Doc Wright, Australia's #1 Media Medic. Medical advice for all the family.

Hear Dr Wright daily on Sydney's No 1 Radio Station


Download a list of other radio stations around Australia here.

newer   older
  article topic 

Wed, 20th August 2014

Feeling shy and embarrassed when mixing with others is an eternal teenage challenge. "I feel awkward...can't think of anything to being constantly over-talked by another loud mouth that has no problem...I get stuck for words half way through specially if people start looking at me? These words echo around the social swirl of teenagers, male and female.


Is there a simple answer? Although it's now often called "teenage social phobia", medication is not needed for majority. During the teens, the hormonal system is undergoing enormous activity. Production waxes and wanes, and gets jumbled up with other nervous system issues. Often, fitting into the family circle with sibling rivalry is also present, but may be even worse is if there is only one child.


The challenge seems unending. Bright kids are often quiet kids that do not circulate too well, and often stick to themselves or feel disadvantaged when thrown amongst their peer group. There is always (it seems) some body who is quicker, brighter, more achieving, more outgoing. But basic interventions can often help. Keep telling yourself that you are as good as the other fellow, probably much better. Reinforce this idea onto your subconscious brain. Best time is at bedtime. Look onto the inner screen of your minds eye, as you doze off. See yourself succeeding, academically, in sports or any other achievement.

Inherit Skills

Most are born with some inbuilt skill, peculiar to an individual. Find this, encourage it, and work hard. It may be music, painting, singing, sports, learning, recalling, reciting, IT skills, acting, writing. There is always room. Move over the other guy, move in "you". Also, hone your skills in communication. Try and keep abreast of current events. Sports is always big with teenagers, whatever kind, whatever the age. Try and become skilled in at least one.


Listen to current talk so you can move in on conversations. This is often a great boy-girl relationship maker, an ice breaker, and will propel you into centre stage when you may suddenly find you can cope, or even take over. Listen to your peers, discuss, argue. Answer back. It all takes time to achieve, but the more you try, the greater the focus on your specific skills. Some adolescents may benefit from counseling, usually unnecessary and most do well, specially with the passing of time and the inbuilt chemical factory settles down. You will succeed.



How reliable is the internet for medical advice?


If you get sick, please see your own doctor. Net advice varies enormously. As it is not policed, available to anyone anywhere in the world, it is open to abuse, misinformation, good and bad advice, and who is to know? Of course, there are many sites from reputable sources with sensible reliable information. But just see the mass of uninvited "stuff" that arrives on your e-mail each day. Much concerns "making money" and enhancing sex, the two events that trigger the world! Your own body is important to you. Accept only the best advice specifically for you and your symptoms. Do not trust to luck, or put yourself into the hands of others many of whom have their own agendas.

^back to top


In reading older books, one often hears about scarlet fever, and deaths in children. But this is seldom reported today.


For reasons unknown, the terrifying danger of scarlet fever has changed dramatically over the past decades, and deaths is now almost unknown. It was once an insidious and life threatening disease of infancy and childhood. Even though symptoms (reddening of the skin) were minimum, the toxin produced was potent and destructive. Many hope the HIV virus in time will similarly "mutate" (change) into a non serious infection. Who knows what the future holds in store.

^back to top


Is the mad desire to drink coffee just a habit or a true drug addiction?


Caffeine is the most widely used legal drug of addiction in the world. Yes, the body develops a true "need" for it, and once that need is supplied, its recurring nature continues. It acts on the central nervous system, gives it a kick start, increases mental acuity and euphoria, sleeplessness if used excessively, along with the shakes and trembles. Also there is a let down after its effect has subsided. It stays in the system for up to 18 hours, so beware! Fortunately, it does not seem to lead to any serious consequences as do other drugs of addiction. It is claimed to be beneficial in diabetics and may lower cholesterol, but others say it increases readings.

^back to top


My mum had a strange turn and was diagnosed as having a TIA.


This means Transient Ischemic Attack (or Event) Blood supply to part of the brain is temporarily stopped, maybe for seconds only. Often called "mini stroke" chances of a recurrence or a large stroke are very high. Medical intervention is essential. A management plan will usually offer a good outcome, and delay the onset of a serious event. Inter-current disease will be treated, and often daily aspirin is prescribed. Any temporary weakness or numbness, difficulty in speech or understanding, dizziness or loss of vision, or headache may be symptoms.

^back to top


I feel more comfortable in old clothes, for they fit, there are no irritating rubbing surfaces and labels, but my partner says I look daggy. Who wins, modern gear or personal comfort?


The body will tell you which is preferable. "Listen to Your Body" I have been saying for years. If it hates skin irritation, or restrictions to the tummy, breathing and general comfort, why subject it to these. On the other hand, we live in a society which has certain standards and norms. This varies with occupation, surrounding company and the opinion of ones peers. There are positive and negative connotations and it is for you to decide. Fortunately most have options today. Also, most work for a living, but spend time at home, which increases personal choices.

^back to top

This health advice is general in nature. You are advised to seek medical attention from your doctor or health care provider for your own specific symptoms and circumstances.



Just Ask Dr James Wright.

Coughs, colds, aches and pains, feeling off colour, painful joints, sweaty and miserable? Whatever your symptom, or illness, Dr James Wright may help you, and answer your questions.

Simply log onto type in your symptom in the space on the left hand column, click topic and up it comes. Simple easy-to-follow information Dr Wright has written over the past several years. Then click contact us if you have a special message.


You can subscribe (no cost) to Dr James Wright's Monthly Health Bulletin by emailing your name and email address to The bulletin contains up-to-date health tips and news for wellbeing. A copy of the current Bulletin may be viewed online here.

Dr James Wright is associated with lovely Vimiera Retirement Village ( in the leafy Sydney (NSW) suburb of Eastwood. It is operated by Mediaid Centre Foundation (, a non-profit Public Benevolent Institution which provides housing for the elderly, as well as providing a large amount of health information.

Waiting to hear from you Dr James Wright.