Anxiety Disorders Are the Shared Cultural Experience of the Moment

anxiety disorder

A look at why more people are diagnosed with anxiety disorders now than ever before. The ’90s were totally depressing. Prozac was the word du jour, and Prozac Nation was the book on everyone’s nightstand. Today we’re anxious, and anxiety disorders appear to be a cultural phenomenon. Recently a slew of books on the topic of anxiety disorders have been published, including On Edge and Hi, Anxiety. Anxiety beat depression as the most common mental health issue people face today, according to a 2016 national study of more than 150,000 at the Center for Collegiate Mental Health at Pennsylvania State University. And 38% of 13-to-17-year-old girls and 26% of boys have an anxiety disorder, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. In the past five years, online searches for the word “anxiety” have doubled, according to Google Trends, while the search for “depression” has remained steady. “Anxiety can be        …read more

How Those Period Panties Could Save the World

period panties

What if girls and women all over the world had access to safe feminine hygiene? Picture yourself as an 11-year-old girl. You’re going about your day, waiting for the bus or walking yourself to school, marching to class, talking to your friends, maybe studying for a quiz — everything is going according to plan. You even remembered your lunch money and a fresh set of gym clothes today. You’re ready for anything. Then you go to the bathroom. Someone probably prepared you for this, whether that someone was the female teacher who found herself tasked with explaining the ins and outs of puberty to a class of giggling schoolchildren, or your mother, or your know-it-all sister who just wanted to remind you how wise she was. Whoever your teacher was, chances are she bestowed enough knowledge on you that you now refrain from running from the bathroom yelling, “I’m hemorrhaging,”        …read more

Super or Shady: A Closer Look at 6 So-Called Superfoods

superfoods, healthy eating

While healthy eating is key, what’s the cost? We looked at 6 popular superfoods and their impact on health and the environment. Someday in the future, instead of the 99th Marvel remake of Spider-Man, Quinoa Kid will have swept the nation, wowing critics and inspiring a generation of kids and superfood comic book fanatics alike. Its message will be clear: think outside the bubble of our everyday drudgery, imagine different possible diets, throw out fast food and defend their communities against threats to healthy eating, mindfulness and exercise. The Awesome Avocado Woman will follow in its footsteps, paving the way for a host of superfood franchises, complete with LEGO sets, lunch boxes and Lululemon collaborative prints. It will be glorious. Gone will be the days of patriarchal, jingoistic, external-underwear-wearing vigilantes. In will roll an era of winged wheatgrass heroes and kale-caped creatures, the evil clowns and corrupt colonels banished to        …read more

Sensory Processing Disorder and Autism: What Are Meltdowns?

October is Sensory Processing Disorder Awareness Month. Is understanding SPD the key to helping someone experiencing a meltdown or shutdown? Whether it’s due to increased awareness of sensory processing disorder and autism spectrum disorders, I can’t say, but there’s no denying that the words “meltdown” and “shutdown” have been absorbed into our modern vernacular. But what do they really mean? We use “meltdown” colloquially to describe someone in a bit of a bad mood, but this belies the true meaning and experience of a meltdown. “Shutdown” is often used when we feel ignored or if someone hasn’t responded to us, but it, too, belies the actuality of the experience. So what are meltdowns and shutdowns? In simple terms, they are two sides of the same coin. According to Alis Rowe, author of Asperger’s Syndrome: Meltdowns and Shutdowns, they are an involuntary physiological reaction to “overload.” This can be from too        …read more

7 Little-Known Mental Disorders

mental disorders

These 7 lesser-known mental disorders affect more people than you may realize. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), approximately one in five adults in the United States experiences a mental disorder each year. While the most common mental disorders include anxiety and occasional bouts of depression, many individuals face lesser-known challenges, including the following seven conditions. 1. Trichotillomania Trichotillomania is a disorder that causes an irresistible urge to pull out one’s hair, eyelashes and eyebrows. There is some evidence that the disorder may be genetic, that hair-pulling episodes may be triggered by anxiety, and that it often occurs more frequently in people diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder. In rare cases, people with trichotillomania eat the hair, which often results in the development of hairballs in the intestinal tract. One such hairball is on display at the National Museum of Health and Medicine in Washington, DC. The hairball, removed        …read more

