By ABCS RCM
The holiday season is seen as a time of celebration and happiness. Yet, for some people, the holiday season is a time of stress and anxious feelings. All of the activity that surrounds the holidays is seen as a chore or unwanted obligation. These feelings of sadness or anger can become more intense when contrasted with the joy that people are expected to feel. There is even an expression for these feelings, the holiday blues.
A number of seasonal factors can trigger these feelings such as, reduced sunlight, changes in diet, altered routines or the inability to be with friends or family. Other factors spring from shopping for gifts, travel, office parties, etc. Interestingly, the biggest sources of holiday stress for many people are related to family issues and demands. These can arise from dinners, traditions and other family obligations. All of these factors can seriously affect a person’s mood.
An end result of having the holiday blues is that this time of year does not fill some people with cheer. The assumption that family holiday gatherings are supposed to be joyful and stress-free can make people feel worse about themselves. In reality, family relationships create complicated dynamics. For people who are experiencing clinical depression, or have had depressive episodes in the past, holiday stress can trigger serious problems.
People may feel pressure to be happy and outwardly jolly during the holidays. Family and societal expectations can create tension. Unrealistic or high expectations are often difficult to meet, which creates a pattern of negative feelings. If people try too hard to be happy, they can sometimes make themselves feel even more miserable. At the end of day, this external stress can make people feel more anxious in general.
Beyond the planning for the holidays, there are a number of factors that can make individuals feel more anxious. Some of the factors that may contribute to holiday anxiety and depression include:
* Associating the holidays with unresolved family issues.
* In order to appear happy, people ignore feelings of sadness, loneliness, or depression.
* Facing the loss of a loved one with whom holidays were shared in the past.
There is no perfect list of strategies for managing the stress of the holidays. However, there are some general guidelines that people can follow which will greatly reduce their stress level. The following list was generated by the American Psychological Association (APA). Although far from complete, this list is a good starting point for dealing with excessive holiday stress, anxiety and depression.
 Track Your Finances: Understanding and managing spending is a useful tool and will reduce some anxiety. People should maintain a daily list of their spending. People should brainstorm ways to reduce their expenditures and then follow the plan. This may create anxiety in the short term, but in the long term it will pay off.
 Connection of Stress and Money: The lack of money can sometimes create conflicts between couples and families. This financial anxiety may motivate people to relieve their stress by engaging in unhealthy activities such as alcohol/drug use, gambling or emotional eating.
 Make a Holiday "To-Do" List: If people are afraid that they will forget to complete some important holiday tasks, they should make a to-do list. The list can be written on paper or created in a digital format, with tasks marked in order of importance. Not only will this list reduce the risk of forgetting something, but it will provide an additional level of focus.
 Stay Healthy: Holiday stress is more manageable when people eat healthy meals, get enough sleep, drink plenty of water and maintain a regular exercise program. When people do this, their bodies can better weather the effects of stress. At the very least, taking the time to read a good book, taking a short walk or listening to some favorite music can do wonders.
Remember What is Important:
People need to remind themselves what is important for them during the holiday season. By setting realistic expectations for gifts and holiday activities. Instead of trying to take on everything, identify the most important holiday tasks and take small steps in order to accomplish them.
The overall goal during the holiday season is to stay grounded. When individuals take time for themselves, they can feel less pressured to be everything to everyone. As the American Psychological Association points out, sometimes self-care is one of the best things people can do for themselves. They will benefit from activities that make them feel less anxious and depressed.
Everyone eventually needs to reflect and focus on the present. This act alone will help people be mindful and in the present rather than dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. If feelings of depression persist and start to negatively impact people’s quality of life, they should seek help from a trained mental health professional. They should not be ashamed or feel like they have to go it alone.
For additional questions about holiday-related stress, as well as other mental health issue, contact the staff at Providers for Healthy Living. They have multiple office locations in Central Ohio. Their behavioral and mental health programs provide a full range of treatment options for both children and adults. Since 2011, their clinical team’s focus is on achieving and maintaining good mental health.
By ABCS RCM
Divorce is a reality of modern life. When a marriage dissolves due to divorce, stress on children is understandable. Beyond the death of a parent, divorce is one of the most intense emotional pains that a child can experience.
