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Monthly Archives: January 2014

Adults Diagnosed With ADHD on the Rise

ADHD 9Many adults are finding answers about a diagnosis typically associated with children. Today, one in 20 adults have been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)  which was originally thought to primarily affect grade school aged children and teenagers.

In some cases, diagnosis of their teenager has led to the same diagnosis being given to a parent and even a grandparent, after the adults recognized some of the same symptoms in themselves. Because of an increase of knowledge about the condition, adults are more aware of ADHD and its symptoms.

In the case of a 56-year-old man who struggled with feelings of hyperness and short attention spans his entire life, finding out that he had ADHD was a surprise. Though he knew that the depression previous doctors had diagnosed wasn’t quite right, he was not familiar with hyperactivity and what it meant for adults.

The difficulty to pay attention or impulsive behavior is easily recognizable to teachers in a classroom setting, but for adults, ADHD is harder to identify. Adults with ADHD may experience short attention spans, memory loss, trouble focusing and disorganization. Without the supervision or everyday interaction with others, such as those that students have with a parent or teacher, it is more difficult to recognize a problem as an adult.

How are adults to know that what they are experiencing is ADHD and not just a common side effect of aging? Doctors differentiate the two by looking at symptoms that occurred earlier than age 12, which would indicate ADHD rather than symptoms that are more commonly caused by aging. ADHD is diagnosed when a healthcare professional analyzes an individual’s responses to a range of questions and symptoms regarding feelings of stress, attention span and other side effects associated with ADHD.

Many treatment options are available to improve the quality of life for individuals with ADHD. Counseling, coaching on proper communication skills and prescription medications has proven successful for millions of adults with the diagnosis.

To find out more about ADHD symptoms and treatment options, contact Family Guidance Center, where professionals have the knowledge and tools to treat symptoms and enhance the quality of life for individuals with mental illness.

What You Might Not Understand About Schizophrenia

17642228_sWatching someone you love be diagnosed with schizophrenia can be difficult. They may simply not feel like himself, or worse, may not think that anything has changed even though friends and family can clearly spot a transformation. Understanding the nature of the illness, including its signs and symptoms, is the first step toward helping someone who might be affected.

According to the DSM-5, schizophrenia is a serious mental disorder characterized by erratic behavior, lack of emotion, and disjointed thoughts and communication. In some cases, the disease can include delusions and hallucinations. Delusions are misconceptions which someone believes are true, and hallucinations are surreal experiences that include seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting or touching something that isn’t really there.

Some individuals with schizophrenia may also experience paranoia, feeling like people are out to get them or believing that their romantic partner is cheating on them even if it’s not true. They may also think that someone is controlling their mind and thoughts. Additionally, delusions of grandeur are not uncommon.

One person in this Psych Central article described the experience of watching his friend develop schizophrenia. The friend’s behavior became bizarre, with him abruptly disappearing for days. The friend also started hearing voices and became more catatonic.

Interestingly enough, schizophrenia doesn’t usually manifest itself until a person’s 20s, with symptoms appearing earlier for men than women. This can make acceptance of the disorder even more difficult as onset can come suddenly with little warning, just as a person is starting to come into their own.

While it can be difficult to watch a loved one or friend cope with the changes brought on by schizophrenia, the best thing to do is offer support and gently encourage them to seek professional help. Living with a mental illness like schizophrenia may present unique challenges, but it doesn’t have to dictate the course of a person’s life. With diagnosis and ongoing steps toward symptom management, many with the illness can live productive, meaningful lives. Many living with schizophrenia have careers and families, and continue to reach their goals while managing their symptoms through several strategies.

There is help. Family Guidance Center has been a community resource for adult mental health for decades. If you would like to learn more about schizophrenia or other mental health disorders, contact Family Guidance Center.

Mental Illness – What are You Doing to Eradicate the Stigma?

There’s a misconception that mental illness may be connected, in some cases, to violence. The truth is that not even one percent of individuals affected by mental illness commit violent acts of harm, according to research. The stigma that’s perpetuated, often by the media, makes it even more difficult for those with serious mental health conditions to reach out and get the help they need.

Nobody wants to be labeled by the outside world, especially when it pertains to having an illness or problem that simply means ongoing symptom management is needed. Having a mental illness is really no different than being affected by any other health condition. Mental health is simply one component of overall health, and just as no one asks for diabetes or a heart condition, people don’t choose mental illness. Most individuals living with mental illness are productive members of society – and they are someone’s mother, father, sister, brother, friend, child or spouse.Family 2

Mental illness can affect anyone, and in fact, reports show that as many as 25 percent of Americans do have a mental health condition. Sadly, a large portion of this group – up to 60 percent –don’t seek professional help, but instead turn inward and cope with symptoms the best way they know how, often with drugs or alcohol. Feeling hopeless or rejected from the outside world, at times, suicide may seem like the only option.

Moving forward, if we want to make a positive change when it comes to mental illness, we can all do more to understand the symptoms of mental illness and acknowledge its presence in a proactive and productive way. Attitudes in Reverse, AIR, is one program that seeks to educate America’s youth regarding the truth about mental illness and the bravery in reaching out for assistance.

Family Guidance Center is another source of support for adults, youth, and their families who are affected by mental illness. For years, Family Guidance has been working to stamp out stigma that stands in the way of treatment. To learn more about available programs, contact Family Guidance Center.

Three Tips For Discussing Mental Illness With Your Children

Family 1Living with mental illness can present some unique challenges for individuals with children. For starters, parents may debate whether or not to disclose a mental health condition to their kids because they believe they might not understand. Other times parents may choose to withhold information because they don’t want their children to worry. While these concerns are valid, evidence suggests that children may actually become more apprehensive if parents aren’t open and honest with their children.

Children, although young, often have a greater awareness of things than they are given credit. By addressing mental health issues head-on, parents ensure that their kids don’t form opinions based on erroneous beliefs or misinformation but instead on facts.

If you’re looking for ways you can break the ice with your kids and make them more comfortable with the topic, here are a few approaches:

1. Have an age appropriate conversation.

Young children, for instance, may simply need to know that mommy feels sick sometimes and takes medicine to get better. With an adolescent, talks can be more frank regarding symptoms and how they affect mood, personality, etc.

2. Encourage questions and open discussions.

Let children know that they can ask any question of you they want without reproach. Common concerns might surround how the mental illness originated, if it’s something that can be “caught”, and how to make it better. It might help to sit down with a professional to prepare for tough questions in advance.

3. Be uplifting and encouraging.

Kids may be fearful of mental illness because of what they have seen or heard in the media or from others. Reassure them that you are receiving needed care, without overwhelming them. It’s also a good idea to have a crisis plan and review pertinent elements with children so they are prepared in the event of an emergency. Let age and maturity guide the conversation.

For over a century, Family Guidance Center has been working toward positive change when it comes to families and addressing issues of mental health as an integral aspect of total well-being. It can be difficult even for the best parents to know how to speak to their children about mental illness. If you need further tips or guidance, contact Family Guidance Center.