Behavioral Health

The health effects of too much gaming

While playing video games can be a fun pastime, and there are some potential benefits, there are health risks associated with too much gaming. They include repetitive stress injuries, vision problems, sleep deprivation, depression, and possibly addiction to playing.

Choosing joy during difficult times

As this year’s challenges and stressors have piled up, many people have found it increasingly difficult to find any joy in their lives. A good portion of our happiness is related to our own attitudes and actions, and the actions of others can show us how to find contentment, happiness — even joy— in the most difficult of times.

Holiday jangle: Tricky conversations around COVID safety with family and friends

Justin Neiman

Contributor

Many of us are facing new and challenging conversations with family and friends about travel, gatherings, and COVID safety precautions over the holidays and beyond. Here’s how to successfully communicate your own needs while still showing loved ones that you care about them.

Masks save lives: Here’s what you need to know

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Early in the pandemic, there was confusion and skepticism about whether wearing masks would be helpful for the general public, but a rapidly expanding body of evidence shows that mask-wearing leads to lower rates of infection with the virus that causes COVID-19.

Defusing the “Benadryl challenge”: Discussing danger with teens

Claire McCarthy, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Viral challenges encourage risky behavior in teens with potentially serious consequences. The reasons teens do things like this are rooted in the development process of the adolescent brain, and adults need to understand why such challenges appeal to teens in order to talk to them about why they aren’t safe.

As family well-being declines, so does children’s behavior

Claire McCarthy, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the mental health of people who have not been sick, and parents are being hit particularly hard. A survey of US parents found that these worsening circumstances also affect children’s behavior.

Staying positive during difficult times

The trials and challenges of this year are weighing heavily on many people, but attempting to employ positive psychology to put personal struggles in context, and accepting the ups and downs life brings, can ultimately increase positive feelings and provide perspective.

Managing the new normal: Actively help your family weather the pandemic

Claire McCarthy, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

More than six months into the pandemic, it’s clear that we are going to be living with it for some time, and that expectations of life soon returning to normal are not realistic. This is a good time to assess the adjustments we’ve made and see how we can make different choices to get ourselves and our families through the challenge.

How can you help a loved one suffering from loneliness?

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, more people are dealing with extended periods of isolation from family and friends. Increasing feelings of loneliness are a serious health issue that can increase the risk of death. If you or someone you know is in this situation, there are things you can do to mitigate the circumstances.

Children, teens, and the safety of psychotropic medicines

While many children and teens are prescribed psychotropic medicines to treat conditions like depression or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a comprehensive look at safety data has been lacking. A recent review of multiple studies synthesizes evidence on the side effect profiles of many widely used medicines.