CHILD ANXIETY AND WHAT TO DO

ANXIETY IN CHILDREN AND WHAT TO DO

Throughout this site, you will see many references to child anxiety. Commonly, children with behavioral problems experience complex trauma that progresses from stress and trauma memories that can begin before birth. Trauma memories can be cumulative as well, and eventually stress can become toxic for children. One of our trauma treatment approaches is called ARC. This stands for Attachment, Regulation and Competence. This approach is clinically supported for all ages, and it can be applied in the family setting as well using an ARC method called GROW which helps parent to mend and generate healthy attachments with their children.

Let's start with some information on Child Anxiety from the Center for theTreatment of Anxiety and Mood Disorders. 

http://centerforanxietydisorders.com/category/child-anxiety/

How Stress Affects Child Development

Stress surrounds us on a daily basis. From traffic delays to work projects, worries about finances or health, and news reports of world events, the demands of our everyday lives produce both positive and negative stress. Stressors (which are the things that cause your stress) can be physical, emotional, theoretical, or environmental. Even positive events like weddings and job promotions cause stress.

Whether negative or positive, one thing is certain – stress raises the body’s anxiety levels. When we’re under stress, the “fight or flight” response kicks in, raising blood pressure and heart rate, and sometimes causing you to lose sleep or feel like you can’t breathe. While this response usually subsides after the stressor is removed, a prolonged or permanent stress response can develop in someone who is under constant stress. It’s called toxic stress, and children can be affected by it just the same as adults.

What are the Effects of Stress on Kids?

The incidence of obesity, diabetes and heart problems, cancer and other diseases goes up when a child lives with toxic stress. Additionally, their chances of depression, substance abuse and dependence, smoking, teen pregnancy and/or sexually transmitted disease, suicide and domestic violence greatly increase. So does their tendency to be more violent or to become a victim of violence.

Studies done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have shown that when a child is subjected to frequent or continual stress from thing like neglect, abuse, dysfunctional families or domestic abuse, and they lack adequate support from adults, their brain architecture is actually altered and their organ systems become weakened. As a result, these kids risk lifelong health and social problems.

Of the 17,000 people who took part in the CDC study, two thirds had an Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) score of 1 or higher. 87% of those people had more than one ACE. By measuring and scoring ten types of trauma ranging from childhood sexual abuse to neglect or bullying and even divorce, researchers were able to assess the chronic disease risk for the study’s mostly white, middle class participants. Their results show that the problem of toxic stress isn’t limited to children who face poverty or to those who come from certain ethnic groups – children from all walks of life can have high ACE scores.

If you are interested in finding out your ACE score and what it might mean for you, go here.

Signs of stress

Children who are exposed to toxic stress exhibit:

  • Poorly developed executive functioning skills
  • Lack of self-regulation and self-reflection
  • Reduced impulse control
  • Maladaptive coping skills
  • Poor stress management

Research on children who face continued toxic stress shows they have:

  • More trouble learning in school
  • More difficulty trusting adults and forming healthy relationships and an increased chance of divorce as an adult
  • Higher incidence of unhealthy behaviors such as substance abuse, sexual experimentation and unsafe sexual practices, engaging in high-risk sports, smoking and alcohol abuse
  • Higher incidence of depressive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD), behavioral disorders, and even psychosis
  • Poor health outcomes such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and a higher suicide risk

Help for Toxic Stress

Awareness is key to preventing and reducing toxic stress in kids. Now that we know about the effects of ACEs, many states have conducted their own research. Some cities have set up task forces and others are working with schools, pediatricians, daycare centers and the justice system to set up screening programs that can turn lives around.

Protecting children from toxic stress involves a multi-faceted approach that targets both the caretaker and the child in order to strengthen family stability. Treatment includes intervention and implementation of methods that decrease stressors and strengthen the individual’s response to stress.

As more programs are enacted, researchers are finding that children benefit even when the solutions are solely focused on their caregiver and not on the child. This is likely because the caregiver’s altered interaction with the child makes the child feel safer. Parenting classes, family-based programs, access to social resources for parents, telephone support and peer support are beneficial, as are cognitive behavioral therapy and relaxation methods like yoga and mindfulness. Additionally, community-based programs like Head Start have been shown to be effective.

