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In a Pandemic-Stressed America, Protests Add to Mental Strain

Just as Americans are emerging from COVID-19 quarantines, hoping to resume normal life but still fearful of infection, protests against police violence are raging in cities across the country.

And millions remain unemployed, as a shaky economy attempts to restart.

How are folks expected to cope with all of this?

"For a lot of people, we might be reaching the breaki...

AHA News: For Kids, a Pandemic of Stress Could Have Long-Term Consequences

Chris Dier understands how trauma can follow you for a lifetime.

In 2005, he was entering his senior year of high school, looking forward to a year of making memories at Andrew Jackson High in Chalmette, Louisiana. Then, disaster struck. Twice.

First, a car crash killed three friends. Two weeks later, Hurricane Katrina hit.

He and his family got out in time. But the stor...

Banishing Pandemic Worries for a Good Night's Sleep

If anxiety and fear about COVID-19 are keeping you awake, rest assured: Adopting a few easy-to-follow habits will help you get a good night's sleep.

"Now more than ever, we need to get good sleep," said Dr. Amy Guralnick, a pulmonologist at Loyola Medicine in Chicago. "Sleep can help our immune system function at its best. Getting a good night's sleep also helps us to think clearly an...

Pandemic Has Overburdened Parents Stressed Out: Poll

If there's such a thing as a "new normal" during the coronavirus pandemic, it's a constant state of stress.

And it's particularly intense for many parents who are keeping house, working from home, and trying to keep their kids' online learning on track at the same time, according to a new online survey.

Nearly half (46%) of respondents who have kids younger than 18 said ...

Lockdown Got You Feeling Low? Yoga May Help

Many people under stay-at-home orders have turned to online yoga as a way to manage the stress. And a new research review suggests they're onto something.

The review, of 19 clinical trials, focused on the benefits of yoga for people with clinical mental health conditions ranging from anxiety disorders to alcohol dependence to schizophrenia. Overall, it found yoga classes helped ease t...

Middle Age More Stressful Now Than in 1990s: Study

Before the COVID-19 pandemic upended people's lives, Americans were already feeling more stressed than they did a generation ago. Now, new research finds that no group is feeling the impact of additional stress more than middle-aged people.

The study found that most age groups reported an increase of 2% more daily stress in 2012 than they did in 1995. But middle-aged folks -- 45- ...

Pets May Help Parents of Kids With Autism Fight Stress

Pets are stress-relievers for parents of children with autism and benefit their kids, too, a new study suggests.

On average, parents of kids with autism have higher stress levels than other moms and dads, the study authors said, so some look to pets to help them relax.

For the study, the researchers surveyed more than 700 families who have a family member with autism about t...

Tough Childhoods Are Tough on Adult Hearts: Study

Adults who had rough childhoods have higher odds for heart disease.

That's the conclusion from a look at more than 3,600 people who were followed from the mid-1980s through 2018. Researchers found that those who experienced the most trauma, abuse, neglect and family dysfunction in childhood were 50% more likely to have had a heart attack, stroke or other heart problem in their 50...

Key Areas of the Brain Triggered in Recent Heart Attack Survivors

People who've recently had a heart attack show increased activity in the area of the brain involved in stress and emotions. And this is associated with elevated inflammation in arteries, a small, preliminary study finds.

"The results of this study advance our understanding of the interconnections among the brain, bone marrow and blood vessels," said study lead author Dr. Dong Oh Kang,...

Keeping Harmony in the Family During Coronavirus Pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has families spending plenty of "quality time" together, but living under the same roof 24 hours a day can tax relationships, an expert in child development says.

This is "a completely new and unique situation," said Murray Krantz, a professor in the College of Human Sciences at Florida State University, in Tallahassee.

Luckily, there are ways to red...

Don't Let the Coronavirus Pandemic Rob You of Your Sleep

If you toss and turn every night because the coronavirus epidemic has left you anxious and worried, one sleep expert has some advice.

Financial struggles, loss of control, or worries about loved ones can affect peoples' quality and duration of nightly sleep, said sleep psychologist Emerson Wickwire, an associate professor of psychiatry and medicine at the University of Maryland School...

More Money, Better Heart Health? Not Always

Young people who pull themselves out of poverty may be no better off when it comes to their heart health, a new study suggests.

Researchers found that "upwardly mobile" U.S. adults tended to be less stressed and depressed than peers who spent their whole lives below the poverty line. Unfortunately, it did not make a difference in their cardiovascular health.

They were just a...

Job Strain May Boost Odds of Serious Artery Disease

Work stress may increase your risk for ending up in the hospital with peripheral artery disease, a new study suggests.

