STAYING FIT AND HEALTHY DURING THE HOLIDAYS

With the holidays coming up, the highlight for many people during this season is gathering with family and friends and enjoying favorite holiday treats. Here are some tips that will help you enjoy your holidays to the fullest while not increasing your waistline.

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MAKING AND KEEPING NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS

Only 8 percent of individuals achieved their resolutions in 2016, according to Statistic Brain. This is likely due to most people having unrealistic expectations about the speed, ease and consequences of the resolutions they make. People attempting self-change rarely succeed the first time; most need five or six attempts, according to a paper published in American Psychologist by Janet Polivy and Peter Herman. The authors suggest false hope syndrome is the cause for failure.

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HEALTHY HOLIDAY OPTIONS

The holidays are a wonderful time to gather with family and friends to celebrate. These celebrations often consist of many delicious treats and hardy meals. You can still maintain a healthy diet with a little thought and planning in advance. Research from a recent Web-based survey found 18 percent of people feel they cannot eat healthily during the holidays because they don’t want to miss out on their favorite foods. You can still eat the foods you enjoy this season, just in moderation.

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The results of two new randomized and controlled mental health research studies demonstrated that just one dose of psilocybin produces significant long-term improvements in patients with anxiety and depression. These findings, recently published in The Journal of Psychopharmacology, are potentially beneficial for individuals who are troubled by anxiety and depression.


Psilocybin is a hallucinogenic substance obtained from certain types of mushrooms indigenous to tropical and subtropical regions of South America, Mexico and the United States. Fifty-one adults participated in the double-blind crossover study at Johns Hopkins University. New York University was the second site. Stephen Ross, M.D., principal investigator of the NYU study and director of substance abuse services in the Department of Psychiatry at Langone Medical Center, said all patients received targeted counseling plus a 0.3 mg/kg dose of psilocybin at one of two treatment sessions. A vitamin placebo at the other session realized 80 percent of the subjects experienced a significant reduction in anxiety and depressive symptoms after six months. Furthermore, 80 percent of the subjects realized clinically significant decreases in symptomology six months after their final treatment session, suggesting there may be longer term benefits with less need for medication.


Further research with larger samples needs to be conducted,

INNOVATIVE RESEARCH FINDINGS SUGGEST NEW DIRECTION IN MENTAL HEALTH CARE

but it is clear these initial findings raise the issue that psilocybin holds true potential for treating anxiety and depression in patients with this diagnosis. These results represent a dramatic step forward in the mental health profession’s efforts to help some of the most seriously affected patients needing a more effective protocol of care and treatment for anxiety and depression.


Sources and Resources:


•  Hallucinogenic drug psilocybin eases existential anxiety in people with life threatening cancer. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine; December 1, 2016.

•  Single dose of hallucinogenic drug psilocybin relieves anxiety and depression in patients with advanced cancer. New York, NY: New York University Langone Medical Center; December 1, 2016.

DR. THOMAS W. MILLER, PH.D, ABPP

Thomas W. Miller, Ph.D., ABPP, is a professor emeritus and senior research scientist, Center for Health, Intervention and Prevention, University of Connecticut; retired service chief from the VA Medical Center; and tenured professor in the Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, University of Kentucky.

more articles by Dr thomas w. miller