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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.

Women With PTSD May Also be at Greater Risk for Heart Troubles

Stress of PTSD Plus Lifestyle Choices Increases Chances of Stroke, Heart Attack

PTSDUnhealthy habits such as smoking, drinking and lack of exercise can increase many health risks including your chances of heart attack, but research shows that these are not the only factors which may contribute to your chances of cardiac arrest. Studies show that the stress of PTSD can also increase the risk even for people with otherwise healthy lifestyles – particularly for women.

According to specialists, the stress of untreated PTSD can lead to micro-vascular disease in which the tiny arteries deep inside the heart spasm or just can’t seem to relax. It gives credence to the mythic dangers of losing someone you love. Doctors say that the stress of a broken heart can produce heart attack. In other words, you really can die from a broken heart.

This means that heart attack and stroke don’t only strike those with plaque build-up in their arteries or those with an inactive lifestyle. A long-term study of 55,000 females started in 1989 is finding that PTSD can be a significant risk factor for women. Researchers asked participants to give any history of traumatic events. The study concludes that women with a traumatic experience plus four symptoms of PTSD have a 60 percent higher chance of cardiac event over women with no trauma history. Women with trauma but no PTSD symptoms face a 45 percent higher chance of heart attack.

Heart attack and stroke are not a concern only for the elderly or those with unhealthy lifestyles. The constant tension and interrupted sleep associated with PTSD can also put women at increased risk. If you are a woman who has experienced a traumatic life experience and have even one or two symptoms of PTSD, your chances of a heart event are higher. Treating your PTSD can significantly lower your risk. Stop by and talk with our staff of professionals at Family Guidance Center. We can help.

Childhood Mental Health: Many do Not Receive Treatment for Mental Illness

Ignoring Childhood Mental Health Puts Children at Risk

What if there were an illness that affected half of kids in America and most of them never got any treatment?mental health Unfortunately, that is the case in our country. A recent report released through the Child Mind Institute finds that 50 percent of kids in this country will experience a mental health condition at some juncture during their childhood. Yet just 7.4 percent of kids per year receive treatment for their illness.

The biggest mental health condition faced by U.S. children today is anxiety in its various forms (generalized, PTSD, social anxiety, phobia, separation anxiety and panic disorder). Anxiety accounts for 40 percent of all childhood mental illness in this country (31.9 percent with anxiety, 8.3 percent with severe anxiety). The median age of anxiety onset is just six years old.

Not only do American children not get the immediate care that they need, studies reveal that it is not likely that these kids will ever receive care. Untreated childhood mental illness puts kids at risk as they grow up for other health problems and increases the chance that they will not complete high school.

With so many children experiencing mental health symptoms, parents need to be vigilant about looking for any signs of trouble. Symptoms of childhood anxiety include: excessive anxiousness, irritability, sleep disruption, inability to concentrate and/or being fidgety. If you notice these symptoms, talk to your medical doctor or make an appointment for a mental health check-up with one of our mental health professionals at Family Guidance Center. We can help. Children who receive prompt attention are able to develop valuable tools for managing anxiety that will help them on the road to a happy and healthy life.