Archives for March, 2012
Once again we're devoting this blog to bring you information on children and mental health in recognition of the upcoming National Children's Mental Health Week. Can children as young as 6 to 12 months old show signs of autism-related delays? Today, we're posting information about autism-delays in children in that age range, from Dr. Rebecca Landa, director of the Center for Autism and Related Disorders at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, Md. Dr. Landa says that parents need to be empowered to identify the warning signs of ASD and other communication delays: Though autism is often not diagnosed until the age of three, some children begin to show signs of developmental delay before they turn a year old. While not all infants and toddlers with delays will develop autism spectrum disorders (ASD), experts point to early detection of these signs as key to capitalizing on early diagnosis and intervention, which is believed to improve developmental outcomes.
We've been using this space to bring you information about National Children's Mental Health Awareness Week along with the not-for-profit Child Mind Institute, who has been sharing some important and helpful information with us. Today we want to link you to a series of videos with Orlando Bloom, who spoke with Dr. Harold Koplewicz, the president of the Child Mind Institute about dyslexia, the creative process and his experiences dealing with his own dyslexia.
It doesn't matter if it's real or fake, it's confirmed: pot kills. (And once again, it's in the news). That's still my answer to the client who questioned me this past weekend when I told him the dangers of smoking pot. "What about medical marijuana?" he asked. Well, the marijuana-like drug, marinol is proven to work and it does not impair cognition. It also doesn't have the same side-effects as smoking pot. (Medical cases where marijuana is said to be the only option should be evaluated on an individual basis). Many Americans consider pot a "light drug," akin to alcohol and those who smoke it love to argue that alcohol is worse for you. There are plenty, though, who say otherwise.
In addition to regular posts, throughout upcoming weeks we're going to use the Therapy Soup blog space to bring you fascinating interviews and important information about National National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week (May 6-12, 2012). But first, a call to action from the Child Mind Institute for our readers who are mental health professionals: The Child Mind Institute’s "Speak Up for Kids" connects parents and teachers with professionals in their community for free talks on psychiatric and learning disorders and other issues relating to raising healthy, happy kids. Speaking up is the first step to getting kids the help they need.
People go to therapy for a variety of reasons—quite often they have a vague sense "that something isn't right," or feelings of sadness or depression. They might be worried that they or someone they care about might have a mental illness, or they're having problems with significant others. Yesterday I had a conversation with a friend who was stressed out about doing his taxes. He joked, "Hey, is there therapy for tax-related stress?" Sometimes the answer is yes.
(Richard's off, C.R. writes): The rich are rotten. They're not like you or me. That's what the research seems to show. In the past couple of years, the Greater Good Science Center (GGSC) at University of California, Berkeley, has been writing about the results of studies about social class, conducted by researchers at the Berkeley Social Interaction Laboratory (BSI). Dacher Keltner, Phd, a nationally prominent social psychologist is the co-director of both the GGSC and the BSI, and highly-acclaimed author of the bestseller, Born To Be Good: The Science of A Meaningful Life. The research he and his team have been doing the past couple of years is eye-catching, hot stuff.
For some, the urge to spring clean starts today, when the clocks are set an hour ahead. For others, the weather is the trigger. For us, it's the day after the Jewish holiday of Purim when most traditional Jewish homes begin (or are already well-into) cleaning for the upcoming Passover holiday. Unlike traditional spring cleaning, Passover cleaning isn't merely about getting rid of bacteria, dust, and junk (though that is usually a part of it)—it's primarily about preparing oneself spiritually for the upcoming holiday of liberation, Passover, which celebrates the exodus of our ancestors from Egypt. The main requirement of this psycho-spiritual practice is getting rid of *grain-based items that are capable of leavening or rising." The matter-of-fact reason? Our ancestors were in a great rush to leave their slavery in Egypt and were told not to wait for their bread to rise; therefore, they ate unleavened bread (matzoh). The spiritual reason? Most of us eat grain products (like bread and pastry) that are puffed up, or leavened, all year long. In the spring we are charged with remembering that it's easy to be puffed up with ourselves, but now is the time for a good dose of humility. We need to celebrate our freedom with inner-spaciousness. Without humility, the ego blocks up any space inside our psyches where the connection to the spiritual might flourish.
Yesterday, I was very disturbed to receive a hysterical call from the mother of twenty year old young man who was using marijuana, ecstasy, alcohol, and possibly cocaine or heroin (she wasn't totally sure). The therapist she called first,told her to "let him hit rock-bottom, then call me." That is an utterly irresponsible and unethical and inhumane recommendation. Hitting that next rock-bottom could mean jail, brain damage, or death. Yes, in some cases, there may not be a loving mother or any concerned person willing to intervene, however, this was not the case. Today, in a stroke of Providential synchronicity, Dr. David Sack, addiction expert and author of the Addiction Recovery blog here at PsychCentral, (we interviewed him in 2010), points out that family and friends of addicts can "raise the bottom."
Richard's off, C.R. writes: A series of recent social psychology studies on social class and the news that Occupy has started up again in my hometown (NYC), has got me thinking. My position? It comes down to this: In the class war, I’m a conscientious objector. I don’t think Occupy's accomplishing all that much except perhaps ratcheting up the hate levels in America. Even the very name uses the terminology of war—Occupy—and that speaks volumes. It's not all that hard to manipulate people (that's why over 400 billion dollars is spent on advertising each year). And because most of us naturally gravitate towards groups it's all too easy to jump on the "us" vs. "them" bandwagon. From there, it's a short step to viewing “other people” as the problem or the evil enemy, sometimes for the most spurious reasons.