AM I DEPRESSED AND WHAT TO DO

AM I DEPRESSED AND WHAT TO DO NOW

1. TAKE THIS SIMPLE QUIZ AND GET SCORED...

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/tests/health/depression-test

2. Read This form the National Institute for Mental Health

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/index.shtml

Depression

Depression (major depressive disorder or clinical depression) is a common but serious mood disorder. It causes severe symptoms that affect how you feel, think, and handle daily activities, such as sleeping, eating, or working. To be diagnosed with depression, the symptoms must be present for at least two weeks.

Some forms of depression are slightly different, or they may develop under unique circumstances, such as:

  • Persistent depressive disorder (also called dysthymia) is a depressed mood that lasts for at least two years. A person diagnosed with persistent depressive disorder may have episodes of major depression along with periods of less severe symptoms, but symptoms must last for two years to be considered persistent depressive disorder.
  • Postpartum depression is much more serious than the “baby blues” (relatively mild depressive and anxiety symptoms that typically clear within two weeks after delivery) that many women experience after giving birth. Women with postpartum depression experience full-blown major depression during pregnancy or after delivery (postpartum depression). The feelings of extreme sadness, anxiety, and exhaustion that accompany postpartum depression may make it difficult for these new mothers to complete daily care activities for themselves and/or for their babies.
  • Psychotic depression occurs when a person has severe depression plus some form of psychosis, such as having disturbing false fixed beliefs (delusions) or hearing or seeing upsetting things that others cannot hear or see (hallucinations). The psychotic symptoms typically have a depressive “theme,” such as delusions of guilt, poverty, or illness.
  • Seasonal affective disorder is characterized by the onset of depression during the winter months, when there is less natural sunlight. This depression generally lifts during spring and summer. Winter depression, typically accompanied by social withdrawal, increased sleep, and weight gain, predictably returns every year in seasonal affective disorder.
  • Bipolar disorder is different from depression, but it is included in this list is because someone with bipolar disorder experiences episodes of extremely low moods that meet the criteria for major depression (called “bipolar depression”). But a person with bipolar disorder also experiences extreme high – euphoric or irritable – moods called “mania” or a less severe form called “hypomania.”

Examples of other types of depressive disorders newly added to the diagnostic classification of DSM-5 include disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (diagnosed in children and adolescents) and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS

If you have been experiencing some of the following signs and symptoms most of the day, nearly every day, for at least two weeks, you may be suffering from depression:

  • Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
  • Feelings of hopelessness, or pessimism
  • Irritability
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities
  • Decreased energy or fatigue
  • Moving or talking more slowly
  • Feeling restless or having trouble sitting still
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
  • Difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
  • Appetite and/or weight changes
  • Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts
  • Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause and/or that do not ease even with treatment

Not everyone who is depressed experiences every symptom. Some people experience only a few symptoms while others may experience many. Several persistent symptoms in addition to low mood are required for a diagnosis of major depression, but people with only a few – but distressing – symptoms may benefit from treatment of their “subsyndromal” depression. The severity and frequency of symptoms and how long they last will vary depending on the individual and his or her particular illness. Symptoms may also vary depending on the stage of the illness.

RISK FACTORS

Depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the U.S. Current research suggests that depression is caused by a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors.

Depression can happen at any age, but often begins in adulthood. Depression is now recognized as occurring in children and adolescents, although it sometimes presents with more prominent irritability than low mood. Many chronic mood and anxiety disorders in adults begin as high levels of anxiety in children.

Depression, especially in midlife or older adults, can co-occur with other serious medical illnesses, such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and Parkinson’s disease. These conditions are often worse when depression is present. Sometimes medications taken for these physical illnesses may cause side effects that contribute to depression. A doctor experienced in treating these complicated illnesses can help work out the best treatment strategy.

Risk factors include:

  • Personal or family history of depression
  • Major life changes, trauma, or stress
  • Certain physical illnesses and medications

TREATMENT AND THERAPIES

Depression, even the most severe cases, can be treated. The earlier that treatment can begin, the more effective it is. Depression is usually treated with medicationspsychotherapy, or a combination of the two. If these treatments do not reduce symptoms, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and other brain stimulation therapies may be options to explore.