Over the past decades, the United States has seen an increasing divorce rate. However, divorce rates for most of the nations in nations in Europe have also experienced the same upward trend. Today, roughly about 50% of US children live with their married, biological parents.
Beyond the high number of marriages ending in divorce, many children face mental health challenges from this occurrence. These mental health conditions can actually follow children into adulthood and have a negative influence on their own marital relationships as adults.
It is important to remember that not every child responds the same way to this kind of stress. Children and the circumstances surrounding every divorce are unique. For example, if parents had an abusive, tumultuous relationship, a divorce may open the door for new opportunities and a sense of freedom.
Other research suggests that people’s gender may influence how they respond to a divorce. Research suggests that young girls tend to turn inward, while younger boys seem to display outward behaviors. Regardless of gender, the initial reaction to hearing the news of a divorce is usually one of shock, sadness, anger or worry.
Divorce interrupts the normal pattern of a child’s life. The turmoil from this event can create upheaval that leads to depression and anxiety for some children. Here are three general emotions that children in divorce will likely experience:
Depression: There is a certain level of despondency that most kids will feel. They may experience a loss of spirit or hope for a brighter future due to the loss of their existing family structure.
Anxiety: Children need to adjust to a tremendous amount of change. This forced adjustment creates a high degree of stress. Their original family system is no longer intact. What they knew and were accustomed to is being reorganized or disappearing.
Anger: Displays of anger or frustration are common. Children may feel that they have been lied to and their trust in their parents violated. Most kids assume that their parents and family will always be there.
There are actions that people can take in order to help children cope with the effects of a divorce. For all individuals, young or old, it is normal to mourn the loss of a family unit. However, children need to come to terms with the new household situation. It is natural to wish that mom and dad would get back together, but children and young adults need to understand the new reality.
With patience and understanding, kids can learn to better cope with stress, become more flexible and grow into resilient adults. But, it is also important that parents work to reconcile their emotional differences after the divorce in order to create a new emotional foundation for their kids.
Parents need to establish a new routine that normal which helps kids cope with this new family structure. Developing a stable and positive working relationship is an important step for providing children with a stable homelife.
Here are eight tips for talking to kids about divorce:
 If at all possible, have both parents present for the discussion.
 Pick a relaxed time of day, when there are no impending commitments.
 Use simple and direct language. For example: "Your father and I have grown apart. We care about each other, but we don't want to be married anymore."
 Acknowledge that it is a sad situation. Children are likely to experience painful feelings, become angry, cry or have other natural reactions.
 Reassure children that they are loved and both mom and dad and will keep them safe, whether they are together or not.
 Children often feel responsible or blame themselves when their parents break up. Reassure children that the divorce was not their fault.
 If possible, provide concrete details about the new living arrangement. For example: "You'll be living with me every other weekend."
 Avoid blaming the other parent. Even if the breakup was triggered by the other partner’s actions, this is not the time to share adult problems with a child who is dealing with this stressful situation.
It is important that kids are allowed to be kids. During a divorce, parents should not lean on their children for support. However, they should not become a provider of emotional support. Parents can let their kids know how much they appreciate the kindness, but vent any frustrations to a sympathetic adult friend or therapist.
If things feel overwhelming, people should seek a professional help. Seeking help from professional counselor help sets a good example for children on how to make a healthy adjustment to a stressful situation.
For questions about the impact of divorce on children and parents, contact a staff member at Providers For Healthy Living. As a behavioral & mental health practice, one of their mental health specialties is diagnosing and treating stress and anxiety disorders. They have been providing experienced behavioral health services since 2011.
Reach out to them at 614-664-3595 or 419-605-9817.
By ABCS RCM
In the modern job market, working hours that are outside of the traditional 9-to-5 job schedule is common. This is especially true for people who work in food and transportation services as well as the healthcare industry. But, new research suggests that working 2nd or 3rd shift jobs may put people at a higher risk for developing mental health conditions like depression.
It is well known that people have an internal circadian rhythm that is linked to the natural cycle of daylight. However, working outside of the normal sleep-wake cycle appears to alter the circadian rhythm. These varied schedules seem to create more disruptions in people’s lives. Researchers examined previous studies and over 28,000 participants who were considered shift workers. For the purposes of the study, shift work was characterized by employees who worked outside of the hours of 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM.
