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Research suggests that helping depressed friends is a good thing
on 20 August 2015
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It is good news that researchers have found that being around depressed people, will not harm us. It is even better news for someone suffering from depression because the disappearance of friends can exacerbate one's depression and lead to isolation and loneliness . . .

Having friends who suffer from depression doesn't affect the mental health of others, according to research led by the University of Warwick. The academics found that having friends can help teenagers recover from depression or even avoid becoming depressed in the first instance. The findings are the result of a study of the way teenagers in a group of US high schools influenced each others' mood. The academics used a mathematical model to establish if depression spreads from friend to friend.

The essence of friendships, having a positive effect on someone, is mostly a consequence of the amount of time one finds pleasure being in their company. Or the reality/perception of beneficial effects, as a consequence of the anticipation of having a good experience or in doing something that initiates a positive outcome! The effect of positive mental processing leads to a minimising effect on the adverse side of the brain's reward pathways. By that I mean, that sometimes a reward can be a consequence of not receiving a negative response/outcome to something we expect to be punished for. So, contextually, the reward is the absence of punishment, as opposed to the presence of something pleasurable. This is a particular aspect of how hypnotherapy can assist a client in the resolution of an anxiety disorder and something I explain in greater detail during the free consultation.

Hypnotherapy stands out as one of the most effective strategic life management methods there is, especially in its ability to promote clear thinking and good states of mental wellness. The behaviours that make life challenging are often a result of too much stress, too little or poor quality sleep and too little by way of mental and emotional clarity! So, to get or take back control of your mind and your life, it makes perfect sense to use a methodology that addresses the subconscious brain's role in perpetuating negative, vague and ambiguous states of mind. Hypnosis helps us to create calm relaxing states of mind that make life work better! If you would like to address any concerns you have in this direction, or, if you just want the ability to make your life feel better, then why not make an appointment for a Free Consultation? Hypnosis gives you the ability to have a good life! 

My objective is to help people understand how and why we become illogically trapped into emotional experiences that may actually be happening but for reasons, we may never have imagined! If you want to know more about Hypnotherapy, why not make an appointment for a Free Consultation?

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The Research:

Professor Frances Griffiths, head of social science and systems in health at Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick, said: "Depression is a major public health concern worldwide. But the good news is we've found that a healthy mood amongst friends is linked with a significantly reduced risk of developing and increased chance of recovering from depression. "Our results offer implications for improving adolescent mood. In particular, they suggest the hypothesis that encouraging friendship networks between adolescents could reduce both the incidence and prevalence of depression among teenagers." The study has been published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B entitled "Spreading of healthy mood in adolescent social networks."

Using data from The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health they looked at more than 2,000 adolescents in a network of US high school students. They examined how their mood influenced each other by modelling the spread of moods using similar methods to those used to track the spread of infectious diseases. Individuals were classified as either having depressive symptoms (low mood) or not being depressed (healthy mood) according to the score cut-off associated with a clinical diagnosis of depression. The team found that while depression does not 'spread', having enough friends with a healthy mood can halve the probability of developing or double the probability of recovering from, depression over a six to 12 month period. The mathematical model used suggests that adolescents who have five or more mentally healthy friends have half the probability of becoming depressed compared to adolescents with no healthy friends. And teenagers who have 10 healthy friends have double the probability of recovering from depressive symptoms compared to adolescents with just three healthy friends.

University of Warwick mathematics researcher Edward Hill is the lead author of the research paper. He said: "In the context of depression, this is very large effect size. Changing risk by a factor of two is unusual. "Our results suggest that promotion of any friendship between adolescents can reduce depression since having depressed friends does not put them at risk, but having healthy friends is both protective and curative." Social factors such as living alone or having experienced abuse in childhood are already linked to depression. Also, social support, such as having someone to talk to has been cited as important for recovery from depression.

However, this study looks at the effect of being friends with people on the likelihood of developing depression or recovering from it. Another author of the paper, Dr Thomas House senior lecturer in applied mathematics from the University of Manchester said: "It could be that having a stronger social network is an effective way to treat depression. More work needs to be done but it may be that we could significantly reduce the burden of depression through cheap, low-risk social interventions. "As a society, if we enable friendships to develop among adolescents (for example providing youth clubs) each adolescent is more likely to have enough friends with healthy mood to have a protective effect. This would reduce the prevalence of depression."

Other research into adolescent mental health by Warwick Medical School will be explored in an upcoming play called Cracked which is being performed by Santé Theatre Warwick


Story Source:
The above post is reprinted from materials provided by the University of Warwick. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Journal Reference:
E. M. Hill, F. E. Griffiths, T. House. Spreading of healthy mood in adolescent social networks. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 2015 DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2015.1180