Psychiatry News & Updates
Mark your calendars for OCD Awareness Week 2018!
October 7-13, 2018
What is OCD Awareness Week?
OCD Awareness Week is an international effort taking place during the second week in October each year to raise awareness and understanding about obsessive compulsive disorder and related disorders, with the goal of helping more people to get timely access to appropriate and effective treatment. Launched in 2009 by the IOCDF, OCD Awareness Week is now celebrated by a number of organizations across the US and around the world, with events such as OCD screening days, lectures, conferences, fundraisers, online Q&As, and more. Learn more about OCD here.
Depression Frequently Asked Questions from the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.
Depression has no single cause. Both genetics and the environment play a role, and some children may be more likely to become depressed. Depression in children can be triggered by a medical illness, a stressful situation, or the loss of an important person. Children with behavior problems or anxiety also are more likely to get depressed. Sometimes, it can be hard to identify any triggering event.
What are the signs and symptoms of depression?
Common symptoms of depression in children and adolescents include those listed below. In “major depression,” five or more of these symptoms last for over two weeks, and cause difficulty in everyday life. In a less severe but longer lasting condition called “persistent depressive disorder” (formerly “dysthymia,”), two or more of these symptoms are present, more often than not, for a year.
- Feeling or appearing depressed, sad, tearful or irritable
- Decreased interest in or pleasure from activities, which may lead to withdrawal from friends or after-school activities
- Change in appetite, with associated weight
- Major changes in sleeping patterns, such as sleeping much more or less than normal
- Appearing to be physically sped up or slowed down
- Increase in tiredness and fatigue, or decrease in energy
- Feeling worthless or guilty
- Difficulty thinking or concentrating, which may correlated with worsening school performance
- Thoughts or expressions of suicide or self destructive behavior
In children it is important to keep in mind that an increase in irritability or even complaints of boredom may be more noticeable than sadness. Children also may have more physical complaints, particularly if the child does not have the habit of talking about how he or she feels. Talk of suicide or not wanting to be alive can be difficult to interpret, so it must be take seriously and brought immediately to a mental health professional’s attention.
What is Autism?
Autism is a neurodevelopmental condition which is usually diagnosed in the first 3 years of life. Generally parents become concerned when their child has delays in speech development, limited social relatedness, and restricted interests and activities. The child may avoid direct eye contact and exhibit odd behaviors such as focusing on parts of objects (e.g. the spinning wheel of a toy car). There may be unusual motor movements such as hand flapping, self stimulation or walking on toes.
Although the cause of autism is unknown, it is generally believed that etiology may be due to multiple factors. Many genetic, environmental, metabolic and neurological conditions that affect the normal functioning of the brain are being researched. The diagnosis of autism requires disturbances in each of three domains: (1) social relatedness, (2) communication/play, and (3) restricted interests and activities.
- Social relatedness includes marked impairment in non-verbal communication, peer relationships and social-emotional reciprocity.
- Communication/play includes either a delay or total lack of spoken language and lack of developmentally-appropriate make-believe or social play.
- Restricted interests and activities includes encompassing preoccupations, adherence to non-functional routines or rituals, stereotypies and motor mannerisms.
Treatment planning is complex since each child has different strengths and deficits. Evidence that earlier detection and provision of services improves long term prognosis makes early diagnosis particularly important to improve the child’s adaptive skills and future functioning. The diverse expression of these disorders both across and within individuals presents particular challenges for clinical diagnosis and treatment.
What is ADHD?
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD is a common childhood illness. People who are affected can have trouble with paying attention, sitting still and controlling their impulses. There are three types of ADHD. The most common type of ADHD is when people have difficulties with both attention and hyperactivity. This is called ADHD combined type. Some people only have difficulty with attention and organization. This is ADHD inattentive subtype or Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). Other people have only the hyperactive and impulsive symptoms. This is ADHD hyperactive subtype.
It is a health condition involving biologically active substances in the brain. Studies show that ADHD may affect certain areas of the brain that allow us to solve problems, plan ahead, understand others’ actions, and control our impulses.
Many children and adults are easily distracted at times or have trouble finishing tasks. If you suspect that your child has ADHD, it is important to have your child evaluated by his or her doctor. In order for your child’s doctor to diagnose your child with ADHD, the behaviors must appear before age 12 and continue for at least six months. The symptoms must also create impairment in at least two areas of the child’s life-in the classroom, on the playground, at home, in the community, or in social settings. Many children have difficulties with their attention but attention problems are not always cue to ADHD. For example, stressful life events and other childhood conditions such as problems with schoolwork caused by a learning disability or anxiety and depression can interfere with attention.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder is often a long-lasting disorder in which a person has uncontrollable, reoccurring thoughts (obsessions), and behaviors (compulsions) that he or she feels the urge to repeat over and over.
People with OCD may have symptoms of obsessions, compulsions, or both. These symptoms can interfere with all aspects of life, such as work, school, and personal relationships.
Obsessions are repeated thoughts, urges, or mental images that cause anxiety. Common symptoms include:
- Fear of germs or contamination
- Unwanted forbidden or taboo thoughts involving sex, religion, and harm
- Aggressive thoughts towards others or self
- Having things symmetrical or in a perfect order
Compulsions are repetitive behaviors that a person with OCD feels the urge to do in response to an obsessive thought. Common compulsions include:
- Excessive cleaning and/or handwashing
- Ordering and arranging things in a particular, precise way
- Repeatedly checking on things, such as repeatedly checking to see if the door is locked or that the oven is off
- Compulsive counting
Not all rituals or habits are compulsions. Everyone double checks things sometimes. But a person with OCD generally:
- Can’t control his or her thoughts or behaviors, even when those thoughts or behaviors are recognized as excessive
- Spends at least 1 hour a day on these thoughts or behaviors
- Doesn’t get pleasure when performing the behaviors or rituals, but may feel brief relief from the anxiety the thoughts cause
- Experiences significant problems in their daily life due to these thoughts or behaviors
Some individuals with OCD also have a tic disorder. Motor tics are sudden, brief, repetitive movements, such as eye blinking and other eye movements, facial grimacing, shoulder shrugging, and head or shoulder jerking. Common vocal tics include repetitive throat-clearing, sniffing, or grunting sounds.
Symptoms may come and go, ease over time, or worsen. People with OCD may try to help themselves by avoiding situations that trigger their obsessions, or they may use alcohol or drugs to calm themselves. Although most adults with OCD recognize that what they are doing doesn’t make sense, some adults and most children may not realize that their behavior is out of the ordinary. Parents or teachers typically recognize OCD symptoms in children.
If you think you have OCD, talk to your doctor about your symptoms. If left untreated, OCD can interfere in all aspects of life.
NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION WEEK
THE POWER OF CONNECTION
September 9 – 15, 2018
From the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention:
Although there is no single cause of suicide, one of the risks for suicide is social isolation, and there’s scientific evidence for reducing suicide risk by making sure we connect with one another. We can all play a role through the power of connection by having real conversations about mental health with people in everyday moments – whether it’s with those closest to us, or the coffee barista, parking lot attendant, or the grocery store clerk.
It’s also about the connection we each have to the cause, whether you’re a teacher, a physician, a mother, a neighbor, a veteran, or a suicide loss survivor or attempt survivor. We don’t always know who is struggling, but we do know that one conversation could save a life.
More info and Sept events available at ASFP.ORG