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Tag Archives: mental health care

Research Shows More Middle-aged Women Dying of Overdose

5041243_sThe prescription drug epidemic has impacted the lives of thousands of men and women in America. Over the last several decades, the term overdose has been highly associated with cocaine and heroin. This is because most of cases of overdose deaths during that period were a result of the two drugs, particularly for males. However, ever since the explosion of prescription drugs on the market, that statistic is changing. Experts advise that women, and especially middle-aged women, are increasingly becoming the victims of overdose.

In fact, in 2010, two of every five overdose deaths occurring in America involved women. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), middle aged women are particularly at risk. While there are still more men who die as a result of overdose from both prescription and street drugs, the gap has significantly narrowed. CDC figures for 2010 show that 15,300 women and 23,000 men overdosed on prescription painkillers.

CDC director Dr. Thomas Frieden says that we are seeing the female population die at unprecedented rates and the problem is only becoming worse. During the period from 1999 to 2010 the number of men who died from painkiller overdose increased three-and-a-half times as compared to a fivefold increase for women. Surprisingly, data shows that women aged 45 to 54 and those between the ages of 55 to 64 are at greatest risk, with overdose deaths in these two age brackets having tripled from 1999 to 2010.

Experts say that women’s higher tendency to become dependent and potentially overdose is a result of increased rates of chronic pain, higher prescribed dosages, and longer duration of use. Another contributing factor is that doctors may be too quick to prescribe painkillers for women, underestimating the risk of misuse by this population. Some studies also indicate that women may tend to hop from physician to physician more than men in an effort to get additional painkillers.

If you or someone you know is living with dependency or substance addiction, help them get the care they need by contacting Family Guidance Center. Family Guidance Center can work with individuals to identify triggers and a long-term strategy for recovery.

Physical Ailments Contribute to Early Death for Those with Mental Illness


Mental illness has long been associated with a shorter life expectancy than the general population, but in the past, this might have been attributed to higher rates of suicide. Interestingly enough, it is actually physical illness that is responsible for the overwhelming majority of this occurrence. Evidence shows that heart and lung disease as well as cancer explain up to 80 percent of early deaths that occur among those living with mental health conditions.

In the past, it has not been known whether advancements in medicine and healthcare have helped close the gap between the higher mortality rates experienced by those with mental illness as compared to those who do not have a mental health condition. This is because research has been divided – some studies have shown a narrowing of the gap, while others have actually reported the opposite. A new Australian study examined the mortality gap more closely to provide some clarity on the issue.

Researchers analyzed records of Western Australia residents taken from area databases as well as information reported through Death Registrations and Mental Health Information Systems from 1985 to 2005. During 1983 to 2007, there were 292,585 individuals who sought local mental health services. Sixteen percent or 47,669 people from this group died over the course of the 24 year period. These figures were then compared to the life expectancy reports for the general population of Western Australia found in the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

According to a recent report from Science Daily, investigators uncovered that between 1985 and 2005, the overall gap in life expectancy widened by an average of 2.4 years for men and 1.6 years for women. The life expectancy difference increased for males from 13 to 15 years and 10 to 12 years for females. While suicide remains a sizeable portion of the extra deaths, the bulk majority were caused by physical ailments.

Study authors emphasize the importance of examining both mental and physical health components to promote overall health and wellness. The Family Guidance Center takes a multi-dimensional approach when treating issues of mental health. How might someone you know benefit from a comprehensive mental health screening offered by Family Guidance?

How to Help Your Child Enjoy Long Summer Days When They Struggle With ADHD

16763938_sSummer is a time that most every kid looks forward to at the end of the school year. But the lack of structure and routine can actually leave children with a case of the doldrums. For kids with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), this boredom can be extremely frustrating. As a parent there are ways to build a balance between leisure and scheduled events, but it requires a little pre-planning and preparation.

A recent article from ADDitude online offers some tips for parents and children to have memorable and enjoyable summer vacation:

Relax the rules but don’t throw them out the door. Even though the summer months are undeniably more laid back, it’s still possible to stick to a family routine. Getting to bed a little later than normal is okay on occasion, but making a habit of late bedtimes can lead to irritability and tantrums.

Maintain a flexible calendar. Kids like to know what to expect, even during the summer months. Having activities scheduled while leaving free time for ad hoc events gives the best of both worlds, providing some structure without the rigidity of the school year. Things to include in the calendar might be family vacations, outings, and play dates – just be sure to allow for down time and family communication.

