4 reasons how Drake's New Album May Help Us Fight Mental Illness

4 reasons how Drake's New Album May Help Us Fight Mental Illness

Increasing Evidence Points to Music as a Potential Solution to the Mental Health Problem.

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Okay, You caught me!

I am NOT just talking about everybody's favorite actor-turned-rapper— or second, if you've seen Childish Gambino's "This is America" music video. Unfortunately, current research hasn't explored specific genres and artists. However, studies HAVE provided significant evidence in possibilities for music to treat mental health disorders. Now, before you say something that your parents would not be proud of, ask yourself if you can really blame me for wanting to get your attention. This is an urgent matter concerning each one of us. If we all face the truth, we could very well reach one step closer to solving one of society's biggest problems: Mental Health.

The Problem:

As our nation continues to bleed from tragedies like the horrific shooting that shattered the lives of 70 families whose loved ones just wanted to watch the "Dark Knight Rises" during its first hours of release, as well as the traumatic loss of seventeen misfortunate innocents to the complications of mental health disorders in the dear city of Parkland— a city mere hours from our very own community— it's impossible to deny the existence of mental illness. As many of us can already vouch, mental illness is much more common than what most would think: over 19 million adults in America suffer from a mental health disorder. Picture that: a population slightly less than that of Florida is plagued by hopelessness, isolation, and utter despair.

Disease in the form of depression holds millions of people prisoner, as anxieties instill crippling desperation and too many struggles with finding peace. This can be you. It could be your brother, your sister, your mother, your father, your cousin, your aunt, your uncle, your friend, your roommate, your fraternity brother, your sorority sister, your lab partner, or just your classmate that sits in the corner of the lecture hall with a head buried into a notebook that camouflages all emotion.

I hope we— the UCF community— understand the gravity of the problem, but it's clear that some still see mental illness as a disease that affects only a handful of "misfits" who "terrorize" our streets, while the numbers reveal more to the issue. In fact, 1 in 5 Americans suffers from a mental health disorder. The problem is so serious that suicide has risen to become the second-leading cause of death among 20 to 24-year-olds. While many continue to ask for more antidepressants and even the occasional "proper spanking," recent studies indicate increases in occurrence, such as one in depression from 5.9% in 2012 to 8.2% in 2015. So, clearly, none of that is working.

The Evidence:

If we really want to create a world where our children are free from the chains of mental illness, we need to think outside the box. Doctors and scientists won't really talk about this since it's still a growing field of research, but music has strong potential. We don't have any options at the moment, which means we need to change our mindset about music and to continue to explore its medicinal benefits. If you're still skeptical because of the title, then please consider these 4 pieces of solid evidence backed by scientific research:

1. Music has been proven to improve disorders like Parkinson's Disease.

Researchers sponsored by the National Institute of Health— the country's largest research agency— saw an improvement in the daily function of patients with Parkinson's Disease. This makes patients shake uncontrollably, which often prevents them from complete functionality. The disease is caused by a shortage of dopamine— a chemical your neurons, or brain cells, release; since music treats this shortage, there's an obvious ability to increase dopamine levels. As numerous studies connect dopamine shortages to mental illnesses like depression, addiction, and ADHD, someone could possibly use music's proven ability to increase dopamine levels to treat said problems.

2. Listening to the music has the potential to activate your brain's "reward center."

In 2013, Valorie Salimpoor and fellow researchers conducted a study that connected subjects' pleasure towards music to a specific part of the brain. This key structure, the nucleus accumbens, is the body's "reward center," which means all of you have experienced its magical powers. In fact, any time the brain detects a rewarding sensation— drinking ice-cold water after a five-mile run in sunny, humid Florida, eating that Taco Bell chalupa after a long happy hour at Knight's Library, and even consuming recreational drugs— this structure releases more of that fantastic dopamine. So, with further research into specifics, doctors may soon be prescribing your daily dose of tunes for your own health.

3. Listening to Music may be more effective than prescription anti-anxiety medication.

In 2013, Mona Lisa Chanda and Daniel J. Levitin— two accomplished doctors in psychology— reviewed a study wherein patients waiting to undergo surgery were given either anti-anxiety medications or music to listen to. The study took into account cortisol levels, which are used daily by healthcare professionals to gauge patient levels. This "stress hormone" was actually found to be lower in patients who listened to classical music rather those who took the recommended dose of prescription drugs. Sit there and think about that for a second: these patients actually felt more relaxed with something as simple as MUSIC than with chemicals that are made specifically to force patients into relaxation before surgery. Why pop a Xanax when you can just listen to Beethoven?

