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Monthly Archives: July 2015

When Mood Disorders Co-Occur With Your Child’s ADHD

Mood Disorders That Can be Linked to ADHDmood disorders

Sometimes when an individual is diagnosed with one mental health condition it can trigger another. All children with ADHD will not develop comorbid mood disorders, but some do and parents should be alert to the possibility. Here are some of the mood disorders most commonly experienced by children with ADHD:

Dysthymia

Dysthymia is a minor depression. With it children will show signs of depression such as low self-worth, irritability, sleep or appetite changes, trouble concentrating and general hopelessness. To be diagnosed with dysthymia the child would meet at least two of the diagnostic criteria, although symptoms may come and go.

Major Depression

Major depression is characterized by persistent sadness, listlessness, lack of enjoyment, sleep and appetite changes and increasing isolation. In kids, major depression may manifest as frequent crying, irritability without an obvious cause or talk about death. The difference between dysthymic and major depression is largely a matter of the number and persistence of symptoms.

Bipolar Disorder

This manifests as swings in mood which range from one extreme (pole) to the other. Sometimes the person is inordinately positive, energetic and productive. At other times, they are so deeply depressed that even basic self-care feels like a monumental effort. In children with bipolar disorder, symptoms may present as behavioral, social and emotional disturbance.

In combination with ADHD symptoms of mood disorders can be difficult to identify and, at the same time, more intense. Low self-worth, for example, is a common symptom for kids with ADHD. Irritability is the same – frustration with frequent challenges and failures can produce regular problems of irritability. This makes it challenging to see the co-occurring mental health condition.

At Family Guidance Center we have mental health professionals that can help with treatment for ADHD and an accompanying mood disorder. If you suspect your child may be depressed or has symptoms of a co-occurring mood disorder, call us today.

How the Alcohol and Health Connection Affects Many Vital Organs

The Link Between Alcohol and Health Risks

alcohol and healthThe association between alcohol and health is broader than many people realize. You may know that alcohol slows down communication from the brain. Messaging becomes sluggish with each serving of alcohol which is why people who’ve had a large amount to drink can have slurred speech and an unsteady gait. Those are short-term consequences of drinking but alcohol and health are linked in several ways with a more long-lasting effect.

Alcohol and Your Heart

Heavy alcohol consumption can permanently weaken your heart muscle. The affected heart will not beat or pump blood efficiently. Insufficient blood flow, in turn, deprives vital organs causing them to also become weakened and inefficient.

The Liver and Brain

Your liver is your body’s de-toxifier. With prolonged alcohol consumption your liver can become less efficient at breaking down the toxins contained in alcohol. The alcohol damages your liver and the increased exposure to toxins can eventually do harm to the brain. For pregnant mothers who drink, the alcohol can cause permanent harm to the unborn child’s brain.

Pancreas

Your pancreas is responsible for aiding in digestion and metabolization of the food you eat. Continued alcohol exposure can dysregulate this function sending enzymes and acids to the wrong place. The pancreas eventually becomes inflamed and is at risk for becoming cancerous.

Long-term heavy alcohol exposure may also harm your lungs, stomach and kidneys. Alcohol and health – overall health – are inextricably linked. At Family Guidance Center we understand this link and can help you on the road to a healthier life. Call us today to talk about our alcohol treatment program, it could be a life-saving decision.

New Moms Face Risk for Depression up to One Year Post-Delivery

Where are Early Post-Partum Depression Screenings Falling Short?

A study whose findings recently appeared in the Annals of Family Medicine found that moms face the risk of developing depression for muchdepression longer than health professionals first thought. Fluctuating hormones and major life changes can trigger depression for new mothers. According to the study, new moms may be at risk for up to a year or longer.

The study gathered data from 1,432 women across the country at several junctures after they had given birth. For approximately 33 percent of those surveyed, this was their first time having a baby. Researchers asked these moms to score criteria such as lack of appetite, daily feelings of sadness and self-harm ideation on a scale of zero to three. A score of 10 or above was considered an indication of high risk for depression.

