Posts by Planet Therapy

New Report Highlights Baby Boomer Needs for Mental Health Care

Posted by on Oct 18, 2012 in Uncategorized | 1 comment

DepressionA new report indicates that, along with greater risk of physical problems, around one in every five baby boomers may have mental health or substance abuse issues. As the nation adds more seniors, many in need of care may have difficulty finding quality services for common mental health problems, such as depression.

Institute of Medicine Report

The Institute of Medicine reported states the U.S. lacks physicians, nurses and other experienced health workers with training for the special needs of baby boomers. While the nation focuses on addressing the physical health requirements of seniors, a Duke University doctor, chairing the Institute of Medicine investigation panel, states that “the burden of mental illness and substance abuse disorders in older adults in the United States borders on a crisis.”

Further compounding this growing problem, this potential crisis is predominantly hidden from the general public, as well as those charged with developing policies and programs for senior care. Report estimates indicate that between 5.6 million and eight million seniors have either one or more mental health conditions or substance abuse disorders. Researchers believe this is a highly conservative projection as it does not include some disorders.

Senior Population Exploding

With the number of seniors expected to almost double by 2030, unless the mental health community addresses this hidden problem, the nation’s baby boomers may face catastrophe issues.

The growing “silver tsunami” of seniors with mental health issues could prove as dangerous and damaging as the ocean-based ‘harbor wave.”

Mental health professionals are embracing this new research. The National Alliance on Mental Illness is calling the new report a welcome “wake-up call” for the overlooked issue of geriatric mental health care. A spokesperson calls this problem “. . . something we need to attend to urgently.”

Aging and Mental Health

Aging does not accelerate mental health issues, but, when they appear, they are often overlooked, although these problems tend to be more complex in seniors. As older adults face increasing physical health issues–and the medications they take to combat them–often mask senior mental health needs.

For example, seniors with untreated depression have more trouble controlling conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Aging also may create other physical and mental issues.

Older adults’ bodies often metabolize alcohol and recreational or prescription drugs differently than when they were younger, increasing the risks of overdose or addiction. Also, another psychological problem often appears when seniors become overburdened with grief. As their family and friends die in greater numbers, senior grief can generate depression.

More Geriatric Psychiatrists Needed

The Institute of Medicine fears that there will be insufficient geriatric psychiatrists and other mental health professionals. They recommend that all medical professionals with geriatric patients get training in spotting the signs of senior mental health problems. The Institute also urges Medicare and Medicaid to cooperate, paying for needed mental health care and funding appropriate geriatric mental health training programs for practitioners.

Do you have any thoughts or suggestions on ways to improve senior mental health care? Are you concerned about senior family or friends having untreated mental or substance abuse problems?

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Is The Internet Driving You or Someone You Know Crazy?

Posted by on Oct 2, 2012 in Addiction, Uncategorized | 1 comment

Internet AddictionAre you enraged when your Internet connection is down, even for a short while? Is your kid checking email every 15 minutes no matter where you are or what you are doing? Is there nothing you enjoy more than surfing the Internet and become grouchy when other things make it impossible for you to so?

If this is the case, then you or your child may be suffering from Internet addiction? Actually, this is serious, in May of 2013 the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders’ or DSM-IV, aka the bible of mental disorder definitions will begin including Internet addiction as a legitimate mental disorder diagnosis requiring further study. It is the first step for the psychiatric world to declare it a true mental illness.

It will be called ‘Internet-use disorder.” There is really little doubt that there is such a disorder, horror stories about the affect of the Internet abound and kids are especially prone to exhibit these negative effects.

Symptoms of Internet or Technology Addiction

The symptoms of Internet or Technology Addiction are the same as those for any addiction and include:

  • Emotional shutdown
  • Lack of Concentration
  • Withdrawal

Mental health providers also feel that the addiction and problems of addiction are not confined to gamers as was originally thought.

Director of the Brain and Psychological Sciences Research Centre in Sydney Australia Mike Kyrios recently said:

”With kids, gaming is an obvious issue. But overall, technology use could be a potential problem.”

Some notorious cases of Gaming addiction include:

  • Daniel Petric, a 17 year old Ohio resident shot his mother and injured his Dad following their confiscation of his Halo 3 video game that they were afraid he was playing too much in 2009.
  • In 2011 Chris Standorth, age 20, died from a lung blockage while playing his Xbox for at least 12 consecutive hours without a break.
  • In 2012, a gaming addict died in a Taiwan Internet cafe after playing an online video game for forty straight hours – the equivalent of a normal work week.
  • Internet addiction is more prevalent in young people but not unheard of in adults. In 2010 a couple was arrested when their daughter, an infant, starved to death while they played an online game for untold hours. The game was concerned with successfully raising a “virtual” baby. Their score was not reported.

If you, or someone you know has too great of an interest in the Internet  it may be time to get  help. Call your local mental health interventionists for more information. Internet addiction can be a serious problem.


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Helping Grandparents Care for the Children of Incarcerated Parents

Posted by on Sep 18, 2012 in Parenting | 1 comment

Grandparent Child CareOnly a few stages in life can match the difficulties associated with raising children. As a parent, you must keep watch over the child’s physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well-being. You must also learn to take notice of antisocial behavior and self-destructive life choices. When you are a grandparent and the parenting issues involve the adolescent offspring of imprisoned parents, the complications accumulate like a Los Angeles brush fire.