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) occurs when cholesterol or other fatty substances accumulate in blood vessels away from the heart -- usually in the legs -- and restrict blood flow. Left untreated, PAD increases the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Previous ...

Cardiac Rehab Boosts Quality of Life After Heart Attack: Study

Cardiac rehabilitation programs improve heart attack survivors' quality of life, especially if they get lots of exercise, a new British study finds.

A heart attack can reduce quality of life due to struggles with mobility and self-care, as well as daily leisure and work activities.

Many heart attack survivors take part in cardiac rehab, which emphasizes exercise, quitting sm...

AHA News: Is Reducing Stress the Key to Lowering Heart Disease Among African Americans?

FRIDAY, April 10, 2020 (American Heart Association News) --Researchers have long understood that African Americans experience a disproportionate level of high blood pressure and heart disease. As they've sought to understand why, evidence has emerged demonstrating the powerful role persistent, excessive levels of stress can play in cardiovascular health.

But getting rid of that stress w...

How to Ease Loved Ones With Alzheimer's Through the Pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic is throwing Americans' daily lives into disarray, and such disruptions are especially hard on people with Alzheimer's disease.

Changes in daily routines can trigger anxiety, confusion, agitation and/or discomfort for people with Alzheimer's, but there are a number of things family caregivers can do to adapt, according to the Alzheimer's Foundation of America (...

Beware of 'Media Overload' During Coronavirus Crisis, Experts Say

If you feel like the news about coronavirus is growing worse by the hour, then it might be time to take stock: How much do you really need to know?

As the pandemic unfolds, and people routinely wake up to uncertainty, it is necessary to stay informed, psychologists say.

At the same time, they caution, remember that media overload is real. And it may raise anxiety to a level...

Going Easy on Yourself Is Key to Parenting Through the Pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has caught many American families in a vise.

Many parents are struggling to work from home and meet the needs of kids who are out of school and chaffing under what some consider house arrest.

"It can be easy to fall into the trap of self-blame when children are fighting, and workdays aren't going as planned," said Kathryn Boger, director of the Anxie...

ER Workers' Stress May Affect Patient Care: Study

The COVID-19 pandemic has added to already high stress levels in emergency rooms, a social psychologist says.

"ER providers are on the front line of this pandemic, and stress, anxiety and anger are increasing," said Linda Isbell, a professor of psychology at University of Massachusetts Amherst.

"As we all face anxiety about the fallout of this pandemic, anger about a healt...

Caring for Dementia Patient During Pandemic? Try These Stress-Busting Tips

The coronavirus pandemic will put extra stress on caregivers of loved ones with dementias, so the Alzheimer's Foundation of America offers some advice.

"Reducing stress is always important for caregivers, and even more so now," said Charles Fuschillo Jr., the foundation's president and CEO.

"Disruptions in daily routines, social isolation and anxiety are all added stressors c...

'Stay at Home' Orders Are Stressing U.S. Families, Survey Shows

In the new coronavirus reality, the family home has become the nexus of everything -- school, day care, work, social life -- and it's stressing out a lot of American parents, a new report suggests.

The report, in which almost 300 parents of kids under 12 in the United States were surveyed, found that since the pandemic was declared, 83% said their schools were closed. A quarter of...

'Stress Eating' While Social Distancing? Here's Tips to Avoid It

Trapped in the house with a cupboard full of food: Social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic can spawn an unintended side effect -- stress eating.

It may be tempting to ease your anxiety with your favorite comfort foods, but emotional eating can hurt you physically and mentally, according to experts from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

These tips, from Joyce ...

An Expert's Guide to Fighting Coronavirus Stress

The new coronavirus is not just a physical health threat. The stress, anxiety, fear and isolation that go along with it also take a toll on your mental well-being.

"One of the basic tenets of how to manage your mental health in a crisis like this is to ensure that you're taking care of your own basic needs -- taking breaks, having rest and sleep, getting adequate nutrition, exercisin...

A Parent's Guide to Fighting Coronavirus Stress

Stressed-out parents should reach out to others for support during the coronavirus pandemic, child health experts say.

As the number of coronavirus cases rise and families spend long periods in isolation, parents face unique financial and emotional stresses. Research shows that family stress puts kids at increased risk of abuse, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). <...

Shelter Animals Need Your Help During the Pandemic

Fostering a shelter animal during the coronavirus pandemic could benefit both of you, an animal welfare group says.

"Shelters are swamped in the best of times, and with more and more staff in every sector of American life self-quarantining and falling ill, animals already abandoned and without homes are going to be increasingly vulnerable," said Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of Ame...

Climate Change's Hotter Days Will Take Toll on Mental Health

As the days heat up, people tend to report more emotional distress, a new study finds, adding to concerns that global warming could take a growing mental health toll.

The study of more than 3 million Americans found that the longer people had to sweat out 80-degree days, the bigger the mental health drain. They were more likely to report problems with depression, stress and emotional ...

'Eye of the Storm:' U.S. Nurses Already Facing Extreme Stress Over Coronavirus

"I have worked the last four days, and I have cried every day."

Eileen McStay, a registered nurse at the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, is on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it is mentally and emotionally wearing her and her colleagues down.

McStay works on a hospital floor filled with nothing but lonely, scared coronavirus patients, some of whom are fi...

Music Helps Heal a Damaged Heart

People often turn to music to boost their mood or relieve stress. And new research suggests there may be science supporting that practice.

The study found that listening to 30 minutes of music a day eased chest pain and anxiety in people who had recently had a heart attack.

"Based on our findings, we believe music therapy can help all patients after a heart attack. It's al...

Calming Your Child's Coronavirus Fears

Schools are closing. Sports and other activities have been cancelled. Everything is changing. In the midst of this chaos, how do parents keep kids from stressing too much?

"For families, this is truly now hitting home," said psychologist Robin Gurwitch, from Duke University and the Center for Child and Family Health, in Durham, N.C.

"Families now need to think about how to...

Healthy Living at Home to Ward Off Coronavirus

Even if you're stuck at home waiting for the coronavirus all clear, you can still keep a healthy lifestyle.

"Prevention is key in limiting the spread of coronavirus, and with more people working remotely or limiting their exposure to crowds, it's important to maintain healthy habits at home," said Dr. Eduardo Sanchez, chief medical officer for prevention at the American Heart Associa...

Hit by Coronavirus Panic? Look for Data Not Drama, Experts Say

MONDAY, March 16, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Are you scared and confused over the threat of coronavirus? You're not alone: Every day, every hour, new media reports can have you worrying about worst-case scenarios.

Experts say panic is a natural -- if unhelpful -- response to major crises like COVID-19. But there are ways to stay both informed and calm.

It's not alway...

Suicidal Thoughts Among Young Kids Higher Than Believed

Suicidal thoughts have haunted nearly one of every 10 pre-teens in the United States, a new study reveals.

About 8.4% of children aged 9 or 10 said they'd temporarily or regularly harbored thoughts of suicide, researchers report.

Importantly, only around 1% of children that age reported a suicide attempt or planning their suicide.

But suicidal thoughts at t...

Friends Matter for LGBT Health

Having a large social network of other people with the same sexual identity benefits the health of LGBT people, a new study finds.

Previous studies have found that discrimination and related stress can be harmful to the health of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, so researchers decided to look at social factors that may reduce that harm.

The investigators...

Rx for Stressed-Out College Students: Spend Time With Nature

Just a bit of time spent with nature each day can reduce college students' stress, researchers say.

They reviewed studies on the effects of being in nature on 15- to 30-year-olds to see how much time college students should be spending outdoors and the best ways to reap the benefits.

Ten to 50 minutes of sitting or walking in natural spaces did the most efficient job of impr...

Births of Boys in Liberal Areas of Canada Fell After Trump Won: Study

Experts have long known about a quirky postscript to stressful events like earthquakes and terrorist attacks: The ratio of boys and girls born temporarily turns upside down.

Now, Canadian researchers are reporting the same change in Ontario's birthrates following Republican Donald Trump's victory in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

The percentage of boys born in Canada's...

5 Tips for Fighting Addiction

Overcoming addiction can be difficult, with powerful cravings often causing relapse. But a psychiatrist offers some tips for success.

Know your triggers, said Dr. Nahla Mahgoub, of Gracie Square Hospital in New York City.

People in recovery are vulnerable to various environmental and emotional triggers, said Mahgoub.

That helps explain why an estimated 40% to ...

Middle School Challenges Add Up to Teacher Stress

From hormonal changes to new schedules and altered expectations, children face a variety of challenges when they enter middle school. But students and their parents aren't the only ones stressing out.

Researchers from the University of Missouri found that 94% of middle school teachers experience high stress levels. Reducing this burden could improve student success, researchers sa...

Many Moms-to-Be Are Stressed, and it Might Affect Baby's Brain

Many mothers-to-be feel overwhelmed by stress, and it might have implications for their babies' brain development in the womb, a new study suggests.

