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Monthly Archives: July 2013

Teen Health Affected by Economic Downturn

14203982_sThe teen years can be a tough time of transition. And while it’s common knowledge that adolescents are one of the age groups at highest risk of suicide, less discussed is that ten percent are also affected by an anxiety disorder (National Institute of Mental Health). A new study shows that the state of the economy could have a bearing on the development of teen anxiety and depression.

In 2011, as part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, researchers investigated the responses of over 7000 teens gathered between 2001 and 2010. The survey was taken in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and encompassed both physical and mental health information as well as levels of physical activity.

After the year 2007, the mental health of teens from low and middle class upbringings began to deteriorate, coinciding with the economic downturn. After adjusting for several factors, researchers came to the conclusion that this decline was indeed related to the weakening economy.

Investigators notated that between the three years spanning from 2001 and 2004, 64 percent of survey respondents said they had very good or excellent health. However, in 2010, only 52 percent of adolescents could say the same. The number of days reported with no significant mental health issues also dropped considerably from 2006 to 2010, and lower income families displayed the steepest declines.

Investigators believe that adolescent anxiety was a factor of the poor job market and lack of teen employment opportunities. Study author, Dr. Matthew Zack advises that teens also were likely reacting to their own home situations. Zack and his team were surprised to find out that teens were affected by what was going on in the economy.

Family Guidance Center offers mental health screenings on a walk-in basis. If you have a teen that has struggled with behavioral issues or suspect that something may be out of the ordinary, visit Family Guidance Center. Mental health plays an integral role in overall health and wellness at all ages.

 

Research Shows More Middle-aged Women Dying of Overdose

5041243_sThe prescription drug epidemic has impacted the lives of thousands of men and women in America. Over the last several decades, the term overdose has been highly associated with cocaine and heroin. This is because most of cases of overdose deaths during that period were a result of the two drugs, particularly for males. However, ever since the explosion of prescription drugs on the market, that statistic is changing. Experts advise that women, and especially middle-aged women, are increasingly becoming the victims of overdose.

In fact, in 2010, two of every five overdose deaths occurring in America involved women. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), middle aged women are particularly at risk. While there are still more men who die as a result of overdose from both prescription and street drugs, the gap has significantly narrowed. CDC figures for 2010 show that 15,300 women and 23,000 men overdosed on prescription painkillers.

CDC director Dr. Thomas Frieden says that we are seeing the female population die at unprecedented rates and the problem is only becoming worse. During the period from 1999 to 2010 the number of men who died from painkiller overdose increased three-and-a-half times as compared to a fivefold increase for women. Surprisingly, data shows that women aged 45 to 54 and those between the ages of 55 to 64 are at greatest risk, with overdose deaths in these two age brackets having tripled from 1999 to 2010.

Experts say that women’s higher tendency to become dependent and potentially overdose is a result of increased rates of chronic pain, higher prescribed dosages, and longer duration of use. Another contributing factor is that doctors may be too quick to prescribe painkillers for women, underestimating the risk of misuse by this population. Some studies also indicate that women may tend to hop from physician to physician more than men in an effort to get additional painkillers.

If you or someone you know is living with dependency or substance addiction, help them get the care they need by contacting Family Guidance Center. Family Guidance Center can work with individuals to identify triggers and a long-term strategy for recovery.

Physical Ailments Contribute to Early Death for Those with Mental Illness

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Mental illness has long been associated with a shorter life expectancy than the general population, but in the past, this might have been attributed to higher rates of suicide. Interestingly enough, it is actually physical illness that is responsible for the overwhelming majority of this occurrence. Evidence shows that heart and lung disease as well as cancer explain up to 80 percent of early deaths that occur among those living with mental health conditions.

In the past, it has not been known whether advancements in medicine and healthcare have helped close the gap between the higher mortality rates experienced by those with mental illness as compared to those who do not have a mental health condition. This is because research has been divided – some studies have shown a narrowing of the gap, while others have actually reported the opposite. A new Australian study examined the mortality gap more closely to provide some clarity on the issue.

Researchers analyzed records of Western Australia residents taken from area databases as well as information reported through Death Registrations and Mental Health Information Systems from 1985 to 2005. During 1983 to 2007, there were 292,585 individuals who sought local mental health services. Sixteen percent or 47,669 people from this group died over the course of the 24 year period. These figures were then compared to the life expectancy reports for the general population of Western Australia found in the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

According to a recent report from Science Daily, investigators uncovered that between 1985 and 2005, the overall gap in life expectancy widened by an average of 2.4 years for men and 1.6 years for women. The life expectancy difference increased for males from 13 to 15 years and 10 to 12 years for females. While suicide remains a sizeable portion of the extra deaths, the bulk majority were caused by physical ailments.

