Problems

The Complexity of a Bipolar Disorder

Posted by on Jan 29, 2013 in Featured, Living with illness | 0 comments

The Complexity of Bipolar Disorder When Accompanied By Co-existent Illnesses

At twenty-four years old, Susan Harris suffers from bipolar disorder, drug abuse, migraine headaches and social phobia. Due to poor coping skills, she lives with her parents. Normally she responds well to medication.

Bipolar SymptomsBut on November 13th of 2012, Susan disappeared for four days and three nights. It wasn’t the first or the longest. On Friday the 16th, they found her in the alley on the backside of the DeWolfe Street hardware store. Cold, wet and shaking like a loose shelf in a 1850s freight car, she was huddle between the block walls and the dumpster. No one knows what happened or where she spent those missing days.

The burdens of caring for a young adult with bipolar disorder can break a parent’s heart. Each day carries a certain measure of fear and worry – even when the child’s current medication appears to provide measurable success. At any moment something can break and your bipolar child crosses into a season of darkness.

Diagnosing Bipolar Disorder Can Be Complicated By Co-existing Illnesses

Bipolar disorder is typically characterized by discrete and intense emotional changes ranging from extreme manic excitement to deep level bouts with depression. However, the disorder can also be limited to periods of long-lasting unstable mood patterns. When complicated by any of the following co-existing illnesses, bipolar disorder can be very difficult to detect and diagnose:

  • Anxiety disorders such as PTSD
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • Substance abuse
  • Various physical complications, including diabetes, heart disease and migraines – all capable of inducing symptoms of depression or mania.

Current Treatment of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder cannot be cured. Modern treatment helps, but this illness remains a lifelong affliction. Effective control methods include:

  • Medications such as mood-stabilizing products, sleep aids and Lithium treatments designed to aid with thyroid problems
  • Psychotherapy involving cognitive behavioral therapy, family-focused coping strategies, social rhythm processes and psycho-education designed to teach bipolar individuals how to recognize danger signs
  • Electro-convulsive therapy, which may be used in the event that medication and/or psychotherapy fails to provide positive results.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, several new studies indicate medication supported by intensive psychotherapy and social rhythm therapy provides better results than those achieved via collaborative care and psycho-education sessions. Yet the big question remains:

How long will it be before the parents of Susan Harris must endure another vanishing daughter ordeal?

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Changing The Way You Deal With Your Child’s Mental Health

Posted by on Jan 28, 2013 in Featured, Parenting | 0 comments

childHelen Keller was treated as a mentally disturbed child yet her disabilities were physical and her mind was clear. But her ability to communicate with her environment was limited and she came from a time in which mentally ill children were often treated as a blot against the dignity of the parents. Society was void of knowledge, understanding and the courage to reject the so-called curse of a mentally disturbed child.

Kindness abounded, but little was done to change the circumstances. People like Anne Sullivan were among the uncommon. There weren’t many blind/deaf girls that enjoyed a world encounter at the faucet of a hand-cranked water pump.

 

A New Approach To Your Child’s Mental Health

 

A recent article from the National Technical Assistance Center for Children’s Mental Health brings to light a new conceptual framework for helping to ensure that your child has the opportunities that many of Helen Keller’s peers never received.

The new approach uses the impact of System of Care values to promote enhanced child development. The process focuses on healthy environments, physical health and mental health.

The core approach applies three primary principles:

  1. Identify a child’s mental health problems
  2. Help the child learn to optimize their mental strengths
  3. Focus public health concepts on areas that strengthen your child’s physical health, mental development and mental health.

Three major elements make up the conceptual framework of the program:

  1. Establish principles of application
  2. Establish a set of rules concerning public health response to circumstances
  3. Establish an expanded range of public intervention.

When functioning correctly, this new model of managing children’s mental health will promote better focus on positive mental health. Parents, teachers and authorities will work to prevent mental health problems through treatment and by reclaiming ground previously loss due to poor intervention.

Leaders of policy roles, federal and state facilities and local programs may soon take a “Big” hand in your child’s mental health. The question:

Is it “Big Brother,” interference or is it providing something that the children of Helen Keller’s age never had the opportunity to receive?

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Mental Illness and Homeless Individuals

Posted by on Jan 8, 2013 in Problems | 0 comments

homeless peopleAccording to the National Coalition for the Homeless (NCH), better than 20% of the homeless people in the U.S. endure one or another serious mental condition. Yet in the nation as a whole, only 6% of the people are considered severely mentally impaired.

