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Mental Issues

Childhood Obesity and the Urge for Change 

Childhood Obesity and the Urge for Change  150 150 se_admin

As a parent, getting your child to eat healthy and be active can be difficult. Some youth find the act of being healthy a chore, and often fight parents on doing it. According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, obesity most often develops from ages 5 to 6 or during the teen years, and studies have shown that a child who is obese between the ages of 10 and 13 has an 80 percent chance of becoming an obese adult. A recent article by the New York Times discusses the significant health risks childhood obesity has on youth.

Effects of Childhood Obesity

Life-threatening conditions like heart disease, cancer, stroke and Type 2 diabetes are more commonly heard of effecting adults, but they can also be consequences of childhood obesity. Two new studies, conducted on over half a million children, linked a childhood obesity to an increased risk of developing colon cancer and suffering from an early stroke as adults.

When is Your Child Considered Obese

Children are generally considered obese when their B.M.I. is at or above the 95th percentile for others of the same age and sex. Currently, one-third of American children are overweight or suffering with childhood obesity. In 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 18 percent of children and 21 percent of adolescents were dealing with childhood obesity.

Studies on Childhood Obesity

Many people assume that children dealing with childhood obesity won’t see the effects of major health risks until later in life, if they still struggle with obesity. But studies have shown that childhood obesity starts to effect youth early on. Dr. Stephen R. Daniels, a pediatrician at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and the Children’s Hospital in Denver, found that problems in many organ systems were often apparent long before adulthood. They include high blood pressure; insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes; heart-damage and high levels of cholesterol; liver disease; obstructive sleep apnea; asthma; and excess stress on the musculoskeletal system resulting in abnormal bone development, knee and hip pain, and difficulty walking.

Youth suffering from childhood obesity are also at a greater risk for developing mental health issues. Obese adolescents have higher rates of depression, which in itself can foster poor eating and exercise patterns that add to their weight issues. They’re also more likely to have poor body image and self-esteem.

Urge for Change

This information reveals the critical importance on promoting healthy eating habits and exercise patterns in all youth. Parents should encourage children to be active and make healthy decisions, without labeling them as overweight or obese. Commenting on kid’s weight can actually harm their self-esteem, increasing their unhealthy habits. It is important that parents encourage kids by changing their environment and creating opportunities for them to be active.

Solstice East can help

Solstice East is a residential treatment center for girls, ages 14 to 18, grappling with teen depression, anxiety, trauma, and other emotional or behavioral issues. We strive to help our girls lead themselves back onto a path of health and happiness.

For more information about how Solstice East handles social media addiction, please call 828-484-9946!

Say It Out Loud: Unexpected Anxiety Reduction Technique Reduces Anxiety in Teens

Say It Out Loud: Unexpected Anxiety Reduction Technique Reduces Anxiety in Teens 150 150 se_admin

Sometimes admitting something about yourself out loud instead of keeping it bottled up inside is one of the best first steps to overcoming a struggle. According to researchers, that happens to be the case for anxiety in teens and adults.

According to a recent study published in the journal Psychological Science, putting a label on anxiety and saying out loud what an individual is truly feeling can greatly reduce their fear response.

The more words, the better

The study, lead by Katharina Kicanski of Stanford University,  found that the more words people use associated with fear and other reactions to anxiety, the greater the reduction to anxiety symptoms.

As the line from Harry Potter goes, “fear of a name only increases fear of the thing itself.” By saying out loud how people are feeling, they are able to let those fears and anxieties go. This can make people feel instantly less anxious.

An unexpected result

Another interesting aspect of this study is the unexpected results. Participants in the study truly did not expect that speaking about their emotions out loud would have any effect on their overall anxiety.  But it did. How, you might ask? Skin conductance allowed for these results to be seen.

Researchers compared the results of vocalizing and labeling emotions to popular techniques used to help lessen the effects of anxiety in teens and adults. The techniques they used are known as distraction and reappraisal. 

In reappraisal, individuals are instructed to change their thoughts around anxiety. To think about it differently.

During the study, reappraisal was used on a group of people with anxiety towards spiders. Through reappraisal, the individuals were told to use words considered to be “neutral”. For example, one person said “Looking at the spider is not dangerous for me.”

Other individuals were told to speak about their emotions towards the spider. They formed a sentence that included a negative word about the spider and one or two negative words or phrases about their emotional response to the spider.

All participants were exposed to the spiders for varying periods of time and came back one week later for a follow up meeting.

