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Does elite cycling have a problem with mental health?


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This article was published in Cycling Weekly today. It deals with the effects of stress and also with the danger of concussion, something we South Africans still pay little attention to, especially those cyclists and also the fathers who push their themselves and others to perform.

 

https://www.cyclingweekly.com/fitness/training/elite-cycling-problem-mental-health-410224

 

Who knows, maybe you see yourself in this?

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In my opinion its highly unlikely that cycling per se has a negative effect on mental health. The same pressurized environment applies to all professional sports. Are the statistics any higher or lower in say athletics?  The act of exercizing releases endorphins which are linked to an improved mood and most therapists would encourage depressed patients to exercize more. Concussion is a risk but from what I have read, it only becomes a factor after many injuries or repeat impacts in quick succession.

 

The fact is that some people suffer from brain chemistry deficiencies and require medication to regulate the production of serotonin for instance. A percentage of people like this find their way into professional sports and unless their condition is treated properly they stand as good a chance as anyone else in society of being chronically depressed and taking their own lives. 

 

The stigma around mental health and the failure to seek treatment or appropriate treatment is probably the biggest factor in deaths like this. Not everyone can be saved of course, but I think unless this cyclist had received comprehensive therapy and the correct medication or a combination of medication, then its highly likely she could have been saved had this been done. The difficulty for parents and family is that once their child is an adult it becomes that much harder to impose treatment on them and they can easily stop taking medication or miss therapy sessions. Very sad indeed when this happens.

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This article was published in Cycling Weekly today. It deals with the effects of stress and also with the danger of concussion, something we South Africans still pay little attention to, especially those cyclists and also the fathers who push their themselves and others to perform.

 

https://www.cyclingweekly.com/fitness/training/elite-cycling-problem-mental-health-410224

 

Who knows, maybe you see yourself in this?

We have the most advanced Head impact research facility in the world based in Stellenbosch.

 

The international and local doctors working with rugby players and motorbike riders and any others willing to participate is staggering.

 

A South African (Shaun Fickling) is running amazing studies in Canada and the States on the long term effects of head impact injuries, stress and the high suicide rate in ex NFL and Ice Hockey Players.

 

I think perhaps 'mental illness' is still poorly represented or ignored in this country. The concept of a 'real' man still permeates here.

 

I saw a thread where someone joked that real men ate meat not salad.... I get that it's a joke, but it is the underlying attitude that still lingers.

 

Dealing with mental health issues correctly more often than not relies on the patient admitting that something is actually wrong first. This seems to be one step that 'real' men in SA battle with.

 

Just to reiterate, the medical side of South Africa is firmly invested in Head Impact issues, stress and the short term and long term effects. The general populace tends to keep the stigma flying unnecessarily 

Edited by Jewbacca
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In my opinion its highly unlikely that cycling per se has a negative effect on mental health. The same pressurized environment applies to all professional sports. Are the statistics any higher or lower in say athletics?  The act of exercizing releases endorphins which are linked to an improved mood and most therapists would encourage depressed patients to exercize more. Concussion is a risk but from what I have read, it only becomes a factor after many injuries or repeat impacts in quick succession.

 

The fact is that some people suffer from brain chemistry deficiencies and require medication to regulate the production of serotonin for instance. A percentage of people like this find their way into professional sports and unless their condition is treated properly they stand as good a chance as anyone else in society of being chronically depressed and taking their own lives. 

 

The stigma around mental health and the failure to seek treatment or appropriate treatment is probably the biggest factor in deaths like this. Not everyone can be saved of course, but I think unless this cyclist had received comprehensive therapy and the correct medication or a combination of medication, then its highly likely she could have been saved had this been done. The difficulty for parents and family is that once their child is an adult it becomes that much harder to impose treatment on them and they can easily stop taking medication or miss therapy sessions. Very sad indeed when this happens.

Absolutely spot on.

Lost a son .

You see signs and speak but is assured " all is well"

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Concussion is not only an issue after multiple hits.

Risk of permanent damage or worse is increased with multiple hits.

 

There is something that is called post concussion syndrome, where one experience changes in mood, sensitivity to noise and light.

 

Now that that is cleared up.

Mental health is an issue in all walks of life. It is always suddenly "something that is overlooked in <insert profession> " when someone in the limelight takes their life.

 

It's not as easy as saying it's the pressures of performing while doing a regular job or studying.

 

People who is generally percieved to have everything, also take their life.

Robin Williams, Chris cornell, Chester Bennington to name a few recently.

 

It's different for everyone, and each person deals with it in different ways.

 

As for aksing for help, l think medical aids can do a bit to have this covered out of a different benefit than day to day.

Nothing like getting a bill for seeking help when you are out of funds...that'll really cheer you up.

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Concussion is not only an issue after multiple hits.

Risk of permanent damage or worse is increased with multiple hits.

 

There is something that is called post concussion syndrome, where one experience changes in mood, sensitivity to noise and light.

 

Now that that is cleared up.

Mental health is an issue in all walks of life. It is always suddenly "something that is overlooked in <insert profession> " when someone in the limelight takes their life.

 

It's not as easy as saying it's the pressures of performing while doing a regular job or studying.

 

People who is generally percieved to have everything, also take their life.

Robin Williams, Chris cornell, Chester Bennington to name a few recently.

 

It's different for everyone, and each person deals with it in different ways.

 

As for aksing for help, l think medical aids can do a bit to have this covered out of a different benefit than day to day.

Nothing like getting a bill for seeking help when you are out of funds...that'll really cheer you up.

I think the big thing being researched is the link between Mental Health and Head Impact injuries.

 

Not treating them as 2 separate entities, more suggesting that Head Impact Injuries combined with stress/anxiety can actually cause Chronic Mental Illness.

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Absolutely spot on.

Lost a son .

You see signs and speak but is assured " all is well"

Sorry to hear. Close friends of ours lost their twenty six year old two years ago. 

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As for aksing for help, l think medical aids can do a bit to have this covered out of a different benefit than day to day.

Nothing like getting a bill for seeking help when you are out of funds...that'll really cheer you up.

 

If I understand it correctly, on a basic hospital plan (like Disco) you should be able to get cover if your doctor can motivate it for reasons that would fit the medical aid's requirements like chronic meds. Basically the doc must motivate that your mental health is life threatening.

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On a slightly different tack to the concussion angle I've found that cycling to be a good outlet for those who suffer from a level of depression. The length of exercise, the ability to punish yourself safely while achieving and the post ride endorphins all seem to have a positive effects when on a recreational level. The issue comes when combined with added expectation of results, progression and dealing with failure when this is transposed over to a professional level.

 

There was a couple of fascinating interviews on The Cycling Podcast with pro's and their battles with depression, bipolar and other mental health conditions. 

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If I understand it correctly, on a basic hospital plan (like Disco) you should be able to get cover if your doctor can motivate it for reasons that would fit the medical aid's requirements like chronic meds. Basically the doc must motivate that your mental health is life threatening.

Nope. Well, yes, but not life threatening and no need for a GP's motivation, unless the plan requires it.

 

You get about 12 to 15 days / consultations for mental health from the plans, generally speaking, and 21 days for admission to a clinic or hospital. Number of sessions and / or days depends on diagnoses and treatment protocols. So even on a coastal core plan, you have access to psych coverage if your broker (AND DOC!!) know what they're doing.

Edited by Captain Fatbastard Mayhem
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It is very common and a real problem within Elite level sport. Especially after a huge event like Olympics. Its not pressure as mentioned here, its another element entirely. 

 

Add eating disorders and the likes.

 

I was talking to a relative who is head at one of the top schools in CT and he said eating disorders are one of the biggest reasons for school kids turning to veganism because most parents see it as a phase or encourage it as a health thing. Often the kids prepare their own meals separately and it 'covers' the underlying aim and the associated problem. It gives them the 'control' that often drives them. 

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This may be off topic, but i think we have a general mental health issue globally. 

 

Just read the news.

 

13 YO stabbed a 19 yo with his two 15 yo accomplices... wtf. 

 

Two kiddies under 10 held for rape. What. 

 

These are just local examples. Society is in a very dark space im afraid. 

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