Tag Archives: Depression

Kids Are Being Prescribed Antidepressants and ADHD Meds at Increasingly High Rates

ADHD meds & childrenIn the report, Children’s Health Spending: 2009 – 2012, issued by the Health Care Cost Institute, an increase in prescription drug use by children and teens in the United States was noted along with increasing hospital admissions for substance abuse and mental health problems. While girls were more likely to be prescribed antidepressants, boys were more frequently prescribed ADHD drugs including amphetamines, cerebral stimulants, respiratory drugs and miscellaneous anorexigenics. These increases affected boys beginning at ages 4 to 8 years while girls were more likely to begin receiving prescriptions for these central nervous system drugs in later years, ages 9 to 13.

This trend of increased medication of young children may be attributable to the publics lack of awareness of the efficacy of talk therapy to identify and reduce behavior problems in children. The added education of both parents and children when it comes to coping skills for ADHD and parenting techniques could provide essential lifelong preventive mental health skills.

Diet Coke Drama

Sweet but sad and mostly corn syrup.
Sweet but sad and mostly corn syrup.

We are being frivolous to refer to this issue as just “drama”. For years, we have been warning you about the risks related to aspartame and other artificial sweeteners. Now there is data from years of tracking women in a very large study and here’s what’s been found: Increased blood pressure, increased cholestral, increased belly fat and increased risks of diabetes. In addition, daily diet soda drinking is thought to cause an increase of 30% in your risk of heart attack and an increase of 50% in your risk of dying from heart attack.

So will you switch back to regular soda with its’ corn syrup sweetener? Not so fast! Corn syrup is associated with causing dementia and Alzheimer’s. Well what should you drink? WATER! Okay, some of you want something a little sweeter.  That is, the bacteria that live in your gut are in there poking your intestines and begging for a sweetener, which is what they need to procreate and thrive. How about an all natural drink? Iced herbal tea with honey or a natural sweetener like the herb, stevia. Some tasty brands are NuNevia and Sweet Leaf. We like them because of their natural taste. They are available in powder as well as non-alcohol liquid. Some other brands have troubling fillers

Just Get Over It! And Other Insensitive Things That People Say……..

 

How many times have you heard someone shriek, mutter, moan, yell, spit, murmur or plead, “Just get over it!”, usually followed by the less audible, “Will you?” The answer is, you won’t.  The fact that you are displaying emotion  through your words, facial expression, body language, tears or a big fat sign with four-letter words is THE POINT. What would make someone think that just telling you to get over it would fix it for you?  Two things: One, the assumption that emotions are totally within one’s control and, two, that you just need to change your thinking and apply a little discipline to change your mood.

People fear feelings

This simplistic thinking is  the equivalent of magical thinking. Just close your eyes and pretend what’s happening is not real and think    happy  thoughts so I won’t have to come up with the right words to make you feel better. So my telling you to straighten your face and look happy is really an expression of my fear of not being a good enough partner, parent, friend or sibling.

The effect of experience

Some people are very literal thinkers. If they feel things deeply, they don’t tell anyone, not even themselves. If they don’t feel things deeply, they don’t understand how you could. Literal people often don’t understand that what someone might express emotion about might really mask something totally different that they are upset about. Like people who cry at the movies when the hero dies. They might actually be thinking bout a pet’s death early in their childhood. And some people  who have had many disappointments in their lives  might react intensely to anything. Opening the container that holds their emotions might cause them all to spill out. One could imagine that for some people, each subsequent loss made it harder and harder for them to contain their sadness or anger.

It is often said that African Americans are likely to be more expressive of their emotions than whites, that Latinos are more expressive than European Americans, and the British more conservative in expression than Italians. In these instances we may be referring to cultural learning about what is acceptable  expression of feelings.

Sensitive brains and OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)

Here’s another something to consider – the brains of some people, and their nervous systems ( which their brains are connected to, by the way) are extra sensitive. In the field of neurofeedback, you can look at the speed with which brain cells are firing in an EEG (electroencephalograph). Those people who have extra fast firing neurons in the front of the brain tend to get stuck on thoughts and feelings, sort of like your car tires spinning on ice. Such people can’t help themselves  from getting carried away when they get upset. They will obsess over it until something or somebody gives them a push or a pull out of that rut that they are creating. Luckily, neurofeedback, also known as brain biofeedback, provides a non- intrusive, drug-free way to slow down the troublesome brain activity.

