Mental Health

All Articles in the Category ‘Mental Health’

Visit with Macklemore helps 6-year-old heart patient recover


Courtesy Jordan.Nicholson.Photography.

AJ Hwangbo was a happy-go-lucky 6-year-old without a worry in the world until mid-November when he developed a life-threatening heart condition. While specialists at Seattle Children’s Hospital helped AJ heal physically, the young boy struggled to bounce back emotionally. But, AJ’s joyful spirit returned after hospital staff arranged for him to meet his hero – local artist Macklemore.

“The luckiest or unluckiest boy”

Before he became ill, AJ’s mom Yoo-Lee Yea said he was an especially social first-grader and a frequent jokester. But on the morning of Nov. 12 he was quieter than usual. Later that day AJ threw up at school and by the evening he had a high fever. AJ’s primary care doctor said he likely had a virus and should feel better in a few days. Read full post »

Addressing ADHD Improves Academic and Social Success

At every moment of every day, the human brain processes a constant, and natural, barrage of stimuli. At multiple levels, including below consciousness, our brains constantly filter through these competing stimuli to prioritize those that help us respond, begin a task, take steps toward a larger goal and behave in socially appropriate ways.

For people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), something is amiss in the brain pathways that filter through these competing impulses. Those affected with this neurological condition have difficulty sorting out relevant stimuli from non-relevant stimuli, and may respond impulsively or not respond when a quick response is required. In the classroom, children with ADHD have difficulty focusing on school or homework, sustaining their attention for things they are not interested in, and some (especially younger children) have difficulty sitting still.

Between 9 percent and 11 percent of school-aged children (4 to 17 years of age) in the U.S. have been diagnosed with ADHD – about 13 percent of boys and 5.5 percent of girls.

Though people with ADHD can be very successful in life, without proper diagnosis and treatment, this condition can have serious consequences, like:

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Researchers pinpoint decision-making parts of brain that can affect addiction, ADHD

The brainWhen “Glee” star Cory Monteith died last month from an overdose of heroin and alcohol, his fans were baffled. Monteith, 31, seemed to have everything—a great job, fame and a loving girlfriend and co-star. He had just completed a stint in rehab in April, too. But the pull of addiction is strong and even the smartest people don’t make the best decisions when faced with temptation.

Now, a team led by Susan Ferguson, PhD, from Seattle Children’s Research Institute, and John Neumaier, MD, PhD, from the University of Washington, has used a new technique to identify and learn more about a key reward-based, decision-making part of the brain, the striatum.

The team’s findings have implications for addiction, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder. Perhaps one day, with the help of medications targeting this part of the brain, addicts like Monteith can better control their urges and avoid tragic endings.

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Tips for kids’ mental health

MentalHealthPostWhen a child is sick, needs a vaccination or gets bumped or bruised, most parents don’t hesitate to make a trip to the doctor’s office. But what happens when a child’s feeling blue, overly anxious or struggling to focus in school? This month, in recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month, doctors offer tips for parents to keep kids mentally and emotionally well, and explain what to do when there’s a problem.

Carol M. Rockhill, MD, PhD, and Ian M. Kodish, MD, PhD, child and adolescent psychiatrists at Seattle Children’s Hospital, say first and foremost, we need to relearn the way we view mental health.

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Study: Teens and Young Adults with Mental Health Disorders at Risk of Long-Term Opioid Use


In a new study, Laura Richardson, MD of Seattle Children’s Research Institute and co-investigators found that young adults ages 13 to 24 with mental health disorders were more likely to be prescribed opioids such as OxyContin and Vicodin for chronic pain and also more than twice as likely to become long-term opioid users than those who didn’t have a mental health disorder. The study, “Mental Health Disorders and Long-term Opioid Use Among Adolescents and Young Adults With Chronic Pain,” appears in the June 2012 issue of  Journal of Adolescent Health, and underscores the increase in the use and abuse of long-term opioid painkillers among teens in the U.S.

In this video, Dr. Richardson discusses the findings of the study and what they tell us about this trend:

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