In a 2009 government survey of 25 cities, mental illness was listed as the third largest cause for single adults being homelessness. 12% of the cities identified mental illness as one of the top three causes for homeless families.

Helping the Impossible Patient

According to NCH reports, mental illness often prevents a homeless person from forming or maintaining a stable relationship. Part of the problem streams from a lack of understanding by untroubled people – even family members, including you. When your father or mother or daughter or son resists the efforts of caregivers, rejects your support and developments a moment-to-moment lifestyle, anger may become your typical response to every encounter with that person. And it hinders your ability to help.

Homeless people often neglect the basic hygiene practices that help ward off physical complications such as respiratory infections, skin diseases and even life-threatening exposure to harsh weather. They may even use street drugs for self-medication. Smokers share smokes with homeless friends. Tuberculosis waits in the breeze.

Their poor work habits are frustrating to you and maybe even to them. Sometimes they don’t even attempt to obtain employment. The costs of trying to help can be overwhelming. Sometimes you just want to throw up your hands and quit.

Resources Now and More in the Making

When approached correctly, many mentally ill homeless people are willing to receive professional treatment and services. Authorities are working to help improve coordination between existing mental health service providers and homeless shelters. The future is looking better.

For current solutions, get your loved one lined up with an outreach program with workers who strive to establish a relationship of trust through continued contact. According to the National Mental Health Association (NMHA), supported housing provides an effective solution for the homeless mentally ill. Here’s a sample of the services:

  • Advanced life management training
  • Employment opportunities
  • Educational tools
  • Flexible treatment options
  • Ongoing access to treatment resources
  • Peer support
  • Physical health care
  • And More.

Your homeless friend or relative can achieve residential stability. Access to support housing programs work. For the sake of your own sanity, check it out.

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Responsible Parenting

Posted by on Dec 14, 2012 in Parenting | 0 comments

Responsible Parenting

Responsible ParentingPerhaps you avoid the concept of responsible parenting. You may feel that planned methods hinder parent-to-child relationships. You may resent any framework of external interference in child discipline, training or fellowship. Perhaps you view responsible parenting classes as an encroachment on your personal child rearing decisions.

Let this article change your mind.

The Nature of Spontaneous Parenting

From the moment Adam was cast out of the garden, the parenting process has been based upon spontaneous learning processes. It’s a mixture of pre-conceived parenting notions handed down from parent to parent and then linked by “fly by the seat of your pants” changes slanted to the learned personal and social reactions of individual parents.

The following example illustrates the process:

RM raised his children under the spontaneous rule of “fly by the seat of your pants”. He entered parenthood with certain personally confirmed parenting notions based upon the errors his own parents had committed. To RM, the rules were simple:

  • Discipline without beating
  • Never strike a child when you are angry
  • Take time to make time
  • Listen when your children speak
  • Be a friend as well as a parent
  • Put child safety first
  • Provide necessities but not necessarily wants.

According to MedlinePlus, RM is not too far distant from the standard suggestions on how to be a responsible parent. After stating that there is more than one “right” method of responsible parenting, Medline provides a partial list of parenting guidelines that expand on RM’s concepts in only four areas:

  • Provide consistency and order
  • Establish and enforce limits
  • Supervise your child’s activities and friendships
  • Leading by example.

The Missing Link

Responsible parenting begins and ends with a calculated, focused, learned and dedicated awareness of every detail concerning child rearing. Spontaneous parenting rarely ever begins with a thought out concept of events versus consequences.

Each process of efficient parenting involves multiple levels of application. For example: You must balance safety with the ability to temporarily turn loose. Sometimes emotional and mental growth is only possible via reduced safety measures.

In a learn-as-you-go environment, children pay the price of parental failure. Just a little knowledge, a little training, a simple study of bad parenting examples can make the difference between responsible parents with well mannered children and spontaneous parent with consistently troubled children.

What is your goal as a responsible parent?

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Parental Involvement Improves Pupil Performance

Posted by on Dec 14, 2012 in Featured, Parenting | 0 comments

Parental Involvement Improves Pupil Performance

A recent article from the Department for Education and Skills (DES) examines the effects of spontaneous parental involvement on pupil progress and achievement. “Good parenting,” according to the authors Professor Charles Desforges and Alberto Abouchaar, is tightly linked to a parent’s spontaneous activity in and out of home. By involving yourself in home pre-school, parent to teacher discussions, child progress tracking and a host of other methods, you can help construct within your child a good foundation of:

  • Attitudes
  • Self Confidence
  • Skills
  • And Values.

