Join the Resilience Retreat "Calm in the Time of Coronavirus." Learn More >>>
Programs About Blog Practitioners Shop Login

Anxiety in Kids & Teens Amidst the COVID-19 Outbreak

Timothy Culbert, MD, IFMCP

Escalating Anxiety in Kids & Teens

This year has been a season of uncertainty for most, mainly due to the coronavirus pandemic. As I transitioned to virtual visits for my patients, I witnessed firsthand the fragile psychological state so many pre-teens and teens are in as they wrestle with that chaos associated with COVID-19. They're often stuck at home, sharing with me how they are frustrated, disappointed, inconvenienced and worried.

The pandemic has increased uncertainty over school experiences, how and when kids might connect with friends, family finances, vacations, part-time employment, and medical and mental health. This lack of a clear path forward, and our powerlessness over many factors about the direction of our lives, can lead to significant stress. 

Rates of Anxiety Disorder in Kids & Teens

Even before the pandemic, studies indicated that anxiety in teens was rising as much as 20% over...

Continue Reading...

Symptoms & Support for Anxiousness in Kids & Teens

Timothy Culbert, MD, IFMCP

Symptoms of Anxiety in Kids and Teens May Not Be Obvious

Anxiety in kids and teens may not look like it does in adults. Emotional changes are more easily spotted, but social, physical, and sleep changes are also common for both anxiety and depression. 

Emotional Changes 
  • Increasing anger, irritability, and/or emotional reactivity
  • Feeling keyed up or restless
  • Flat affect (lack of showing emotion)
  • Anhedonia (not enjoying activities once enjoyed, decreased ability to feel pleasure)
  • Easily bored
  • Sad
  • Panic, new fears, and/or persistent worries
  • Increase in oppositional, non-compliant behaviors
  • Restlessness
  • Trouble separating from parents
  • Phobias
  • Obsessive/compulsive behaviors
Social Changes 
  • Withdrawal
  • Isolation
  • Changing peer groups
  • Avoiding participation in extracurricular activities
Physical Changes 
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Appetite change
  • Stomach aches
  • Low energy 
  • Unexplained aches and pains
  • Complaints of...
Continue Reading...

Supplements for Anxiousness in Kids & Teens

Timothy Culbert, MD, IFMCP 

Supplement Wisely

Talk with your child's primary doctor before adding a supplement and it's necessary to balance safety and efficacy concerns. I have a few favorites:

Inositol

Inositol, naturally occurs in foods such as fruits, beans, grains and nuts. Inositol is a type of sugar with several important roles to play. Inositol serves as a component of cell membranes. It affects the activity  of neurotransmitters in your brain cells. Read this article on inositol for anxiousness.>>>

It is available as a white powder that tastes somewhat sweet, so it is easy to mix into water, juice or other liquids. The typical dose is 2000-4000 MG mixed in liquid, taken up to three times daily. It is also available in capsule form

NMH Store: Found as one component contained within Unwind Powder

L-Theanine

L-theanine is an amino acid commonly extracted from tea leaves. It can be found in both green and black tea. It’s commonly available in...

Continue Reading...

Aromatherapy for Anxiousness in Kids & Teens

Timothy Culbert, MD, IFMCP

Making Sense of Scents:  Aromatherapy Blends to Support Calm

Essential oils have been a part of human history for millennia and have been used throughout all major civilizations, with uses ranging from religious rituals and cooking, to various medicinal applications and perfumery. 

Clinical Aromatherapy can be defined as the controlled use of essential oils to maintain and promote physical, psychological, and spiritual wellbeing. Aromatic oil from many plants have healing properties. Oils are extracted from flowers, bark, stems, leaves, roots or other parts of a plant one of two ways – either by steam distillation, or pressing. 

Healing Alchemy Calming Blend

Oils such as frankincense, sweet orange and lavender can be relaxing for those experiencing symptoms of anxiety and stress.

 

Healing Alchemy Soothing Blend

For agitation and/or GI upset associated with stress or anxiety, consider lemon, mint...
Continue Reading...

Technology for Anxiousness in Kids & Teens

Timothy Culbert, MD, IFMCP

There is a growing interest in using technology to make relaxation training more fun and engaging. Some have referred to these gadgets as electroceuticals. Below are three technologies that I suggest to my patients for anxiety management.

Heart Rate Variability Biofeedback

Heart rate variability (HRV) involves measuring the beat-to-beat variations in heart rate as it naturally speeds up and slows down throughout the day. A person can then actually see the changing HRV pattern on a computer screen or cell phone and learn to control it. Studies have found that when people are anxious, stressed or scared, their HRV pattern looks messy and disorganized. On the other hand, HRV patterns becomes more rhythmic, organized and regular  when strategies are used to shift into a calmer state. I recommend  the Inner Balance Smart Phone app and hardware for HRV practice.

