Stories about: Substance abuse

Viral video exposes extreme airbrushing that could impact body image

The “BodyEvolution” video, posted in 2011 and 2012, has gone viral, again. The video captures the extent and ease of airbrushing in popular media and may reminds parents of its detrimental effects on kids.

Teens are bombarded with images of perfectly sculpted models, and it’s not uncommon for them to crave a similar look and physique. “[It’s] completely unattainable, because the photos have been extensively altered,” says Alison Field, ScD, of Boston Children’s Hospital’s Division of Adolescent Medicine.

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Using Cory Monteith’s tragic death as a teaching moment

It’s a sad time for Glee fans. Cory Monteith, 31, one of the show’s stars, was found dead this week in his hotel room from a combination of heroin and alcohol.

From an early age, Monteith had struggled with addiction and wasn’t shy about discussing it. In a 2011 interview, the actor described how he started drinking and smoking marijuana at 13 years old, often skipping school to do so. By the time he quit school at 16, the actor said he was “out of control” and “had a serious problem.”

But for younger Glee viewers who only knew Monteith as Finn Hudson—the clean-cut star athlete turned glee club member—understanding the difference between the lifestyle of the actor and the character he portrayed on TV may be difficult.

“My 14-year-old daughter is a big Glee fan, and she definitely was shocked by this news,” says Sharon Levy, MD, MPH, director of Boston Children’s Hospital Adolescent Substance Abuse Program. “It was a topic of conversation in our house all weekend. As a parent, I really wanted to know what she thought about the circumstances around his passing and gauge her understanding of how serious a problem addiction can be.”

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Millions of children have mental health disorders while treatment budgets shrink

When feeling stressed out by the hectic pace of modern life, it’s easy to get wistful for the carefree days of youth—when it seemed the only thing we had to worry about was getting along with the other kids in the neighborhood.

But according to a first-of-its-kind report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on childhood mental health, those days are gone or may never even have existed for a huge portion of America’s children.

Analyzing data collected over the past six years, the report shows that millions of kids—as many as one in five—are currently living with some form of mental health disorder. Attention deficit disorder is the most prevalent condition reported, affecting more than 4 million kids nationwide, but other behavioral issues such as anxiety and depression also were heavily documented, affecting 2.2 and 1.8 million children respectively.

While it’s unclear whether or not the numbers in the report mean that these conditions are really more common in kids today, or if parents, clinicians and teachers are just getting better at identifying them, the bottom line is clear: the issue of mental health disorders in American children is too big to ignore.

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To prevent underage drinking, parents need to talk with their kids early and often.

A study came out this week showing that 7th graders who were exposed to alcohol ads—and liked them—were more likely to have problems with alcohol in high school.

Let’s be honest: When was the last time you talked about alcohol ads with your kids? I don’t mean in a “Wow, that was a cool ad they had on during the Super Bowl” kind of way. I mean in a, “Wow, they really make drinking alcohol look cool, don’t they? But drinking alcohol can really get people into lots of trouble—let’s talk about it” kind of way.

I’m going to bet most of you haven’t.

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