise awareness about depression and provide necessary treatment to those who may not have previously had access.

A male and female interlocking hands in what appears to be a strong, happy relationship.

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