Quick Tip: No two people are affected the same way by depression and there is no "one-size-fits-all" for treatment. It may take some trial and error to find the treatment that works best for you.

MEDICATIONS

Antidepressants are medicines that treat depression. They may help improve the way your brain uses certain chemicals that control mood or stress. You may need to try several different antidepressant medicines before finding the one that improves your symptoms and has manageable side effects. A medication that has helped you or a close family member in the past will often be considered.

Antidepressants take time – usually 2 to 4 weeks – to work, and often, symptoms such as sleep, appetite, and concentration problems improve before mood lifts, so it is important to give medication a chance before reaching a conclusion about its effectiveness. If you begin taking antidepressants, do not stop taking them without the help of a doctor. Sometimes people taking antidepressants feel better and then stop taking the medication on their own, and the depression returns. When you and your doctor have decided it is time to stop the medication, usually after a course of 6 to 12 months, the doctor will help you slowly and safely decrease your dose. Stopping them abruptly can cause withdrawal symptoms.

Please Note: In some cases, children, teenagers, and young adults under 25 may experience an increase in suicidal thoughts or behavior when taking antidepressants, especially in the first few weeks after starting or when the dose is changed. This warning from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also says that patients of all ages taking antidepressants should be watched closely, especially during the first few weeks of treatment.

If you are considering taking an antidepressant and you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding, talk to your doctor about any increased health risks to you or your unborn or nursing child.

To find the latest information about antidepressants, talk to your doctor and visit www.fda.gov.

You may have heard about an herbal medicine called St. John's wort. Although it is a top-selling botanical product, the FDA has not approved its use as an over-the-counter or prescription medicine for depression, and there are serious concerns about its safety (it should never be combined with a prescription antidepressant) and effectiveness. Do not use St. John’s wort before talking to your health care provider. Other natural products sold as dietary supplements, including omega-3 fatty acids and S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe), remain under study but have not yet been proven safe and effective for routine use. For more information on herbal and other complementary approaches and current research, please visit the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health website.

PSYCHOTHERAPIES

Several types of psychotherapy (also called “talk therapy” or, in a less specific form, counseling) can help people with depression. Examples of evidence-based approaches specific to the treatment of depression include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), interpersonal therapy (IPT), and problem-solving therapy. More information on psychotherapy is available on the NIMH websiteand in the NIMH publication Depression: What You Need to Know.

BRAIN STIMULATION THERAPIES

If medications do not reduce the symptoms of depression, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) may be an option to explore. Based on the latest research.

Other more recently introduced types of brain stimulation therapies used to treat medicine-resistant depression include repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) and vagus nerve stimulation (VNS). Other types of brain stimulation treatments are under study. You can learn more about these therapies on the NIMH Brain Stimulation Therapies webpage.

If you think you may have depression, start by making an appointment to see your doctor or health care provider. This could be your primary care practitioner or a health provider who specializes in diagnosing and treating mental health conditions. Visit the NIMH Find Help for Mental Illnesses if you are unsure of where to start.

BEYOND TREATMENT: THINGS YOU CAN DO

Here are other tips that may help you or a loved one during treatment for depression:

  • Try to be active and exercise.
  • Set realistic goals for yourself.
  • Try to spend time with other people and confide in a trusted friend or relative.
  • Try not to isolate yourself, and let others help you.
  • Expect your mood to improve gradually, not immediately.
  • Postpone important decisions, such as getting married or divorced, or changing jobs until you feel better. Discuss decisions with others who know you well and have a more objective view of your situation.
  • Continue to educate yourself about depression.

WHAT IS ANXIETY

What is ANXIETY

(Eric's Note: Let's explore anxiety. Anxiety and depression are often linked, and chronic anxiety can have symptoms of depression and visa versa. We often treat depression by starting to address anxiety first.)

First, read this information from the National Institute of Mental Health. The NIMH also has a number of newsletters that may be of interest to you.