The conclusions

Researchers found that those in the group which used labels to express their emotions towards the spiders had a reduced skin conductance response compared to the groups who experienced distraction and reappraisal. By using words related to their anxiety and fear response, there were greater reductions in overall anxiety in teens and adults studied.

By having a lower skin conductance, those who spoke about their fears and anxieties out loud and labelled them were less fearful of spiders overall.

There have been a variety of studies associated with verbalizing fear and anxiety in teens and adults. Many of these studies have concluded that overall distress is reduced relative to conditions in which anxiety in teens and adults were never expressed verbally or through writing.

So what does this tell us? If you’re feeling anxious, talk about it out loud! It, apparently, can lessen the overall effects.

Solstice East can help your anxious teen

If you have a daughter struggling with anxiety or another emotional or behavioral issue, Solstice East might be able to help. Solstice East is a residential treatment center for teen girls ages 14-17.

For more information about Solstice East, please call (855) 672-7058 today!

 

Coping with Grief: Understanding Grieving Styles 

Coping with Grief: Understanding Grieving Styles  150 150 se_admin

Coping with grief  is a difficult task. Many of us have different methods for coping with grief. A recent article by Psychology Today discussed how boys and girls handle grief differently. In the book Grief Beyond Gender: Understandings the Ways Men and Women Mourn, Dr. Terry Martin discusses the two patterns of grieving.

Styles of Grief

The first style of coping with grief is an intuitive pattern where individuals experience and express grief in an effective way. In this pattern, grieving individuals find strategies that are focused toward the expression of affect. The second pattern of coping with grief, is one that is labeled instrumental. Here, grief is experienced physically, such as in a restlessness or thought. Here the strategies individuals use tend to be, cognitive and active as well.

Some individuals may show a mix of patterns that draw from both intuitive and instrumental reactions and responses in the ways that individuals experience, express, and adapt to coping with grief. Other individuals may show inconsistencies between the ways that grief is experienced and expressed. These inconsistent patterns are labeled as dissonant.

As society we believe that there is a clear relation between gender and coping with grief, but this has been shown to not necessarily be true. The instrumental pattern of dissonant, is typical in the way many men grieve, due to contemporary patterns of male socialization. Women also may exhibit an instrumental style. And many women and men represent grievers who demonstrate more intuitive patterns. Clearly, patterns are influenced by gender but not determined by it.

Tips on Coping with Grief

If you find yourself have difficulty coping with grief, here are some tips on how to deal with grief in a healthy and productive way.

  • Listen. Don’t ignore your emotions–if you need to cry, that’s fine; if you need to sob, that’s fine; if you need to talk to someone, that’s fine. The important thing is to listen to what your body and feelings are trying to tell you.
  • Breathe. Deep breaths help trigger the parasympathetic nervous system, helping you calm yourself down when things get tough.
  • Be Aware. When dealing with teen grief, don’t just float through the days; take a moment to be mindful of what’s happening currently to you and others around you.
  • Cry. There’s a huge stigma against crying, but it’s your body’s way of coping and instead of avoiding it when you feel it coming, let it out.
  • Enjoy. Try to notice the small things that improve your day, like the taste of coffee or hitting 3 green lights in a row.
  • Don’t Be Hard on Yourself. Don’t think about other’s expectations of you, just your own. Be realistic and stop thinking about what you should do for other people–focus on you.

Solstice East can help

Solstice East is a residential treatment center for girls, ages 14 to 18, grappling with teen depression, anxiety, trauma, and other emotional or behavioral issues. We strive to help our girls lead themselves back onto a path of health and happiness.

For more information about how Solstice East handles social media addiction, please call 828-484-9946!

Childhood Adversity: How A Child’s Brain Adapts

Childhood Adversity: How A Child’s Brain Adapts 150 150 se_admin

We hope that our children develop into healthy and stable individuals after childhood, but sometimes that is not the case. Research has shown that approximately two-thirds of the population have experienced a form of childhood adversity by the age of 18. With so many people having experienced a form of childhood adversity, what determines if an individual emerges from childhood unscathed, while others develop serious forms of mental illness? Recent research reveals that certain brain functions in children who experience childhood adversity, plays a role in determining if they will develop various forms of mental health issues later in life.

New Research on the Effects of Childhood Adversity

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin, have discovered in a new study that certain areas of the brain–such as the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala—reveal which individuals who have experienced childhood adversity are more likely to develop symptoms of various mental illnesses. 

