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Monthly Archives: August 2014

Drug Abuse Where You Don’t Expect To Find It

Mom 1The proliferation of prescription drugs has infiltrated mainstream culture and created drug abuse problems in segments of the population where it is often least expected. Adolescents, moms and senior citizens have all become increasingly represented at addiction treatment centers across the country.

1. Adolescents
The number of young people misusing prescription drugs now outstrips the number of those who abuse methamphetamine, heroin and cocaine put together. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that eight percent of kids between the ages of 12-17 are struggling with prescription drug abuse. These drugs can interfere with important development still taking place in young, growing bodies.

2. Senior Citizens
On the other end of the spectrum are the elderly of whom 3 million are reportedly abusing prescription medications. Seniors often take several prescription drugs to treat various ailments and not always prescribed by the same physician. This means that they have more access to powerful drugs and less oversight over the use of those drugs. It is anticipated that as the baby boomer generation finishes entering retirement age, abuse problems could continue to climb among this age group.

3. Young Moms
Moms are attempting to do more than perhaps ever before. Many work outside the home. Yet moms still believe they should be able to manage affairs on the home-front, at their child’s school, in their marriage and as the family social director. It’s an impossible task they’ve set for themselves and when they fall short, they feel stressed. An alarming number of young moms have turned to prescription sedatives to help them cope. Millions are addicted.

Whoever you are and whatever circumstance has led you into drug abuse, help is available. The Family GuidanceCenter knows how to help. Contact us today.

Children With Mental Illness: Know the Signs

When you imagine a person battling problems such as depression, anxiety or uncontrolled anger do youChildren 1 picture a grown person? Mental illness does not only affect adults. Mental illness affects 20 percent of children, too. Yet, perhaps because so few are looking for it, barely one-third of children with mental illness ever get the help they need.

There are signs for those who know how to spot them. And since parents know their child best and see them consistently year in and year out, they are usually in the best position to recognize the signs of mental stress. What are symptoms to look for in children with mental illness?

1. Flagrant disobedience – all children resist obeying sometimes, but consistent refusal to comply with authority is a sign of trouble
2. Unprovoked aggression – children are learning how to work out problems, but the child who acts aggressively without provocation may be revealing an inner struggle
3. Angry outbursts
4. Sudden drop in academic performance
5. Fretting about issues at school or at home more than normal
6. Withdrawal from school or social activities including avoiding former friendships
7. Non-goal directed movements, the child can’t seem to sit still
8. Depression – childhood depression looks somewhat like adult depression (sleep problems, social isolation, feeling sad or hopeless, unexplained crying) but it can also be expressed as anger

Because there may be other explanations for some of these behaviors (developmental delays or learning disabilities) it is crucial that a parent who observes symptoms has their child professionally evaluated. Mental illness is a treatable condition much like other physical illnesses which may affect a child.

If you note any of the signs mentioned above in your child, don’t put off evaluation and treatment. Talk with your child’s doctor or come in and visit with the mental health professionals at Family Guidance.

A Look at Mental Health as Children Head Back to School

Mental Health 17You can tell by the store display racks of notebooks, pencils, rulers and backpacks that another school year is upon us. There is a flurry of preparation in the weeks leading up to the return to school, but parents should remember to consider their child’s mental health in the midst of it all.

Restoring Schedule
Before day one of school you should work to get your child/children back in a healthy sleep routine. Sleep is vital to good mental health and to school performance. Now is not too soon to get the whole family back on a school-friendly bedtime. After all, parents, too, do a better job with regular sleep.

Restoring Cognitive Skills
Blow out the cobwebs before they take a seat behind a school desk. Look for ways to get your child in a critical thinking mode now. You can do this by asking your child to recall important things they learned last year in school, having them read aloud from a book or magazine or use three adjectives to describe their day.

Restoring Concentration
One of the biggest challenges in modern classrooms is getting kids to remain focused for more than a few minutes. You can help your child strengthen concentration with simple exercises that require sustained attention. For example, have them sit and think only about what things they can hear for five minutes. Ultimately, you’d like your child to be able to stick with a single task or concept for 10-15 minutes. The human brain naturally wanders and for kids with attention deficits the problem is even more pronounced.