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/anxiety-disorders/index.shtml

ANXIETY DISORDERS

Occasional anxiety is a normal part of life. You might feel anxious when faced with a problem at work, before taking a test, or making an important decision. But anxiety disorders involve more than temporary worry or fear. For a person with an anxiety disorder, the anxiety does not go away and can get worse over time. The feelings can interfere with daily activities such as job performance, school work, and relationships. There are several different types of anxiety disorders. Examples include generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and social anxiety disorder.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS

GENERALIZED ANXIETY DISORDER

People with generalized anxiety disorder display excessive anxiety or worry for months and face several anxiety-related symptoms.

Generalized anxiety disorder symptoms include:

  • Restlessness or feeling wound-up or on edge
  • Being easily fatigued
  • Difficulty concentrating or having their minds go blank
  • Irritability
  • Muscle tension
  • Difficulty controlling the worry
  • Sleep problems (difficulty falling or staying asleep or restless, unsatisfying sleep)

PANIC DISORDER

People with panic disorder have recurrent unexpected panic attacks, which are sudden periods of intense fear that may include palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate; sweating; trembling or shaking; sensations of shortness of breath, smothering, or choking; and feeling of impending doom.

Panic disorder symptoms include:

  • Sudden and repeated attacks of intense fear
  • Feelings of being out of control during a panic attack
  • Intense worries about when the next attack will happen
  • Fear or avoidance of places where panic attacks have occurred in the past

SOCIAL ANXIETY DISORDER

People with social anxiety disorder (sometimes called “social phobia”) have a marked fear of social or performance situations in which they expect to feel embarrassed, judged, rejected, or fearful of offending others.

Social anxiety disorder symptoms include:

  • Feeling highly anxious about being with other people and having a hard time talking to them
  • Feeling very self-conscious in front of other people and worried about feeling humiliated, embarrassed, or rejected, or fearful of offending others
  • Being very afraid that other people will judge them
  • Worrying for days or weeks before an event where other people will be
  • Staying away from places where there are other people
  • Having a hard time making friends and keeping friends
  • Blushing, sweating, or trembling around other people
  • Feeling nauseous or sick to your stomach when other people are around

Evaluation for an anxiety disorder often begins with a visit to a primary care provider. Some physical health conditions, such as an overactive thyroid or low blood sugar, as well as taking certain medications, can imitate or worsen an anxiety disorder. A thorough mental health evaluation is also helpful, because anxiety disorders often co-exist with other related conditions, such as depression or obsessive-compulsive disorder.

RISK FACTORS

Researchers are finding that genetic and environmental factors, frequently in interaction with one another, are risk factors for anxiety disorders. (Eric Note: Recent studies by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the CDC found that Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) were a predictor of Anxiety. See our page on this factor.)

Anxiety Specific factors include:

  • Shyness, or behavioral inhibition, in childhood
  • Being female
  • Having few economic resources
  • Being divorced or widowed
  • Exposure to stressful life events in childhood and adulthood
  • Anxiety disorders in close biological relatives
  • Parental history of mental disorders
  • Elevated afternoon cortisol levels in the saliva (specifically for social anxiety disorder)

TREATMENTS AND THERAPIES

Anxiety disorders are generally treated with psychotherapy, medication, or both.

PSYCHOTHERAPY

Psychotherapy or “talk therapy” can help people with anxiety disorders. To be effective, psychotherapy must be directed at the person’s specific anxieties and tailored to his or her needs. A typical “side effect” of psychotherapy is temporary discomfort involved with thinking about confronting feared situations.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT is a type of psychotherapy that can help people with anxiety disorders. It teaches a person different ways of thinking, behaving, and reacting to anxiety-producing and fearful situations. CBT can also help people learn and practice social skills, which is vital for treating social anxiety disorder.

Two specific stand-alone components of CBT used to treat social anxiety disorder are cognitive therapy and exposure therapy. Cognitive therapy focuses on identifying, challenging, and then neutralizing unhelpful thoughts underlying anxiety disorders.

Exposure therapy focuses on confronting the fears underlying an anxiety disorder in order to help people engage in activities they have been avoiding. Exposure therapy is used along with relaxation exercises and/or imagery. One study, called a meta-analysis because it pulls together all of the previous studies and calculates the statistical magnitude of the combined effects, found that cognitive therapy was superior to exposure therapy for treating social anxiety disorder.

