October 6, 2023

Structured Physical Activity icon Structured Physical Activity

Anthony is a 17-year-old young man who was brought to my clinic by his mother for behavioral concerns.

“He’s spending more and more time alone in his room”.

Anthony sits on the exam table with his shoulders slumped, eyes down, fidgeting with his hands.

“I don’t know why she brought me here. I’m fine.” he says.

He looks tired, so I ask about how he’s been sleeping. Before he can answer, his mother chimes in, “He stays up all night on his iPhone.” She shares that when she has tried to restrict his phone use, she later awakens to find him hiding in his bed under the sheets staring at the screen.

“It’s not that bad, some of my friends don’t go to bed until 2:00 in the morning!” he argues.

“Are you tired?” I ask him.

“Nah, I just drink a Red Bull and I’m fine.” he replies. His mom contends that he often sleeps in, is late for school, and he has also been falling asleep after school.

As his mom starts to tear up, he admits “I do feel bad because my mom keeps getting letters from school when I’m late and it’s stressing her out. I tried to cut back on using my phone at night, but I just can’t seem to stop. All my friends are texting and posting. I don’t want to be left out. I want to know what’s going on and that keeps me up.”

His mother shares that his teacher is concerned about his failing grades, poor concentration and how he constantly has his phone out during class. “What?” he interjects. “Everyone else is on their phones too! It’s not my fault that TikTok memes are more interesting than math!”

I notice that he has gained a lot of weight since our last appointment. He discloses that sometimes he just doesn’t have an appetite...

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