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Distress Can Spread Through Social Networks

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Sydney: With connecting to people is becoming more easier than ever due to the mushrooming online platforms, experts have warned that they should be careful about who they become friends with as despair and distress can spread through close social networks, up to “three degrees of separation” – or a friend of a friend of a friend.

Doctors, therefore, should consider “social prescribing” — where patients who present with depression are helped to engage with positive activities within their networks. “The major implication is that instead of only resorting to medication, or individual psychological treatment, clinicians should also look to immediate social networks and wider social context including the influences of friends and family and wellbeing at work,” said Tarun Bastiampillai from Flinders University in Australia.

Therapeutic interventions can include analysing “depression clusters” and developing more positive and healthy social networks — from relatives, friends, colleagues and neighbours to joining a sporting club or hobby group to expand the social network, the researchers said. (IANS)

 

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