CBT may be conducted individually or with a group of people who have similar problems. Group therapy is particularly effective for social anxiety disorder. Often “homework” is assigned for participants to complete between sessions.

SELF-HELP OR SUPPORT GROUPS

Some people with anxiety disorders might benefit from joining a self-help or support group and sharing their problems and achievements with others. Internet chat rooms might also be useful, but any advice received over the Internet should be used with caution, as Internet acquaintances have usually never seen each other and false identities are common. Talking with a trusted friend or member of the clergy can also provide support, but it is not necessarily a sufficient alternative to care from an expert clinician.

STRESS-MANAGEMENT TECHNIQUES

Stress management techniques and meditation can help people with anxiety disorders calm themselves and may enhance the effects of therapy. While there is evidence that aerobic exercise has a calming effect, the quality of the studies is not strong enough to support its use as treatment. Since caffeine, certain illicit drugs, and even some over-the-counter cold medications can aggravate the symptoms of anxiety disorders, avoiding them should be considered. Check with your physician or pharmacist before taking any additional medications.

The family can be important in the recovery of a person with an anxiety disorder. Ideally, the family should be supportive but not help perpetuate their loved one’s symptoms. (Eric Note: We will teach you many techniques including mindfulness, diet planning, sleep enhancement, and exercises.)

MEDICATION

Medication does not cure anxiety disorders but often relieves symptoms. Medication can only be prescribed by a medical doctor (such as a psychiatrist or a primary care provider), but a few states allow psychologists to prescribe psychiatric medications.

Medications are sometimes used as the initial treatment of an anxiety disorder, or are used only if there is insufficient response to a course of psychotherapy. In research studies, it is common for patients treated with a combination of psychotherapy and medication to have better outcomes than those treated with only one or the other.

The most common classes of medications used to combat anxiety disorders are antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs, and beta-blockers (visit Mental Health Medications). Be aware that some medications are effective only if they are taken regularly and that symptoms may recur if the medication is stopped.

Antidepressants

Antidepressants are used to treat depression, but they also are helpful for treating anxiety disorders. They take several weeks to start working and may cause side effects such as headache, nausea, or difficulty sleeping. The side effects are usually not a problem for most people, especially if the dose starts off low and is increased slowly over time.

Please Note: Although antidepressants are safe and effective for many people, they may be risky for children, teens, and young adults. A “black box” warning—the most serious type of warning that a prescription can carry—has been added to the labels of antidepressants. The labels now warn that antidepressants may cause some people to have suicidal thoughts or make suicide attempts. For this reason, anyone taking an antidepressant should be monitored closely, especially when they first start taking the medication. (Eric Note: We will work with your family, doctors, and psychiatrists to plan your treatment. Often, we will refer you for specific psychological testing to help your team design treatments.)

Anti-Anxiety Medications

Anti-anxiety medications help reduce the symptoms of anxiety, panic attacks, or extreme fear and worry. The most common anti-anxiety medications are called benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines are first-line treatments for generalized anxiety disorder. With panic disorder or social phobia (social anxiety disorder), benzodiazepines are usually second-line treatments, behind antidepressants.

Beta-Blockers

Beta-blockers, such as propranolol and atenolol, are also helpful in the treatment of the physical symptoms of anxiety, especially social anxiety. Physicians prescribe them to control rapid heartbeat, shaking, trembling, and blushing in anxious situations.

Choosing the right medication, medication dose, and treatment plan should be based on a person’s needs and medical situation, and done under an expert’s care. Only an expert clinician can help you decide whether the medication’s ability to help is worth the risk of a side effect. Your doctor may try several medicines before finding the right one.

You and your doctor should discuss:

  • How well medications are working or might work to improve your symptoms
  • Benefits and side effects of each medication
  • Risk for serious side effects based on your medical history
  • The likelihood of the medications requiring lifestyle changes
  • Costs of each medication
  • Other alternative therapies, medications, vitamins, and supplements you are taking and how these may affect your treatment
  • How the medication should be stopped. Some drugs can’t be stopped abruptly but must be tapered off slowly under a doctor’s supervision.

