New Studies Link Mental Illness to Food Insecurity
- Tuesday, 14 July 2015 10:00
Family Guidance Center
Lack of Access to Nutritious Meals Associated With Greater Risks of Mental Illness
A lack of access to nutritious food, or food insecurity, is not a small issue. Not only does the lack of steady, nutritious meals negatively affect physical health and development, but new research is starting to link food insecurity with mental illness as well. Negative mental health risks among the food insecure have been shown to be notably higher than among the food secure.
Single mothers are among those who experience food insecurity. As a result, these moms face a tripled risk for depression according to one study. Other studies have found that mental illness for single moms increases as food scarcity continues. Mothers unable to provide regular, healthy meals were shown to experience a greater prevalence of major depression or anxiety compared to moms without that pressure. Kids in these homes also showed negative outcomes. They exhibited more behavior problems, mood disorder or substance abuse the longer food scarcity persisted.
Single mothers and their children are not the only ones who must deal with food insecurity and therefore are not the only ones affected. A study involving 3,500 low income men and women found a definite association between food insecurity and higher risks for depression and even suicidal ideation. Anyone living with food uncertainty may experience a heightened risk for mental illness.
More research is needed, but in the meantime, as a community there are ways we can help. First, we can come together and focus on addressing issues of food insecurity. Second, mental health services need to be made available to low income community members. At Family Guidance Center our doors are open to all the members of our community. If economic pressures are getting you down, we’re here to help. Please stop by and make an appointment. We can help give you the tools to cope in healthy ways.
Alcohol Abuse is on the Rise but Many Don’t Seek Treatment
- Friday, 10 July 2015 10:00
Family Guidance Center
Close to One-Third of Americans Have an Alcohol Abuse History
The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) has published a new report which shows that nearly 30 percent of Americans have had an alcohol abuse problem at some point during their lifetime. The report also highlighted that barely 20 percent of those who abuse alcohol ever look for help.
The new statistics are based on the National Epidemiological Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions. That survey included 36,000 interviews conducted between 2012-2013. The survey revealed that young singles are most affected by alcohol use disorder with 37 percent of those 18-29 and 34 percent of those 30-44 qualifying for the diagnosis. In keeping with prior research, men were more often affected than women.
One reason for the new figure may have to do with changes the American Psychiatric Association (APA) made to the latest edition of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health (DSM-V). In that edition the APA redefined the way alcohol abuse is diagnosed and labeled. The new DSM-V no longer makes a distinction between alcohol abuse and alcohol dependency but combines the two under one title with 11 diagnostic criteria. Patients with two or more symptoms would qualify for the alcohol use disorder diagnosis.
Why do so few of those affected by alcohol misuse ask for help? It could be that there is still some stigma attached to the idea of alcohol abuse. It may also be that there is often another co-occurring mental health condition which prevents them from thinking clearly about the possibility of help. If someone you love is having a problem with alcohol, please contact us at Family Guidance Center. Help is available.
Knowing the Signs of Teen Depression Can Help Prevent Suicide
- Tuesday, 07 July 2015 10:00
Family Guidance Center
What Can be Done to Reduce Teen Suicide?
In May, many families heard high school and college graduation speeches which encouraged young people to capitalize on their strengths in order to make the most of their lives. Sadly, many young people sitting in the audience were having a hard time envisioning a happy future as they were overcome with feelings of depression. At an age when they are brimming with potential, too many young people feel hopeless and empty and suicide continues to be a concern among young adults.
The years of adolescence are full of fear and anxiety. Most young people worry about what to do with their life, how they will fit in, how they will support themselves or a family and whether or not they can make it in this big world. All of that self-doubting can be compounded by stresses in the family. When there is divorce, unemployment or a major relocation, the sense of instability and being adrift in a great sea can seem overpowering to youth.