Cranial Electrotherapeutic Stimulation 

Cranial...

Continue Reading...

Natural Remedies for ADHD

 Timothy Culbert, MD, IFMCP

Are US Kids Worse Off?

11% of US children have an ADHD diagnosis. In France, the prevalence of an ADHD diagnosis is 0.5%. Part of this spread has to do with the US health care system's practice of readily pathologizing children's behaviors. Many behaviors may just be normal developmental variations or reflect behaviors brought on by stress, trauma, learning style issues, chaotic family situations, inadequate educational environments, or suboptimal lifestyle practices. 

Kids Are Not to Blame

There are many reasons for the difference in ADHD rates between kids in the US and France. One key reason has to do with the US mental health care system. 

Over the past few decades, psychiatry has become more biologically-based causing pharmaceutical companies and the field of psychiatry to focus almost exclusively on the "neurotransmitter deficiency model" of mental illness. For example, biologically...

Continue Reading...

The ATTEND Approach: Natural Support for ADHD

 Timothy Culbert, MD, IFMCP

Many families are looking for more natural options to manage ADHD and attention issues (e.g., distractibility, impulsive behavior, disruptive behavior, restlessness, and hyperactivity). ATTEND is a pneumonic device to remember the six key strategies to consider.

ATTEND: Natural Support for ADHD

A | Arousal Management

Some studies suggest that ADHD symptoms may represent a dysregulation of the internal 24-hour clock (aka circadian rhythm), which controls the balance of alertness and drowsiness of our brain throughout the day and night. Over 55% of people with ADHD have sleep disturbances. Sleep is foundational for good attention and emotional regulation. Be sure to receive the appropriate amount of sleep each night. For example, kids and teens need 8-10 hours of sleep each night.

Read this article on ADHD & sleep to learn more.

T | Training the Brain

Mind-body skills can be very...

Continue Reading...

Developing Health Literacy for Kids With Mental Health Concerns

Timothy Culbert, MD, IFMCP

Information is Empowering: Why Health Literacy Matters

Just like adults, children and teenagers benefit from being informed and empowered so that they can participate in important decisions regarding their health and wellness. The team here at Natural Mental Health is dedicated to enhancing “health literacy” for our readers, by providing up-to-date information that supports the development of self-care and self-regulation skills for all ages. 

Defining Health Literacy

Health literacy is set of skills people use to realize their potential in health situations. They apply these skills either to make sense of health information and services or provide health information and services to others. Anyone who needs health information and services also needs health literacy skills.

Developing Health Literacy in Teens and Kids

One way in which children and teenagers can enrich their health literacy is to read age-appropriate books that are both...

Continue Reading...

CBD Oil for Mental Health for Kids and Teens

Timothy Culbert, MD, IFMCP

What Kids, Teens and Parents Should Know About CBD Oil for Mental Health

By now you have probably heard of the potential health benefits of the natural plant-based remedy, CBD oil. It is derived from the cannabis plant, the same plant-type that provides marijuana. Cannabis plants have actually been utilized for millennia all over the world for their healing properties.

Understandably, there is some confusion about the differences between CBD oil and marijuana products. CBD oil that is hemp-based is legal in all 50 states. On the other hand, marijuana products vary by state in terms of their legality for medical versus recreational. CBD oil and marijuana both differ in their safety and efficacy for mental health symptoms in kids, teens, and adults.

I know, it's confusing. Let’s try to sort this all out...  

The Chemical Components of CBD, Marijuana, and Hemp

The term cannabis is used to identify a genus of flowering plants in...

Continue Reading...

Transition from Summer to School [Like a Boss]

 

By Anastasia Sullwold Ristau, PhD, Licensed Psychologist

Clinical Supervisor of all youth Intensive Outpatient Programs within PrairieCare Medical Group


 

This time of year is one transition after another. Changing from summer to school schedules requires big transitions with sleep, meals, and even how we organize our days or brains. Transitions are change, and more often than not, change is HARD.

And change is inevitable and unavoidable.

I’m challenging myself and all of you, dear readers, to face these times of change like a boss. That means a mental framework that allows us to keep our eyes on the bigger picture; to embrace all that comes with both the knowns and unknowns rampant in times of transition. Let's trust that internally we have more mastery and ownership over this parenting thing than we might believe in the moment. 

We’ve got this!

To help us move more smoothly from summer to school, we can use the 5 Square Prepare ...

Continue Reading...
1 2
Close

50% Complete

Boost Joy, Calm, & Focus

The NMH newsletter goes out twice monthly. You'll receive helpful tips, resources, and special offers to optimize your mental health and create more joy, calm, and focus in your life.