The teenage years are a time of great change. We know that. They are a time for testing authority and experimenting with various roles in various social situations as well as coping with academic pressures and parental expectations. We know that, too; and consequently we tend to view the often labile moods and behavior of teens as simply "phases they are going through"--that is, as normal teenage behavior that will eventually resolve itself. We tend to overlook the fact that frequently the moods and behavior mask an underlying depressive illness.
By Paul Kettl, M.D.
What do alcoholism and drug abuse have to do with affective disorders? That question has been hotly debated among psychiatrists over the last several decades.
Everyone has experienced anxiety. We all know the feelings of nervousness. The butterflies in your stomach before a first date, your heart racing when you almost have an accident, your cold clammy hands as you open your credit card bill. Anxiety can be helpful emotion, one that heightens our awareness and to motivate us to act. Many people, however, experience anxiety that interferes with their ability to live their lives effectively. Their anxiety keeps them from achieving their goals and prevents them from being able to feel comfortable.
There are many definitions used to talk about co-dependency today. The original concept of co-dependency was developed to acknowledge the responses and behaviors people develop from being in a close relationship with an alcoholic or drug abuser. The alcoholic or drug abuser was the dependent person, and the person involved with the dependent person in any intimate way (spouse, lover, child, sibling, etc.) was the co-dependent person.
Many times when a person is depressed they can develop a characteristic pattern of “distorted thinking” about life and their experiences. A person with depression may also have beliefs about themselves and how the world is and should be that are unrealistic. The worldview of a person with depression commonly emphasizes a low opinion of their self-worth and often they can become preoccupied with criticizing themselves. The distorted thinking and unrealistic belief system can lead a person with depression to exaggerate ideas of their duty and responsibility.
Exercise is good for the psyche One of the benefits of exercise is its effect on mental well-being. One Surgeon General's Report shows that people who are inactive are twice as likely to have symptoms of depression as those who are active. Studies reported in the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter show that walking, running, weight training, sports, or simply being physically active can lift mood and keep people positive. Oddly, they get the benefits whether or not the exercise leads to significant improvements in physical fitness.
Talk With Your Child
All parents deal with a child’s conflict and aggression at one time or another, it is one of the most challenging issues in parenting. Challenging not only because of the effect that aggressive behavior has within the family, but also due to the potential impact it has in our schools, our communities, and the long-term development of our children. Too often the results of aggressive behavior in children are violent acts that jeopardize the health, safety and future of us all.
By Robert P. Roca, M.D., M.P.H.
If you are grappling with mental illness yourself or in your family, but you avoid talking about it or seeking services... you are not alone. The truth is that many people avoid the topic of mental illness and are reluctant to get treatment for their illness. Often this is due to misconceptions they people have about mental illness, which contributes to and leads many people to be ashamed and prevents them from seeking help. Overcoming stigma and the barriers it creates requires accurate information about mental illness.