The power of positive thinking

So many people who have grown up in difficult situations have found help from positive thinking courses. It is the poor man’s form of self- treatment and it can be very useful if there is not a biochemical cause of mood disorders. Positive affirmations introduced years ago by folks like Norman Vincent Peale and reframed twenty years back by Iyanla Vanzant in her book, Acts of Faith, began a very successful trend  of giving folks new roads out of despair.  Mental health problems can come from  physical disorders like diabetes or heart problems, hypertension, multiple sclerosis, dementia, lupus, etc. because in these disorders the chemistry and functioning of the organ systems are altered, thereby affecting the brain.

The  power of CBT

So there are different ways of accessing mental health problems in order to find solutions to them. Solutions from the inside might include medications, diet change, detoxification or supplements. Solutions from the  outside may include psychotherapy, group therapy, acupuncture, transcranial magnetic stimulation, neurofeedback, meditation, yoga, exercise and other treatments. For some problems, a combination of several of these may be just the ticket. While the current medical treatment in America emphasizes drugs above psychotherapy, the rule of thumb over the last twenty years has always been psychotherapy first and medication second if there was no risk of harm to life and limb or safety. In more recent years drugs have dominated nearly every area of medical treatment such that people assume there is nothing else. In other countries, where the success of medical care for everyday health issues is more successful than in the United States,  alternative, non drug therapies are a matter of course.

One of the most effective, short term therapies, is Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT). In talk sessions, one’s specific thoughts underlying your feelings and behavior are examined. Those that are logical and are working for you are reinforced. Those thoughts that are mythical, incorrect or left over from some previous bad experience  are corrected and replaced with more helpful thoughts. It has been proven that CBT and other forms of talk therapy actually change the brain and provide long lasting improvement for most people.

It is important to ask your provider, what is the safest, least intrusive way to solve your problem and is this an area in which they specialize. There are many people with depression who have been on medication for years and yet have never been evaluated by a therapist – an expert in mental health needs. A general antidepressant is often given out by gynecologists and family practitioners based on your answers to a checklist of questions. This can be helpful where there are no trained mental health providers but in most populated areas there are many and in rural areas telephone or Skype therapy is possible.

Since antidepressants don’t cure depression or rid you of its’ cause, once you stop taking them you may be right where you started or the real cause of your depression may have disappeared for unrelated reasons. A responsible and comprehensive approach would include having a full medical work up to eliminate physical sources of problems, for which depression or anxiety might be the first symptoms.  In the meantime, one can begin therapy and learn how to use insight to identify choices and learn techniques to change their behaviors and feelings. They can’t just be told to “Get over it”.

Mental health or behavior problems aren’t just a matter of choice.

Crucial Factors in Mother Driving her Children into the Ocean

What would make a young mother want to kill her children? That was the big question when this near tragic event first occurred. There were rumors that there had been domestic violence, that for some reasons she didn’t want her husband near her children. More recent reports from CNN state that Ebony Wilkerson had suffered a number of traumatic events, and all at the time that she was going through the major emotional and physical changes that pregnancy causes many women.

#1. Ms. Wilkerson had reportedly been raped prior to becoming suicidal, while she was pregnant.

#2. Ms.  Wilkerson had been the victim of domestic abuse. Her sister reported that the violent husband had held a knife to her throat when she attempted to help her sister whom he had attempted to strangle.

Mother Who Drove Her Children into the Ocean Could Be Your Sister……..

The young mother may have thought she could drown her fears
The young mother may have thought she could drown her fears

Currently being held on $1.2 million bond and charged with three counts of attempted murder, the 32 year old mother, Ebony Wilkerson, who drove her children into the ocean near Daytona Beach, FL on  March 4, 2013,  is suspected of suffering from a mental illness. Now, normally, someone suffering from an illness is hospitalized and treated with medication, etc. and apparently, she had checked herself out of a hospital just before leaving her sister’s home and heading to the beach. Her sister had called 911 to say that she was worried since Ebony had spoken of feeling that there were “demons” in the sister’s home, causing her to leave. 

Police had then stopped her while driving with her children, ages, 10, 9 and 3 and questioned her briefly, but felt that she answered questions appropriately and that she did not meet the criteria necessary to detain her for mental health reasons. It was said that Mrs. Wilkerson was fleeing her husband whom she felt was dangerous to her children.  Reports have stated that Mrs. Wilkerson was pregnant.