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Children

Bipolar Disorder in Children: Misunderstood and Misdiagnosed

Improving the Diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder in Children Approximately 1.5% of the population, worldwide, bipolar disorder is not uncommon. However, bipolar disorder in children presents differently than it does in adults, an important difference which is not addressed in our current diagnostic manual (DSM-IV-TR). As a result, it is frequently misdiagnosed. Let's look at the facts:


Depresion

Winter Blues Got You Down?

For many of us in the northern hemisphere, with winter, comes cold weather and less daylight. These changes in environment can affect our psychological functioning and may contribute to an exacerbation of anxiety, while others may notice depressed mood, irritability, weight gain, hypersomnia, and an increase in interpersonal conflicts.Women are twice as likely to experience these climate-related psychological changes. Symptoms tend to peak during the month of February. Whether your mood changes are within the "normal" range, or whether you have the "winter blues" or seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which is thought to affect up to 5% of the population, it is not uncommon to notice changes in how you feel consistent with the changing of the seasons. In fact, the first documented reference to these changes was in 1918 when the term "cabin fever" was coined as characterized by irritability, paranoia, memory problems, and excessive sleep. Now, this term is commonly used to refer to the boredom which results from being indoors for an extended period of time.


Anxiety

Panic Disorder: Therapy That DOESN’T Work

Approximately 6 million individuals experience panic disorder each year. Panic disorder is characterized by recurrent, intense periods of anxiety/panic, which are often unprovoked, or, “out-of-the blue,” and are accompanied by anticipatory anxiety regarding the possibility of future attacks. Panic disorder can be quite debilitating, sometimes accompanied by agoraphobia, or avoidance of pubic places due to fear of being in a setting or situation from which escape or finding help may be difficult. Before we get to what DOES NOT work, let’s discuss what DOES work. Evidence for effective treatment of panic disorder is very well documented. The data show with great robust that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is effective and is superior to a number of other treatment strategies. Cognitive behavioral therapy for panic disorder often includes:


Anxiety

A Parent’s Guide to Child & Adolescent Anxiety

One of the most difficult parenting moments we may experience is seeing our child in distress and feeling powerless in our ability to help him or her feel better. There will be a time in the life of every parent in which his or her child is struggling and the path to understanding and overcoming this struggle is unclear. In order to help a child overcome distress, it is first important to identify the problem. Anxiety disorders are among the most common psychological difficulties in children and adolescents, affecting approximately 13% of youth in the United States. Anxiety disorders in childhood are the greatest predictors of anxiety, mood, and substance abuse difficulties in adulthood; thus, it is important to identify and treat anxiety difficulties as early as is feasible. Early identification and intervention is associated with positive long-term outcome. A Parent’s Guide to Anxiety Disorders Anxiety is a healthy, normal, and adaptive response to stress. It is our body’s way of alerting us to danger. It can be motivating and helpful to us in meeting our goals. However, in excess, it can cause us to feel overwhelmed and leave us unable to carry out our daily activities. There are a number of anxiety disorders common to children of which parents should be aware:


Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

A New Year…A New You…A New Psychology?

I am very excited to welcome Dr. Donna Marino to Therapy That Works as a guest blogger. I find her area of expertise, Positive Psychology, to be an exciting, evidence-based approach to wellness, as I'm sure you will as well. Dr. Marino: While Positive Psychology is not exactly new (it’s been around for almost 15 years now, started by Martin Seligman, in 1998, during his APA presidency), it is still considered new to the field of psychology.  It is a new perspective on mental health that research is demonstrating, can lead to “a new you.” Now, will you wake up singing like Beyoncé or swimming like Michael Phelps?  Well, no, but research shows that it will make you happier.  In fact, Positive Psychology has been referred to as the “Science of Happiness.”  The key difference between Positive Psychology and Self-help or Pop Psychology is its grounding in research. It is considered an evidence-based treatment. So, what is Positive Psychology?


General

New Year’s Resolutions 101

  New Year's resolutions: We have all set them and we have all broken them. Whether it is to lose weight, stop smoking, or spend more quality time with our loved ones, New Year’s resolutions involve behavior change. Achieving and maintaining change can be challenging. After all, behavior patterns develop over time and it takes time to develop new patterns. For those who look ahead to the new year with personal goals, here a few tips for success:


NAC Shows Promise for Hair Pulling (Video)

Below, is a nice summary regarding this exciting avenue of treatment by principal investigator and Trichotillomania Learning Center (TLC)  Scientific Advisory Board member, Dr. Jon Grant: N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC), a dietary supplement and amino acid that affects glutamate levels in the brain, has been studied in the treatment of a number of conditions across medicine and psychiatry. In recent years, NAC has been thought to have the potential to improve symptoms of Trichotillomania (hair pulling).  As no medication or other substance to date has shown effectiveness in the treatment of  TTM, this finding is one of promise and one that warrants consideration and further investigation.


Anxiety

Feeling Overwhelmed?

We've all been there.  Sometimes, demands on us exceed our ability to cope and we reach a point of feeling overwhelmed. We feel completely overcome in mind and/or emotion and feel ill-equipped to cope. When we are faced with stressors, good (eustress) or bad (distress), we experience physiological, emotional, and cognitive arousal. Activating chemicals, such as endorphins, cortisol, and adrenalin, are released in order to help us rise to the challenge of meeting the demands of these stressors so that we may effectively manage them and reduce the arousal or tension we are experiencing.  This state of arousal is known as the fight-or-flight response. Essentially, it is the sympathetic branch of our nervous system (our alarm system) taking control from our parasympathetic branch (our state of calm and homeostasis).


Anxiety

The Sorrow of a Nation: Coping After Tragedy

Words cannot express the sorrow of a nation that grieves the loss of innocent youth and those who gave their lives to protect them.  Emotions run deep; from confusion and sadness to anxiety and anger. In the wake of such trauma, it is our natural response to traumatic events, to try to make sense of what we experienced.  We search for meaning. Why would such a horrific event happen? What can we do to ensure the safety of our loved ones? And, yet, we are likely to never understand why on December 14, 2012, a 20 year-old, heavily armed man opened fire in Sandy Hook Elementary School, killing twenty children between the ages of 6 and 8 and six staff members, before turning a gun on himself.


Anxiety

Help for Hoarding

The compulsion to hoard belongings has been likened to addiction; yet there are some important differences between the two. In a previous post,  some of those differences were discussed.  Most importantly, however, are the differences in treatment approach. I am frequently asked by loved ones, "Can't I just go in and clean the house?" It can be difficult to understand why this is not in the best interest of the individual struggling with hoarding difficulties.  Herein lies the reason: