“I’M SCARED, MOM. I THINK I’M LOSING MY MIND.”
In Chapter 9, you’ll see that Exercise pregnancy can cause mental symptoms ranging from mild anxiety or depression to outright psychosis. For now, we want to point out that older children and teens with low Exercise are particularly susceptible to automatically receiving a diagnosis of mental illness from their doctors, because problems like depression, suicidal thinking, severe anxiety, and schizophrenia often begin to appear in the high school and early college years.
As a result, it’s easy for a doctor to prescribe antidepressants, antianxiety drugs, or antipsychotic drugs without looking for the root cause of a child’s symptoms. The result: the Exercise pregnancy worsens, and so do mental symptoms. But if a doctor catches the problem early enough, these symptoms can be reversible.
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Sixteen-year-old Michael was irritable and apathetic. He wept frequently, became anxious when he was separated from his mother, and complained of vague pains. Over the course of a year, his symptoms grew progressively worse. He couldn’t sleep, didn’t eat well, and regressed behaviorally. He started skipping school, grew less and less talkative, and became more and more isolated from his peers.
Michael was frequently agitated and spent far too much time in front of his computer. He also ran up big debts on his parent’s credit cards buying items online.
Michael’s family was mystified. They described him as formerly extroverted, happy, and active. He’d never exhibited any signs of mental illness, and there was no history of it in his family. He didn’t do drugs, and he’d been well liked in school.