4. Music may release the chemicals that help you naturally relax and feel love.

Further studies continue to justify music's place in the medical world as results demonstrate increases in substances such as prolactin— a hormone that produces a relaxing sensation— as well as oxytocin— the substance that promotes warmth and happiness during a hug between mother and child. So this study basically showed us that music has the potential to actually make you feel the way you did when Mom or Dad would embrace you with the warmest hug you've ever felt.

The Future:

The evidence I present you with today is ultimately just a collection of individual situations where specific people found specific results. There are a lot of variables when it comes to any research study; therefore, data is never truly certain. We should take these findings as strong suggestions to a possible solution, but we must remember the possibility of failure in our search.

The neurochemistry behind the music and its medicinal properties is just beginning to unfold before the scientific community. In fact, extremely qualified scientists from the National Institute of Health— the organization that basically runs any important medical study in the United States— continue to remind us of the subject's youth with the constant use of "potential" behind any and all of their findings. Therefore, it's our responsibility as a community to look into this— not just that of the scientists at the National Institute of Health.

We're all surrounded by music. It's at the bars. It's in our ears during all-night sessions at the UCF library. It's keeping us awake through East Colonial traffic at 7:00 AM while hordes of students focus on their cell phone screens instead of the paved roads ahead. It's in the shoes we wear, the actions we take, and the words we say. IF YOU'RE READING THIS: it's accessible to you. So, don't be shy, and try to play with your Spotify account, or even just on YouTube, and gauge the power of music. As more and more of us see the light, we can promote the movement and carry on as more research comes out to support us.

Drop the bars, drop those addictive pills that destroy your body slowly, and pick up your headphones and press PLAY.

Just relax, close your eyes, smile, and live.

Cover Image Credit:

@champagnepapi

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i pulled a kelsey darragh and wrote my boyfriend a list on how to handle anxiety

11 simple tasks.

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There was a tweet posted by Buzzfeed's Kelsey Darragh of a list she wrote for her boyfriend to help him understand her anxiety/panic attacks. Her boyfriend wanted to understand her and her disorders so the list is meant to guide him while he also learns as the relationship progresses.

For those who for some reason still don't know, I have terrible anxiety. It tends to affect all areas of my life, whether I like it or not, Recently, I had a conversation with my boyfriend about my anxiety and he expressed that I never actually had a conversation about it with him. Therefore he was unsure how to respond if I were to have an anxiety attack around him. So, I took a note from Kelsey's book and wrote him a list.

Maybe this list and a couple explanations will not only help my boyfriend in times of an anxiety crisis but also help other people with anxiety similar to mine explain to their loved ones how to help. Or maybe it could help someone looking for an idea on how to help a loved one with anxiety.

Do not get frustrated with me.

I'm already at my wit's end. Getting upset with me will only upset me further and heighten the tension of the entire situation. I'l probably start crying or yelling and if we're in public then people will start to stare. No one wins then.

Frequently remind me to breath.

I will likely lose a normal breathing pattern. I will also likely forget to breath and then complain that I'm light headed and my lungs burn. I will pass out. Reminding me to breathe is vital.

Ask me if I need to leave.

I don't always need to leave the area and assuming that I do is pretty frustrating. Ask if I need to leave before making any moves to remove me. I hate when people assume I am too helpless to make my own choices.

If it is bad enough to need to make an exit, let me come to you.

Do not touch me right out of the gate. Let me calm down and come to you first. If you go to touch me first I will start to panic further and cause a scene. No one wants people to stare in this situation.

Do not let me sit.

I will curl into myself and then all hopes of this being a short attack is lost. I will get on the ground and be in the fetal position until you physically remove me.

If I'm verbal, validate what I am saying.

I will be saying a lot of insane things. Almost all of it will make no sense. The worst thing you can do is tell me I'm being unreasonable. Just validate me in the moment and then discuss it with me later.

If I'm crying, remind me it's okay to cry.

I will likely be embarrassed because I am crying. Remind me that it is okay to cry out what I am feeling and that no one is judging me.

Bodily contact keeps me calm.

I need to be held more often than not in order to be reminded that you're there to help me. It also helps having a familiar scent when I feel like I am out of my mind. Don't be alarmed if I bury my head in your chest or shoulder.

Weight/Pressure is key.

The pressure of a weighted arm makes me feel grounded and safe. It is so important that I have that pressure on my shoulders or chest. Otherwise I am likely to feel like I am losing hold on where I am.

Attempt to distract me.

Ask me questions, talk about things I can learn from. Anything to distract my mind from the chaos going on inside of it. It helps lighten the mood as well as keep me from getting even more upset.

Wait until I'm calm to ask questions.

