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Monthly Archives: May 2015

Children’s Mental Health a Major Health Crisis

Mental Health Issues are Affecting Millions of Young People but Few are Treated

mental healthThe Children’s Mental Health Report is sponsored by a non-profit children’s mental health organization. This year, that report finds that there are more children living with mental illness than the number of those with illnesses like diabetes, cancer and AIDs put together. Over 17 million adolescents have a diagnosable mental health condition compared to 7.1 million with asthma, 7 million with a peanut allergy and 200,000 with diabetes. Sadly, the majority of these children do not get the help they need and deserve.

Kids with an untreated mental illness face several risks. They are more apt to leave school without graduating and are also more likely to struggle with substance abuse.

Parents typically know their kids better than anyone else and are therefore a logical first line of defense. If a parent notices their child seems moody, sleepy or sleep-less or even begins to eat (or not eat) differently, they can be reasonably sure that these behaviors are occurring even more than they realize. The child will likely be struggling more, not less, than the parents observe.

Leaving mental health conditions untreated means that the child feels different or separate from peers but with no hope of getting better. That sense of isolation and hopelessness can drive violent behavior, antisocial behavior and substance abuse. Rather than deny the issue, parents do their child the greatest service by acknowledging the problem and addressing it.

If you are the parent of a child who has shown a sudden decline in school performance, social activity or a marked change in personality, eating or sleeping habits, talk with a professional about these things. At Family Guidance Center we work with families and family physicians to provide the best treatment options possible. Mental health affects millions of children. Be one of the parents who gets their child treatment.

Prescription Drug Addiction Slowing Down Except Among the Elderly

Why Prescription Drug Addiction Among the Elderly Continues to Rise

As a person ages they face different health challenges in each stage of life. As older people face weakening health and undergo more medicalprescription drug addiction treatments and procedures compared to younger individuals, they often take more medications. As these medications increase, they are increasingly becoming ensnared in prescription drug addiction.

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) reports that while deaths from prescription painkillers, known as opioids, have leveled off in every other age bracket, there has been a six-fold rise in opioid overdose deaths among those 55-74 years old. How can this be and how is it that prescription drug addiction can be going unnoticed in this age group?

One reason may be that some symptoms of addiction may be mistaken for signs of aging. Other times, doctors may be overprescribing to older patients with chronic or terminal illness. It’s also easier for an elderly body to overuse simply because it doesn’t metabolize drugs as efficiently as a younger body.

The fact that there are 75 million aging baby boomers in this country means that this problem could easily escalate if it is not addressed soon. However, even when family members recognize addiction or the individual is prepared to ask for help, treatment is not always successful in traditional group settings. Experience is showing that older rehab patients may need to be treated separately from younger patients in order to get the best results.

At Family Guidance Center we can help you when you have an elderly loved one who is abusing prescription drugs. We have experience helping family members of all ages to overcome dependence on substances. Call us soon.

May 7 is National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day

Children’s Mental Health Care Aims to be Better Integrated With Primary Health Care

mental healthAccording to the nation’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), somewhere between 13-20 percent of our children experience a mental health disorder each year. That is roughly one out of every five children in America. Mental health is not a concern for the rare few, but a health issue affecting a significant number of our young people.

On Thursday May 7, 2015 the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) will sponsor the 10th annual National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day. One emphasis of this year’s observance will be on how to better integrate children’s mental health care with regular primary care.

Mental health issues which most often affect children and young people in our country include: attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism spectrum disorders, mood disorders and behavioral disorders. These conditions can lead to trouble with learning, difficulty in playing with others, problems with emotional regulation and communication hurdles. Fortunately, when mental health issues are identified early, they are highly treatable and children can avoid many unnecessary setbacks or delays.

In an effort to identify mental health issues, much effort will be aimed at doing more to integrate mental (behavioral) health diagnoses and treatment through the child’s primary health care provider. Improvements in child and youth education are also underway. It’s never too soon to start talking about such an important health concern. That’s one reason why SAMHSA hosts a site called Building Blocks for a Health Future which offers tools aimed at helping children ages three through six to think in terms of healthy life choices while they grow.

At Family Guidance Center we care about kids and their whole health. Help us raise awareness and find better ways to deliver whole health services as we recognize National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day.

ADHD Prescriptions Being Used by Adults as Lifestyle Drugs

More Adults Abusing ADHD Medications

ADHDOver the past few decades, the number of children being treated for ADHD has risen sharply. Medications such as Concerta, Adderall and Ritalin are stimulants which help the neurotransmitters in diagnosed patients to function more normally. Experts say that non-affected adults using them for lifestyle purposes appears to be on the rise.

At present around 4.4 percent of adults in this country are diagnosed with ADHD. For children this number is closer to five to 10 percent. There has been a rise of stimulant abuse on college campuses. Non-ADHD college students taking ADHD medications to sharpen their study time have been the focus of concern. Now, it a growing concern that healthy adults, too, may be misusing the drugs to deal with everyday life.

Stimulants offer short-term help with things like memory, concentration, attention, energy and anxiety. Adults may be using them to improve their at-work performance or to give them a boost when they feel overwhelmed at home. The drugs can also work as appetite suppressants and therefore function as diet aids. But, scientists aren’t quite certain what the long-term effects may be of taking a drug that corrects a problem you don’t actually have.

Some known side effects are headache, sleeplessness, stomach pain, irritability and even tics. In extreme cases, high blood pressure or seizures have been experienced.

If you are feeling like you can’t keep up and are abusing stimulants to help, call us today. At Family Guidance Center, we’re here to help you find safe and healthy coping mechanisms that will serve you well over the long-term.