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Monthly Archives: March 2013

Depression and Anxiety Can Be Childhood Companions

16733828_mWhen most of us think about our childhood memories, we recall digging in sandboxes and playing on swings – not worrying about issues of money, crime, or self-achievement. However, that is not the reality for all children. In fact, according to Rinad Beidas, a professional clinician at Temple University’s Child And Adolescent Anxiety Disorders Clinic, anxiety disorders can affect as many as 12 percent of kids aged 7 to 17.

The Child And Adolescent Anxiety Disorders Clinic at Temple University consists of a team of eight experts who specialize specifically in the treatment of anxiety disorders among children. They focus not on the general issues of self-esteem and emotional transition that many youngsters go through, but rather crippling anxiety and fear that impairs normal, everyday functioning. Common to the clinic are children with persistent separation anxiety that is not age-appropriate and debilitating social anxiety which prevents children from basic interaction.

Beidas says the children they see process things like adults. Third-grade patients, for instance, may already be consumed with whether or not they will be accepted into college. According to a report from the Armenian Medical Network, it’s not uncommon for children to reflect the anxiety of their parents, so if mom or dad is constantly nervous or uneasy, children may feel that way too.

Many children also experience depression. The National Institutes of Mental Health reports that up to 8.3 percent of teens and 2.5 percent of younger children will become familiar with clinical depression of some type. NIMH also reveals that childhood depression can continue into adulthood if it doesn’t receive attention.

Dr. Kendall, Temple Clinic’s Director, says the reality is that these issues exist and will persist if left untreated. But childhood anxiety and depression are highly treatable. Through cognitive-behavioral treatment (CBT), anxiety patients at the Temple Clinic have seen a 72 percent success rate.

Learn the facts about childhood anxiety and depression. Through support from mental health professionals at the Family Guidance Center, children can learn life skills and proper coping mechanisms to aid in handling stressful, real-life situations. A professional assessment of symptoms and an accurate diagnosis is the first step toward a treatment plan that can help a child return to well-being.

Study Reveals Mental Health Problems Also Compromise Physical Health

Mental Health 4It’s common knowledge that chronic health problems take a toll not only on the body but also on the mind. What may be less known, however, is the fact that long term mental illness can also lead to the development of serious physical ailments.

According to research conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), adults 18 years old or older living with any type of mental disorder in the 12 months preceding the study had a higher likelihood of experiencing health complications such diabetes, hypertension, heart problems, asthma, and stroke than individuals without mental illness.

A Medical News Today article highlights the connection between overall wellbeing and behavioral health. Mental health experts have long advocated for psychiatric disorders to be regarded with the same seriousness as physical illnesses, and now evidence shows that to ignore behavioral health is to put one’s physical health at risk.

Researchers uncovered that 21.9 percent of individuals with mental illness also had high blood pressure as opposed to only 18.3 percent of the control group. Similarly, asthma was diagnosed in 15.7 percent of those experiencing mental health issues, while only 10.6 percent of adults without mental illness had the inflammatory disease.

Additionally, researchers uncovered that the presence of depressive episodes persisting beyond two weeks over the course of the past year was associated with an elevated risk of hypertension, cardiovascular disease, asthma, and stroke.

According to SAMHSA Administrator, Pamela S. Hyde, study participants living with mental health issues during the 12 months prior to the study were also admitted to the hospital and emergency room more frequently than their peers who were free of mental illness. The underlying message is that physical health cannot be observed in isolation from behavioral health. Family Guidance Center offers mental health screenings regardless of income, and walk-ins are welcome. Issues of mental health don’t have to compromise one’s quality of life. Contact the Family Guidance Center for more information about the connection between physical and mental health.

 

Depression and Anxiety Can Be Childhood Companions

Children Mental Illness 3When most of us think about our childhood memories, we recall digging in sandboxes and playing on swings – not worrying about issues of money, crime, or self-achievement. However, that is not the reality for all children. In fact, according to Rinad Beidas, a professional clinician at Temple University’s Child And Adolescent Anxiety Disorders Clinic, anxiety disorders can affect as many as 12 percent of kids aged 7 to 17.

The Child And Adolescent Anxiety Disorders Clinic at Temple University consists of a team of eight experts who specialize specifically in the treatment of anxiety disorders among children. They focus not on the general issues of self-esteem and emotional transition that many youngsters go through, but rather crippling anxiety and fear that impairs normal, everyday functioning. Common to the clinic are children with persistent separation anxiety that is not age-appropriate and debilitating social anxiety which prevents children from basic interaction.

Beidas says the children they see process things like adults. Third-grade patients, for instance, may already be consumed with whether or not they will be accepted into college. According to a report from the Armenian Medical Network, it’s not uncommon for children to reflect the anxiety of their parents, so if mom or dad is constantly nervous or uneasy, children may feel that way too.