Allow kids to be themselves. Kids are naturally full of energy, and those with ADHD may experience even more struggles with managing and releasing this energy. It’s important to provide an outlet for children to regularly burn off steam. Whether it’s going to the park or playing in the backyard, just letting kids run free and use their imagination is an important part of play and development. This doesn’t mean that parents have to constantly be entertainers, but they can encourage children to be creative and pursue natural areas of interest.

Take advantage of community resources. A lot of communities offer programs – some free – for kids to participate in during the summer. Whether it’s signing up for a theater class, going swimming at the area rec center, or attending a town festival, there are a plethora of fun things to do if one is willing to dig. And don’t forget about quintessential trips to the zoo or local museums.

Family Guidance Center is a wonderful community resource for families of children living with ADHD. There are many things parents can do to ensure kids have a fun and productive time away from school, regardless of issues with mental health. How could contacting Family Guidance Center benefit you and your family this summer?

Bipolar Diagnosis in Affected Individuals May Help Speed Recovery

13583067_sWhen a person initially finds out that he or she has bipolar disorder, it can be an overwhelming and unsettling experience. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), there are 5.7 million American adults affected by the disease. Bipolar disorder can take as long as a decade to diagnose and this is because its symptoms of mania or hyperactivity, depression, and risky decision making are often easily confused for something else.

In fact, many individuals diagnosed with depression are later found to have bipolar disorder. Symptoms may gradually worsen over time till the affected individual no longer feels comfortable in his or her own skin. Bipolar disorder is a serious mental health condition that when left undiagnosed, can cause significant disruptions to a person’s life. Researchers from Norway’s University of Bergen examined 13 adults with bipolar disorder to determine how finally receiving a diagnosis affected the group – particularly how such knowledge impacted recovery.

According to a recent article on GoodTherapy.org, the acceptance of being bipolar occurs in three phases as adults move toward recovery: 1) doubt and confusion, 2) identifying and trying to understand shifts in mood, and 3) attempting to process the illness in terms of its meaning for the future. In the first and second phases, participants reported feeling out-of-sorts and disconnected from reality. In the third phase of diagnosis, however, even though some individuals struggled to accept their diagnosis – for others, the realization brought relief.

According to lead study author Marius Veseth, being made aware of the illness and recognizing it for what it is can often be a step toward recovery, even though that acceptance can be difficult to process. Once the initial shock wears off, it may be easier to transition into the ‘Okay, I have bipolar disorder, what now?” phase.

If you or someone you know is affected by bipolar disorder, Family Guidance Center can help. Life doesn’t stop because of mental illness. Quite the contrary – with proper support and assistance, many individuals with a mental health diagnosis — similar to a chronic health problem — lead fulfilling and productive lives. Contact Family Guidance Center to learn more about treatment and recovery programs available in your area.


Four Tips to Cope with Childhood and Adolescent Mental Illness in Summer

14110068_sMany kids dread having to get up and go to class every morning throughout the school year. But for children with ADHD, a regimented routine can actually prove beneficial. In fact, the summer with its laid back and carefree schedule may actually present far greater challenges for ADHD children than the remaining months of the year.

Some children who need medication to boost focus while in school may be afforded some time off during the summer if their ADHD is not severe, says Ohio based psychiatrist Peter Zafirides. He adds, however, that the transition off medications may take some adjustment. Additionally, because of the lack of structure during the summer, symptoms of ADHD such as moodiness, anxiety, and petulance can be exacerbated. In a recent article on GoodTherapy.org Zafirides offers some tips to help kids and young adults with mental illness have a healthy and productive summer.

  1. Spend time outside and enjoy nature

  2. Minimize time in front of the television, including video games

  3. Participate in activities that get the body moving

  4. Don’t neglect proper sleep

While we normally associate summer with emotions such as happy and carefree, this is not the case for everyone. In fact, many health professionals advise that mental health conditions like depression may be more prominent in the summer due to loneliness or boredom. According to William Oswald who heads Summit Malibu, a California based behavior and addiction treatment facility, people have an easier time keeping their minds occupied when they are busy.

Maintaining some summer structure can help keep symptoms of mental illness at bay. Depending on the age group, kids can get involved in play groups, apply for a part-time job, or participate in summer education or internship programs.

Zafirides says the key to keeping parents and kids with ADHD on the same page is to have a discussion as summer commences and talk about the things that each would like to accomplish. Also, having set, regular talks that are not confrontational which address mood shifts and behavior changes can help.

Before making any decisions to reduce or stop taking medications, parents should first consult with their child’s doctor. Family Guidance Center also serves as a place of support for mental health conditions of all kinds, and can provide an assessment if a child has symptoms that may indicate ADHD. To learn more about ADHD or to find out ways you can support your children during the summer months, contact Family Guidance Center.