The Teenage Brain: What Are They Thinking?

How many times a day do parents of teenagers find themselves asking the teen, “What on earth were you thinking?” The answer is, they were thinking, just with the wrong part of their brain.

Adolescence is the period of growth, development, and exploration. Teenagers are near the peak of physical health, strength, and mental capacity, and yet, for some, this can be a hazardous age. The top causes of death in teenagers are accidents, homicide, and suicide. Other causes of morbidity, including unintended pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections, and substance use, are related to risk taking behaviors and are largely preventable.

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Panic at the Disco (and the NBA sidelines… and school… and home…)

Kevin Love, a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers basketball team (yes, there are more players than just Lebron James, although some of these finals games may appear otherwise) reports following the symptoms in the middle of a basketball game: shortness of breath, heart racing, feeling like he was about to die. He abruptly left the game and was checked out at a hospital; all the tests came back normal. He had just experienced his first panic attack. He penned a wonderful piece for The Players Tribune going into detail about his panic attack, his misconceptions about mental health, and why it’s important to him to decrease the stigma of mental health.  Bravo, Kevin!  This fits right in with this year’s Mental Health Health theme – “#CureStigma.” One of the best ways to cure stigma is to educate –so here we go! Read more

Reading Past the Headlines

Like we talked about last week, April is Sexually Transmitted Disease Awareness month (#STDMonth18).  The theme of this year is Treat Me Right (#TreatMeRight). This theme has 2 distinct sides: the patient and the provider.  Where last week’s blog focused on the patient and how to be an independent healthcare consumer, this week will focus a little more on providers (but it is good info for everyone!). In order to provide the best care for patients, a healthcare provider needs to know what’s going on in the community, and when to delve a little deeper into rumor vs reality.

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Possible change to legal drinking age?

This week, a new bill introduced by some Republican lawmakers (and a former President of the Tavern League) would lower the drinking age in in Wisconsin to 19 if passed.  Proponents of the bill state that it will decrease amount of money and time spent on patrolling underage drinking (mainly on college campuses). They also point out that an 18-year-old can serve in the military, live independently, purchase firearms, purchase tobacco products, and vote, so why shouldn’t they be able to enjoy an adult beverage? Although, the proposal would not allow 18 year olds to purchase alcohol (that is to prevent high school students from legally drinking, according to the bill’s authors).

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Why aren’t teens getting their license?

I missed National Teen Driver Safety Week by a couple weeks this year (it was October 15-21, 2017. If you’re totally bummed, check out this post from last year – the stats remain the same.) I was trying to think about why it wasn’t on my radar like usual. Were there a lot of other things going on in the news? Ummm….yes. But I think there’s another reason –driving doesn’t seem to be a big thing with a lot of my teen patients right now. In a totally non-scientific chart review of my 16-17-year-old patients in the past few months, only about 50% have their driver’s license (and plenty haven’t even taken driver’s ed).

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