Teen Moods: Angst or Depression?

Teen Angst or DepressionThe hormone highs and lows that are associated with adolescence can cause mood highs and lows. Adolescence is a time of experimentation, changing relationships, and finding your own identity; sometimes this is accompanied by conflict (i.e. lots of family arguments).  How can you tell the difference between normal teen moodiness/angst and a more serious mental health disorder, like depression?

Depression can present in many different ways, and it may vary from how it presents in adults.  For example, recurrent ailments like headaches and stomachaches which have no physical cause can sometimes be the result of depression.  The official diagnosis of depression requires more than two weeks of depressed mood (sounds like most teens, eh?) or a loss of interest or pleasure in daily activities.  The key is that the mood represents a change from the person’s baseline and causes significant impairment in function (either social, occupational, or educational). According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s national survey Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance (YRBS), 28.5% of high school students felt sad or hopeless almost every day for 2 or more weeks in a row so that they stopped doing some usual activities during the 12 months before the survey.

Other signs/symptoms that health care providers look for (and you can look for too) include change in weight or appetite, change in sleep, fatigue or loss of energy, feelings of worthlessness, and decreased concentration.  Some specific warning signs you should keep an eye out for and seek help immediately include:

  • Withdrawing from family and friends, and spending a lot of time alone.
  • Dangerous use of alcohol or other drugs.  Although experimentation is common, substance use in combination with mental health disorder can lead to increasing risk taking behaviors.
  • Concerns about self-injury and suicide.  Specific things to look for include off-hand comments about death/suicide or giving away possessions.

A special note on suicide:  Suicide is the third leading cause of death of teenagers nationwide, behind unintentional injuries and homicide. According to the YRBS, 15.8% of high school students seriously considered attempting suicide, 12.8% made a plan about how they would attempt suicide, and 7.8% attempted suicide at least once in last year. Risk factors for suicide include: prior suicide attempt, family history of suicide, substance use, social isolation, and easy access to lethal methods like firearms. LGBTQ youth are also at high risk.

What’s a parent to do?

Regularly ask your teen questions about their feelings, school, and activities.  If you notice a change in mood or behaviors, acknowledge it and ask if there is anything you can do to help.  Do not judge them if it is a small thing causing them distress.  Let the teen know that, no matter what, you are there to support them.

If you think your teen is having depression or another mental health disorder, contact his or her health care provider. If you are concerned about suicidal behavior, this is a medical emergency and you should go to the nearest emergency department.

Have you noticed changes in mood or behavior of your teen?

 

Teen Moods: Angst or Depression?
About Paula Cody, MD, MPH
Dr. Paula Cody is fellowship trained in adolescent medicine and is a pediatrician at the UW Health John Stephenson Teenage and Young Adult Clinic.

View all posts by Paula Cody, MD, MPH
Posted in Teens | Tagged , , ,

Thanks for Sharing (Giveaway)

ss_156891005_surveyThere’s just one more week left before school starts for most kids in Wisconsin. We hope you enjoyed reading the tips, recipes and advice from our experts this summer.

This summer you contributed over 230 comments! We enjoyed reading your suggestions for best place to hike and your family’s favorite things to grill. Here were a few of our favorite comments from readers:

On ways to beat boredom and summer anxiety Barbara shared:

Our favorite boredom buster is playing active family games with a funny flair like 1 handed croquet or kids vs adults ladder ball.

On being grateful for summer Rachel wrote:

So grateful to be able to spend time with my kids this summer. We do something together everyday, from hiking to playing checkers. Time is going so fast, enjoy those small moments in life.

On transitioning to high school from middle school, Holly commented:

This is a helpful article – I wish I would have information like that last year.  :-) My son was a freshman and we were expecting the worst, but were pleasantly surprised to find out that high school was much better for him in many ways!

For our final giveaway this summer, we want to hear your suggestions for improving our blog, what you topics you want to know about and how we can make next year even better.

Take our 9 question survey and we’ll choose one winner to receive a $50 Amazon gift card.

And just because it’s time to go back to school, doesn’t mean the fun stops here. We’re busy getting new topics ready to share with you this fall. Our e-newsletter will switch back to a monthly digest. You can visit the blog anytime or get daily updates from us on Facebook or Twitter. We hope you will continue to share your comments throughout the year.

Smiling Sun

Enter this week’s giveaway

Take our survey and we’ll choose one winner to receive a $50 Amazon gift card.
Prize: 1 $50 Amazon gift card
Rules: Giveaway closes on Sunday, August 31, 2014 at 11pm CST. Open to Wisconsin, Iowa and Illinois residents only. One entry per email address is permitted. The winner will be selected using random.org and announced on the following Monday as an update to this post. Winner will be notified via email and asked to provide a mailing address to receive the prize; if the winner does not respond within 7 days, the winner forfeits the prize and another winner will be selected. Subscribe to the blog and you’ll get new posts delivered to your inbox as soon as they’re posted.

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Human Papilloma Virus and the HPV Vaccine Facts

There are a few facts to get out of the way before we delve into this very important subject:

  1. The vast majority of people have sex at some point in their life.
  2. The vast majority of sexually active people have been exposed to human papilloma virus (HPV).

Now that we’ve covered those 2 facts, let’s focus less on how HPV is acquired and more on what it can do to your body.

Mother and DaughterFirst and foremost, HPV can cause a number of types of cancer, including cervical, vaginal, vulvar, penile, anal, oral, and throat cancers. But there’s more – we know that HPV (specifically HPV types 6 and 11) causes warts in the genital and anal regions, but did you know that these strains of HPV can also cause wart-like lesions in the throat of newborns, called Recurrent Respiratory Papillomatosis? It’s true. Research has shown that this can be caused from the newborn’s passage through the birth canal of a woman with HPV. This can cause life threatening breathing difficulties and require specialized care to treat.

There is something out there that can protect you and your loved ones – the quadrivalent HPV vaccine (protection against HPV strains 6, 11, 16 and 18). The recommended starting age of this vaccination is 11-12 years old, and all 3 doses are required to achieve maximum effectiveness. Many studies have shown that the HPV vaccine is safe and effective in the short term, and now a new study in Pediatrics shows that the HPV vaccine is safe and very effective in the long term. After eight years, subjects still had the HPV antibodies and had no adverse effects from the vaccine.

The United States Department of Health and Human Services has set a goal of 80% of the nation’s teens receiving 3 doses of HPV vaccine by 15 years of age. Despite the vaccine’s benefits, only about 57% of girls aged 11 to 15 are getting the first dose of the vaccine and only 33% are getting all three doses. Among boys, about 34% are getting the first dose of the vaccine, but only about 14% are getting all three doses, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Every teenager should get this vaccine. Every. Single. Teenager. Do not wait until they become sexually active. The younger it’s given, the better the protective benefits. Remember, at some point in time, whether or not you want to acknowledge it, your son or daughter will have sex. And at that point, there’s a good chance they will be exposed to HPV (refer to facts # 1 and 2).

Do you have questions about HPV or the HPV vaccine?

Human Papilloma Virus and the HPV Vaccine Facts
About Paula Cody, MD, MPH
Dr. Paula Cody is fellowship trained in adolescent medicine and is a pediatrician at the UW Health John Stephenson Teenage and Young Adult Clinic.

View all posts by Paula Cody, MD, MPH
Posted in Teens | Tagged , , , , , ,

Football Helmets and Concussions

Football HelmetsIf you’re a parent of a football player, you may have seen claims by equipment manufacturers that their products are designed to better protect young athletes from concussions. And, because you want the best products for keeping your kids safe, it’s understandable if you’d be persuaded to purchase a particular brand based on the claims. But is there truth behind the marketing?

Alison Brooks, MD, MPH, specializes in pediatric sports medicine. For the last two years, Dr. Brooks and UW sports medicine researcher Tim McGuine have been working with high school football players and schools from around Wisconsin to determine whether certain football helmets actually do reduce the risk of concussion in high school athletes. And the results may surprise you.

Among their findings was that there was no difference in the rate of sports-related concussions based on the brand, age or recondition status of the helmet the players used.

The rate of sports related concussions was nearly seven times higher during competition than during practice, and four times higher during full-contact practice compared to practice.

And, players who experienced a sports related concussion during the previous 12 months were almost twice as likely to sustain another one compared to players who never experienced one.

So what can you do as a parent?

Educate yourself about the risks and symptoms of concussions. Your school or club should have provided you and your athletes with information about the signs and symptoms.

Talk with your child about the symptoms. A headache, fatigue and problems concentrating can all be symptoms. The coaches and trainers will likely cover this information as well, but sometimes kids may not be honest with how they’re feeling in hopes of getting back to playing sooner.

Consider ImPACT concussion management, a computer-based program that helps establish a baseline so if an injury does occur, physicians are able to compare pre-injury and post-injury test results.

Realize that a specific brand of helmet will not make a difference in protecting your child. But, ensuring that the helmet used fits properly and is well maintained are two important steps you can take.

Consider UW Health’s Sports Concussion Rehabilitation Program for athletes with prolonged concussion symptoms and be sure to talk with your physician if you have any questions or concerns.

Posted in Teens | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Stay Hydrated with Fruit Infused Water (Giveaway)

The body is about three-quarters water but the heat of the summer months can dehydrate the body very quickly. Symptoms of dehydration include dizziness, light-headedness, dry lips, mouth and skin, limited urination, and thirst.

Practice good hydration throughout the summer by:

  • Make water your number one beverage.
  • Carry a water bottle with you.
  • Drink up 8 ounces of water at every meal and snack.
  • Enjoy at least 5 servings of fruit and vegetables everyday, which are also a great source of water.
  • Consume caffeinated beverages in moderation. Coffee, black teas, dark soda pop and energy drinks generally contain caffeine.
  • Perform a urine check. Try to keep your urine looking like lemonade or lighter. If it looks like apple juice, take a break and drink up.
  • Drink before you are thirsty. The sign of thirst, such as a parched mouth, means the body is well on its way to dehydration.

August Recipe: Fruit Infused Water

infused_waterIngredients

  • 6 cups cold filtered water
  • 4 caffeine-free herbal berry tea bags
  • 2 sprigs mint leaves
  • 24 frozen whole strawberries
  • 24 ice cubes

Pour water into a large clear glass pitcher or jar.

Add the tea bags and mint.

Cover with a small dishtowel, large enough to keep debris and bugs out.

Place the tea in direct sunlight for 4 to 5 hours.

Remove the tea bags and mint leaves.

Add the berries and ice to the pitcher and chill prior to service.

Serve cold.

Smiling Sun

Enter this week’s giveaway:

Do you prefer your water fruit infused, with a slice of lemon or with bubbles in it? Leave a comment telling us your favorite way to drink water.
Prize: 1 $10 Woodman’s gift card and a water bottle.
Rules: Giveaway closes on Sunday, August 24, 2014 at 11pm CST. Open to Wisconsin, Iowa and Illinois residents only. One entry per email address is permitted. The winner will be selected using random.org and announced on the following Monday as an update to this post. Winner will be notified via email and asked to provide a mailing address to receive the prize; if the winner does not respond within 7 days, the winner forfeits the prize and another winner will be selected. Subscribe to the blog and you’ll get new posts delivered to your inbox as soon as they’re posted.

Stay Hydrated with Fruit Infused Water (Giveaway)
About Cassie Vanderwall, MS, RD, CD, CDE, CPT
Cassie Vanderwall is a registered dietitian, certified personal trainer and certified diabetes educator at the UW Health Pediatric Fitness Clinic and Pediatric Diabetes Clinic. Cassie is passionate about empowering families by equipping them with the tools they need to achieve a healthier life.

View all posts by Cassie Vanderwall, MS, RD, CD, CDE, CPT
Posted in Nutrition | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,