APA Blog

Category : Patients and Families

The Need for Food and Need for Social Interaction Show Similar Reactions in the Brain

A new study finds similarities in people’s craving for food in response to being hungry and people’s craving for social interaction in response to isolation. The research authors note this supports the notion that social interaction is a basic human need, similar to food and sleep. 

How Endometriosis, a Common, Painful Condition Many Women Face, Can Impact Mental Health

Endometriosis is a common, often painful condition in which the type of tissue that forms the lining of the uterus (the endometrium) is found outside the uterus. The most common symptom of endometriosis is chronic pelvic pain, especially just before and during the menstrual period. Endometriosis is also associated with mental health conditions, including depression and anxiety, and a reduced quality of life.

Light, Sleep and Mental Health

Light, both natural and artificial, can affect our health and mental health in several different ways. Depending on the time of day, light exposure can promote or disrupt sleep. A persistently disrupted sleep cycle can contribute to a variety of health problems, including heart disease, obesity and mental health disorders. Research is also beginning to clarify non-circadian effects of light – light can have a direct impact on the sleep and mood centers in the brain. 

Tips for Family Mental Well-being During the Pandemic:  Young Children to Elderly Parents

Families are continuing to cope with challenges during the pandemic and many are juggling multiple roles, including working from home and caring for children and elderly parents. The American Psychiatric Association Foundation recently hosted a virtual town hall addressing Mentally Healthy Families in Times of a Pandemic with geriatric psychiatrist Uyen-Khanh Quang-Dang, M.D., M.S., Palo Alto Foundation Medical Group, and psychiatrist Lisa Harding, M.D., clinical instructor of psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine.

Understanding Stimming:  Repetitive Behaviors with a Purpose

One key symptom of autism spectrum disorders is repetitive behaviors, such as repetitive actions like self-stimulation behavior, or stimming. These behaviors can involve one part of the body, the entire body or an object. While they may seem distractive or disruptive, and while it may not be obvious to others, stimming often serves a purpose for the individual.