According to results published in the American Journal of Public Health, any employee who works these hours, is at an elevated risk of developing (or having) a mental health condition. Working outside of the 7 AM to 6 PM window is especially dangerous for women, who have a greater risk of developing depressive-like symptoms when compared to men.
The study found that shift workers were 28 percent more likely to experience mental health problems versus people with consistent weekday work schedules. When focusing on conditions like depression, 33 percent of workers with night/irregular work schedules were more likely to have this condition. Workers with certain types of mental health conditions, like depression, could go unnoticed by employers.
For example, one type of depression that sometimes goes unnoticed is persistent depressive disorder or dysthymia. This is a chronic form of depression is sometimes known as a low-level or low-grade type of depression. The symptoms are often described by people as having a general mood where one always feels down.
People may lose interest in life, feel hopeless, lack productivity and generally feeling empty. Other symptoms of dysthymia may include mood swings and restless sleep.
Some data from the study may have suggested that these workers also had a higher chance of developing anxiety disorders. However, in this case, more research is needed.
One possible theory for the correlation between shift work and the increase in mental health disorders is that the normal sleep-wake cycle (circadian rhythm) is disrupted. When this happens, people can feel moodier and more irritable. People’s brains are evolved to sleep during night hours in the absence of light. It is during this time that the brain processes and learns information from the day.
The lack of daylight for these workers may turn the circadian rhythm upside down, because these individuals are forced to stay awake at night and attempt to sleep during daylight hours. Instances of social isolation can also increase due to the fact that these worker’s time-off does not match their family and friend’s work and life commitments.
Overall, this disruption of their sleep cycle seems to increase irritability, nervousness and depressed feelings. One remedy for this is for workers to make time for physical exercise, being outside during daylight hours as well as making sure to spend time with family and friends. All of these behaviors may help improve a person’s mood and limit the social isolation that can exacerbate depression.
The findings raise the question of which came first, the chicken or the egg? The research was not a controlled experiment designed to prove whether or how work schedules might directly impact mental health. It is possible that individuals with pre-existing mental health issues naturally gravitated to jobs that have irregular hours. This means that these people would have possessed pre-existing behavioral health conditions before they started working odd hours or inconsistent shifts.
Whether working 2nd and 3rd raises the risk for mental health issues, or people with pre-existing conditions seem to end up working in these jobs, the outcome is the same. Both employers and employees should understand the increased mental health risk of working outside of the more traditional workday schedule.
Society still has a lingering stigma about mental health, which limits some people from seeking treatment. However, individuals should realize that having a mental health condition is not a sign of weakness or a moral failing. This outdated notion and the chronic nature of many of these mental health conditions, make coping with the symptoms extremely challenging.
A combination of talk therapy (psychotherapy) and medication is an effective approach for treating these conditions. For more information, individuals should contact an experienced mental health professional.
For additional information about this topic, please contact Providers For Healthy Living. As a behavioral & mental health practice, they have been providing experienced behavioral health services in Central Ohio since 2011. Their direct phone number is 614-664-3595 or 419-605-9817.
By ABCS RCM
When people suffer from insomnia, the condition is often blamed on stress or bad sleep habits. But the question is often asked, does depression cause insomnia or is it the other way around? In other words, which condition came first? Or are they both equally at work?
There is a definite link between insomnia and depression. In fact, one of the more common signs of clinical depression in a person is an inability to fall and stay asleep.
Everyone experiences stress at some point in their life. This stress is likely a contributor to both insomnia and depression. Some researchers state that about 30 percent of all Americans will, over the course of their life, experience a period of clinical depression. Other estimates believe that roughly 40 percent of U.S. adults state that they do not get enough sleep at night. This includes frequently waking up in the middle of night or feeling not fully rested in the morning.
But can mental illnesses like depression cause insomnia? In reality, this is a very complex question with no simple answer. Some people with depression sleep too much, while others sleep hardly at all. In these instances, the people who sleep too much may actually do to issues of poor sleep quality. For example, individuals with a bipolar disorder may sleep two hours one night and sixteen hours the next. However, following proper medication adherence program would help to reduce and control irregular sleep patterns.
Traditional thinking states that chronic insomnia was associated with depression. Mental health providers have noticed that longer people experienced insomnia, the more depressed they became. But was this merely a correlational in the research and not a causation. In other words, would these people have become depressed anyway, and are incidentally displaying symptoms of insomnia?