The common types of childhood adversity researchers focused on included, negative parenting, parental conflict, and financial stress that occurred between infancy and 11 years of age. When the subjects were 15 to 18 years old, the researchers studied their behavior to look for symptoms of common mental illnesses. They also used a form of imaging to study the brain responses during emotional processing.

They found that when teens viewed images that evoked negative emotions, those who experienced childhood adversity had a strong reactive amygdala–the region of the brain involved in processing emotions. They believe that childhood adversity may sensitize certain areas of the brain to negative emotional content, which could better allow children to detect a threatening or stressful environment.

Researchers also found that childhood adversity was associated with a stronger connection between the amygdala and the prefrontal cortex, which is an important circuit for regulating emotions. This connection was much weaker in adolescents with high anxiety and depressive symptoms.

Researchers explain that this finding could mean that the ability of the brain to strengthen the connection between the amygdala and prefrontal cortex strengthens emotional adaptation. They hope these finding can help explain how the brain adapts to childhood adversity, and eventually predict which kids will be more vulnerable to developing mental health issues later in life.

Solstice East can help

Solstice East is a residential treatment center for girls, ages 14 to 18, grappling with teen depression, anxiety, trauma, and other emotional or behavioral issues. We strive to help our girls lead themselves back onto a path of health and happiness.

For more information about how Solstice East handles social media addiction, please call 828-484-9946!

5 Factors of Great Residential Treatment Centers

5 Factors of Great Residential Treatment Centers 150 150 se_admin

With years of experience dealing with various therapeutic programs for struggling teens, I’m able to confidently say I know how to discern between mediocre residential treatment centers and great ones. Searching through the copious therapeutic options for your struggling child can be difficult and frustrating without help. Over the years, I’ve compiled a list of what sets a program apart from others.

Aspects of superior residential treatment centers for teens

  1. Quality, Caring Staff: Excellent residential treatment centers will take care in who they decide to hire. The staff will be welcoming, interested, and passionate about helping troubled adolescents find their way back to a healthy path. Staff should also have undergone training in order to provide the best care.
  2. Focused Programming: Take a look at the gender and age specific aspects of the programming in their treatment center. Superior residential treatment centers for teens will incorporate the best therapies and form an environment specifically effective for the age and/or gender they’ve selected for their focus.
  3. Comprehensive Therapy: You’re not looking at residential treatment centers for youth because traditional therapy worked, which is why a great treatment center will integrate many different types of therapy into their programming. This allows adolescents to find therapies that work the best for them and provide the most effective and sustainable therapeutic experience.
  4. Family Inclusion: The family is one of the most important pieces of an adolescent moving forward. First-rate residential treatment centers will include the family in the healing process through weekly calls with a therapist or even scheduled visits.
  5. Teaches Transferable Skills: If your child cannot take the skills they’ve learned in the program back home, what use are they? A residential treatment center should strive to help your child build life-long coping skills that will continue to help them when they exit the program.

Solstice East can help

Solstice East is a residential treatment center for girls, ages 14 to 18, grappling with teen depression, anxiety, trauma, and other emotional or behavioral issues. We strive to help our girls lead themselves back onto a path of health and happiness.

For more information about how Solstice East handles social media addiction, please call 828-484-9946!

Johnny Manziel Gets Sober July 1! No More a Part of Celebrity Drug Addicts!

Johnny Manziel Gets Sober July 1! No More a Part of Celebrity Drug Addicts! 150 150 se_admin

Former Heisman Trophy winner announced to TMZ Sports that as of today he is going to be completely sober as July 1 and will therefore no longer be one of the celebrity drug addicts struggling to keep their lives on track.  Manziel also mentioned he is not doing drugs and is going to start training like crazy starting today.  Of course, he says this while sharing a house with 20 other people in Cabo, not exactly the environment for a former first round draft pick to start on a healthier path.

Earlier this week Manziel’s father told ESPN that his son is a “druggie” and he hopes his son ends up in jail in hopes of saving his son’s life.  Manziel responded to his dad by posting a picture of his arrival to Cabo with a #hiDad post wearing the jersey of his former Browns teammate Josh Gordon who has been suspended multiple times himself for failing drug and alcohol tests or NFL policies.

The steep descent of Manziel from Heisman Trophy winner to first round draft pick to unsigned free agent at the age of 23 is virtually unprecedented and shows the challenges of early celebrity, fame, and fortune and why Manziel is hardly the one of many celebrity drug addicts…and perhaps most of all Manziel’s story to date shows how precipitously one can fall once within the powerful grasp of drugs and alcohol.

Recently people have noticed Manziel’s weight loss, often an indicator of excessive drug usage.  In recent images Manziel hardly looks like a person who can take the beating of sacks from 300 lb defensive linemen.  Manziel has an indictment for an alleged assault from this spring.  Recently one of his own lawyers on the defense accidentally texted his fears about Manziel’s ability to stay sober as part of a plea deal, with the lawyer commenting, “Heaven help us if one of the conditions is to pee in a bottle.”

Manziel needs help. He is following in the footsteps of dozens of celebrity drug addicts before him, many of whom found their addictions to be debilitating to their health, careers, and personal lives.

 

Mental Health Professionals Help World’s Best Prepare for Rio Olympics

Mental Health Professionals Help World’s Best Prepare for Rio Olympics 150 150 se_admin

When most people think of professional athletes, they think of someone who has rigorously trained their body to the point of perfection for their chosen sport. While this is true, the mental aspect of racing can have a substantial impact on performance as the physical aspects of consistent training. That’s where mental health professionals come in. 

Many of the world’s top athletes are working with sports psychologists to prepare for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. One such athlete is Mohammed Farah. The world’s top long distance track runner. Mo has been especially dominant over the last 5 years. In the 2012 Olympics, Mo won gold in both the 5,000m and 10,000m races on the track and is looking to defend his titles.

Along with a training regimen that includes weekly totals around 120 miles per week, Mo also takes the time to work on his mental health strength as well. When interviewed by Runners World UK, Mo had this to say about the use of sports psychologists and his confidence going into races:

“We have a psychologist, Dr. Darren Treasure, who works alongside us. I’ve always been confident, but once you start winning, it really whets your appetite for more. [I have the confidence to] know I’ll still be up there with the guys with one or two laps to go.”

Though not every athlete ascribes to using a sports psychologist, it has clearly worked as a powerful training tool in Mohammed Farrah’s arsenal. As he prepares to for the 2016 Olympics in Brazil, there is no doubt that Mo and other world class athletes will be prepared both physically by their coaches, and mentally through his sports psychologist.  

Athletes like Mo are utilizing mental health professionals to help them succeed which not only helps them personally but allows them to be advocates for the use of using mental health professionals to address issues in people’s lives.

Teenagers often struggle with mental health issues and are afraid to talk about them, hopefully the can gain encouragement from hero’s such as Mo Farrah.

If you have a teenage girl struggling with mental health or behavioral problems, please don’t hesitate to call Solstice East. They can help her get back on the right track.

Online Store Takes a Stand to Promote Healthy Teen Body Image

Online Store Takes a Stand to Promote Healthy Teen Body Image 150 150 se_admin

It’s no secret that magazines, advertisements, clothing stores, and more distort photos to make models look like they have no imperfections, no extra weight, no beauty marks–nothing. Obviously, this is promoting an over-idealistic, unrealistic view of human bodies since the mass majority of the world’s population doesn’t have the “perfect” body, flawless skin, and no imperfections and this sends a horrible blow to teen body image.

If you’ve ever gone online shopping, you’ve probably run into the online store Modcloth (and if you haven’t, I urge you to check it out because it’s amazing). Well, Modcloth just took a real stand against the media’s ridiculous portrayal of bodies. Not only have they never manipulated an image to change someone’s body, they include a really wide range of sizes, and they use many different body types for modeling. Now on top of all of that, Modcloth announced that they recently teamed up with a congresswoman to create legislation that would work “to develop regulations for over airbrushing, photoshopping, or altering the appearance of people in advertisements.”

How media affects teen body image

Many teens–especially girls, but also boys–are self-conscious about their teen body image. Part of this is societal pressures, but more research has indicated that it definitely has a large part to do with the way the “perfect” body is portrayed in media everywhere: tv shows, movies, magazines, advertisements on the highway. In a study of fifth graders, girls and boys (10 years old) reported that they felt dissatisfied with their bodies after either watching a Britney Spears music video or a piece of the TV show “Friends”. Even in a study from 1996, researchers found that they amount of time a teen spends watching movies, music videos, or soaps was related to a negative teen body image.

Media and the unhealthy idea of the “perfect” body has integrated itself into our daily lives, which is why it’s important when a company like Modcloth takes a stand. By showing their base that this is what real, healthy people look like it sends a more positive effect on teen body image. Hopefully, Modcloth’s message will encourage other companies to follow suit–like Aerie, who currently doesn’t photoshop any of their models, but continues to use very thin and flawless models for advertising.

Solstice East can help

Solstice East is a residential treatment center for girls, ages 14 to 18, grappling with teen body image issues, depression, anxiety, trauma, and other emotional or behavioral problems. We strive to help our girls lead themselves back onto a path of health and happiness.