Many children also experience depression. The National Institutes of Mental Health reports that up to 8.3 percent of teens and 2.5 percent of younger children will become familiar with clinical depression of some type. NIMH also reveals that childhood depression can continue into adulthood if it doesn’t receive attention.

Dr. Kendall, Temple Clinic’s Director, says the reality is that these issues exist and will persist if left untreated. But childhood anxiety and depression are highly treatable. Through cognitive-behavioral treatment (CBT), anxiety patients at the Temple Clinic have seen a 72 percent success rate.

Learn the facts about childhood anxiety and depression. Through support from mental health professionals at the Family Guidance Center, children can learn life skills and proper coping mechanisms to aid in handling stressful, real-life situations. A professional assessment of symptoms and an accurate diagnosis is the first step toward a treatment plan that can help a child return to well-being.

Signs of Mental Illness in Children – When to Get Help

Children Mental Illness 2Because of stigma and lack of knowledge, many children with mental health disorders go undiagnosed. If your child had a mental illness, would you know the signs? Would you know what to do to get them the help they need?

Health experts from the Mayo Clinic say there are signs of which every parent should be aware. For instance, abrupt mood swings interfering with home or school life may be indicative of something needing attention. Despondent behavior persisting for more than two weeks could also be problematic. Professionals advise to watch for lack of focus and behavior that is uncharacteristic for your child. Any verbal threats toward others should always be taken seriously. Additional red flags for mental disorders include a sudden drop in weight, signs of self-harm and substance abuse.

Sometimes it’s difficult for parents to differentiate issues of mental health from typical childhood behavior. It’s easy for any parent to dismiss worrisome behavior as just a “phase.” Other barriers to seeking help include a fear of high costs that might be involved with treatment.

Some of the more common psychiatric disorders experienced by children include anxiety, depression and other mood disorders, ADHD, autism, eating disorders, and schizophrenia. Parents who suspect their children might be affected should consult their family pediatrician. It can also be helpful to discuss any concerns with others who have regular contact with your child such as teachers or caretakers to see if they have noted any abnormal behavior.

Diagnosing a child with a mental disorder can be challenging because it can take some children longer to develop than others. Doctors will use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) as a guide as well as family history, input from those who regularly interact with the child, and any information about trauma or physical ailments that may contribute to such conditions.

Family Guidance Center can help parents by offering mental health screenings, referrals, and other informational resources. They also offer treatment options through the Children/Youth Services program. Issues of mental health are nothing to be ashamed of, and children have the best prognosis for treatment when issues are spotted early. If you’re unsure where to turn, the Family Guidance Center can provide support.

 

Many Children Don’t Grow Out of ADHD

ADHD 3Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is said to be the most commonly diagnosed mental disorder in children. But what happens to these children as they get older? Researchers at the Boston Children’s Hospital studied a large group of children with the disorder as they transitioned into adulthood to find out the answer. According to a PsychCentral report, investigators evaluated the medical records of more than 5,700 children from Rochester, Minnesota who were born between the years of 1976 and 1982. Of this group, 367 had ADHD, and 232 agreed to take part in the follow-up research. Approximately 75 percent of the group had been administered treatment during childhood.

The follow up study revealed some sobering statistics. Just under a third still had persistent symptoms of ADHD. As adults, a majority of the children (57 percent) were shown to be diagnosed with an additional mental disorder such as dependency, antisocial personality disorder, anxiety, or depression along with their ADHD. For those who carried their ADHD into adulthood, that figure jumped to 81 percent.

Additionally, the rate of suicide was higher for the ADHD group than the non-ADHD group, and 2.7 percent of the ADHD children were found to be incarcerated during the time the follow up study was conducted. According to lead study author, William Barbaresi, M.D., only 37.5 percent of children in the follow up study were completely free of problematic outcomes.

The study points to the fact that more needs to be done to advance ongoing treatment options for children with ADHD as they become adults. ADHD currently impacts nearly 7 percent of children with boys at three times the risk as girls.

Unhealthy coping mechanisms developed in childhood are carried on into the later years, and ADHD is often not something that kids “outgrow.” To minimize negative outcomes, the researchers recommend that parents of ADHD children seek high-quality treatment and advise that children continue to receive treatment throughout adolescence.

Professionals at the Family Guidance Center can help diagnose and treat childhood ADHD. Medications and other forms of treatment have been shown to be highly effective at minimizing symptoms of the disorder, and for many, ADHD can be managed successfully for a high quality of life. To learn more about childhood and adolescent ADHD, visit the Family Guidance Center.