What Your Patients are Hearing

Liquid nicotine in e-cigarettes could prove more addictive; gratitude tied to less anxiety, depression


The explosion in smartphone use since 2012 has coincided with increased rates of depression in adolescents. Reduced sleep might be one reason. Teenagers in the United States routinely rack up 6 hours a day on social media, which includes texting and other online activities. “For teens in particular, it’s catnip,” said Jean M. Twenge, PhD, professor of psychology at San Diego State University and author of “I-Gen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy – and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood” (Atria Books, 2017).

A smartphone is no substitute for face-to-face interactions, and offers little training in verbal communication and problem solving. A consequence of a smartphone-connected youth, according to Dr. Twenge, could be worsened mental health.

But there is some good news. Some teens are working to curb their smartphone use. Stopping the use of a smartphone as a relief for boredom, setting self-imposed time limits of phone use, and not succumbing to the wired world’s tendency to ratchet up anxiety are helpful strategies that can make smartphone use more productive.

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