For more information about how Solstice East handles teen body image issues, please call 828-484-9946.

Zayn Malik Brings More Awareness to Teenage Anxiety

Zayn Malik Brings More Awareness to Teenage Anxiety 150 150 se_admin

Globally, anxiety affects around 1 in 4 people at some point–whether that’s severely or mildly–yet there’s such a stigma against mental illnesses, including anxiety disorders. Zayn Malik, formerly part of One Direction, reminded the world that anxiety affects everyone, including celebrities. This is especially good for bringing awareness to teenage anxiety since his fans tend to be on the younger side. The Guardian recently reviewed why Zayn decided to cancel his gig at the Capital Summertime Ball.

Zayn says he was experiencing the “worst anxiety of my career”

Before the performance was set to begin, Zayn released a message on social media detailing his struggle with anxiety when performing:

“Unfortunately, my anxiety that has haunted me throughout the last few months around live performances has gotten the better of me…With the magnitude of the event, I have suffered the worst anxiety of my career.”

Anxiety is something many performers suffer from, including Adele, Emma Stone, Lena Dunham, Chris Evans, and John Mayer. There’s probably many more that are just afraid to come forward because of the stigma placed on those that do.

What this means for teenage anxiety

Anxiety often begins in the adolescent years, making it an important time to recognize it and seek out help–but many teens don’t. Teenage anxiety isn’t rare; about 1 in 4 teens struggle with it, yet rarely do they receive the treatment they need. Zayn Malik is helping break the stigma. Many teens look up to him, which means when he comes out about his anxiety and speaks about seeking help, others will, too. Even if it’s just a few, that’s a few teens that aren’t suffering through teenage anxiety alone anymore. By admitting his issue to the world, he’s brought a new awareness to teenage anxiety.

Solstice East can help

Solstice East is a residential treatment center for girls, ages 14 to 18, grappling with depression, teenage anxiety, trauma, and other emotional or behavioral issues. We strive to help our girls lead themselves back onto a path of health and happiness.

For more information about how Solstice East handles teenage anxiety, please call 828-484-9946.

Young Love: Developing Healthy Relationships for Teens 

Young Love: Developing Healthy Relationships for Teens  150 150 se_admin

Parenting Tips for Developing Healthy Relationships for Teens

Teen romance is not a new phenomenon. Throughout history, members of our families have gotten married at a young age, including in their teenage years. In today’s society, it’s not as accepted for teens to get married or be physically active. Yet, the age at which teens are dating and considering sex has decreased more and more over the past generation. More parents are experiencing their teens “first love” as early as 11 or 12. Teens are experiencing the highs of feeling in love and also the lows of fearing rejection. That’s way developing healthy relationships for teens is essential in them understanding their emotions and making educated decisions. A recent article by Today discusses tips for parents on developing healthy relationships for teens experiencing teen romance.

Parenting Tips for Dealing with Teen Romance

  • Discuss the benefits of creating a balanced relationship. If your teen is getting too involved or obsessed with their new relationship, try encouraging them to balance their time with other things. Limit the amount of cell phone or internet time they use for the relationship. Suggest that they spend time with a variety of friends.
  • Caution your teen. Urge your teen not to spend an abundance of money on gifts for the other person. Actions like this could be received poorly by the other person in the relationship. Feelings can be easily hurt if the gift is not received well or reciprocated.
  • Don’t ridicule your teen. No matter how unrealistic the crush or relationship is, your child’s feelings are real and should be respected. Developing healthy relationships for teens means developing a healthy relationship between family.
  • Communication is essential. If you ridicule your teen or their feelings, they may become more secretive about their current or future relationships.
  • Try not to be judgmental. Developing healthy relationships for teens can have its ups and downs. Set appropriate limitations on who your teen can date and what is expected. Be open to who they are interested in, but make sure they embody the values and traits you are teaching your teen to develop.

Developing healthy relationships for teens is an important part of teaching them self-image and self-respect. If teens don’t understand the foundations of a healthy relationship, they could have issues with developing healthy relationships through life. Be there to support developing healthy relationships for teens, be open to discussing their personal interest and past experiences you went through back when you were a teen.

Solstice East can help

Solstice East is a residential treatment center for girls, ages 14 to 18, grappling with teen depression, anxiety, trauma, and other emotional or behavioral issues. We strive to help our girls lead themselves back onto a path of health and happiness.

For more information about how Solstice East, please call 828-484-9946!