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Mental illness among teens: what parents should know

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According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, between 20 and 30 percent of adolescents experience a major depressive episode before reaching adulthood. What’s more, suicide is the leading cause of death among American teens.

Potential causes
Pressure to perform in school, stigma about mental illness, unhealthy diets, lack of exercise and poor sleep hygiene can all contribute to mental health issues in teens.

Psychologists also suspect that heavy social network use may increase the incidence of clinical anxiety and depression.

Finally, it’s likely that lack of access to care plays a role in this state of affairs. Approximately 30 percent of teens affected by a mental health issue don’t get the help they need, either by choice or because they lack access to it.

What parents can do
Young people should be taught that asking for help isn’t an admission of failure or weakness. In addition, parents can do these simple things to help teens protect their mental health:

• Minimize the pressure placed on them to perform
• Spend time together as a family
• Provide a healthy diet
• Support a healthy sleep schedule
• Encourage them to get regular exercise
• Enroll them in activities that build confidence and self-esteem

Indicators of psychological distress include agitation, self-denigration, unusual moodiness, sadness and extreme fatigue. A moody teen doesn’t necessarily point to a crisis, but signs of mental illness should never be dismissed.

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Music: a hobby with many benefits

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Hundreds of studies support the idea that listening to music can help improve mood and reduce feelings of anxiety and depression. However, for older adults adjusting to retirement, music can provide many additional benefits. Here’s some ways you can make music a part of your life and the advantages of doing so.

Learn an instrument
Playing a musical instrument is a great way to incorporate music in your life. If you previously played one, consider picking it up again and if you didn’t, it’s never too late to learn. Playing music improves coordination, memory and cognition in addition to bolstering self-esteem and confidence.

Take dance classes
Staying active is a crucial part of aging well, so why not take a dance class and enjoy the benefits of music at the same time? Revisiting the popular dances from your youth with your spouse, friends or new acquaintances is the perfect way to stay in shape while enjoying timeless tunes.

Join a choir
You don’t need to learn an instrument to reap the physical and psychological benefits of music. Joining a choir is a great way to stimulate your memory while increasing your confidence. You’ll also get to meet new people and might even become friends with some of the other choir members.

Participate in activities
If you live in a retirement community or an assisted living facility, it’s likely that there are musical activities you can take part in. These events offer seniors the opportunity to listen to music together and participate in singalongs. They also foster social interactions and help new arrivals feel welcome.

Finally, live musical performances are presented throughout the year by the theaters and various other venues in your community. Some venues may even offer special rates for seniors. Whatever your situation, there’s a way to enrich your retirement years with music.

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11 questions to ask when starting a new medication

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Anytime you’re prescribed a new medication, it’s important that you understand its effects and how to use it. This makes it possible to avoid dangerous drug interactions and safely navigate side effects. You or your caregiver should ask your doctor the following questions when starting a new medication.

1. What’s the name of the medicine and why do I need to take it?

2. How often should it be taken, and when specifically should the doses be taken?

3. What’s the correct dosage?

4. Do I need to take it with food? Are there foods or beverages I should avoid when taking this medication?

5. If I need to take the medication “as needed,” what does that mean?

6. How long will the medication take to work?

7. Will the medication interact with other medications, supplements or vitamins I’m taking? Should any of these be discontinued or adjusted?

8. Can I drive when taking this medication?

9. If I miss a dose, what should I do?

10. What are the possible side effects? Should some of them prompt an appointment or an emergency room visit?

11. Will I need a refill? If so, do I need a new prescription each time (as is the case with some opioids)?

While it may seem excessive to ask so many questions, doing so will ensure your safety.

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Andropause: what is it?

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Testosterone levels in men gradually diminish as they age. As a result, many experience an array of changes as they get older. While there’s no such thing as a “male menopause,” some doctors refer to the collection of symptoms caused by shifting hormone levels in men as andropause.

Andropause symptoms
As testosterone levels decline, men may experience the following:

• Sexual changes. This can include reduced libido, erectile dysfunction and infertility. In addition, the testes may become smaller.

