Anxiety comes in all shapes and sizes. And, while no two experiences may be exactly…
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Author: The Conversation
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Depression too often gets deemed ‘hard to treat’ when medication falls short
A plumber who shows up to fix a leaking toilet with a single tool is not likely to succeed. The same is true if a mental health professional offers only one approach for a complex problem like depression. Sadly, the number of people struggling with depression increased dramatically at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Stress – from school closures to job losses to the death of loved ones – made life more challenging and increased the risk of developing emotional difficulties. For some groups that have experienced discrimination, ongoing inequities made their mental health even worse. There is a…
How to help teen girls’ mental health struggles – 6 research-based strategies for parents, teachers and friends
It’s a well-established fact that children’s and teens’ mental health took a hit during the pandemic. But new research suggests that teen girls in particular are suffering in unprecedented ways. A survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that was published in early February 2023 found that, in 2021, 57% of high school girls reported experiencing “persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness in the past year,” up from 36% in 2011. That’s nearly twice as high as the 29% of males who reported having those feelings in 2021. What’s worse, 30% of the girls surveyed reported seriously considering…
What the research shows about risks of myocarditis from COVID vaccines versus risks of heart damage from COVID – two pediatric cardiologists explain how to parse the data
Soon after the first COVID-19 vaccines appeared in 2021, reports of rare cases of heart inflammation, or myocarditis, began to surface. In most instances, the myocarditis has been mild and responded well to treatment, though up to four potentially mRNA vaccine-related deaths from myocarditis in adults have been reported worldwide. No known verified deaths of children have been reported based upon publicly available data. The exact number remains a topic of very heated debate because of variability in the reporting of possible myocarditis-related deaths. Studies have largely confirmed that the overall myocarditis risk is significantly higher after an actual COVID-19…
What causes hives and how dangerous can they be? A nurse practitioner explains
Every year, about 20% of Americans will get hives – those itchy, red bumps or welts that can appear after a day in the garden, taking medication, being bitten by a bug or for no apparent reason at all. Patricia A. MacCulloch is a nurse practitioner and professor of nursing who teaches about hives, among many other things. She offers some insight into this annoying condition that can sometimes be a sign of a life-threatening emergency. What are hives and what causes them? Hives are a term used to describe a medical condition known as urticaria, a skin disorder that…
Diet can influence mood, behavior and more – a neuroscientist explains
During the long seafaring voyages of the 15th and 16th centuries, a period known as the Age of Discovery, sailors reported experiencing visions of sublime foods and verdant fields. The discovery that these were nothing more than hallucinations after months at sea was agonizing. Some sailors wept in longing; others threw themselves overboard. The cure for these harrowing mirages turned out to be not a concoction of complex chemicals, as once suspected, but rather the simple antidote of lemon juice. These sailors suffered from scurvy, a disease caused by a deficiency of vitamin C, an essential micronutrient that people acquire…
What are muscle knots? An exercise physiologist explains what those tight little lumps are and how to get rid of them
Imagine you’ve just completed a tough upper-body workout. Your muscles feel a bit tired, but all in all you’re able to go about the rest of your day just fine. The next morning, you wake up and realize the back of your shoulder blade feels stiff. When you rub your shoulder muscles, it feels like you’re prodding a little gumball under your skin. Every time you try to move it around, the area feels tight, with slight pangs of pain. Over the course of the next few days, your back slowly loosens up and eventually your shoulder returns to feeling…
To break unhealthy habits, stop obsessing over willpower – two behavioral scientists explain why routines matter more than conscious choices
If you’re like many Americans, you probably start your day with a cup of coffee – a morning latte, a shot of espresso or maybe a good ol’ drip brew. A common explanation among avid coffee drinkers is that we drink coffee to wake ourselves up and alleviate fatigue. But that story doesn’t completely hold up. After all, the amount of caffeine in a cup of coffee can vary wildly. Even when ordering the same type of coffee from the same coffee shop, caffeine levels can double from one drink to the next. And yet, we coffee drinkers don’t seem…
White children are especially likely to be overdiagnosed and overtreated for ADHD, according to a new study
The big idea White children are especially likely to be overdiagnosed and overtreated for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder during elementary school. That is the key finding from our recent peer-reviewed study. We analyzed data from 1,070 U.S. elementary school children who had displayed above-average behavioral, academic or executive functioning the year before their initial ADHD diagnoses. We considered these children as unlikely to have ADHD. Children diagnosed and treated for ADHD should display chronically inattentive, hyperactive or impulsive behaviors that impair their functioning and result in below-average academic or social development. Among elementary school children who had shown above-average academic achievement, 27%…
CBT? DBT? Psychodynamic? What type of therapy is right for me?
Since ancient times, cultures across the world have understood that human suffering can have psychological causes. At its core, psychotherapy is working with another person to help identify and address emotional challenges that matter to you. It involves trying to understand the source of those problems and coming up with ways to tackle them head on. Some therapists may take a particular approach to psychotherapy, like cognitive-behavioral or psychodynamic. As a child and adolescent psychiatrist who trains and consults with many other clinicians, I often find myself fielding questions about what type of therapy would be the best fit for…
Trying to cut back on alcohol? Here’s what works
Happy hour can be a tasty way to relax after a long day, but alcohol can interact with your medicines and overindulging can take a toll on both your physical and mental health. If you’re considering cutting back, check out this article from The Conversation about how to make it work for you. With everything going on over the past couple of years, many people have changed their drinking habits. We’ve seen an increased demand for support, suggesting more people are trying to cut back or quit. There are so many options for cutting back or quitting alcohol it’s…
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