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Posted: February 09, 2018

People with depression are more likely to use certain words — here’s how they express themselves

FILE PHOTO (TrisOfficial/Morguefile license https://morguefile.com/license)
TrisOfficial/Morguefile
FILE PHOTO (TrisOfficial/Morguefile license https://morguefile.com/license)

By Fiza Pirani, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

How a person talks and types can tell you a lot about their mental health.

» RELATED: 5 signs you should ask your doctor about depression

According to new research published in the journal “Clinical Psychological Science,” certain language may help identify whether someone is suffering from depression.

For their study, the researchers conducted a computerized text analysis of 63 internet forums including more than 6,400 members in total.

>> Read more trending news 

They hypothesized that individuals in “anxiety, depression and suicidal ideation” forums would have a “more black and white view of the world,” study author Mohammed Al-Mosaiwi wrote in an academic article. The researchers believed this view of the world would manifest itself in absolutist language, using words such as "always," “nothing” or “completely.”

» RELATED: When love isn’t enough: A daughter’s suicide leaves a grieving father searching for answers

When compared to 19 control forums, Al-Mosaiwi wrote that that the prevalence of such absolutist words was approximately 50 percent greater in anxiety and depression forums, and approximately 80 percent greater for suicidal ideation forums.

In addition to absolutist language, the scientists found that those with symptoms of depression used significantly more first person singular pronouns, such as “me,” “myself” and “I.” They used significantly fewer second and third person pronouns − “they,” “them” or “she.”

» RELATED: The suicide rate for teen girls is the highest it’s been in 40 years — Is social media to blame? 

“This pattern of pronoun use suggests people with depression are more focused on themselves, and less connected with others,” Al-Mosaiwi wrote. “Researchers have reported that pronouns are actually more reliable in identifying depression than negative emotion words.”

That doesn’t mean everyone who uses the language associated with depression is actually depressed. Researchers note it’s how you feel over time that determines whether you are suffering.

But the new findings are a testament to using machine learning to help identify mental health problems. According to Al-Mosaiwi, researchers have already started using computerization to study specific subcategories of perfectionism, self-esteem issues and social anxiety.

» RELATED: Perfectionism is a major issue for millennials and their mental health, study says 

According to the World Health Organization, more than 300 million people of all ages suffer from depression, and it’s the leading cause of disability worldwide.

Additionally, approximately 800,000 people die of suicide each year −that’s one person every 40 seconds. In the U.S., between 1999 and 2014, the suicide rate rose by 24 percent. And according to recent data released Thursday by Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide rates among 15- to 19-year-old girls doubled between 2007 and 2015, reaching a 40-year high.

More resources:

Suicide prevention resources for parents, guardians and families

Suicide prevention resources for teens

Suicide prevention resources for survivors of suicide loss

More resources and programs at the Suicide Prevention Resource Center.

Atlanta Mood Support: DBSA Metro Atlanta


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The #1 Free Home Show in the Miami Valley is almost here

The event formerly known as Home World has a new name and new location. Get totally inspired for spring as you find hundreds of ways to improve your home. Make your home the one you really want. Show open daily during mall hours.  Admission is free! 

  • Landscaping and Outdoors

Get ready for Spring and Summer and transform your outdoor space into something that feels like you’re on vacation

  • Demonstration Stage

Make sure to visit our demonstration stage during the entire show. There will be exciting demonstrations on how to re-purpose and design thanks to Monarch Market Affair

  • Meet Barry Williams from The Brady Bunch 
  • Join us as we welcome Me-TV superstar Barry Williams who played the iconic Greg Brady from The Brady Bunch TV Show. Meet him and get an autograph on February 10th stage side at center court in front of Macy’s. 
  • The line will start forming when the Mall Opens, and Barry’s First appearance will be at 11 a.m.
  • Come prepared with your camera or cell phone for the Meet and Greet. 
  • There will be a Q&A session with Barry at 1 p.m. 
  • Enter to win a Me-TV Prize Pack and be the first to meet Barry Williams

For more information on this year’s big event and how your business can participate visit HomeExpoDayton.com