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Monthly Archives: February 2015

Signs of Depression That You May Not Know

Feelings are a big part of depression. The sadness and hopelessness of depression can be very overwhelming. But there are many signs ofDepression 4 depression beyond how a person feels. Do any of these sound familiar to you?
Life Isn’t Rosy Anymore
Colors are not as bright and cheerful to people whose hearts feel grey. Rather than rose-colored glasses, you now see life through grey-hued ones. Depression can affect how you see all areas of your life.

Trapped in the Net of the Internet
Constant time on your laptop, tablet or smartphone takes precedence over daily responsibilities. You feel like the Internet is a lifeline and you can’t let go. If this is something you struggle with, then depression may be overwhelming you.

Physical Pain is a Part of Everyday Life
You experience chronic pain without a legitimate explanation. Unfortunately, steady pain leads to further depression. Digestive problems can also stem from depression.

Personal Hygiene is Not a Priority
Taking care of simple responsibilities like bathing, combing your hair and keeping the house picked up seem like huge feats. Personal hygiene and your home cleanliness start a negative downward cycle of feeling like getting things back in order will require more than you have to give.

Can’t Remember, Can’t Decide
When you’re depressed it’s hard to focus your attention. Not surprisingly, it’s also hard then to recall things later on. The same mind fog makes it tough for people with depression to make simple decisions – like what to eat for dinner or what to wear.

If several of these symptoms ring true for you, it’s time to stop denying that you could be experiencing depression. Make an appointment at Family Guidance and find out how we can help you reverse the cycle. Depression doesn’t have to take over your life. We can help you to regain the color in your life.

Talking With Children About Addiction

Addiction 6Addiction does not only affect the individual who is abusing substances. It touches everyone around them. When the person experiencing addiction is a parent, children are also affected.

According to experts, over 28 million children have alcoholic parents. Homes where parents are living in addiction face many challenges. These children face a greater risk for neglect or abuse, are more likely to witness episodes of domestic violence and are four times more apt to develop addiction themselves in the future.

As a result, kids with addicted parents experience more behavioral issues, more emotional problems and a greater amount of academic struggle compared to peers from non-addicted home settings. The children know things are not as they should be. On the one hand, they tend to feel a strong sense of loyalty toward their addicted parent. On the other hand, they often feel resentful, too.

Here are a few tips for talking to the child about the addiction which affects their life:

1. Be truthful, yet age appropriate. You don’t need to give unnecessary details. Do state clearly that there is a problem and there is a plan to address the problem. Hope is real.

2. Explain that addiction is an illness and therefore can be treated. Illness is not the child’s fault. It happens for reasons that have nothing to do with the child.

3. Ask how the child feels and accept their responses (or lack). Apologize where appropriate.

The National Association for Children of Alcoholics has developed a list of C statements that can help:

I did not cause it
I cannot cure it
I cannot control it
I can care for myself by – communicating feelings, making healthy choices, celebrating myself

At Family Guidance we are interested in helping people overcome addiction. We also offer help to those affected by addiction – including children of addicted parents. If this describes your home, contact us today.

 

PTSD: A Few Facts in Place of Misconceptions

PTSD 2Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has been around for a long time even though the name for it has not. The name PTSD was officially given to the diagnosis in 1980 when the American Psychiatric Association outlined the disorder in its Diagnostic Manual of Mental Disorders. Since then there has been many misconceptions about the illness.

Not Only Soldiers
PTSD is not something which only veterans of war face. It is understandable that people would be confused since PTSD became the official title for struggles faced by combat soldiers for many years. Yet PTSD can and does affect all kinds of people exposed to significant trauma. In fact, seven percent of the general population will experience PTSD at one time or another during their lives.

People other than soldiers may encounter trauma in the form of child or domestic abuse, witnessing or being the victim of a violent crime or living through a dangerous event such as a natural disaster or serious automobile accident. The truth is that 60 percent of men and 50 percent of women in America go through such extreme experiences. Of those about 14 percent (four percent of men and 10 percent of women) will go on to develop PTSD.

