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Clinical Report — The Impact of Social Media on Children, Adolescents, and Families
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Anxiety is often a healthy response to uncertainty and danger, but constant worry and nervousness may be a sign of generalized anxiety disorder.
This common disorder affects about 5% to 6% of Americans at some point in their lives. Women are twice as likely as men to develop generalized anxiety disorder. Some research suggests that prevalence of this disorder increases with age. Generalized anxiety disorder usually first appears from young adulthood through the mid-50s — a later onset than seen with other psychiatric disorders.
While other types of anxiety disorders — such as specific phobias or social anxiety disorder — arise from particular situations, generalized anxiety disorder is characterized chiefly by debilitating worry and agitation about nothing in particular or anything at all. The constant and continually changing worries of people with generalized anxiety disorder are mostly about everyday matters. They can't shake the feeling that something bad will happen and they will not be prepared. They may worry to excess about missing an appointment, losing a job, or having an accident. Some people even worry about worrying too much.
Physical symptoms — racing heart, dry mouth, upset stomach, muscle tension, sweating, trembling, and irritability — are an integral part of generalized anxiety disorder. Over time, these physical manifestations of anxiety may adversely affect health.
Although men are less likely than women to develop depression, it
remains a significant mental health problem for them. About 10%
to 17% of men will develop major depression at some point in
their lives. Moreover, depression may be more deadly for men than
for women. Depression is a key risk factor for suicide, and four
times as many men compared with women die from suicide. One
reason may be men's reluctance to convey their feelings and seek
help when they are in despair.
Another mortal concern for men with depression is cardiovascular
disease. Depression is a well-known risk factor for coronary
artery disease, heart attack, and stroke. Men are especially
vulnerable because they develop these diseases at a higher rate
and at an earlier age than women.
Given the toll depression takes on men, it's important that those
who need help receive it. But often the symptoms of depression
are different in men than in women — partly because of cultural
pressures for members of each gender to behave in certain ways —
a factor that may contribute to missed diagnoses.
Risk perception is rarely entirely rational. Instead, people
assess risks using a mixture of cognitive skills (weighing the
evidence, using reasoning and logic to reach conclusions) and
emotional appraisals (intuition or imagination). After reviewing
the research, risk expert David Ropeik identified 14 specific
factors that affect perception of danger:
According to researchers, women with bipolar disorder were more
likely to have their condition negatively affected by
Patients with schizophrenia who received nicotine replacement
therapy during hospitalization experienced a decrease in
agitation during their stays.
Dr. Michael Miller, editor in chief of the Harvard Mental Health
Letter, explains why parents should make the effort to understand
their children's use of the internet and social media.