Ask Your Doctor If You Should Take Advice from a Commercial

Commercials about psychiatric drugs are now ubiquitous. Are they helpful or harmful?

Reduce ADHD Symptoms Naturally With These Five Steps

Does research support the use of natural methods for treating ADHD? Here are five evidence-based suggestions for tackling the poor focus and disorganized behavior that are part and parcel of this disorder.

Why CFL's Aren't Such a Bright Idea

New (and old) research points to fluorescent light causing not just poor sleep, but physiological stress reactions. In light of rising neuropsychiatric disorders such as autism and ADHD seen in children, are energy-saving CFL's costing us dearly?

Dumb & Dumber: Interactive Screentime is Worse than TV

Few parents would argue that television is good for kids' brains, while many mistakenly believe that interactive screen-time--in the form of video games, internet use, and social media--has beneficial effects that outweigh any risks. But is it possible that interactive screen-time is WORSE than passive?

Why You Should Run Away from Your Problems

How many times have we heard that exercise helps with depression? But does it really work? Researchers recently discovered that the amount and frequency really does matter. In an age where patients increasingly seek natural, drug-free treatments, it's helpful to know what works--and how to prescribe it.

"Mommy, Pretend I'm Playing a Game on my iPad!"

Technology offers children instant gratification, role playing, and intense stimulation. The result? The desire to escape from the real world to the virtual gets stronger and stronger, as does the desire to become the false image created on Facebook, to become the TV, sports, or gaming character, to become the device, to become-in short-transhuman.

Lipoic Acid: The Little Supplement that Could

Do you become overwhelmed when you’re in the supplement aisle? Do you ever feel like you're shoving a fistful of pills into your mouth every day and can no longer remember why you’re taking what? For these reasons and more, it's helpful to be aware of potent agents that serve multiple roles. Meet lipoic acid, the little supplement that packs a powerful punch.

Screen Free Week is Just around the Corner!

Screen Free Week is right around the corner: May 5-11, 2014. Although children will naturally engage in healthy play once liberated from screens, parents often panic in regards to "what will my child DO?!" Here's a list of activities to get those brainstorming juices flowing, along with some important reasons why going screen-free is worth the effort.

The Link Between Light-at-Night, Depression & Suicidality

With teen depression and suicide on the rise, environmental factors cannot be ignored. A growing body of evidence suggests light-at-night from electronic devices—a favorite pastime of teens—may be to blame.

Gray Matters: Too Much Screen Time Damages the Brain

Excessive screen time damages the brain's gray and white matter, alters cerebral cortex thickness, and impairs cognitive function according to recent brain scan research. But "everything's okay in moderation," right? The real question is, how is seven hours/day of screen-time moderate? Are kids with "regular" screen exposure damaging their brains too?

Why Can My Inattentive Child Pay Attention to Video Games?!

Parents often wonder: if my child has attention problems, why is it that he can focus during a video game? But if we understand the basis of attention and attentional deficits, we'll see why this phenomenon is not so surprising.

An Overlooked Factor in the Childhood Obesity Epidemic

According to the American Heart Association, 1 in 3 children are considered overweight or obese, topping issues like smoking and substance abuse as the number one pediatric health concern today in the United States. Why is it that childhood obesity has tripled in the last 30 years?

9 Resolutions that Invest in Your Mental Wealth

I know New Year's resolutions are supposed to be concrete with specific goals, but I'd like to present some holistic resolutions that have the potential to create shifts in everyday mentality.

Pediatricians Elaborate on Screen Guidelines

The American Academy of Pediatrics has reiterated its policy on screen-time guidelines for children and teens, and has provided some new recommendations to help families manage the logistics. How closely are you following them?

Japan's Prescribing Internet Fasting Camps—Should We?

Japan is starting internet-fasting camps for youths suffering from excessive screen-time. Resources in the US are scarce, and parents feel overwhelmed to intervene. Can we bridge the gap?

Boost Your Child's Brain Power with This Simple Remedy

Do you want to send your child off to school with improved focus and organization? Here's how an electronic fast can help send your child to the head of the class.

Food, Inflammation, and Autism: Is There a Link?

Evidence for environmental influences either triggering or worsening autism continues to grow. While we know certain foods can exacerbate autistic symptoms, it also appears that food sensitivity reactions might be initiators for the autistic process itself—as early as the womb.

Tips for Managing Screentime This Summer

Summertime can be a blessing or a curse for kids these days, depending on how they choose to spend their time. My advice? Choose for them, if they’re at all inclined to overindulge on screen-time. Here are some tips on how to prevent electronic overload during summer vacation.

Nature's Rx: Green-Time's Effects on ADHD

While screen-time has disorganizing effects on the nervous system, green-time seems to help integrate it. Research suggests greenery improves concentration, impulse control, and mood regulation.

Silver Linings of the New DSM Playbook

Like it or not, the new DSM-V arrived today. Much of the media coverage has addressed criticisms and concerns, but there has been little focus on how the changes of the DSM may benefit the bottom line--improvement of care. From a psychiatrist's perspective, here's a list of silver linings.

Resyncing the Bodyclock to Treat ADHD

Good news for those with ADHD who prefer a more natural approach. Research shows attentional symptoms may be related to poor sleep and an out-of-sync body clock--and may respond to light therapy and melatonin supplementation.

A Dangerous Game: GPs Prescribing Psychotropics

The majority of the time, patients approach their general practitioner first to seek help for mental health-related complaints. If it's a straightforward case with mild symptoms, this shouldn't pose a problem. However, if there's a serious mental illness about to break through or the patient has multiple diagnoses, this scenario becomes quite risky. Here's why.

Teens, Screens, and Metabolic Syndrome

We all know there's an obesity epidemic occuring with our nation's youths, but did you know that there's a constellation of health issues now being recognized in teens, that were previously not occuring until middle age? Sometimes called Syndrome X, metabolic syndrome is now being linked to screen-time in teens--regardless of physical activity level.

Screen-free Holiday Challenge

"Tis the season...for electronics?! Again?! As a child psychiatrist, I dread January, when instead of being rested from a couple weeks off of school, many of my patients come in revved up and spaced out.

Video Game Rage

Contrary to popular belief, video games don't need to be violent in order to trigger aggression in some children, particularly in the face of biological or psychological vulnerablities. Here's a case study illustrating how gaming can push a child over the proverbial edge.

Screens and the Stress Response

Clinically, I view screen-time as an environmental stressor that nearly always needs to be removed initially as both a diagnostic and therapeutic intervention. For this post, I thought it might be useful to highlight some studies that have linked screen-time to physiological stress markers, in order to underscore how removing electronic stress improves mental health.

Game Over: Screening for Problematic Screen-time

Current screening questionnaires to illicit problematic video game and internet usage are helpful, but are they inclusive enough?

Case: OCD Precipitated by Wii Video Game

A couple of years ago, a former colleague contacted me to ask whether I thought playing Wii video games could precipitate OCD symptoms. Her six year old son, who'd just started playing Wii games regularly, had begun touching and rubbing things compulsively, and would become anxious if he tried to stop.

Electronic Screen Syndrome: An Unrecognized Disorder?

Psychiatric symptoms from various disorders can have a lot of overlap, and this is especially true when it comes to children.

Computer, Video Games & Psychosis: Cause for Concern

In my practice in the past six months, no less than five youths have reported psychotic symptoms that were attributed to, or exacerbated by, electronic screen devices.