Not Only Immediate
Normally a person who has lived through such an intense experience will be affected within a short time span. This could come in the form of bad dreams, irrational or hard-to-control anger, a loss of interest, feelings of isolation or alienation or hyper-vigilance. But not everyone reacts quickly. Symptoms are sometimes delayed for weeks, months or even years following a trauma. Not only that, but the symptoms may come and go depending upon life circumstances. When there is a lot of stress or there is some reminder of the trauma – symptoms long dormant may awaken.

Readily Treatable
The most important thing to know about PTSD is that it is treatable. This usually involves counseling, behavior therapy and possibly medication. PTSD affects people who have never been to war – and more of us than we realize. The good news is that it’s never too late to do something about it.

Contact Family Guidance today if you or someone you know is showing signs of unmanageable stress. Encourage them to get treatment. Help is available and PTSD is treatable.

Suicide Rates Are on the Rise

If you feel like suicide has become more prevalent in recent years, you are not mistaken. As recently as 2012 there were 400,000 deaths fromMental Health 17 suicide. That figure represents more deaths than the number killed in car crashes that year. The number of suicide deaths has risen from 11 in 100,000 in 2005 to 13 in 100,000 in 2012.

Who is at Risk?
The elderly (those over age 75) were once considered the most at-risk category for suicide. Health problems, the loss of loved ones and increasing isolation contributed to depression which is a leading factor in suicide. Today, however, it is men of middle age (45-54) who face the greatest suicide risk. In 2012, 20 out of 100,000 suicides were committed by middle-aged men.

Risky Conditions
Things other than age contribute to suicide risk. A tough economy or dire social condition also affects the suicide rate. Consider that today we experience 13 in 100,000 cases of suicide. During the Great Depression 19 out of 100,000 took their own lives. An uptick in suicide attempts has been seen even during our latest recession.

Gender also plays a role. Women make more attempts at suicide but four times as many men succeed.
What Can You Do?
There is no single answer to the rising problem of suicide, yet you can make a difference in the lives of those you love. Don’t assume that those around you are navigating fine on their own through tough times. Ask questions and then really listen to what they are saying. Don’t hesitate to suggest that they seek out help if they seem to be struggling. Suicide is the ultimate expression of lost hope. Reducing suicide requires restoring hope. That’s what we do at Family Guidance – show the hopeless that hope still exists.

Depression is More Common Than You Think

The sad deaths of several high-profile personalities in 2014 turned a spotlight onto an illness that is affecting more people today – depression. From Hollywood elites to elite college athletes the mental health condition was shown to be one that supersedes every conceivable barrier.

In fact, in 2012 16,000,000 (or 6.9 percent) American adults experienced at least a single episode of major depression. At any one time, depression affects the lives of nearly 10 percent of our adult population. It affects children, young people, seniors, men and women, rich andDepression 8 poor, the well-educated and those facing educational challenges.

Studies show that major depression is experienced by:

  • 30 percent of college and university students
  • 14 percent of post-delivery moms
  • 11 percent of young people before age 18
  • 10 percent of senior adults (aged 65 or older)

Unfortunately, although depression is experienced by so many, only half (50 percent) of those affected will get needed treatment. This could be because treatment is not readily available, because of perceived stigma or because the symptoms go unrecognized until it is too late.

Symptoms of depression include at least two or three of the following:

  1. Deep sadness
  2. Sapped energy and difficulty concentrating
  3. Trouble with sleep – either too little (because the mind won’t shut off) or too much (though the person never feels rested)
  4. Profound sense of hopelessness
  5. Disinterest in activities or relationships that were once enjoyed
  6. Headache, stomach ache or other unexplained physical ailment

While it is true that women face a 70 percent greater likelihood of depression compared to men, it isn’t clear why this is so. Some suggest that it may be that women are simply more apt to seek treatment

At Family Guidance we have mental health professionals able to address symptoms of major depression whether you are young, old, rich, poor, male or female. Don’t ignore your symptoms. Get help and start on the road to recovery.