Viewpoints: Mental Health Cost Of Estrangement; Kids Don’t Need Opioids After Dental Work
Editorial writers tackle these and other public health topics.
Los Angeles Times:
1 In 4 Adults Are Estranged From Family And Paying A Psychological Price
Search “toxic parents” on Instagram, and you’ll find more than 38,000 posts, largely urging young adults to cut ties with their families. The idea is to protect one’s mental health from abusive parents. However, as a psychoanalyst, I’ve seen that trend in recent years become a way to manage conflicts in the family, and I have seen the steep toll estrangement takes on both sides of the divide. This is a self-help trend that creates much harm. (Galit Atlas, 11/28)
The Baltimore Sun:
Are Dentists Introducing Teens To Opioids?
When parents warn their children about drug exposure, they tell them tales of the danger of peer pressure from teenagers in murky basements or from the dark corners of the bleachers during a high school football game. Coming-of-age movies portray swimming pools full of teens drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana while the protagonist dodges bad influences like a spy weaving through radioactive laser beams. The reality for many American teenagers, however, doesn’t align with popular narratives. First-time drug use often begins somewhere far more fluorescent: the dentist’s chair. (Cameron Bullet, 11/26)
Are We Condemned To Repeat History With The Build Back Better Act?
Like the Affordable Care Act and other landmark social spending measures before it, the human infrastructure bill now in Congress, the Build Back Better Act, would lower barriers to affordable healthcare for millions of Americans. That's a praiseworthy goal and one that safety-net hospitals welcome as they care for the nation's low-income and marginalized patients. (Dr. Bruce Siegel, 11/29)
The Star Tribune:
Build Back Better Has Help For Health Care
A grieving mother who became a political force made Minnesotans painfully aware of what can happen when prescription drugs are priced out of reach. Nicole Smith-Holt's 26-year-old son Alec, who had diabetes, died in 2017 after he aged off his mother's health plan and began rationing the medication that kept him alive: insulin. Its cost increases have easily eclipsed inflation over the past decade. Alec managed a restaurant but couldn't afford a $1,300 refill. (11/27)
The Boston Globe:
Budding Technology Should Be Adapted For Eldercare
Most older Americans would prefer to stay in their homes as long as possible. Unfortunately, biology sometimes gets in the way. More than 85 percent of older adults live with at least one chronic illness, and 10 percent live with Alzheimer’s disease or Alzheimer’s disease-related dementias (AD/ADRD). The development and progression of such illnesses creates significant barriers to successful aging at home. However, thanks to developments in multiple technical fields, including artificial intelligence and hardware design, it may be possible to equip tomorrow’s older adults to face this challenge more effectively. (Deepak Ganesan, Niteesh Choudhry and Benjamin Marlin, 11/29)
The New York Times:
The Women Who Died After Abortion Bans
In 2012, Savita Halappanavar, a 31-year-old married dentist, appeared at Ireland’s University Hospital Galway in pain. She was 17 weeks pregnant and miscarrying. According to Dr. Halappanavar’s husband, hospital staff said that there was no saving the pregnancy, but they refused to intercede because her fetus still had a heartbeat. She was told her only option was to wait. (Sarah Wildman, 11/29)
The Pandemic Is Deeply Affecting Many People With Eating Disorders
Many Americans are becoming accustomed to discussing how pandemic-related lockdowns and remote engagement have changed our lives. The conversations tend to be mechanical and superficial, like discussing the weather, and often include references to changes in eating or jokes about “the pandemic 15” to reflect weight gain from sitting too much or too close to the homemade bread. But for one segment of the population, pandemic-related changes in eating habits are no joke. As we and several colleagues reported in JAMA Network Open, data from a large national health insurer showed substantial increases in hospitalizations among people with anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and other eating disorders, such as binge-eating disorder, starting in the second half of 2020. (David A. Asch and Kelly C. Allison, 11/26)