Are Divorced Women at Risk? Is Your Phone Ruining Relationships? How Can We Save Our Teens?

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Discover the profound effects of divorce on women over 50, the implications of excessive phone use on relationships, and the concerning rise in teen substance abuse. Gain invaluable insights from our expert hosts, Patricia Wu, Jessica Reyes, and guest, Dr. Dan Bober, as they discuss these pressing topics.

Psychological Impact of Divorce in women over 50

Research suggests that women in their fifties may experience heightened mental health challenges following a divorce or breakup. Factors such as financial insecurity, social isolation, and identity shifts post-relationship contribute to this vulnerability.

Dr. Dan Bober emphasizes the importance of women maintaining a sense of self and carving out time for personal growth amidst familial responsibilities.

Unplug from your phone and overcome from phubbing

The term ‘phubbing’ refers to the act snubbing others by being drawn in one’s phone. Experts warn that excessive phone use can worsen feelings of loneliness and disconnection in relationships.

Dr. Bober advocates for unplugging from devices to create meaningful connections and suggests setting boundaries to curb addictive phone behaviors.

Teen Substance Abuse

Research highlights a disturbing trend among teens using drugs as a coping mechanism for stress, anxiety, and depression. Dr. Dan Bober acknowledges the alarming rise in teen suicide rates and attributes part of this trend to the influence of social media. He emphasizes the need for both corporate responsibility from social media companies and proactive measures from parents and caregivers to mitigate the negative impact of digital platforms on adolescent mental health.

We invite you to watch the video as we navigate deeper into the complexities of divorce, social media influence, and teen mental health challenges. It’s crucial to prioritize self-care, healthy relationships, and mental well-being. By fostering awareness, setting boundaries, and seeking professional support when needed, we can work towards a society that prioritizes mental health and emotional well-being for all ages.

Video Transcription

00:00 The Impact of Separation on Women’s Mental Health

(Host-Patricia Wu) Welcome to Psychology Behind the Headlines.

New research is painting a not so pretty picture for women 50 plus, suggesting they may struggle more with their mental health after a separation. According to a study examining antidepressant use, published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, women in this age group experienced larger increases in medication following divorces or breakups when compared with men.

However, this does not mean that men are immune to the emotional impact of separations, but it highlights a potential vulnerability for older women. Researchers suggest several factors could be at play, including financial insecurity, social isolation, and identity shifts after years in a relationship.

(Host-Jessica Reyes) Oh, wow.

Well, MHTN’s co-founder and Chief Medical Officer of Psychiatrists, Dr. Dan Bober, joins us.

Dan, I guess this isn’t surprising, is it?

(Guest-Dr. Dan Bober) No, this is something I see in a lot of my female patients, in that we know that low self esteem is rampant among women in the United States. And a lot of women, you know, they get married, and they end up being someone’s husband, and they raise children, and now they’re someone’s mother.

But then their kids go off to college and now they’re in their fifties and hormonal changes kick in, and they don’t really know who they are. They don’t really have an identity. So I think it’s important for women to really have something for themselves and for their own core, rather than just be an extension of someone else.

(Host-Jessica Reyes) How do women find balance in things like that? Because, you know, you go into marriage, you try to be there for your children and for your husband. Sometimes there isn’t enough time to do stuff for yourself. What do you suggest?

(Guest-Dr. Dan Bober) I think it’s important to make time for yourself. It’s part of your mental health, it’s part of your self care, and that can be anything from volunteering, a part time job.

Listen, there are plenty of professional women who raise children, they make it work somehow. But it’s important to have something for yourself, so that when all these role changes occur, that your self esteem doesn’t take a hit.

(Host-Jessica Reyes) That’s some good advice. That is some great advice, actually.

Hard to remember though, when you’ve got five loads of laundry, you gotta pick up the kids at soccer practice and all of those different things. It is difficult, but again, as Dan says, you have to make time for yourself just in case. Thank you so much.

02:12 Phubbing: The New Social Epidemic

(Host-Jessica Reyes) Well, we’ve all done it.

Checked our phones at a party instead of talking to people. It’s called phubbing. And a new study reveals who’s most likely to snub others this way. Researchers in Lebanon found married people, introverts, and those with high sensitivity are the least likely to phub. Unfortunately, people who are bored or lonely are more prone to this antisocial habit.

The concerning part is that phubbing can worsen loneliness, as if we needed more of that. Experts say if you’re prone to this behavior, being aware is the first step toward change. Healthcare professionals can also help patients develop a healthier phone habit to improve their social connections. And look at me, I’m here.