Asking me a lot of questions about my anxiety will only heighten my anxiety. More often than not I actually don't know why I am freaking out. My anxiety just hates me. It's one of the absolute worst things you could do.

Cover Image Credit:

Alexi Sanderlin

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Should Your Actions At 17 Define Your Life Now? Conservatives Say Yes For Women, No For Brett Kavanaugh

If you don't believe Kavanaugh's actions at 17 should dictate the rest of his life, you shouldn't think that a pregnant 17-year-old's actions should dictate the rest of her's, either.

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Brett Kavanaugh, Donald Trump's (inevitably) controversial pick for the Supreme Court, has been swirling around in the news again since being selected. But this time, it is a little bit less about Kavanaugh now and more about Kavanaugh at the ripe age of 17.

Christine Blasey Ford, a California professor, held onto the information for 36 years. But as Kavanaugh came closer and closer to a seat in the Supreme Court, she said, "I feel like my civic responsibility is outweighing my anguish and terror about retaliation." In a shocking, detailed account, Ford alleges Kavanaugh pinned her down against the bed, groped her, attempted to rip off her clothes and put his hand over her mouth to stifle her screams.

She was 15.

It is no wonder Ford was afraid to share her story. Beyond the extensive wait time, Kavanaugh is approaching a position of extreme power. With the #MeToo movement, people are quick to assume women are falsely accusing powerful men of sexual assault to receive money or notoriety. And, like all survivors who come forward years later (or even right away), many people are vehemently against her.

But beyond people believing she's a lying, money-hungry life-ruiner (and here it is worth mentioning that she both passed a polygraph and there are notes from her 2012 couple's therapy about the incident happening), some people do believe her, and simply believe it isn't really a big deal due to Kavanaugh's age:

"Ford claimed Kavanaugh was drunk. Hell, if ATTEMPTED stuff by drunk 17 year-olds is the standard by which we judge the persons in their 50s, I suspect most of the world's men would be in serious trouble!" — @laraineabbey

"Thinking of the accusations against Judge Kavanaugh, even if true, is he the same person now that he was when he was 17? Are you? I know I am not." — @HEassa

"Kavanaugh was 17 years old. I remember when I was 17. Sex was all I thought of. Give this wonderful Judge a break. We were all different in our teenage years." — @2Tebow

Let's jump elsewhere, though, to another classic Kavanaugh point of contention: Abortion. In a now very popular case, a 17-year-old immigrant girl was detained for crossing the border. She was fleeing domestic abuse from her parents, so was unable to provide a parental sponsor. In his final dissenting opinion, Judge Kavanaugh ruled that she could not get an abortion, as illegal immigrant minors shouldn't get "an abortion on demand."

I urge you to put your views on immigration aside and see this: A minor, with a family so abusive she fled illegally while pregnant, was (nearly) forced to have a child. Bringing a child into that situation doesn't seem very "pro-life" to me, it seems somewhere between "pro-birth" and "pro-control." But regardless, Brett Kavanaugh believed that two decisions she made at 17 (to have sex and thus become pregnant and to enter the U.S. illegally) should affect her life forever. Forcing a minor with no family, no home and likely no resources to have a child at 17 will absolutely define her life forever.

And some people seem to agree that that is A-OK.

"I don't think abortions are cool. If you get pregnant, oh well. Deal with it. Shit happens. It might be your karma or something that wronged you." @TrishyyMariee

"You have consensual sex = you take the chance of getting pregnant (duh) & just bc you don't want the responsibility of a child that you unintentionally created doesn't mean it should have to suffer the consequences by being aborted. That's your own fault, grow up & raise your kid. " — @brooklynelson

"If you spread your legs and get pregnant, grow up and raise your child. It's not your baby's fault you're a hoe." @lil_annalyn_

Here's the thing. This article isn't about immigration or abortion or really even sexual assault.

It is about double standards.

If you don't believe Kavanaugh's actions at 17 should dictate the rest of his life, you shouldn't think that a pregnant 17-year-old's actions should dictate the rest of her's, either. There is no world in which a man is simply too young to realize sexual assault is disgusting and wrong but a pregnant woman is in the situation by her own fault.

That is a double standard.

Brett Kavanaugh was 17 years old when he allegedly assaulted a woman, but it is OK because he's in his 50s now and that was simply a mistake kids make and shouldn't have his entire life change because of it.

Brett Kavanaugh was in his 50s when he attempted to deny a 17-year-old immigrant the right to an abortion, which apparently means she was more than just a kid and it was OK for her entire life to be changed because of it.

So should your actions at 17 define your entire life? Brett Kavanaugh says yes — if you're a pregnant woman

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