Results from the first screening conducted four to 12 weeks postpartum showed that 100 percent of the women scored under 10. However, after six months, 10.9 percent scored 10 or above and 12 months later 16.9 percent scored in the high-risk range. This confirms CDC estimates which say that 15 percent of U.S. women live with postpartum depression during their first year following childbirth.

What was perhaps more surprising was that women who initially appeared least apt to become depressed wound up in the high-risk category as time went on. The study indicates that depression screenings for new moms likely need to be administered beyond the initial one-to-three month period.

At Family Guidance Center we have experience helping men and women navigate through all kinds of life stages where depression poses a risk factor. The great news is that when it is addressed early on, depression is a treatable illness. With prompt help, moms or anyone confronted by depression, can find hope. Call us or stop by today.

Bipolar Disorder During the Teen Years

Recognizing the Possible Signs of Bipolar Disorder in Your Adolescent

bipolar disorderThe teenage years are emotional for many families. But for some adolescents, the emotional highs and lows are even more extreme. That’s because while bipolar disorder tends to manifest in early adulthood, it can appear during the teen years. It’s important for families to recognize the signs of bipolar in order to differentiate between that and normal teen angst.

Bipolar disorder can show up anywhere, but it does appear to run in families. When a parent (or parents) has bipolar disorder, the chances of a child also developing the condition are five to 10 percent higher than for kids with no family history of the illness. Genetics is the first risk factor of which to be aware.

Beyond family history, there would be other signs that your teen is dealing with something beyond normal adolescent emotions. Bipolar disorder is so named because of the emotional swings from one mood extreme to the other. It is frequently the case that only the depressive cycle gets noticed, but there are two distinct phases.

Depressive

The depressive phase shares the same symptoms as mild-major depression: changed sleep, changed appetite, lack of interest in things once enjoyed, persistent sadness and trouble focusing.

Mania

The opposite pole from depression is called mania. During mania your teen may seem inexplicably giddy or silly. They may express feelings of exalted self-perception, seem to have boundless energy with little need for sleep or engage in risk-taking behaviors. Extreme talkativeness is another sign, as is being highly irritable.

If you suspect that your teen may be experiencing these extreme highs and lows, they could be experiencing symptoms of bipolar disorder. Family Guidance Center is here to help you and your teen. Give us a call and learn how we can help.

What You Can do When a Member of Your Family Receives a Mental Illness Diagnosis

Your Response to a Mental Illness Diagnosis is Important

There are millions of Americans living with mental illness. Whatever their diagnosis, when a person receives a mental illness diagnosis, itmental illness diagnosis not only affects them but those they love as well. The illness of a loved one will inevitably impact all family members. One of the challenges for families is knowing what they can do to help and support the one with mental illness. There are several practical ways to help:

1. Learn and read all you can about what your loved ones mental illness diagnosis is. The diagnosing professional (medical doctor or mental health professional) can give you pamphlets explaining all about the condition. The more you understand about the illness, the less apprehensive you will be.

2. Help your loved one get the most from treatment. You can offer to drive them to their regular appointments. If you live with the person you could also help by journaling symptoms, successes and challenges. Keeping track of the condition’s daily, weekly and monthly trajectory can be immensely helpful.

3. Hold out steadfast love and hope – two things your loved one needs. They may not always be able to verbalize their gratitude for your stalwart support because of their illness, but it does make a positive difference. Treatment for mental illness is effective, but can take time. Having a cheerleader on hand can help your loved one stay committed.

The more your loved one sees you engage with their mental illness diagnosis, the more hopeful they will feel. The support role can be exacting so consider joining a support group. At least take healthy self-care breaks. At Family Guidance Center we have resources for treating mental illness, but also for helping those who fill the support role. Contact us and learn how we can be part of your practical response.