Opioid Addiction: Humanizing a Crisis

opioid addiction

At the center of the opioid addiction epidemic are real people facing real challenges. And we’re looking for solutions. Serious, chronic health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer, represent just a few of the staple diagnoses in developed countries, but few are as stigmatized as addiction. The opioid epidemic is at the forefront of public health issues capturing national attention in the United States, affecting communities from Hollywood to small town USA. Former U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy wrote, “Above all, we can never forget that the faces of substance use disorders are real people. They are a beloved family member, a friend, a colleague, and ourselves.” With nearly 100 people dying every day from an opioid overdose, broken families, medical professionals, law enforcement and politicians have rallied together to make public calls to action. Understanding the Appeal of Opioids The term opiate is a classification for a drug        …read more

From Princesses to Warriors: Women Making Aging Fierce

aging

Getting older used to seem like a faux pas for women in the spotlight. But these are some of the women using their platform to make aging aspirational. If there’s one word that can be used to describe the way women are portrayed in the media, whether it’s on magazine covers, ad campaigns, movies or TV, that word would probably be “aspirational.” This aspirational image is usually that of a young woman with smooth skin, shiny hair and something really going for her, whether that’s an active dating life or a burgeoning career. Only in recent years are women over the age of 50 or even 40 being shown as aspirational. It hasn’t always been this way. When asked why even after winning two Oscars, she never considered moving to Hollywood, Emma Thompson told the popular Swedish show Skavlan, “I couldn’t… Every time I go to Los Angeles, I’m too fat        …read more

15 Secrets of a Body Hair Positive Activist

body hair

15 body hair questions you’ve always wanted to ask. Almost four years ago I stopped removing my body hair. At the time it didn’t feel like a revolutionary act. I wasn’t doing anything. I was choosing not to do something I no longer wanted to do. It never felt brave. It felt natural. As I’ve embraced and shared images of my body hair online over the last few years, I’ve received many questions that have made me realize my simple mind-set change is still a foreign concept to many. I’d like to shed some light on these sweet strands we’ve slashed away for so many years. When I do, you might see that they sparkle. Why did you stop shaving? Are you anti-shaving? I didn’t purposely stop shaving…at first. It started in 2012. I was sick for months and physically exhausted. Shaving was nonessential, so it went out the window        …read more

The History of the Myers-Briggs Test (and Which Celebs Got What)

Myers-Briggs test

Find out how the Myers-Briggs test originated and see 8 famous people’s results. For some of us, it was for a job interview. For others, it was at the request of a curious date-candidate trying to haze us. The odds are, we’ve all had to take the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®) at some point or another. If you’re like me, you find yourself retaking the assessment at regular intervals, double-checking you’ve not suddenly swapped an E for an I, or a T for an F. Or maybe you have no idea what I’m talking about. Well, if you’ve ever wondered what the Myers-Briggs test is, or where this whole thing came from, read on to find out… The MBTI questionnaire, otherwise known as the Myers-Briggs test, was the brainchild of Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers. After witnessing the difference between her prospective son-in-law and the rest of        …read more

To Boost Your Mental Focus, Try Switching Off

Desperately seeking inspiration? Technology might be sapping your mental focus. You spend your days hooked to your computer, watching a screen as the hours tick by. When you get home, the weight of the workday might still be on your shoulders, but you take a deep breath and let all your worries go. The night is young. Now is your time, and for a moment you can do exactly what you want. Before you start that inspirational project or prepare to see your friends, though, you tell yourself you’ll take a brief look at your phone, just to catch up on the social news that passed you by during the day. You scroll and scroll, and before you realize it, the vibrant evening has aged into dark night. Now it’s too late to take the time you needed for yourself. Just one more scroll for good luck… We are connected.        …read more