Getting in the back-to-school mode can mean many adjustments which can easily overwhelm children and
families. You can reduce some of the stress by easing into the demands of school life gradually. Family Guidance is available to families who want to protect the mental health and wellness of
every family member.

Death of Robin Williams Illuminates Depression as a Disease

Robin Williams 1Just as any physical illness is best treated at its early stages, depression is also best treated in its early stages.

The death of Robin Williams led many  to feel that they had lost not only an icon in the country’s entertainment culture, but also a friend that made them laugh but could also shed tears with them. Williams was not only Mork, Mrs. Doubtfire and Genie, but also Patch Adams and John Keating.

For many, however, the death of Williams brings to light not only the loss of a great comedian, actor and entertainer, but also the depths of struggling with depression.

Depression carries with it a stigma, in which those who experience depression are supposed to be different from the rest of the population. When you picture depression, it may carry a face of tears and frustration. In reality, depression can look a lot of different ways.

In the days after Williams’s death, many celebrities have used the opportunity to honor Williams by talking about their own experience with depression. Talking about depression can remove the stigma and give individuals the ability to admit to a loved one that they need help.

When individuals face a stigma attached to a mental disorder, they may be reluctant to tell anyone about their symptoms. Depression can be easy to hide at its early stages. While a person may struggle for weeks on end, they may have times where symptoms subside and they can point to these times to convince themselves and loved ones that everything is okay.

Depression may also feel lonely. If you have depression, you may imagine that only you are struggling with these types of symptoms and that everyone else has it together. However, the World Health Organization says that 350 million people worldwide suffer from depression. More than half the population will, at some point in their lives, meet criteria for a mental disorder. You are not alone if you struggle with depression.

By the time help is sought, depression may have progressed in its severity and symptoms. Finding the right combination of treatment can be a trial-and-error process. Because it may take weeks for medications to affect symptoms and therapy to begin to work, the process of recovery may take time

If you have had symptoms over a long period of time, they may have escalated to a point where it is difficult to endure a long process of finding the right medication and therapy combination. As a result, it is important to seek out help as soon as it becomes apparent that low moods are becoming problematic.

If you are experiencing symptoms of depression, contact Family Guidance to guide you through an evaluation to determine whether treatment for depression might be beneficial. Visit the Family Guidance website to learn more about depression as well as the services and treatment options offered.

The New School Year and Children With ADHD – How to Maximize Potential

Most children approach a new school year with a combination of eagerness and anxiety. For the child withADHD 15 attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) the anxiety can sometimes overpower the anticipation. Yet, there are steps a parent can take to help make the new school year as successful as possible for their child with ADHD. Here are just a few.

1. Educate Yourself
This condition impacts every aspect of your child’s life so learn all you can. Find out what therapies are available and the evidence for their success. Medication can help your child overcome short-term attention struggles, but there are formal attention training programs which can work on long-term attention improvement. Learn about both and become an advocate for your child.

2. Build a Team
Before school starts, be sure your child has a medical check-up and discuss any health or development issues including side effects from medication. It’s also a good idea to visit a psychologist and have them assess your child’s learning style. That way when you meet with teachers at school you can help them understand the way in which your child learns. Think about these individuals as your child’s personal team.

3. Establish Structure
All children thrive within boundaries and routine, but for the child with ADHD structure is essential. Start now to establish a bedtime and wake time that will be needed during the school year. Make a visit with your child to the bus stop, the school building and classroom before school begins. Talk about what time your child will need to be at each location and with what supplies. If possible schedule a meeting with the teacher too.

4. Be a Cheerleader
Behavior follows beliefs. If your child believes they are destined to fail, they will act accordingly. Help replace those negative thoughts by telling your child how much you believe in them and by praising specific qualities in your child that will help them to succeed.

Children with ADHD can achieve in the school environment and there are ways you, as the parent, can help them. At Family Guidance we would like to be part of your child’s team, helping them toward that success. Call us today to find out how we can help.