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Monthly Archives: January 2013

NFL Aims at Protecting the Physical and Mental Health of Its Players

Mental Health 7In an effort to address the serious physical and mental concerns raised by its current and former players, the NFL Life Line alerts players and their families regarding the symptoms of mental health disorders, signals of crisis, and how to obtain professional help. Announcement of NFL Total Wellness comes on the heels of a slew of lawsuits for brain injuries and the recent suicide of NFL linebacker, Junior Seau.

Ken Stabler, who played quarterback for the Raiders, was listed as the first plaintiff in a federal lawsuit citing 73 cases of injury sustained by over 2,400 former NFL players who are now suing the organization for failing to protect and inform them regarding dangers of the sport. The NFL veterans argue that the NFL could have done more to shield them from trauma caused by repeated head impact, among other statements.

Seau, one of 13 known NFL suicides over the past 25 years, shot himself last May, just two-and-a-half years after retirement. His family sent brain tissue to the National Institutes of Health for further examination.

A Huffington Post article reports a similar instance occurring in February 2011, when Dave Duerson, safety for the Chicago Bears, also shot himself. In his suicide note, Duerson requested that his brain be analyzed for trauma.

The symptoms of a mental health disorder can be present for months or years, and are often misdiagnosed. They can include  fatigue, inability to sleep, anxiousness, lack of concentration, irritability, body aches or depression. These symptoms can be masked by other health problems and may escalate to crisis levels without the knowledge of friends of family members.  Family Guidance Center has as team of mental health professionals that can help identify and diagnose mental health problems, and lead individuals toward a treatment plan that addresses the emotional, social, physical aspects of mental illness. Contact Family Guidance Center today if you need help.

Stress Drives College Females to Abuse Alcohol, Develop Disordered Eating Patterns

Mental Health 6People can find themselves living in dependence or addictior for many reasons.  Women in particular may over-consume food, for example, to compensate for areas in their life where they feel a loss of control. New research shows that certain environmental factors may put young women at higher risk of abuse.

An article outlined by Good Therapy online details a study conducted by Anna M. Bardone-Cone of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The Associate Professor of Psychology sought to determine what risk factors may contribute to female college students using alcohol and food in an unhealthy way.

Bardone-Cone asserts that college-aged women are under a lot of stress to attain an ideal that often does not exist. Pressure to succeed academically, be popular, pretty, fit, accepted, and loved all weigh heavily on the minds of young women. To test how this pursuit of excellence impacted women’s decisions to over consume, Bardone-Cone took a closer look at the lives of over 400 campus females. She examined how issues such as body image, pressure to get good grades, and interpersonal relationships affected the drive for perfection and urge to binge when these women didn’t feel good about themselves.

The results of the study uncovered that college females shown to have high academic stress and a drive for social perfection were more likely to eat for emotional reasons. Instead of satisfying hunger, food became a source of comfort and way for these women to avoid confronting their deeper issues of feeling inadequate. Results also showed a connection between body image, pressure to succeed academically, and interpersonal relationships on using alcohol as a coping mechanism.

While the negative impacts of such stressors may seem minimal at first, if allowed to persist, they can increase the risk of  serious  diseases like bulimia or alcoholism. Family Guidance Center has a team of mental health professionals who can help you understand and manage mental health symptoms related to chronic stress, such as anxiety disorders or depression.

Alcohol addiction is a disease, like many other diseases, and professional help is needed to identify triggers and help individuals manage symptoms for recovery and quality of life. Assessments are available daily on a walk-in basis at Family Guidance Center, and can be the first step for a return to quality of life.


Fathers’ Prenatal Health Impacts Future Mental Health of Children

Children Mental Health 3Typically when a woman gets pregnant, the focus immediately shifts to her health as it relates to the health of her baby. It’s known that the physical and mental well-being of the mother weighs heavily on development during the prenatal stage and beyond. However, new Norwegian research has uncovered that the mental health of the father during the period of gestation may be just as important.

Researchers examined 32,000 children to determine the effects of fathers’ prenatal mental health on the mental health of their growing children. Results suggest that a father’s mental well-being may be a risk factor in determining future mental health problems in his offspring.

The survey unveiled a relationship between the mental health of the expectant fathers and the onset of mental health issues in their children. Even after adjusting for other influencing factors including the father’s age, use of substances such as alcohol and tobacco, physical problems, and the mother’s overall mental health, researchers still found a connection.

Weeks 17 and 18 were of particular concern. It was fathers who rated high for depression, anxiety, or mental distress during this time who had children that exhibited behavioral and emotional problems later at 3 years old. These children showed signs of anxiety and had difficulty getting along well with others.