When an adolescent feels flooded by problems and cannot find hope that the problems will be resolved, they can easily become depressed. In some cases, this depression can lead to suicide. In fact, many of the symptoms of depression and suicide are the same.
Signs to look for include: neglecting personal appearance or hygiene, drop in school performance, unable to accept praise, rebellion, sleeping too much or too little, or isolation from others. These are not just normal teenager behaviors but signs that someone is sinking and needs a hand of rescue. If the teen verbalizes feelings of worthlessness or makes offhand comments about disappearing or dying, it is important to seek out help from a mental health professional.
Government statistics show that suicide is the number six cause of death for kids ages 5-14 years and the number three cause of death for those ages 15-24 years. If you notice any of the above-mentioned symptoms in your teen, contact us at Family Guidance Center. We can help restore hope and hope can save a life.
PTSD May be Affecting You More Than You Realize
- Friday, 03 July 2015 10:00
Family Guidance Center
The Importance of Treatment for PTSD
Whether a person is experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of combat or some other type of life-threatening trauma, they may believe that they are coping well and resist pursuing treatment.
Individuals may also avoid seeking treatment for a number of other reasons. They may feel that to ask for help will make others look at them differently. They may believe they are managing their symptoms better than they actually are. Or, they may not recognize what they are experiencing as signs of possible PTSD. It is often the case that loved ones around a person can see what is happening better than the individual affected.
PTSD symptoms can show up immediately following a traumatic event, but they can also come and go for many years. Whether symptoms show up early or late and are steady or intermittent, if they persist then it’s a good idea to talk with a healthcare professional about screening for PTSD. Some of the more common signs of PTSD include: emotional numbness, sleep problems including nightmares, feeling anxious, being unable to concentrate and finding that sights, smells or sounds can take you right back to the moment of trauma.
Do you or your loved one drink or use drugs to avoid feeling or thinking about your trauma? Maybe you have immersed yourself in your job to keep your mind off troubling thoughts. Do you ever feel angry enough to want to hurt yourself of someone else? Perhaps you studiously avoid people or situations which trigger bad memories. These could be signs that you or your loved one are experiencing PTSD.
At Family Guidance Center we can help you to confront what you are experiencing. PTSD treatment will consist of time spent with our mental health professionals and could include short-term medication. Help is available and it works. It takes courage to make the call to seek treatment for PTDS, call us today and start your journey to recovery.
Mental Illness in the Workplace
- Tuesday, 30 June 2015 10:00
Family Guidance Center
What Employers Can do to Encourage Getting Treatment for Mental Illness
A recent article in The Wall Street Journal reported that employers can expect to have 20 percent of their office staff dealing with some form of mental illness at any given point in time. While employers or co-workers may be comfortable encouraging someone to seek treatment for other kinds of illness, when the problem is mental illness, people can be hesitant to speak up. This reticence could be because of mistaken beliefs about mental illness.
The media has been peppered in recent years with stories of violence occurring in a situation where an individual has a mental illness condition. This, unfortunately feeds the stigma that many mental health patients are prone to violence. The fact is that the cases which wind up on the news are a miniscule representation of patients and often are for persons who never got treatment for their illness.
Even if the misperception does not have to do with myths about mental illness, there may be persistent worries that persons with mental illness will perform sporadically at work or become undependable in other ways. It is true that major depression can lead to missed workdays, but this is the case most often when someone is not being treated.
Employees may be hesitant to speak up about their mental illness or to look for help because they worry about losing a job or being stigmatized by co-workers. Offices can defuse these concerns by going over what insurance plans will cover and encouraging employees to make use of coverage. Talking openly about mental illness as a regular health issue can put to rest concerns about getting help.
As an employer, if you feel that an employee may be struggling with a mental health issue, you can quietly pull the person aside and encourage them to get a mental health screening. Reassurance about confidence in the person and the hope of treatment are needed. If you need a place to refer employees, call us at Family Guidance Center. We can help your employee with the treatment they need.