For more information, please visit Medications Health Topic webpage developed by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Please note that any information on this website regarding medications is provided for educational purposes only and may be outdated. Information about medications changes frequently. Please visit the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website for the latest information on warnings, patient medication guides, or newly approved medications.

WHAT IS TRAUMA

April 11, 2018 WHAT IS TRAUMA?

Trauma treatment is one of our specialties. Let's get started with a little reading form current experts at the Center for the Treatment of Anxiety and Mood Disorders.

http://centerforanxietydisorders.com/what-is-trauma/

WHAT IS TRAUMA

In general, trauma can be defined as a psychological, emotional response to an event or an experience that is deeply distressing or disturbing. When loosely applied, this trauma definition can refer to something upsetting, such as being involved in an accident, having an illness or injury, losing a loved one, or going through a divorce. However, it can also encompass the far extreme and include experiences that are severely damaging, such as rape or torture.

Because events are viewed subjectively, this broad trauma definition is more of a guideline. Everyone processes a traumatic event differently because we all face them through the lens of prior experiences in our lives. For example: one person might be upset and fearful after going through a hurricane, but someone else might have lost family and barely escaped from a flooded home during Hurricane Katrina. In this case, a minor Category One hurricane may bring up traumatic flashbacks of their terrifying experience.

Because trauma reactions fall across a wide spectrum, psychologists have developed categories as a way to differentiate between types of trauma. Among them are complex trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and developmental trauma disorder.

COMPLEX TRAUMA

Complex trauma happens repetitively. It often results in direct harm to the individual. The effects of complex trauma are cumulative. The traumatic experience frequently transpires within a particular time frame or within a specific relationship, and often in a specific setting. (Eric Note: Trauma impacts depend upon memories about stress and events and our responses to them. Stress and stressful events can begin for the developing person in the womb.)

POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER (PTSD)

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can develop after a person has been exposed to a terrifying event or has been through an ordeal in which intense physical harm occurred or was threatened. Sufferers of this PTSD have persistent and frightening thoughts and memories of their ordeal.

DEVELOPMENTAL TRAUMA DISORDER

Developmental trauma disorder is a recent term in the study of psychology. This disorder forms during a child’s first three years of life. The result of abuse, neglect, and/or abandonment, developmental trauma interferes with the infant or child’s neurological, cognitive, and psychological development. It disrupts the victim’s ability to attach to an adult caregiver.

An adult who inflicts developmental trauma usually doesn’t do it intentionally – rather, it happens because they are not aware of the social and emotional needs of children.

TRAUMA SYMPTOMS

Often, shock and denial are typical reactions to a traumatic event. Over time, these emotional responses may fade, but a survivor may also experience reactions long-term. These can include:

  • Anger
  • Persistent feelings of sadness and despair
  • Flashbacks
  • Unpredictable emotions
  • Physical symptoms, such as nausea and headaches
  • Intense feelings of guilt, as if they are somehow responsible for the event
  • An altered sense of shame
  • Feelings of isolation and hopelessness

TRAUMA THERAPY

Trauma therapy is not one-size-fits-all. It must be adapted to address different symptoms. Mental health professionals who are specially trained in treating trauma can assess the survivor’s unique needs and plan treatment specifically for them.

Currently, there are several trauma therapy modalities in place:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) teaches the person become more aware of their thoughts and beliefs about their trauma and gives them skills to help them react to emotional triggers in a healthier way.
  • Exposure therapy (also called In Vivo Exposure Therapy) is a form of cognitive behavior therapy that is used to reduce the fear associated with the emotional triggers caused by the trauma.
  • Talk therapy (psychodynamic psychotherapy) is a method of verbal communication that is used to help a person find relief from emotional pain and strengthen the adaptive ways of problem management that the individual already possesses.

These modalities treat the memory portion (the unconscious) of the trauma, however we now know that a survivor’s conscious brain must be treated, as well. Recent studies have found that body-oriented approaches such as mindfulness, yoga, and EMDR are powerful tools for helping the mind and body reconnect.

Additionally, neurofeedback (a type of biofeedback that focuses on brain waves) shows promise in helping patients with trauma symptoms learn to change their brain wave activity to help them become calmer and better able to engage with others.

