Researchers note the opposite is not true
San Francisco, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 02/11/2013 -- In new studies, there has been a more direct linking between mental health and the social and lifestyle decisions made by individuals. In other words, the concept that poor life decisions are the cause of mental health, is in fact, the opposite of the truth.
A list of poor lifestyle decisions that spans everything from binge drinking, illegal drug use, poor diet, and unsafe sex, all could be coping strategies for individuals who do not know how to handle their depression and anxiety, according to psychologists.
The research has turned previous notions on their head. It has long-since been assumed that those who make a list of poor decisions a reality are often subject to becoming depressed or suffer from anxiety, while the information from the studies appear to show the opposite being the case.
Scientists studied a group of 482 adults that have received care at sexually transmitted disease clinics inside the United States.
Patients completed online questionnaires to assess the subject's lifestyle, and were tested on their respective levels of anxiety and depression, as well as perceived stress.
Those with low incomes were most likely to display unhealthy behaviors than those with high incomes, and also had higher rates of mental affliction.
The study noted that depression, anxiety, and stress tended to herald unhealthy behavior as a whole. In contrast, unhealthy behavior did not predict mental health problems.
The findings were published in the Behavioral medicine, and suggested that unhealthy behavior follows mental conditions but is not necessarily a precursor or indicator to them.
Dr Jennifer Walsh, from the Miriam Hospital, in Providence, Rhode Island, and colleagues wrote: "Clinicians and practitioners should recognize that there may be high rates of depression, anxiety and stress, as well as health-compromising behaviors, in low income populations, and they should assess mental health as well as these behaviors."
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