Archive for 2014

Eating Disorder: Society’s Influence Post 8

Eating disorders affect people from many walks of life. The media recently spoke of the singer Kesha being treated for anorexia nervosa and there are often reports of other celebrities seeking treatment. In this video we talk about how our society may influence the perpetuation of eating disorders.

Does the HPV Vaccine Lead to Risky Sexual Behavior?

A current study in Pediatrics say: ivdruguseNo.

The argument that the HPV vaccine will somehow encourage teens to have risky sex has always seemed strange to me. It brings to mind a teen thinking, “I wanted to wait, it’s what my family, my religion, and my personal values tell me… but now I have a much lower risk of getting cancer in a few decades, so I might as well just start having sex.” Or alternately, a teen who’s not thinking, in a passionate situation with a romantic partner, suddenly remembering the possibility of an increased cancer risk in middle to late life, and stopping everything. Read full post »

Why Just Say No Isn’t Enough

iStock_000013145333XSmallThe untimely death of respected actor and father, Philip Seymour Hoffman is bringing more media attention to the dangers of substance use. Mr. Hoffman won an Oscar, he was a devoted father, and had a promising career ahead of him. His death reminded me of 2 very important messages I learned as a teenager: anyone can become addicted to drugs and just saying no might not be enough. Read full post »

Boys Need to Visit the Doctor too

ftmteenThis week a friend emailed an article about a toolkit for male health. It got me thinking: why don’t boys go to the doctor? It seems that for teen girls, there are numerous reasons that lead them in for medical evaluations (menstrual cramps, acne, concerns about weight, reproductive health). There are screening guidelines that encourage women under age 25 to seek medical care routinely, but our teen boys are often left out. It’s not that teen boys are more or less healthy, it just seems that we’ve been less likely to consider that boys need medical visits too! Read full post »

Puberty: The Horror Movie

Scared young woman afraid of something above her Horror film aficionados know that there are many classes of horror movies. There is supernatural horror, psychological horror, sci-fi horror, religious horror, horror-comedy, etc. Some of the most disturbing horror films for many (including me) are body horror. Body horror is basically a subgenre in which terrifying things happen to bodies. They grow, change, mutate, and/or self-destruct in particularly terrifying ways.

Obviously, going through puberty is different from having an alien burst out of your chest. However, at Dr. Kastner’s lecture last week, she reminded us that puberty is not only a time of emotional upheaval, but of physical upheaval as well. The further we get from puberty, the more it simply seems like a normal time of life that was rather difficult. We know that it happens to everyone and is pleasant for few. Yet while many of us looked forward to puberty and becoming more grown up, the changes our bodies presented us with were often confusing, unpredictable, unwanted, and more trouble than we’d expected. Read full post »

When Your Teen Loses It

angryteengirlI can still recall one of my more memorable adolescent meltdowns, even though I don’t remember what I was upset about. I was about thirteen, and I was yelling and crying and for some reason lying on a pile of laundry in our bathroom. My mother did something wise- she disengaged and left the room- and I sobbed into a pile of T-shirts until I calmed down. Then I was so embarrassed I avoided her like the plague for the next few days.

Most teens, at some point in their life, will have a complete meltdown over something that is, in the long run, not a huge deal. Something like losing their Twitter access for two weeks, getting into an argument with a friend, or having trip plans canceled can put them into a tailspin.

I’m not talking, for the purposes of this post, about teens that cause physical or property damage- that can be a larger issue, and may be outside of the spectrum of normal. I’m talking about screaming, crying, stomping, slamming doors, and the like. It doesn’t necessarily injure anyone, but it can be hard to take.  Read full post »

Vulnerable teens and the Affordable Care Act: Will they be left behind

lonelyteenThis January marks a major milestone in US history, the initiation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This Act has been put in place in an effort to help bring healthcare coverage to millions of uninsured Americans and has been the topic of much debate. There is much nuance in the details of the Act and it’s challenging to understand, but I wanted to highlight a special population that may continue to remain uninsured despite the implementation of the ACA: vulnerable teens and young adults.

There are 3 specific populations of teens and young adults who are likely to remain uninsured: homeless youth, older teens in foster care, and youth in juvenile detention. Unfortunately, these teens and young adults are at high risk for poor health, mental illness, poverty, and lack of positive adult role models. They also have higher proportions of under-represented minorities and LGBTQ youth. This special group of teens, in my opinion, has the greatest need for health care coverage. Read full post »

Meow Meow and the Problem with Designer Drugs

teen taking pillSometimes when I’m not sure what to write about, I’ll scan the news for the latest stories and articles involving teens. When I did that this week, I was rather taken aback to see articles about a teen taking a drug called “meow meow”, stabbing his mother, and cutting off his own penis. (His mother is in stable condition and his penis has been surgically reattached.)

Meow meow is one in a series of “designer drugs“: drugs formed when amateur (or professional) chemists tinker with the structure of an existing drug in order to create a new one. I wanted to expand on an earlier post about some specific designer drugs, and talk more about designer drugs in general. Read full post »

Eating Disorders: Medical Complications Post 7

We’ve had a series on eating disorders over the past few months where we’ve covered a lot of information. Eating disorders are a true disease with serious complications. In this video blog, we’ll discuss the medical complications that can result from an eating disorder.

Middle School Teens and Sexting: The Survey Says…

Unrecognizable young girl using a touch phone modern gadget.In a recent issue of Pediatrics, researchers studied a group of seventh-graders to see how prevalent sexting was in that age group (ages 12-14), as well as whether sexting is associated with sexual activity.

The answer for what percentage were sexting is 22%, which is good news or bad news depending on how pessimistic you are. They did find that those young teens who were sexting were more likely to be sexually active. (This makes sense to me; teens who are exploring their sexuality would be more likely to use different methods of sexual expression.)

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