Adolescence, Stress, and Your Mental Health

Everyone who is in or has been through adolescence knows it is full of land mines called hormones, peer pressure, and identity confusion. For people with risk factors for mental illness, research at Johns Hopkins has shown that successfully navigating teenage years depends on having adequate social connections, and support from family, friends, teachers, and other mentors.

Lead researcher Akira Sawa, M.D., Ph.D. said, “We’ve shown in mice that stress in adolescence can affect the expression of a gene that codes for a key neurotransmitter related to mental function and psychiatric illness.”

WWDC: Widening world of digital counseling; treating depression in children and adolescents

It was bound to happen sooner or later. There is a 3D computer fantasy game that teaches good thinking habits as effectively as biological therapist units can. The game, designed for children and adolescents, is called SPARX (not to be confused with SPANX which are women’s undergarments).

SPARX stands for Smart, Positive, Active, Realistic, X-factor thoughts. 

The game provides cognitive-behavioral therapy to the gamers. That means means it helps them replace Gloomy Negative Automatic Thoughts (GNATS) with positive SPARX thoughts. It was tested on adolescents and young adults from spring 2009 to mid-summer 2010. Participants had a single diagnosis (depression) but were not at risk for self-harm or suicide, and were not receiving other treatment  .  .  .

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