The DES article attempts to enlighten parents concerning three areas of spontaneous parental involvement:

  1. The nature, impact and outcome of spontaneous parenting
  2. Things that hinder spontaneous parental involvement
  3. The evaluation and enhancement of a parent’s spontaneous involvement

Core Description And Nature Of Parental Leadership On A Spontaneous Level

Current DES research uses advanced statistical collection and measurement techniques to describe the scope and scale of spontaneous parental involvement in pupil achievement. To ensure good, in-home parenting you should provide daily resources that include:

  • A stable and secure environment
  • Active and positive communications with schools and educational leaders
  • Discussions between you and your child
  • Hands-on participation in school related work projects
  • Intellectual stimulation
  • Participation in educational, school and social events
  • Participation in school governmental decisions
  • Role model leadership concerning educational, personal and social citizenship and values.

Progressive Stages Of Diminishing Value

As a parent, you should understand two primary points concerning parental involvement in pupil performance.

1) Your ability to influence your child through spontaneous parental involvement can be hindered by your:

  • Family social class
  • Maternal concerns such as level of education, psycho-social health and dual parent status
  • Matters of material deprivation
  • Family ethnicity.

These matters are not insurmountable. They merely reflect a need to work harder and longer in your efforts to produce the improvements that can be derived through effective spontaneous parental involvement.

2) Your ability to influence your child’s personal and social growth is diminished as your child ages. Imagine how the benefits of an early start can enhance and extend the age of break-away.

Seven Question Checkup Of Your Spontaneous Parental Involvement

  1. Do my spontaneous parenting skills include effective parent-to-child interaction?
  2. Am I spontaneous in my school-to-home and home-to-school communications?
  3. Do I spontaneously volunteer for classroom events?
  4. Do I provide my child with effective homework help?
  5. As a spontaneous parent, am I helping my child make correct choices for educational options?
  6. What areas of PTA and school government occupy my time?
  7. Do I collaborate with community efforts to contribute to my child’s school?
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Medical Treatments for Depression

Posted by on Nov 12, 2012 in Anxiety, Depression, Featured | 1 comment

Treatments for Depression

Clinical depression is a collection of symptoms characterized by low mood, low self-esteem and the loss of pleasure in activities that are normally enjoyable. It is a disabling condition that can adversely affect all aspects of a person’s life and 3.4 percent of people with clinical depression commit suicide. Fortunately, a variety of medications are able to manage clinical depression. These medications can be classified into the following categories:

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors
  • Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors
  • Tricyclic antidepressants
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors

SSRIs work by increasing the level of serotonin in the brain, which is a mood elevator. They are currently the preferred medication for severe depression due their broad effect on depression and relatively mild side effects. Common SSRIs include escitalopram (Cipralex, Lexapro), fluoxetine (Prozac) and sertraline (Lustral, Zoloft). Patients who don’t respond to the first SSRI are typically switched to another SSI, which improves the patient’s condition in nearly half of all cases. SSRIs typically have limited effectiveness against mild and moderate depression.

Serotonin Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors

SNRIs elevate the levels of the mood elevators serotonin and norepniphrine. They include desvenlafaxine (Pristiq), duloxetine (Cymbalta), milnacipran (Ixel) and venlafaxine (Effexor). SNRIs are the newest type of anti-depressants and have side effects that are generally similar to those of SSRIs, although they are slightly less severe. SNRIs are typically administered in low doses at first and then gradually increased until the therapeutic level is reached. Similarly, a patient must taper off SNRIs gradually to minimize the risk of side effects.

Tricyclics

Tricyclics are so-named because their chemical structure is characterized by three carbon rings. This is an older class of anti-depressants that have more side effects than SSRIs. Tricyclics are typically used only when patients do not respond to the newer anti-depressants, especially inpatients. Many tricyclics are available, although amitriptyline is the most common tricyclic still in use.

MAOIs

A monoamine oxidase inhibitor reduces the ability of monoamine oxidase, which breaks down monoamine neurotransmitters. MAOIs are typically used only when all other types of anti-depressants have failed due to their interactions with other drugs which can be lethal. They are most effective in treating atypical depression, in which the patient can experience an improvement in mood when a positive event occurs. The most recent form of MAOI is Emsam, which is a transdermal patch of selegiline that was approved by the FDA in 2006.

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