• Sleep changes. Insomnia, disrupted sleep patterns and increased sleepiness are common.

• Physical changes. Increased body fat, decreased bone density and loss of muscle mass may occur. There could also be a loss of body hair and the breasts may become tender and swollen. Though rare, hot flashes and a decrease in energy are also possible.

• Emotional changes. Loss of motivation, decreased confidence, heightened irritability and even depression can occur as a result of declining testosterone levels. Memory and concentration issues can also arise in some cases.

Since these symptoms can be caused by many conditions as well as by poor lifestyle choices, it’s important to visit a doctor if you notice them.

Self care as you age
In many cases, the symptoms of low testosterone levels can be mitigated by a healthy diet and staying mentally and physically active. In addition, eliminating unhealthy habits (like smoking and drinking) will help improve your overall well-being.

It’s also important to consult your doctor if you notice any worrisome symptoms and to follow their recommendations.

Testosterone supplements can be used to treat age-related low testosterone, but it’s a controversial solution. It can relieve symptoms in some men but has little effect for others and carries significant risks of cardiovascular problems and could increase the incidence of prostate cancer.

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The flu vaccine: a necessary precaution for seniors

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Contrary to popular belief, influenza infection, better known as the flu, isn’t always benign. Elderly people and those with a weakened immune system are at risk for experiencing potentially fatal complications. This is why the flu vaccine is so important.

While its efficacy isn’t guaranteed, the vaccine can prevent vulnerable people from contracting the flu. Even when infection does occur, being vaccinated can mitigate the symptoms and prevent complications from arising. Finally, the risk of hospitalization is much lower for someone who’s been vaccinated.

Remember that you need to receive the vaccine every year as the flu virus mutates constantly. Speak to your healthcare professional to find out where and when you can receive the vaccine.

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Always do this 1 thing before traveling abroad

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Are you planning to leave the country? If so, be sure to visit a doctor who can help you protect your health while you’re away.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that you see a healthcare provider or visit a travel clinic at least four weeks before your departure. Depending on your destination, you may need to take precautions.

The doctor you consult with will review your immunization history and give you any required vaccinations and preventive medications.

Taking this simple step will protect you from potentially severe diseases you can contract abroad.

For more information about travel immunization, consult cdc.gov/travel.

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11 essential questions to ask about your treatment

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Undergoing treatment for breast cancer can be worrisome. One of the best ways to prepare, however, is to get informed about what’s involved. Here are 11 essential questions to ask your doctor.

1. What are the different available treatments?

2. What are their risks and advantages?

3. Is there a treatment that’s more appropriate for my situation?

4. Will I need to be hospitalized?

5. How long will the treatment take?

6. How can we assess the treatment’s effectiveness?

7. What side effects should I expect? How long will they last?

8. If I need to have surgery, what are the different options? What’s the difference between them?

9. If I need to have a mastectomy, do I need to have both breasts removed? If I do, when should I have it done?

10. If I have breast reconstruction surgery, what will my breast look like? Will it look like my other breast?

11. When will I be able to wear a bra again?

In addition to these questions, write down a list of your own so that you don’t forget anything when meeting your treatment team. Feel free to ask a friend or family member to accompany you. They can write down the answers to your questions so you can refer to them when you need to.

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‘Tis the Season

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Front Royal
51°
Sunny
07:0216:55 EST
Feels like: 50°F
Wind: 4mph S
Humidity: 51%
Pressure: 30.22"Hg
UV index: 2
ThuFriSat
56/45°F
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Upcoming Events

