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January 2011



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Depression, Anxiety Underlie Frequent Indoor Tanning

By Rick Nauert PhD Senior News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on April 21, 2010

New research suggests we have moved beyond simply going to a tanning salon to prepare for a vacation at the beach.

Researchers believe individuals who have used indoor tanning facilities may meet criteria for addiction, and may also be more prone to anxiety symptoms and substance use.

“Despite ongoing efforts to educate the public about the health risks associated with natural and non-solar UV radiation, recreational tanning continues to increase among young adults,” the authors write as background information in the article.

“In addition to the desire for appearance enhancement, motivations for tanning include relaxation, improved mood and socialization.”

Given these reinforcements, repeated exposure to UV light may result in behavior patterns similar to those observed with substance-related disorders, the authors note.

Catherine E. Mosher, Ph.D., of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, and Sharon Danoff-Burg, Ph.D., of University at Albany, State University of New York, in 2006 recruited 421 college students.

Two written questionnaires typically used to screen for alcohol abuse or substance-related disorders were modified to evaluate students for addiction to indoor tanning. Participants were also assessed using standardized measures of anxiety, depression and substance use.

Among 229 participants who had used indoor tanning facilities, the average number of visits during the past year was 23. A total of 90 (39.3 percent) met criteria for tanning addiction on one measure and 70 (30.6 percent) met criteria on the other measure.

Students who did meet these criteria were more likely to report symptoms of anxiety and use of alcohol, marijuana and other substances than those who did not meet these criteria.

“If associations between affective factors and indoor tanning behavior are replicated, results suggest that treating an underlying mood disorder may be a necessary step in reducing skin cancer risk among those who frequently tan indoors,” the authors write.

“Researchers have hypothesized that those who tan regularly year round may require more intensive intervention efforts, such as motivational interviewing, relative to those who tan periodically in response to mood changes or special events.”

“Further research should evaluate the usefulness of incorporating a brief anxiety and depression screening for individuals who tan indoors. Patients with anxiety or depression could be referred to mental health professionals for diagnosis and treatment.”

The report is found in the journal Archives of Dermatology.

Source: JAMA and Archives Journals


Related News Articles

Depression Medication Side Effects May Be Missed By Doctors

Article Date: 21 Apr 2010 – 1:00 PDT

A study from Rhode Island Hospital shows that patients report side effects from medication for the treatment of depression 20 times more than psychiatrists have recorded in the charts. The researchers recommend the use of a self-administered patient questionnaire in clinical practice to improve the recognition of side effects for patients in treatment. The study is published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, Volume 71, No. 4, now available online ahead of print.

One of the most frequent reasons for the discontinuation of medication to treat depression is the side effects that patients may experience. The premature discontinuation of medication is also associated with poorer treatment outcomes. In his recent study, lead researcher Mark Zimmerman, MD, director of outpatient psychiatry at Rhode Island Hospital, notes that despite the clinical importance of detecting side effects, few studies have examined the adequacy of the detection and documentation methods currently in use among clinicians.

Zimmerman and his colleagues asked 300 patients in ongoing treatment for depression to complete a self-administered version of the Toronto Side Effects Scale (TSES). The patients rated the frequency of the 31 side effects and the degree of trouble they experienced. Those patients’ charts were then examined to extract side effects information recorded by the treating psychiatrist.

The findings indicate that the mean number of side effects reported by the patients on the TSES was 20 times higher than the number recorded by the psychiatrist. When the self-reported side effects were limited to “frequently occurring” or “very bothersome” the rate was still found to be two to three times higher than recorded in their charts.

Zimmerman, who is also an associate professor of psychiatry and human behavior at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, says, “Despite the importance that side effects have on premature medication discontinuation, there is some evidence that clinicians may not do a thorough job of eliciting information regarding their presence. This study finds that clinicians do not record in their progress notes most side effects reported on a side effects questionnaire..”

While there may be several explanations for this, Zimmerman says, “Our research found that the only specific side effect that was regularly inquired about by clinicians was on sexual dysfunction, presumably because of concerns that some patients may be too embarrassed to spontaneously report that without prompting.” The researchers also suggest that patients stop reporting to psychiatrists the side effects that they have grown accustomed to, but patients reported these side effects in the self-report scale because there were specific questions about them.

The researchers also question whether side effect frequencies reported in industry-sponsored studies may underestimate the prevalence of side effects from medication. As a result, clinicians may not be accurately informing patients of the potential likelihood of such side effects, and that lack of adequate preparation may result in patients prematurely discontinuing their medication.

Zimmerman says, “As a result of this study, we believe that ongoing dialogue about side effects during treatment will help to reduce premature medication discontinuation and would help reduce depression relapse rates. Incorporating a self-report questionnaire like the TSES may be helpful to adopt into clinical practice for the treatment of depression.”

Other researchers involved in the study along with Zimmerman include Janine Galione, BS, Naureen Attiullah, MD, Michael Friedman, MD, Cristina Toba, MD, and Moataz Rahgeb, MD, all of Rhode Island Hospital the Alpert Medical School.

Nancy Jean


Antidepressant Safety for Children and Teens

By Rick Nauert PhD Senior News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on April 15, 2010

Numerous studies have shown that suicidal thoughts and behaviors may accompany use of antidepressants by children and adolescents. However, variations in risk among individual medications are unknown.

A new study compared various selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant medications and found no significant differences among them in the risk of suicide attempts or suicides.

The article, “Comparative Safety of Antidepressant Agents for Children and Adolescents Regarding Suicidal Acts,” will be published in the May issue of Pediatrics.

Monoamine oxidase inhibitors were not investigated because of the small number of exposed subjects.

A total of 20,906 children between the ages of 10 to 18 years of age with a diagnosis of depression were observed over a 9-year period.

During the first year of use, study authors identified 266 attempted and 3 completed suicides, but no meaningful differences between SSRI antidepressant agents.

This analysis supports the decision of the Food and Drug Administration to include all antidepressants in the black box warning regarding increased suicide risk for children and adolescents after initiation of antidepressant medication use.

Source: American Academy of Pediatrics


Depressed People More Likely To Smoke, US Survey

Article Date: 15 Apr 2010 – 2:00 PDT

Depressed people are more likely to smoke and more likely to smoke heavily than people without depression, says a new US government report that concludes special cessation programs are needed to help people with depression quit smoking.

These are the findings of a report published on 14 April that is based on the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys 2005-2008.

The report, published by the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), does not prove that smoking causes depression or vice versa, but it shows there is a strong link between smoking and depression among adults aged 20 and over in the US.

Read in Full:  http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/185499.php

DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY: The Challenge of Antidepressant Medication and Intimacy

Sex — and satisfaction with your sex life — is an important part of the lives of most adults. But having a satisfying sex life may be a challenge for those who take antidepressants. Click here to continue reading

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