The researchers found that even in a group of highly educated, healthy pregnant women, stress and anxiety were common. More than one-quarter reported higher-than-average levels of "perceived stress," while a similar number had anxiety sym...

Racism Linked to Faster Aging Among Blacks

The racism black Americans face may age them prematurely, a new study suggests.

This aging is occurring at the cellular level -- specifically, the shortening of telomeres, researchers say.

Telomeres are the repetitive sequences of DNA that sit at the tips of your chromosomes -- like the plastic caps at the ends of a shoelace -- and help keep the chromosomes from fraying. <...

New Clues Show How Stress May Turn Your Hair Gray

The next time you tell your rebellious teenagers that their antics are giving you gray hair, know that the latest animal research seems to confirm your claim.

Scientists report they have pinpointed how stress causes gray hair in mice, and they said that their findings improve knowledge of how stress can affect the human body.

"Everyone has an anecdote to share about how stre...

How Mom-to-Be's Worry Over Birth Defects Can Harm Baby

Hearing that your unborn baby has congenital heart disease can be traumatic, but now new research suggests that if you experience stress, anxiety or depression afterward it could affect your baby's brain development.

Congenital heart disease (structural problems with the heart) is the one of the most common birth defects.

"We were alarmed by the high percentage of pregnant w...

Writing Out Your Worries Really Works Wonders

As much as people often love to talk about their feelings, it might be more productive to skip the conversations and write about your worries instead, according to research done at Michigan State University (MSU).

The research, published in the journal Psychophysiology, provides the first neural evidence of the benefits of expressive writing, according to lead author Hans Schro...

Some Solid Advice on New Year's Resolutions That Might Stick

If you plan to make a New Year's resolution about improving your health, the American Medical Association (AMA) has some good suggestions.

"With too many holiday sweets and not enough exercise likely in the rearview mirror, now is the perfect time to consider your personal goals and how you can make positive health choices in the coming year," AMA President Dr. Patrice Harris said in ...

Most Young Vapers Aren't Using E-Cigs to Quit Smoking: Survey

Electronic cigarettes are marketed as an aid to quitting smoking, but most young people who vape say that's not why they indulge.

Instead, six out of 10 said they vape to relax and they'd miss the stress relief of vaping if they quit, a new survey sponsored by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) shows.

"We're hearing this narrative that people are vaping to qui...

AHA News: How to Keep Year-End Deadlines From Ruining Your Health

The end of the year is supposed to be a time to celebrate and relax. But for many, the traditional sounds of the season include a giant, ticking clock - and not the fun kind from your favorite rockin' New Year's Eve show.

Many workers know the pressure of year-end deadlines. These are often increased by the family pressures that come with holiday preparations.

It's not jus...

'Diabetes Burnout' Is Real, Here's How to Cope

Living with diabetes -- especially if you need insulin to survive -- is a never-ending job that can be life-threatening if done wrong. That constant daily stress can lead to "diabetes burnout," a new study says.

Diabetics experiencing burnout are mentally and physically exhausted, feeling detached from their condition and apathetic about their need for self-care. Diabetes burnout can...

Caregivers Need to Care for Themselves

If you're a caregiver for a family member, you need to look after your own mental health to provide the best care for others, an expert says.

Caregivers are at increased risk for depression and anxiety. Clinically significant symptoms of depression occur in 40%-70% of caregivers, and major depression occurs in 25%-50% of these caregivers, according to the Family Caregi...

AHA News: Areas Hit Hardest by Recession Saw Jump in Heart Death Rates

Communities suffering the most after the Great Recession had the biggest increase in heart disease deaths in the years that followed, according to a new study.

After decades of decline, the rate of deaths from heart disease and stroke has plateaued in recent years, and is actually rising in some populations. For the new study, researchers wanted to see how the economy might fit into ...

It's Not Just Menopause to Blame for Older Women's Flagging Sex Drive

It's not uncommon for a woman's sex life to slow down with age, but hormones aren't the only reason she might not be in the mood, a new study suggests.

Postmenopausal issues, such as vaginal dryness or pain during sex, definitely put a damper on a woman's desire. But just as often, it was issues with her partner that brought sexual activity to a halt.

"Low libido is commo...

Survey Shows Americans Feel Stressed

Mass shootings, health care and the 2020 presidential election are significant causes of stress for American adults, a new survey finds.

The poll of more than 3,600 U.S. adults found that 71% of them said mass shootings are a major source of stress, an increase from 62% in 2018. Hispanics were most likely to say mass shootings are a significant source of stress (84%), foll...

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