HEALING FROM TRAUMA

It is possible to heal from emotional and psychological trauma. We know that the brain changes in response to a traumatic experience, however, by working with a mental health professional who specializes in trauma, you can leave your trauma behind and learn to feel safe again.

News We May Post Your Helpful News Here Too!

What Is Mental Health/Illness

It seems that we are as unclear about mental illness as we are about gun control. Former New Hampshire Supreme Court Chief Justice John Broderick, Jr. makes a profound statement as he pleads for America to "de-stigmatize" mental illness. “We only hear about mental illness when there is a school shooting,” he said. “Most are never going to do that, they’ll just suffer silently. Most people (battling mental illness) are not a risk to you or your family, they’re more a risk to themselves than anyone else. This generation wants to talk about this, they’re suffering and they’re tired of the shame and the shadows and the stigma.”

Today, I am thinking about the fact that it is estimated that one in five teens are clinically depressed. But only half ever get diagnosed. The clinical community suspects that the low diagnosis rate is because adults go overboard in trying to give teens the space they seem to demand. So, parents, teachers, and all adults need to find ways to interact with our teens. Here's an idea recommended by current psychiatrists at Columbia: "We should try to include a simple depression screening in annual school or sports exams." This is good because a simple self-report will do the trick. The common and popular screening questionnaire developed by the famous psychologist Aaron Beck can be found free online (Beck Depression Inventory). It has 20 questions, takes about 5 minutes to complete and can be scored on the spot. TAKE IT yourself and then try it with your teens. If you detect depression, consult with your pediatrician first. They can be a tremendous resource. All Kids from 12 to 21 get one of these for free at our practice.

Depression among teens is big in the news today following another in a string of mass shootings in the U.S. Thanks to the American Academy of Pediatrics for setting a new protocol today for an assessment of depressive risks in kids beginning a 12 years. Why 12, that's when the puberty hormones start affecting us. Remember that time of your life. Wasn't it awful? Now imagine adding hunger, adoption, foster care, domestic violence etc. So, now we can get an earlier start on this. The issue now...getting access to medical care for all kids! Imagine that. Here we are back at that issue again. ACA? If you know kids, any doctor can get the protocol online to check depressive symptoms; encourage parents to request it for teens. Thanks for all of us!

Mental Health, Teen Depression

It seems that we are as unclear about mental illness as we are about gun control. Former New Hampshire Supreme Court Chief Justice John Broderick, Jr. makes a profound statement as he pleads for America to "de-stigmatize" mental illness. “We only hear about mental illness when there is a school shooting,” he said. “Most are never going to do that, they’ll just suffer silently. Most people (battling mental illness) are not a risk to you or your family, they’re more a risk to themselves than anyone else. This generation wants to talk about this, they’re suffering and they’re tired of the shame and the shadows and the stigma.”

Today, I am thinking about the fact that it is estimated that one in five teens are clinically depressed. But only half ever get diagnosed. The clinical community suspects that the low diagnosis rate is because adults go overboard in trying to give teens the space they seem to demand. So, parents, teachers, and all adults need to find ways to interact with our teens. Here's an idea recommended by current psychiatrists at Columbia: "We should try to include a simple depression screening in annual school or sports exams." This is good because a simple self-report will do the trick. The common and popular screening questionnaire developed by the famous psychologist Aaron Beck can be found free online (Beck Depression Inventory). It has 20 questions, takes about 5 minutes to complete and can be scored on the spot. TAKE IT yourself and then try it with your teens. If you detect depression, consult with your pediatrician first. They can be a tremendous resource.

Thanks to the American Academy of Pediatrics for setting a new protocol today for an assessment of depressive risks in kids beginning a 12 years. Why 12, that's when the puberty hormones start affecting us. Remember that time of your life. Wasn't it awful? Now imagine adding hunger, adoption, foster care, domestic violence etc. So, now we can get an earlier start on this. The issue now...getting access to medical care for all kids! Imagine that. Here we are back at that issue again. ACA? If you know kids, any doctor can get the protocol online to check depressive symptoms; encourage parents to request it for teens. Thanks for all of us!