Herbs are a foundational root in medicine and health treatments, dating back thousands of years throughout every culture around the world. Modern Western herbalism comes from ancient Egypt. The Greeks developed a comprehensive philosophy of herbal medicine by 100 BCE and the Romans built upon it to create a variety of medical practices, some of which are still used today.



Psychological hardiness is an individual’s resistance to stress, anxiety and depression. It includes the ability to withstand grief and accept the loss of loved ones. Alternative medicine is a more popular term for health and wellness therapies that have typically not been part of conventional Western medical approaches but are often used along with conventional medicinal protocols.  Coping and dealing with stress in a positive manner play a major role in maintaining the balance needed for health and well-being.



Interest in complimentary and alternative medicine (CAM) is increasing as consumers and health care professionals search for additional ways to treat anxiety, depression and other mental health disorders. Some of these remedies include:

St. John’s Wort.  More than 30 studies show it to be effective for treatment of mild forms of depression,…


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“Although we can’t say for sure the growing use of smartphones caused the increase in mental health issues, that was by far the biggest change in teens’ lives between 2010 and 2015,” study author Jean Twenge said. She also wrote iGen: Why Today’s Super- Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy – and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood – and What That Means for the Rest of Us.

Other researchers found young people performed worse on mental tasks when experiencing withdrawal from their phones. They had physiological symptoms such as increased heart rate and blood pressure and also felt a sense of loss or lessening of their extended self. This study was published in the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication January 2015.

Although the Internet has been available for home use since the mid-90s, smartphones and the Internet’s encroachment into every aspect of life became commonplace around the same time as problematic usage increased. They have become entities so intimately a part of life they are capable of representing an extension of our physical selves. This can lead to cell phone attachment and dependency, giving users the impression they are constantly connected to the world, making them feel less alone.

Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg don’t allow their own children to engage on social media platforms or even have any screen time. Tristan Harris, former Google design ethicist and co- founder of the Center for Humane Technology, is one of many voices from the tech sector calling out practices in the industry that exploit psychological vulnerabilities by using classic conditioning techniques. As long as companies make their money from advertising, he says, they have an incentive to try to design products that maximize the time spent using them.

Internet use, especially social media, should be limited rather than used mindlessly and aimlessly. Counselors and out-and in-patient facilities are equipped to treat Internet and smartphone addictions. There is an anti-addition app called Onward that can monitor usage.

“We’re trying to completely change the incentives away from addiction, and the way to do that is to change the business model,” said Harris.    



Angela is a staff writer for Health & Wellness magazine.

more articles by Angela s. hoover

Analyzing data from two national surveys – one of U.S. adolescents in grades 8 through 12 and another on national statistics on suicide deaths for those ages 13 to 18 – researchers found adolescents’ depressive symptoms, suicide- related outcomes and suicide rates increased from 2010 to 2015, especially among females. During that time, the number of girls with severe depression rose by 58 percent. Adolescents who spent more time on social media and smart-phones were more likely to report mental health issues. Adolescents who spent more time on non-screen activities – in-person social interaction, sports/exercise, home-work, print media and attending religious services – were less likely to do so. Since 2010, iGen adolescents have spent more time on new media screen activities and less time on non-screen activities.

The researchers found a tight relationship between mental health issues and a rise in new media screen activities. About 48 percent of those who spent five or more hours a day on their phones had thought about suicide or made plans for it versus 28 percent of those who spent only one hour a day on their phones. No other variables, such as household finances, homework, or school pressure, could account for the rise in mental health issues over that time frame.

Searches on the topic of phone addiction have risen steadily over the past five years, with social media addiction closely following, according to Google Trends. Phone and social media addictions are closely intertwined, especially for young people. Several studies and former high-level tech employees confirm many sites and Web activities are addictive and these addictions are linked to serious mental health risks.

Teens and young adults are spending more time on their phones. The heaviest usage is among iGen adolescents – those born between 1995 and 2012 (formerly called Generation Z). A study presented in November 2017 at the Radiology Society of North America conference looked at the brains of teens who fell into the category of smartphone or Internet addiction. Korean researchers found differences in the chemistry of the brain’s reward circuits, particularly in the ratio of the neurotransmitter gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) to glutamate-glutamine (Glx). They used magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS), a type of MRI that measures the brain’s chemical composition. GABA inhibits or slows down brain signals. Glx makes neurons become more electrically excited. The ratio of GABA to Glx was significantly increased in the anterior cingulate cortex of smartphone and Internet-addicted youth. The ratios of GABA to creatine and glutamate were significantly correlated to clinical scales of internet and smartphone addictions, depression and anxiety, says Dr. Hyung Suk Seo, professor of neuroradiology at Korea University in Seoul. Having too much GABA can result in drowsiness and anxiety.