Study authors emphasize the importance of examining both mental and physical health components to promote overall health and wellness. The Family Guidance Center takes a multi-dimensional approach when treating issues of mental health. How might someone you know benefit from a comprehensive mental health screening offered by Family Guidance?

How to Help Your Child Enjoy Long Summer Days When They Struggle With ADHD

16763938_sSummer is a time that most every kid looks forward to at the end of the school year. But the lack of structure and routine can actually leave children with a case of the doldrums. For kids with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), this boredom can be extremely frustrating. As a parent there are ways to build a balance between leisure and scheduled events, but it requires a little pre-planning and preparation.

A recent article from ADDitude online offers some tips for parents and children to have memorable and enjoyable summer vacation:

Relax the rules but don’t throw them out the door. Even though the summer months are undeniably more laid back, it’s still possible to stick to a family routine. Getting to bed a little later than normal is okay on occasion, but making a habit of late bedtimes can lead to irritability and tantrums.

Maintain a flexible calendar. Kids like to know what to expect, even during the summer months. Having activities scheduled while leaving free time for ad hoc events gives the best of both worlds, providing some structure without the rigidity of the school year. Things to include in the calendar might be family vacations, outings, and play dates – just be sure to allow for down time and family communication.

Allow kids to be themselves. Kids are naturally full of energy, and those with ADHD may experience even more struggles with managing and releasing this energy. It’s important to provide an outlet for children to regularly burn off steam. Whether it’s going to the park or playing in the backyard, just letting kids run free and use their imagination is an important part of play and development. This doesn’t mean that parents have to constantly be entertainers, but they can encourage children to be creative and pursue natural areas of interest.

Take advantage of community resources. A lot of communities offer programs – some free – for kids to participate in during the summer. Whether it’s signing up for a theater class, going swimming at the area rec center, or attending a town festival, there are a plethora of fun things to do if one is willing to dig. And don’t forget about quintessential trips to the zoo or local museums.

Family Guidance Center is a wonderful community resource for families of children living with ADHD. There are many things parents can do to ensure kids have a fun and productive time away from school, regardless of issues with mental health. How could contacting Family Guidance Center benefit you and your family this summer?

Bipolar Diagnosis in Affected Individuals May Help Speed Recovery

13583067_sWhen a person initially finds out that he or she has bipolar disorder, it can be an overwhelming and unsettling experience. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), there are 5.7 million American adults affected by the disease. Bipolar disorder can take as long as a decade to diagnose and this is because its symptoms of mania or hyperactivity, depression, and risky decision making are often easily confused for something else.

In fact, many individuals diagnosed with depression are later found to have bipolar disorder. Symptoms may gradually worsen over time till the affected individual no longer feels comfortable in his or her own skin. Bipolar disorder is a serious mental health condition that when left undiagnosed, can cause significant disruptions to a person’s life. Researchers from Norway’s University of Bergen examined 13 adults with bipolar disorder to determine how finally receiving a diagnosis affected the group – particularly how such knowledge impacted recovery.

According to a recent article on GoodTherapy.org, the acceptance of being bipolar occurs in three phases as adults move toward recovery: 1) doubt and confusion, 2) identifying and trying to understand shifts in mood, and 3) attempting to process the illness in terms of its meaning for the future. In the first and second phases, participants reported feeling out-of-sorts and disconnected from reality. In the third phase of diagnosis, however, even though some individuals struggled to accept their diagnosis – for others, the realization brought relief.

According to lead study author Marius Veseth, being made aware of the illness and recognizing it for what it is can often be a step toward recovery, even though that acceptance can be difficult to process. Once the initial shock wears off, it may be easier to transition into the ‘Okay, I have bipolar disorder, what now?” phase.

If you or someone you know is affected by bipolar disorder, Family Guidance Center can help. Life doesn’t stop because of mental illness. Quite the contrary – with proper support and assistance, many individuals with a mental health diagnosis — similar to a chronic health problem — lead fulfilling and productive lives. Contact Family Guidance Center to learn more about treatment and recovery programs available in your area.