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Monthly Archives: August 2015

Alcohol Abuse Among Older Adults

Signs of Alcohol Abuse to be Aware of

alcohol abuseAccording to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) around 80,000 American seniors engage in alcohol abuse. The actual number of seniors abusing alcohol could be higher since physicians may attribute signs of abuse such as depression, sleep problems, poor appetite or falling to normal symptoms associated with aging. Further, since many seniors may not mix socially as often as younger adults, alcohol abuse may not be quickly recognized by friends or co-workers.

You may be the only one watching for signs of alcohol misuse by a senior loved one, so know what to look for. Main signs of an alcohol abuse problem include finishing their drinks in rapid succession and becoming irritable or testy if they can’t drink every day. Other symptoms to watch for include a poor appetite, harming themselves when drinking or using alcohol to escape problems or in order to be able to cope with difficulty.

Another sign of alcohol abuse is hiding how much you drink so you may need to pay close attention in order to determine just how much your loved one is drinking. Older bodies do not metabolize alcohol as quickly or efficiently as younger ones.

Alcohol abuse is serious at any age. For seniors, it can aggravate existing health issues and may be deadly when combined with certain medications. If you suspect that your older loved one is abusing alcohol, help them to know that they are not alone and help is available. Contact us at Family Guidance Center. We can help you with advice on encouraging your loved one to seek help and we can help them learn how to break the habits of alcohol abuse.

Being Prepared for a Mental Health Crisis

Recommended Steps Before the Mental Health Crisis Occurs

mental health crisisHow well prepared are you in case of a mental health crisis? Such crises are more common than you think. According to our nation’s CDC, a mental health crisis sent 4 million Americans to hospital emergency rooms. If you have a loved one living with a mental health condition, there are steps you can take to be prepared beforehand in the event of a possible moment of crisis.

Be Informed

If someone close to you is living with a mental health condition then you want to be informed about their illness. Know what the common symptoms of the condition are and how frequently they show up. You need to be able to tell if symptoms are worsening in an out-of-the-ordinary manner. It’s also helpful to inform yourself regarding all of the available mental health services in the area.

Be Alert

Suicide is a serious and very real risk for those with a chronic mental health condition. But it is not the only crisis point. Extreme panic attack, paranoia and hallucinations also constitute a mental health crisis. These can be debilitating. If your loved one becomes unmanageable, overly agitated or behaves violently, take note. And if they talk about suicide, pay attention. Nearly 90 percent of those who take their own lives spoke of doing so beforehand.

Be in Touch

A mental health crisis most often will present warning signs. It’s so important that your loved one is meeting regularly with a mental health professional and that you feel comfortable contacting that person should you see signs of trouble.

Family Guidance Center is staffed with trained mental health professionals. We are here day in and day out to help your loved one. We also offer families support and guidance. With care you may be able to avoid a mental health crisis.

Recognizing Depression in Your Loved One

The Signs to Look for That Could Signal Depression

depressionWe’ve all been on hand when someone close to us goes through a tough time. Things may not be going well at work or with home relationships. Perhaps the person received some bad news regarding their health. How can you tell if a normal (and temporary) “down” reaction to difficulty has become diagnosable depression that needs treatment? Here are a few signs to look for:

Not the Same Person

How a person looks and how they take care of themselves can be indicators of depression. People with depression may neglect their personal appearance and even their own hygiene. Common personality changes include angry outbursts, frequent weepiness, risk-taking behavior and substance abuse. If your loved one no longer looks or acts like themselves, it could be due to depression.

Uncharacteristic Isolation

Another common symptom of depression is social isolation. People who used to enjoy the company of others may suddenly prefer to be alone. They may sleep excessively or zone out in front of the television set. Social withdrawal can also manifest as a struggle to meet normal responsibilities (like getting to work, finishing schoolwork or cleaning the house). For the person with depression even something they once enjoyed can now seem like too much effort.

If someone you love shows several of these signs, it could be that they are depressed. At Family Guidance Center we have mental health professionals that can help those who have symptoms of depression. Don’t wait for your loved one to take the first step – take the first step for them. Contact Family Guidance Center today.

The Effect of Depression on Adolescents

The Face of Adolescent Depression

depressionThe years of transition from childhood to adulthood are fraught with physical, mental and emotional change. Of course teens feel unsteady and unsure in this midst of so much uncertainty. The good news is that, for most adolescents, things will settle down sometime near the end of their college years when their brain and body have finished maturing. But for one out of every 20 adolescents, symptoms of depression will stay with them.

Not a Normal Part of Emotional Development

Emotional mood swings are common during these years. So is the need for more sleep. Depression, on the other hand, is not a normal part of adolescent emotional development. Depression is an emotional disorder. Irritability and agitation can be symptoms. Parents have the delicate job of observing their adolescents to learn what is moodiness and what is a sign of something more serious.

Not Limited

Depression doesn’t only affect one group of teens, it affects all kinds of personalities. Avoid the trap of thinking that athletic kids can’t be depressed or book worms are more prone to depression.

Not Temporary

Depression is not a temporary state. One point of diagnostic criteria is that sadness and other symptoms persist for two weeks or more. Once a young person experiences depression, their chances of experiencing another episode in the future increases.

It is Treatable

The good news about adolescent depression is that it is treatable. For those with mild-moderate depression. A mental health professional can help you with a plan of treatment for your teen that will start them on the road to recovery.

At Family Guidance Center we’ve worked with hundreds of young people dealing with depression. We understand the signs and know how to help. Don’t wonder if your teen is depressed. Talk with us to find out how to know for certain.

The Importance of Back-to-School Prep for Your Child With ADHD

An Early Start Will Ease Stress for Your Child With ADHD

It’s hard to believe that the start of the new school year is here for many students. If you are the parent of a child (ofchild with ADHD any school age) with ADHD, don’t wait until the very last minute to start getting prepared and organized. Routine and structure are important for the child with ADHD, so it will help them to start getting ready for school today.


For the elementary school age child this is the time to start transitioning to a school year sleep and wake routine. Start putting your child to bed a little earlier every few days until you reach school year bedtime. Do the same in the mornings. Start getting your child up a tad earlier over the next few weeks so that they don’t have a major schedule adjustment when classes begin.

Work Space

It’s also a good idea to start preparing your child’s work area. The child with ADHD needs a place free of distraction. Distractions can be as obvious as the television or as subtle as clutter on the desk or table. Take some time to clear this out and get ready for study sessions. You might want to purchase a new bright desk lamp to make this space more work-friendly.

School Supplies

You do want to shop early for school supplies and buy what the list prescribes, but it’s also a good idea to buy doubles of things which could prove easily lost or misplaced. Defuse tension before it happens.

At Family Guidance Center we have walked beside many families transitioning from summer schedule to school schedule. If your child’s ADHD is causing concern at this time of year, please contact us and let us share some other helpful ideas.