More recent studies confirm that there is a connection between insomnia and depression. Data shows that people who have trouble with insomnia tend to experience far more depressions. This collection of data was collected from varied sources which found that sleeplessness alone, including shift work, is associated with higher rates of depression.
An inability to sleep is one of the key signs of clinical depression. Another sign of clinical depression is sleeping too much or oversleeping. Having a sleep disorder does not in itself cause depression, but lack of sleep does play a role. Lack of sleep caused by another medical illness or by personal problems can make depression worse. An inability to sleep that lasts over a long period of time is also an important clue that a person may be depressed.
Recent studies are finding that many factors contribute to insomnia, not just depression. Research has found that roughly 90 percent of people with major depressive disorder (MDD) experience sleep problems. However, to better understand depression and insomnia, it is necessary to explore these symptoms independently, beginning with the more prevalent occurrence of insomnia.
Other research on the subject has noted that insomnia is often seen before people become clinically depressed. Sleep problems also persisted once someone's clinical depression was in remission. These researchers believe that they may be witnessing two disorders at the same time (comorbidity), instead of interpreting insomnia as an exclusive symptom of depression.
A better understanding of insomnia is needed since the condition costs the U.S. workforce more than $63 billion each year in lost productivity, according to some estimates. The incidence of insomnia is also wide-spread. It is believed that as much as a one-third of the world’s population suffers from some type of insomnia-related condition at any given time.
For detailed answers about insomnia and depression, contact an experienced Psychiatrist or other behavioral health professional. But, for general advice on self-regulating sleep and getting a good night’s rest, here are five tips.
 Keep a consistent sleep schedule. Wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends or during vacations.
 Follow a sleep routine that allows you to get at least 7 hours of sleep per night.
 Try not to go to bed unless you are tired. If you are not asleep after 20 minutes, get out of bed.
 Take an herbal supplement like Valerian root. This over-the-counter supplement is sometimes helpful for the treatment of insomnia.
 Establish a relaxing bedtime routine. A regular nightly routine helps the body recognize that it is time to go to sleep. This could include taking a warm shower or bath, reading a book or even light yoga stretches. When possible, try to avoid emotionally upsetting conversations and physical activities immediately before going to bed.
For additional questions about the connection between insomnia and depression, contact the staff at Providers for Healthy Living. They have four convenient office locations in Central Ohio. Their behavioral and mental health programs provide a full range of treatment options for both children and adults.
By ABCS RCM
Mental health is a complex topic that can bring up a variety of emotions. However, it is still important to talk to family members about mental illness.
Some families have open lines of communication while others do not. In some instances, a mental illness may occur in a family’s history, so family members may not be surprised that there is an diagnosis. Families may have a history of mental illness and openly talk about symptoms, diagnoses and treatment options. Yet, in other families, this is a taboo topic which members wish to avoid bringing up in conversations.
The way individuals were raised, the relationship they have with other family members and the closeness of their extended relatives are all influencing factors. These factors all contribute to the manner in which individuals talk to their family about mental illness and behavioral health in general.
Due to misconceptions and lingering stigmas about the origin and cause of mental illness people may feel guilt or shame. In other cases, people may not want family members to worry about them. Additional emotions reactions may include disbelief, fear, anger and grief.
Acceptance of a mental health condition can take time, both for diagnosed individuals as well as their friends and family members. However, as the American Psychological Association points out, acceptance of the diagnoses happens at a different pace for different people. One of the most important things that family members can do to support another family member who has a serious mental illness is to educate themselves.
But silence over the long-term is not the healthiest option, though it may feel like the easiest option. People can reduce their stress levels if they are able to voice their feelings and concerns with someone who is sympathetic. This act alone can make a person feel better.
What people need is for their family members and loved ones to understand their condition and encourage recovery. Some family members may not know much about conditions like depression, bipolar or PTSD. One possibility is to share high-quality, objective information about the topic. This will take some of the pressure off and increase the likelihood that family members will open up and have an honest conversation about their thoughts on mental illness.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness offers some general guidelines on talking about mental illnesses with family and friends. This advice is not set in stone and is only meant to offer a starting point for conversations.
