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Many mental-health conditions have bodily triggers

Ms Huitson is not alone in having a dysfunction in the brain mistaken for one in the mind. Evidence is accumulating that an array of infections can, in some cases, trigger conditions such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, tics, anxiety, depression and even psychosis. And infections are one small piece of the puzzle. It is increasingly clear that inflammatory disorders and metabolic conditions can also have sizeable effects on mental health, though psychiatrists rarely look for them. All this is symptomatic of large problems in psychiatry.

drawing of teen on knees

Raising Teens Is Hard. Lisa Damour Has Some Answers.

As the mother of two daughters, ages 12 and 19, Dr. Damour knows first hand that parenting is hard and sometimes scary. And that has been especially true over the last few years, as the mental health of children, particularly teenage girls, has suffered.

But a reassuring thread runs through Dr. Damour’s work: You’ve got this, it seems to say. “Mental health is not about feeling good,” she writes in “The Emotional Lives of Teenagers.” “Instead, it’s about having the right feelings at the right time and being able to manage those feelings effectively.”

mom and teen daughter

Teens Are Struggling Right Now. What Can Parents Do?

For over 25 years, the psychologist Lisa Damour has been helping teens and their families navigate adolescence in her clinical practice, in her research and in best-selling books like “Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions Into Adulthood.”

This moment in time, she says, is like no other.

According to a report released last week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 42 percent of U.S. high schoolers experienced persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness in 2021, while 22 percent seriously considered attempting suicide. Adolescent girls, as well as lesbian, gay and bisexual youth, are struggling the most, but boys and teens in every racial and ethnic group also reported worsening symptoms.

brain puzzle

Everything You Need To Know About OCD

We all experience anxiety, a feeling of dread that happens to be your body’s natural response to stress. It may be brought on by a variety of circumstances, including making an important decision, an upcoming test, or meeting someone new.

If someone is living with an anxiety disorder like OCD, these feelings don’t go away and often develop into symptoms that, if untreated, can interfere with relationships, job performance, schoolwork, and even basic functioning.

Thankfully an OCD diagnosis doesn’t have to limit someone’s potential. Many people successfully manage their OCD and live normal, successful lives.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with OCD, there is hope.

illustration with cloud above head

Why American Teens Are So Sad

The United States is experiencing an extreme teenage mental-health crisis. From 2009 to 2021, the share of American high-school students who say they feel “persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness” rose from 26 percent to 44 percent, according to a new CDC study. This is the highest level of teenage sadness ever recorded.

The government survey of almost 8,000 high-school students, which was conducted in the first six months of 2021, found a great deal of variation in mental health among different groups. More than one in four girls reported that they had seriously contemplated attempting suicide during the pandemic, which was twice the rate of boys. Nearly half of LGBTQ teens said they had contemplated suicide during the pandemic, compared with 14 percent of their heterosexual peers. Sadness among white teens seems to be rising faster than among other groups.

teen with phone

The truth about teens, social media and the mental health crisis

Back in 2017, psychologist Jean Twenge set off a firestorm in the field of psychology.

Twenge studies generational trends at San Diego State University. When she looked at mental health metrics for teenagers around 2012, what she saw shocked her. "In all my analyses of generational data — some reaching back to the 1930s — I had never seen anything like it," Twenge wrote in the Atlantic in 2017.

Twenge warned of a mental health crisis on the horizon. Rates of depression, anxiety and loneliness were rising. And she had a hypothesis for the cause: smartphones and all the social media that comes along with them. "Smartphones were used by the majority of Americans around 2012, and that's the same time loneliness increases. That's very suspicious," Twenge told NPR in 2017.

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