James Paulson, associate psychology professor at Old Dominion University in Virginia who researches family depression says that depression in expectant fathers takes a similar toll as postpartum depression in woman. According to news presented by USA Today, over the last 10 years research has uncovered that postpartum depression in fathers presents similar risks to growing children as maternal postpartum depression.

Study results suggest that parents and doctors need not only pay attention to the mental health of the mother during pregnancy but also that of the father. Paulson stresses the importance of early detection and treatment in minimizing negative health impacts on children. Family Guidance Center, a community mental health center, offers mental health assessments during business hours daily. The team at Family Guidance Center can help you or a family member identify signs and symptoms of mental health problems early-on, as well as a treatment strategy, to maintain a healthy future.

Alcohol is Leading Cause of Death Internationally

Alcoholism 5Health officials are increasingly more concerned about the dangers of alcohol-related injuries. Alcohol-attributed mortality is becoming a public health concern as the death toll creeps up across the globe.

According to a Medical News Today report, data collected by the World Health Organization (WHO) attributes 2.5 million worldwide deaths each year to alcohol related causes. Injuries attributed to alcohol consumption such as vehicular accidents, falls, accidental drownings, and poisonings represent 33 percent of the disease burden caused by the drug’s use.

Despite these concerns, international government policies aimed at alcohol management receive limited attention. Meanwhile, research suggests that the rates for domestic violence, child abuse, worker absenteeism, disease, and fatal car accidents related to alcohol consumption continue to climb.

Binge drinking is rampant in countries such as Mexico, Brazil, Russia, South Africa, and Ukraine. The negative effects of the drug have led some nations to ban alcohol marketing and sponsorship of sports and other events. Health problems connected with alcohol consumption include liver disease, epilepsy, and many forms of cancer. The WHO Report maintains that countries can do more – such as impose an alcohol tax similar to that instituted by the tobacco industry – to prevent related injuries, disease, and death.

Young adults are especially at risk of negative consequences. For men between the ages of 15 and 59, alcohol is the leading cause of death worldwide. Men are at higher risk of hazardous drinking behaviors than women, and the number of men engaging in heavy, weekly drinking episodes is four times that of women.

While some people have no problem drinking responsibly, others clearly struggle. The more alcohol a person consumes, the higher the chances of becoming dependent. WHO figures estimate that 11 percent of worldwide drinkers participate in consistent, heavy drinking. Some people are able to self-manage excessive alcohol use before it evolves into addiction, but others may need additional help. The Family Guidance Center has resources for treatment for alcohol dependence or addiction. Though the factors for alcoholism are multi-faceted, help from mental health professionals and treatment plans based on a person’s goals can alter the outcome. Contact the Family Guidance Center for more information about Addiction Treatment Services.

Untreated Adolescent ADHD Can Lead to Poor Coping Skills

ADHD 6Symptoms of ADHD experienced in one’s youth often don’t just disappear with age. Addressing the condition early on is likely to yield the best chance for treatment says a study originating from the New York University School of Medicine.

ADHD in teens can mean many life adjustments as these individuals enter adulthood. In an article found at PsychCentral, Dr. David W. Brook, researcher and psychiatry professor at New York University School of Medicine, says that the presence of ADHD in one’s youth is often tied to hardships in life skills such as finding and maintaining employment, being a parent, and managing finances.

The study sought to get a better understanding of the long-term impact of the disorder on functioning as adolescents transitioned into adulthood. More than 550 teens with an average age of 15 were surveyed till they reached the age of 37.

Researchers found that ADHD originating in the adolescent years was associated with approximately twice the risk of developing physical and mental problems as compared to teens without ADHD. It also significantly elevated the risk of having an antisocial personality disorder, and increased the chances that these young adults would experience problems at work and handling finances.

Data from CHADD, Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, shows that of teens with the diagnosis, up to 40 percent experience lasting effects, which persist into adulthood. But according to Dr. Brook, ripple effects from adolescent ADHD may be minimized though the formation of a close-knit, parent-child bond. A discouraged teen who is tempted to stop putting forth an effort at school because of poor grades, for instance, may reconsider if the parent places an emphasis on simply trying and doing his or her personal best.

Dr. Ruth Hughes, CHADD’s CEO, stresses the importance of early involvement when it comes to young adults with ADHD. If you suspect your child has ADHD, it may be time to reach out to Family Guidance Center. With accurate diagnosis and treatment, healthy coping skills can be learned to manage the symptoms of the disorder. Contact Family Guidance Center to learn more about assessments for ADHD and other mental health problems.