I mean, and I can’t even leave my phone. On the set next to you.

(Host-Patricia Wu) What does she do, Dan?

(Host-Jessica Reyes) I need help.

(Guest-Dr. Dan Bober) You know what? We need to distract ourselves from the distraction. These phones have become an extension of ourselves, right? You know? It’s causing significant marital discord. It’s causing relationships to suffer.

These phones are highly reinforcing. They actually activate the same part of our brain that cocaine does. They engage the reward system. So we have to be able to unplug and get off the grid. Go for a walk with the person that you love, get back to nature, at the dinner table, leave the phones in the bedroom, but you’ve got to separate yourself from your phone, or you’re going to find yourself separated from your loved one.

(Host-Jessica Reyes) It is addictive. It really is. It just sucks you in.

Yeah, I found myself like at events and different places, and I don’t even network or talk to people anymore because I’m on. This, this is really like, you know, this is really like a drug.

(Host-Patricia Wu) Yeah, I mean, definitely, you know, Troy McGuire, our, our fearless leader… oftentimes I’m talking to him and I just get this blank look like, uh huh, and then he’s back to the phone. It’s almost like he’s been possessed by it, Dan.

(Host-Jessica Reyes) That’s a great way to describe it.

(Guest-Dr. Dan Bober) Absolutely, I mean, I think we can rule out demonic possession, but he definitely looks at his phone a lot.

(Host-Patricia Wu) You know, question on that, I think he’s a bit, has a little bit of ADD, does that play into that? That he needs to have some kind of stimulation?

(Guest-Dr. Dan Bober) So what’s interesting is, is that people who are sort of addicted to their phone, if you will, actually have ADHD like behaviors, which is why they say that when you have your phone, you should turn off that vibrate feature. Because every time that vibration goes off, it distracts you from what you’re doing.

Whether it’s driving, whether it’s reading, whether it’s spending time with others. So you have to try to turn off those features if you can.

(Host-Patricia Wu) All right, Troy. I hope you’re listening and watching.

04:43 Teens Using Drugs to Cope with Mental Health Issues

(Host-Patricia Wu) Let’s look at some new research published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has revealed a worrying trend.

Teens with suspected substance abuse problems are using drugs to escape stress, anxiety, and mental pain. Nearly half of the surveyed teens say they use drugs to forget problems and ease worries, while 40 percent admit to using them for depression or anxiety. Notably, half of those abusing prescription drugs are doing so alone, thus highlighting potential mental health struggles masked by social behavior.

It just seems like things are getting harder and harder for our teens today, Dan. Is that what you’re seeing too in your practice?

(Guest-Dr. Dan Bober) Listen, you know, the suicide rate in teens was at a 20 year high and that was even before the pandemic, right? So the pandemic wasn’t the fire. The pandemic was the alarm that sounded to let us know that the fire was there.

So this is not surprising at all.

(Host-Jessica Reyes) What do you think social media, how does it play a part in all of this? Because when we grew up, things were different. I mean, we can’t deny that. You were not under a microscope. Yeah, all of the time. How does social media play a part in this?

(Guest-Dr. Dan Bober) So I know that right now there is a lawsuit in New York City.

Mayor Eric Adams has led the charge to sue the social media companies. And I do think that when we look back on this time in history, just like with tobacco, just like with alcohol, I think we’re going to see that social media is a significant public health problem. Again, these social media companies create behavioral algorithms that are highly reinforcing.

And we know that especially in young girls, they lead to things like depression, poor self image. And in the exacerbation of eating disorders as well as self harming behaviors. So this is definitely a significant public health problem .

(Host-Patricia Wu) So what does a parent or a caregiver or just concerned adult do? I mean, it’s impossible to separate them from their phones.

You gotta limit people.

(Guest-Dr. Dan Bober) Well, I think part of it is corporate responsibility. These social media companies have to take responsibility and create a more positive attitude on some of these platforms.

But I also think that parents have some responsibility in this as well. As we know, over 60% of parents are not using parental control features on social media, so they have a a role to play in this as well.

(Host-Patricia Wu) And I wonder about educating our young people, maybe if they knew the way these algorithms work. Do they really wanna be, you know, puppets to these companies? Right.

Editorial Team
Editorial Team
At the heart of MHTN - America's pioneering 24/7 Mental Health TV Network - is our editorial team, a dynamic group of professionals united by a shared commitment to transforming the conversation around mental health. Our team is composed of seasoned journalists, mental health experts, researchers, and storytellers, each bringing a wealth of experience and a passion for advocacy.


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