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Can insomnia be cured by online therapy?

Feb 2nd, 2017 by

Up to half of us have problems sleeping – and some experts say online treatment may soon become the norm. But which tool should you use?

Can’t get to sleep? Try online therapy. While a glowing screen is a counter-intuitive cure for insomnia, there is evidence that online cognitive behavourial therapy (CBT) can restore normal sleep patterns. In a study published in this month’s Jama Psychiatry, an online CBT programme cured 57% of those who used it, compared with 27% who had standard education about insomnia.

Insomnia affects up to half of all people – with up to 20% having a serious problem with getting off to sleep (or falling asleep again if they wake up). Chronic insomnia can last for years – making people feel sleepy during the day and anxious at night. Standard advice includes promoting “sleep hygiene”: a cool, dark bedroom; going to bed and getting up at the same time every day; and not napping. After that, it’s face-to-face cognitive behavioural therapy – but there aren’t enough therapists to go round. This may be why people are still prescribed sleeping tablets that make them feel pleasantly dissociated and are very addictive.

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Women suffer much more work stress than men, says psychiatrist

Jan 2nd, 2017 by

Sexism in the workplace and family responsibilities add to pressure as they face unequal pay and lack of support

Women suffer considerably higher levels of work-related stress, anxiety and depression than men, with workplace sexism and familial responsibilities providing additional career pressures, a leading psychiatrist has said.

It comes as official figures show that women aged 25-54 are more stressed than their male colleagues, with this pressure peaking for those aged 35-44, when many women are juggling family responsibilities, such as caring for children and elderly parents.

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Bruce Springsteen: black dog of depression ‘still jumps up and bites me’

Jan 2nd, 2017 by

Award-winning US singer describes how he handles illness during interview for BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs

Bruce Springsteen’s struggle with depression has taken him to the brink of despair, the singer will tell Kirsty Young before she leaves him to fend for himself with only eight records for company on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs.

“It is something that has been a part of my life,” Springsteen told Young for the show to be broadcast on Sunday. “It is usually OK, but like Churchill’s ‘black dog’, it still jumps up and bites you in the arse sometimes.”

Related: Bruce Springsteen: ‘You can change a life in three minutes with the right song’

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Individual athletes more prone to depression, researchers find

Jan 2nd, 2017 by

Study by German sports psychologists finds individual athletes score higher on depression scale than those in team sports

Athletes in individual sports are more prone to depression than those in team games, according to German research to be presented at a conference in Cardiff.

The research by the Technical University of Munich confirms not just the loneliness of the long distance runner but a range of other depressive symptoms among solo sportsmen and women more generally.

Related: Ian Thorpe: ‘I was surrounded by people but had this intense loneliness’

The hardest thing about running is that you are on own before a race. When things are great that’s what’s good about it. I’m not dependent on 10 other guys being on the top of their game in order for me to be successful. But there is also nothing to fall back on. The nature of athletics is that one guy gets to win each race, and so there’s 11 or more in my event who don’t. And its that unpredictability that’s the hard bit.

It got to a point with my coach when I couldn’t express how low I was. There are not many people I get to talk to about these things. I’m not surrounded by a team. I don’t have to turn up to a training ground.

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Happiness depends on health and friends, not money, says new study

Jan 2nd, 2017 by

Landmark research says tackling mental health issues more effective than reducing poverty for increasing happiness rates

Most human misery can be blamed on failed relationships and physical and mental illness rather than money problems and poverty, according to a landmark study by a team of researchers at the London School of Economics (LSE).

Eliminating depression and anxiety would reduce misery by 20% compared to just 5% if policymakers focused on eliminating poverty, the report found.

Related: So child mental health services are failing. Why’s that then, Jeremy? | Hannah Jane Parkinson

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My son is depressed but won’t seek help

Jan 2nd, 2017 by

I can’t help him because he is 21 and has to self-refer, but he insists he is fine even though he has lost interest in most things

My 21-year-old son has been depressed since October, but refuses to get therapy. I saw his GP, but was told that, as he is 21, he should seek self-referral. At that time, he had just had a breakdown and was crying uncontrollably. He has since been a shadow of himself, has no appetite and in the evenings feels restless and tired. He is not on any medication. He has cut out his friends and feels uneasy when we go to any function other than church. He has lost interest in most things in life. There are just the two of us and it is beginning to take its toll on me. I have tried to talk him into therapy or counselling, but he insists he is fine. He is due back at university in January and I do not want him to lose his place.

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Ex-bodybuilder Taryn Brumfitt campaigns to ditch diets and end myth of the ideal shape

Jan 2nd, 2017 by

Australian writer took on body image prejudices – and a new film, Embrace, shows her message winning global support

Many of us waking up will feel the familiar pang of New Year’s Day self-loathing and decide that this is the day to start that new diet, begin that new detox, finally attempt to get the body of our dreams. Within a month we will probably feel miserable, hungry and no closer to achieving our goal.

Now a new film is set to challenge the increasingly pervasive message that there is one way to look by tackling the myth of the perfect body and the celebrity culture that fuels it. Embrace follows Australian writer and campaigner Taryn Brumfitt as she travels across the world talking to a huge variety of women about how they see themselves. She speaks to actor and talk-show host Ricki Lake about body image and Hollywood, to an entertainingly direct Amanda de Cadenet about what it was like living with tabloid scrutiny at the age of 18 (“The message I took from it was that if you were thinner you were better … these days I’d say if you want to eat the biscuit, eat the fucking biscuit”) and to Harnaam Kaur, a British Sikh woman who celebrates the beard caused by polycystic ovary syndrome rather than break her religious beliefs.

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‘She’ll never realise the impact she had’: life-changing conversations

Jan 2nd, 2017 by

We asked readers to tell us about their most significant conversation, or a letter that changed them. Here are our favourites

I went to a job interview in the 1980s in New York, when I was in my early 30s. It was something to do with hotel marketing. There I was, dressed in a nice suit with a crisp résumé, feeling like a grownup. Halfway through, the interviewer said, “I don’t think you really want this job.” I didn’t, and she had the insight to see it.

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Women’s sport, space probes and protests – reasons to look forward to 2017

Jan 2nd, 2017 by

The turbulence of this year might seem set to continue well into the next, but there are good things to come too. From mass protests to comfort telly, there’s something for everyone – and lie-ins are positively encouraged

Related: Troubled times make it hard to be an optimist. But I don’t plan to stop | Mary Elizabeth Williams

It does, admittedly, look as if 2017 will be bleak. Donald Trump becomes president, Theresa May has pledged to trigger article 50 by the end of March, and the far right march onwards. Still, it’s not all bad news. There’s the new season of Game of Thrones, apparently high heels are out, and it looks as if publishers may finally stop putting out thrillers with the word “girl” in the title. Here are six more reasons to be cheerful.

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Women suffer much more work stress than men, says psychiatrist

Jan 2nd, 2017 by

Sexism in the workplace and family responsibilities add to pressure as they face unequal pay and lack of support

Women suffer considerably higher levels of work-related stress, anxiety and depression than men, with workplace sexism and familial responsibilities providing additional career pressures, a leading psychiatrist has said.

It comes as official figures show that women aged 25-54 are more stressed than their male colleagues, with this pressure peaking for those aged 35-44, when many women are juggling family responsibilities, such as caring for children and elderly parents.

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