Archive for 2012

Teen Mental Health, Chronic Pain, and Prescription Drug Abuse

I will be continuing with the Transgender Teens posts, but a recent study came out that I want to highlight, as it’s an important one. It involves teens, pain, and substance abuse- specifically, chronic pain, and the dangers that can come when careful attention is not paid to how teens are treated.

Chronic pain is generally defined as pain that lasts beyond a certain amount of time: usually 3 or 6 months. Sometimes, it can be difficult to understand exactly what is causing it. For a parent, it is exhausting and miserable to watch your child suffer day after day. You should always be vigilant and ensure that your child’s pain is being appropriately treated; but if they are on certain medications, your vigilance needs to extend even further.

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Teens and dangerous games

This week in the news there was an article stating 2 teen girls died playing a game called ‘Ghost Train.’ It seems, the idea behind the game is scary fun. The teens drove their car (full of 5 people) onto train tracks and fogged up the windows, in anticipation of experiencing a ghost. Unfortunately, a train approached. As the train got closer, they all tried to then jump out of the car. 3 teens successful made it out of the vehicle, but the 2 who died panicked and couldn’t unfasten their seat belts. The driver, who’d made it out, tried to go back to help them and now is in critical condition in the hospital.

Per the news report, the parents knew the teens had ‘played’ this game before, though they didn’t condone it. Read full post »

Transgender Teens, Part 5: Suppressing Puberty

When a teen who truly feels they are the opposite gender- a biological female who feels male inside, or vice versa- going through puberty can be quite traumatic. To feel like a young man who has breasts and is menstruating, or a young woman who has a low voice and chest hair, can be jarring and miserable. And yet a teen who is 12 or 13 is usually not considered mature enough to decide to transition their gender permanently. Read full post »

Teen Suicide

Teen suicide is a topic that is often not discussed or is seen as taboo, yet talking about it and knowing the warning signs can be the difference between life and death.  I was thinking of friends who took their own lives this week and was reminded of how much emotional pain teens and young adults may be going through and not telling anyone. The victims can remain quiet about their thoughts of suicide for many reasons: they feel ashamed or worry about being  blamed for not ‘snapping out of it,’ they may feel like they are not worthy of  another person’s time. For families of those who attempt suicide, they may feel stigmatized or blame themselves.

For teens contemplating suicide and the friends and families who love them, there is hope.  Teen suicide is something that we can prevent. Read full post »

Teen Drowning Myths: Be Safe Memorial Day Weekend

Teens have fun on the water as the weather gets warmer and Memorial Day is often the first holiday where it is warm enough to enjoy a trip to the local lake. Though most of the outings are full of fun, it’s important to remember water safety.  Drowning is the second leading cause of death for people ages 1 to 14 years so as Memorial Day and warm summer months head our way, we’ve partnered with Dr. Linda Quan and Tizzy Bennett to talk about a few myths regarding teens and drowning. Read full post »

Transgender Teens, Part 4: First Steps

So your teen is transgender. We’ve spent the last 3 posts talking about what that does and does not mean. But what do you do now? What does your teen do now? How do you make sure that your transgender teen is able to continue living their life?

Let’s start with the basics. Read full post »

Whooping cough: teens and vaccinations

There has been a lot of information in the media lately about the increase in cases of pertussis, also known as whooping cough. In Washington State, there have been more than 1400 cases this year with most occurring in kids under age 18. In older kids and healthy adults, whooping cough is more of an annoyance: the cough persists, is hard to stop, and leads to missed days of school and work. But for babies, whooping cough can be fatal. It can lead to pneumonia and coughing episodes that prevent the baby from being able to breath.

So why bring up an illness that can be fatal to babies in a blog for teens and parents of teens?  Read full post »

Transgender Teens, Part 3: Myths and Misconceptions

The following are common myths and misconceptions about transgender teens and transgender people in general.

#1: Transgender teens are just experimenting/ confused/ trying to get a rise out of people.

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Teens and Black Out Parties

I was watching the news this week and took note of a dangerous new trend called “black out” parties.  These are parties where teens and college students dress in neon colors and go dance. They can be held in warehouse spaces or empty buildings that can be rented for the evening and are usually promoted as light shows with dancing. Often the advertising for the party states it is alcohol-free. This simple description doesn’t sound so harmful, however, what struck me was the report of how many teens are using the parties as a way to access alcohol and drugs. Read full post »

Transgender Teens, Part 2: Defining Gender Further

Go into any U.S. toy store. There are toys for boys, and toys for girls. Go to a clothing store, and there is a women’s and a men’s section. Go to a university, and there are fraternities for boys and sororities for girls. Our society is based on two genders, and since there are two biological sexes (see my prior post in which I clarify that this is a great simplification), that’s the way it is everywhere. Right?

In fact, there are numerous societies and cultures in which gender is not binary (male or female). On almost every continent there are examples of biological men taking on a feminine gender, or biological women taking on a masculine gender, or a class of people recognized as both genders, or something else completely different. This is a fascinating interactive map that takes us across the world looking at the way different societies interpret gender (the Bugi of Indonesia recognize five genders!) We’re not just talking small, isolated tribes; people have recognized more than two genders in Italian, Indian, and Native American societies.

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