Nov
21
Thu
7:00 pm Drama Performance: “Loserville” @ Melton Memorial Gymnasium | R-MA
Drama Performance: “Loserville” @ Melton Memorial Gymnasium | R-MA
Nov 21 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Drama Performance: "Loserville" @ Melton Memorial Gymnasium | R-MA
On Wednesday, November 20th, and Thursday, November 21st, Randolph-Macon Academy’s Performing Arts Department will present its 2019 fall production of Elliot Davis’ and James Bourne’s musical, Loserville. The musical, which will take place in Melton[...]
Nov
22
Fri
9:00 am Veteran Services Visit @ Able Forces Professional Services
Veteran Services Visit @ Able Forces Professional Services
Nov 22 @ 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Veteran Services Visit @ Able Forces Professional Services
Able Forces will once again be hosting a visit by Andre Miller, Resource Specialist, Virginia Veteran and Family Support, Department of Veteran Services, Commonwealth of Virginia this Friday 22 November from 9AM to Noon. As[...]
Nov
23
Sat
10:30 am Children’s Class: Drawing A Self... @ Art in the Valley
Children’s Class: Drawing A Self... @ Art in the Valley
Nov 23 @ 10:30 am – 12:30 pm
Children's Class: Drawing A Self Portrait @ Art in the Valley
In this class students will learn how to draw facial features and the proportions used for placement of features on a face.  They will complete a self portrait using graphite. Classes are designed for the[...]
2:30 pm The Princess & the “P___” @ Samuels Public Library
The Princess & the “P___” @ Samuels Public Library
Nov 23 @ 2:30 pm – 4:00 pm
The Princess & the “P___” @ Samuels Public Library
Lyla sees no purpose to princes. They’re ugly, stupid—and obnoxious! Why can’t Hagabah see that, and why must the master insist that she keep the prince around three more days? The world would be a[...]
4:00 pm Grounding & Gratitude: A restora... @ Strokes of Creativity
Grounding & Gratitude: A restora... @ Strokes of Creativity
Nov 23 @ 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm
Grounding & Gratitude: A restorative yoga workshop @ Strokes of Creativity
Whether you have family visiting or the stress of a shortened work week, the week of Thanksgiving can be overwhelming. This gentle, all-levels, restorative yoga class is designed to help you calm anxiety and restore[...]
Nov
26
Tue
1:30 pm Botanical Drawing II: Drawing in... @ Art in the Valley
Botanical Drawing II: Drawing in... @ Art in the Valley
Nov 26 @ 1:30 pm – 4:00 pm
Botanical Drawing II: Drawing in Color @ Art in the Valley
Learn and practice the art of botanical drawing in colored pencil with local artist and instructor Elena Maza. This four week course will focus on continuing to build drawing skills as applied to botanicals: students[...]
Nov
27
Wed
1:30 pm Botanicals in Watercolor I @ Art in the Valley
Botanicals in Watercolor I @ Art in the Valley
Nov 27 @ 1:30 pm – 4:00 pm
Botanicals in Watercolor I @ Art in the Valley
This four week course with instructor, Elena Maza, will deal with the basic three-primary color palette, different pigments and how they interact, how to mix all colors from three primary colors, how to apply washes,[...]
Nov
29
Fri
10:00 am Studio Sale & Community Art Walk @ Art in the Valley
Studio Sale & Community Art Walk @ Art in the Valley
Nov 29 @ 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Studio Sale & Community Art Walk @ Art in the Valley
Join us for our Holiday Studio Sale and Community Art Walk on Friday, Nov. 29, and Saturday, Nov. 30, from 10am to 6pm. Enjoy a free hot chocolate or a glass of wine (while supplies[...]
Nov
30
Sat
10:00 am Studio Sale & Community Art Walk @ Art in the Valley
Studio Sale & Community Art Walk @ Art in the Valley
Nov 30 @ 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Studio Sale & Community Art Walk @ Art in the Valley
Join us for our Holiday Studio Sale and Community Art Walk on Friday, Nov. 29, and Saturday, Nov. 30, from 10am to 6pm. Enjoy a free hot chocolate or a glass of wine (while supplies[...]
2:00 pm Chess and More @ Samuels Public Library
Chess and More @ Samuels Public Library
Nov 30 @ 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm
Chess and More @ Samuels Public Library
Meet other kids and teens who enjoy the challenge of a good chess or other board game. For ages 6 and up. Registration begins October 30.