Dr. Mike, Our son has depression, which he’s being treated for with Zoloft and therapy. He also has really bad facial acne and his dermatologist recently recommended Accutane. Our son was very excited when he heard the dermatologist say that Accutane will “clear everything up.” My husband and I were excited too because we know how much our son’s acne bothers him, and it probably even has a lot to do with his being depressed in the first place or it definitely doesn’t help. But our son’s psychiatrist is completely against the Accutane and even said that “Accutane can cause suicide.” [...]
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Our son is 16 and he doesn’t apply himself at school at all. He’s smart, but he doesn’t try and isn’t motivated to do anything. He’s pretty much been a C and D student (with some F’s) all through middle school and high school and he tells us that he “hates school” and that he “doesn’t care” when we try to help him. Suffice it to say that we have tried everything possible, and we won’t bore you with the many years of tutors and reward charts and battles and failed promises and attempts on our part and his part. My [...]
The ongoing contentious debate over kneeling for the National Anthem escalated this past week in response to President Trump’s position that the act is disrespectful to our flag, our military and our nation as a whole. Those in opposition to Trump’s position have argued that kneeling during the national anthem is their constitutional right and a symbolic statement of solidarity to call attention to serious social injustices in the US today – incidents involving police brutality, racism, inequality, etc. There’s no denying that the argument over kneeling for the National Anthem isn’t going away anytime soon, but regardless of your feelings [...]
Dr. Mike, Our son is 7 years old and he and his friends love their Nerf guns and they especially love having Nerf gun battles in the neighborhood. This past Sunday one of the mom’s in our son’s friend group emailed the entire neighborhood listserv to ask that neighborhood children no longer be allowed to play with Nerf guns at the main public area or playground because she said “it promotes violence” and it’s “insensitive in the wake of the Florida school shooting.” I emailed her back to nicely let her know that I didn’t see a problem with Nerf gun [...]
Do you find yourself in a marriage where you love your spouse, but privately and deep down inside, you don’t necessarily like him or her very much anymore? If you answered “yes” know that you are not alone. According to a study conducted by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, just shy of 60% of married couples reported being very happy in their marriage. That number dropped from 65% from just two years earlier. The study cites several factors contributing to marital unhappiness including, a sex life with diminishing returns, preoccupation with technology, and men taking their [...]
The iPhone is 10 years old this week, and it’s truly amazing how it (and smartphones in general) has revolutionized the way we function as a society and in so many positive ways — having instant access to information, increasing ways to communicate in real time, having multiple applications in the palm of your hand (e.g., a GPS system, a camera, etc.). But the rise of mobile devices over the past 10 years has curiously coincided with the rise of some concerning problems. Smartphone overuse can actually lead to problematic behaviors and symptoms that are consistent with substance use disorders or [...]
Lights, Camera…Suicide! Enter stage right, “13 Reasons Why” a new Netflix television series about a teenage girl (Hannah Baker) who commits suicide and then leaves behind seven double sided audio tapes for her friends and classmates to listen to. Each tape depicts the harmful events (e.g., sexual assault and rape) that occurred for Hannah that culminated in her tragic demise. Based off of Jay Asher’s 2007 novel of the same name, the show has earned praise from critics for tackling the difficult subject matter of teen suicide in such a raw, gritty and real sort of way. But “13 Reasons Why” [...]
In the 1984 movie The Karate Kid, a teenage boy becomes disheartened when his karate teacher has him doing chores to exhaustion day after day. Instead of teaching the boy fighting techniques for his upcoming competition, the master instructs the boy to paint his house and fence, sand his floors, and wax his many old cars. The boy listens to his teacher but eventually grows impatient and expresses strong negative feelings. When the master commands the boy to show him the moves the boy learned to complete the myriad of boring and laborious chores—sand the floor, wax on/wax off, paint the [...]
Several of my child and teen clients with High Functioning Autism or Asperger’s Disorder have struggled to understand and embrace President Trump. The disconnect has had less to do with political beliefs than it has with Trump’s communication style. Generally, individuals on the autistic spectrum have executive functioning weaknesses where they tend to see and understand things in rigid, black and white or all-or-nothing terms. Interpreting social cues or nuanced communication – verbal or non-verbal – can also be difficult for those on the spectrum. They are also inclined to take things literally, and ambiguous and figurative ideas or speech is harder for them to make [...]
Dear Dr. Mike: Our 15 year old son is out of control and we don’t know what to do anymore. He smokes pot and drinks, disobeys us left and right, is truant from school often, comes home whenever he wants to and screams at us when we try to correct him. He used to be an amazing kid and athlete, but he quit all sports and he’s no longer himself. We’ve tried therapy, but he refused to go. The crazy thing with all of this is that we have no idea why he changed. His problems started in freshman year of high school and have [...]