Moods and Emotions

All Articles in the Category ‘Moods and Emotions’

Gone too soon: teen suicide

dark portraitWe had a post on teen suicide last summer, but a recent event prompted me to talk about this painful subject again. This week, the body of a teen girl was found near an elementary school and it’s thought that her death is related to suicide. The month of May is actually child mental health awareness month, so we will have more posts to come on mental health in teens, but for those affected by this recent tragedy, I wanted to offer tips for parents on signs that their teen may be suffering from depression. 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 »

Mean Tweens

A colleague was recently talking with me about her 12 year old daughter, a tween (between childhood and adolescence). She mentioned how mean the girls are in her middle school. Now her daughter is actually quite popular and has many friends, but there is a tween in her class who seems jealous and has made a conscious effort to disrupt her daughter’s social life. Her story of mean tweens reminds me of the movie “Mean Girls.”  Tweens are in early adolescence. Developmentally, they are not yet thinking of how their actions impact the people around them. Read full post »

Teens and Cutting

Any parent or guardian hates the idea of their child being injured, and the idea of their child intentionally injuring themself is even worse. Teen who self-injure may cut, burn, bruise, or otherwise harm themselves, although cutting is the most common.

Parents or guardians who have discovered that their teens are cutting feel terrified, confused, and lost. Why would any young person do that? Why would my teen do it? What has gone wrong? How do I make them stop?

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Can Eating Right Help Prevent Teen Depression?

Australian researchers at Deakin University recently studied 3000 adolescents to find out if their diet influenced their mental health. Controlling for many other possible contributing factors, they found that adolescents who ate more fruits and vegetables had better mental health in the long-term than their compatriots, who shunned produce and ate more processed foods.

“Food as medicine” is a common mantra heard in some nutrition and alternative health circles. Of course, food can literally be medicine, such as oranges for scurvy or whole grains for a vitamin B deficiency. Food can also act as medicine for chronic diseases like diabetes, where a healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and health proteins can reduce or reverse symptoms. Compounds in green tea, red wine, garlic, and many other foods and drinks are being researched for disease-fighting properties.

So do fruits and vegetables have a compound in them that fights depression?

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Depressed or “Just Being a Teenager”?

Teens have a reputation for having mood swings, being withdrawn, and getting emotional over the strangest things. Given their general tumult, how is a parent supposed to tell if their teenager is simply “being a teenager”, or if they might be suffering from clinical depression?

Let’s go over some “danger signs”, which may indicate that your teenager needs, at the very least, a visit to their primary care provider (PCP) to discuss the situation.

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A Photoshopped Fantasy… And Its Effects on Teen Girls

When you think of aspirations, do you think of traveling,  going back to school, or hopes for your family? Most of us have aspirations we are working towards, but if you represent L’Oreal, you might think of an airbrushed picture of Julia Roberts. When the Advertising Standards Agency of the U.K. banned Loreal’s ad featuring a very heavily airbrushed picture of the actress, calling it “misleading”, L’Oreal responded that the picture was supposed to be “aspirational.”

I had a few reactions. First of all, can we get one of those agencies in the U.S.? Second of all, isn’t Julia Roberts pretty enough on her own? Third, “aspirational”? I guess we are supposed to “aspire” to have perfect skin, or perhaps aspire to have enough extra spending cash that we can afford expensive creams and makeup for our imperfect faces.

Most adults know that photographs of models and actresses used in advertising and fashion magazines are heavily altered. But I am constantly stunned at how many of our teen girls have no idea. When we discuss it with them, they often light up. You mean I don’t have to live up to that?

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Helping Your Teen Have Good Body Image

Recently I sent an email to all our clinicians asking one question: “If you could give parents or guardians one piece of advice on helping their teens have good body image, what would it be?”

I was going to post a few quotes as an entry, but as it turned out almost everybody had the same answer: Parents need to role-model body satisfaction, and focus on health instead of weight and appearance when discussing their bodies and the bodies of others. Read full post »