According to a report from the Oregon Social Learning Center, youth with an antisocial parent or parents are three to six times more likely to engage in dangerous antisocial activities. Furthermore, these behavior patterns typically lead to criminal behavior at young ages with a high risk of additional problems such as:

  • Academic complications
  • Early-life sexual encounters
  • Substance abuse
  • Abrasive peer behavior
  • Complicated work habits
  • Marriage issues
  • Parenting complications
  • More.

Current predictions suggest that the adolescent children of incarcerated parents will be involved in a critical criminal situation by age 15 to 25. In many cases, incarceration of the child will follow.

Coping as a Grandparent

In many events, grandparents bear the burden of rearing the young children of incarcerated mothers. This presents many complications, including:

  • Financial expenses
  • Matters of control and respect
  • Issues concerning parent-child relationships
  • Parental visitations
  • Child welfare
  • Emotional and social issues
  • Governmental interventions
  • More.

When a child goes through the family transition of parent to grandparent, certain resentments tend to follow. Without proper guidance, the grandparent can be overwhelmed by the renewed responsibilities of full-time parenting. Whether the child reacts violently, sullenly or seemingly without concern, the shift in family relationships stands out like a casket the parlor. Even if never discussed in the open, everyone knows that things are now different.

Current studies have confirmed the links between father/mother criminality and the antisocial behavior of the adolescent offspring. Even now, lawmakers are working to improve the justice system. But the effects are yet in the future. Right now, every grandparent burdened to rear the child of an incarcerated child faces great challenges, many heartaches and perhaps a long battle with their own sense of well-being and sanity.

Planet therapy provides parenting support and workshops for grandparents as well as parents. Your task is difficult and the future of your grandchild may hang in the balance. Seek help today.


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Fatherless Children, A Consequence of Drug Addiction, Fathers and Prison

Posted by on Sep 10, 2012 in Alcohol and Drugs Misuse, Family & Friends, Parenting | 1 comment

Fatherless ChildAccording to the principles behind the New Jersey Mandatory Drug Court Program, signed into active law on July 19, 2012 by N.J. governor Chris Christie, no life is disposable. Legislation S-881 establishes guidelines for helping individuals overcome drug addiction. The Program stands on the groundwork of fiscal and moral commonsense: Helping drug addicts reclaim their lives exceeds the performance of a warehouse prison system.

A fatherless child remains one of the worst consequences of drug addiction. The addicted adult ends up in prison. The child of the prisoner – rose to adulthood by a faulty system – ends up following suit. Addiction begets addiction. In the end, society reaps even greater fiscal and moral consequences.

Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS)

A study initiated by the BJS reports on the issue of minors with incarcerated parents. The background study group includes parents in prison for sexual abuse, alcohol addiction, mental health, drug abuse and other complications. Primary points of notice include:

  • Over 744,000 fathers in prison
  • Over 65,000 mothers in prison
  • Over 1.5 million minor children left without a father, mother or both
  • Better than one quarter of the minor children are under four years old
  • 59% of the offenders with children are incarcerated on drug charges
  • Over 34% of the prisoners with children report a home background that includes drug and/or alcohol abuse by their parents or legal guardians.

Prison life is filled with frustration – even for those with strong minds, courageous hearts and the ability to focus on a promising future. If you are addicted to drugs, alcohol, sex or any other form of mental illness, don’t wait until help becomes part of a mandatory jail term. You need not live in torment. You need not let your children live without a father or without a mother.

It’s not easy to step into a drug rehabilitation and treatment program. But for happiness, self-control and the sake of your children, it is one of the most important decisions you will ever make.

Seek help now.

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The Affordable Care Act: A Step-up In Providing Mental Health Care

Posted by on Jul 25, 2012 in Family & Friends | 0 comments

Listen up Parents

Parents recognize that being able to keep their kids on their insurance policies until age 26 will help them in getting the health care they need. Most parents view this benefit as being great for routine medical care and perhaps even hospitalization – most do not recognize its value in treating those with mental illness.

Frequently, serious mental illnesses manifest themselves before a person attains the age of 25. This age group, 18-26 were formally a large component of those without healthcare insurance before passage of the Affordable Care Act.

Another way the Affordable Care Act has made it easier to get treatment for mental health issues is the removal of the “pre-existing condition” exclusions that are now removed from all health insurance. Even a person diagnosed with depression can not be denied health coverage for this pre-existing condition. Mental illnesses can be treated. If you suffer from anxiety, depression, an eating disorder or even have thoughts of hurting yourself you can lead a productive and fulfilling life if you seek treatment.

Left untreated these disorders have a huge societal cost – absenteeism, loss of productivity, domestic violence and suicide all have a negative impact on individuals as well as society.

Barriers for Mental Illness’s?

Barriers still exist to folks seeking treatment for mental disorders. Frequently coverage for mental health is handled differently from other medical coverages with limits on how long therapy can be continued and still be covered as well as the perceived stigma that patients have of being labeled “mentally ill.” While the Affordable Care Act will likely lead to improved coverage for mental health, the fear of stigma for seeking treatment is not addressed by the bill.

Nevertheless, by eliminating pre-existing conditions and allowing previously uninsured young people the ability to seek appropriate psychiatric treatment it is clear that the Affordable Care Act will be able to make a significant impact to improve the lot of those who need access to this kind of healthcare.

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