Stories about: stress

Addressing anxiety before it becomes a problem

afraidBy Gary Gosselin, MD, Medical Director of Inpatient Psychiatry at Children’s Hospital Boston:

Anxiety is the evolutionary survival instinct wired into our brains that allows us to adapt to dangerous situations. In essence, it’s there to help us survive. But it becomes a problem when it no longer allows us to adapt – when it actively interferes with our ability to function.

With baseball season starting this Sunday, the recent case of Texas Rangers’ infielder Khalil Greene is a perfect example. This is a man whose livelihood is completely based around his ability to perform on the baseball diamond, yet Greene recently contacted his team and told them he’d be unable to report for spring training due to his struggles with social anxiety disorder, which is an extreme fear of social situations. He was consequently cut from the team. Without treatment, maladaptive anxiety can have costly outcomes- in this case it may have cost Greene his career.

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Could vampire fiction be contributing to my daughter's anxiety?

Michael RichMedia expert Michael Rich, MD, MPH, director of the Center on Media and Child Health at Children’s Hospital Boston, answers your questions about media use. Last week, he discussed speech delays.

Here’s this week’s question:

Q: My daughter is in junior high, and I’m noticing signs of anxiety. She has become more needy of me, is more fearful, will no longer go upstairs alone, and just feels “randomly stressed.” She is a strong, organized student, has good friends, exercises, eats healthily, and (until recently) sleeps well. The only lifestyle red flag I see is that all year she has been reading very dark and intense books that include subjects like hooking up, angels, suicide, after-life, car accidents, and murder (The Vampire Diaries, for example). She starts a new one every 2-3 weeks. Could these books be contributing to her stress even though she likes them, or should I just accept this behavior as part of puberty?
Vexed About Vampires in Glencoe, IL
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Do our youth really have more mental health issues?

Suicide postThat’s what a recent study is claiming. This study found that five times as many high school and college students are dealing with anxiety and other mental health issues as youth of the same age who were studied in the Great Depression era.

According to Children’s psychiatrist, Stuart Goldman, MD, the interpretation of these findings all depend on how you slice it.

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Health headlines: Fitness supplements, ecstasy use and tongue-powered wheelchairs

Other stories we’ve been reading:

Multi Vitamin MadnessMore high school athletes are using fitness supplements with knowledge of their harmful effects. Parents don’t have to be fit in order for their kids to be fit – supporting your kids’ physical activity is what motivates them to be physically fit.

Scheduling recess before lunch is helping students and teacher alike. Menus with calorie listings have parents picking healthier options for their kids but not necessarily for themselves.

Parents who feel burned out at work are more likely to have kids who feel burned out at school. If parents use complementary or alternative therapies, their children are more likely to use them too. [Read our blog post on insurance coverage for alternative therapies.] Did you know that your child is more likely to have a mental disorder if you –as a parent – are bipolar?

cigarettesHigh cholesterol is putting 20 percent of teens at risk for heart disease. Healthy kids are more likely to die from ecstasy use than regular drug users. If your child smokes cigarettes, it’s much more likely that pot is next.

Toilet seat dermatitis is on the rise. Vaccinating babies against rotavirus could save two million lives a year. [Read our blog post on this year’s updated immunization schedule.] Female teachers might pass on math anxiety to girl students.

Teen pregnancies and abortions are on the rise. Parents shouldn’t be concerned if their children hear voices. There’s a new wheelchair that powered by the user’s tongue.

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