Here are four concepts to follow when sharing mental health information with family members:
 Individuals should share details when they feel well and are having a good day. Introduce the details about the mental illness in a calm environment.
 The sharing of information should serve a purpose. People suffering from mental health conditions can share details in order to explain their occasional absence from family events. If they are concerns or questions about behavior, some details about the mental illness can be shared. The amount of information that is shared is up to the individual and their unique family dynamic.
 People should only share details about their mental health when they feel ready. Talking about this topic is a very personal decision. One strategy is to practice disclosing with an experienced psychiatrist, therapist or counselor. In this controlled and safe environment, people can more freely discuss their worries and ask questions. This practice can also help to clarify their thoughts about mental health and reflect on what people should be told about their mental health condition.
 Individuals do not have to share everything. Individuals should set boundaries and understand that they do not have to share everything. Keep the conversation positive and share good stories. Some people may not be able to handle this kind of conversation, so they may have difficulties in providing any support. However, there are many people who will likely feel honored and trusted due to the fact that this very personal information was shared with them.
Ultimately, people need to see a trained and experienced mental health professional. This is the best way for them to find the support that they need and recovery from their illness. It is helpful if people can avoid losing critical support. There is a risk that if individuals remain silent, they will not receive the support that they need.
For additional information about this topic, please contact Providers For Healthy Living. As a behavioral & mental health practice, they have been providing experienced behavioral health services since 2011. Their direct phone number is 614-664-3595 or 419-605-9817.
By ABCS RCM
How people process and deal with trauma is important for their overall mental health. Trauma actually creates lingering effects and in fact, trauma and stress disorders are an essential part of the DSM-5. This is particularly evident in the categories for Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders and Dissociative Disorders.
What is the definition of a traumatic event?
By many accounts, a traumatic event is an incident that creates physical, emotional, spiritual or psychological harm in a person. People who suffer from trauma often feel threatened and/or anxious because of the event that they experienced. Sometimes, they may not know how to properly respond to the event or may even deny that the traumatic event occurred. It often takes time and support for people to recover from these events and establish some level of emotional stability.
Trauma can manifest from a variety of ways, but it often occurs due to witnessing or experiencing a serious accident, terrorist act, natural disaster, combat, assault or other acts of violence. Intensely personal events such as experiencing a divorce, death of a loved one or parental abandonment can also generate a traumatic effect on the brain.
These events can have a negative impact on the brain an create conditions like PTSD or Post-traumatic stress disorder. This is a clinical, psychiatric condition that can develop in a person of any age after they have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event.
In the United States, roughly 60 percent of men and about 50 percent of women experience at least one traumatic event in their lives. Specifically, women are more likely to experience sexual assault and child sexual abuse. However, men are more likely to experience accidents, physical assault or combat. Out of these traumatic events, about 7 to 8 percent of individuals develop PTSD. But what are some of the identifiable symptoms of trauma-induced conditions like PTSD?
What are the main symptoms of PTSD?
According to information provided by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), there are three main symptoms that people display when struggling with conditions like PTSD.
 A Lack of Emotions: Individuals who have suffered trauma and developed PTSD may feel emotionally distant from everyday life activities. They may even avoid the people, places or activities associated with the traumatic experience.
 Re-living the traumatic event: When people go through an event that causes trauma, as time goes by they will often re-experience the traumatic event. Even though the event was in the past, they experience the event through vivid memories, nightmares and flashbacks.
 Aroused emotional state: This seems to conflict with the first main symptom (lack of emotions) but trauma-induced conditions like PTSD can leave people feeling on edge. Individuals may have a difficult time trying to focus or sleep. In fact, they may appear “jumpy” or display signs of agitation.
Responding to Traumatic Events:
Trauma by its very nature, effects everyone a little differently. Some people develop symptoms that resemble PTSD, but other individuals will display responses that fall outside of diagnostic criteria. In fact, people’s immediate reactions in the aftermath of trauma are complicated and are greatly influenced by their own life experiences.
This is likely why a variety of reactions are often reported and observed after a traumatic event. Most survivors exhibit immediate reactions, yet their conditions often disappear without any severe long-term mental health consequences. Most trauma survivors are resilient and possess coping strategies and social supports that help them to deal with the aftermath and effects of trauma. However, individuals who display few symptoms may still have subclinical symptoms that do not fit diagnostic criteria for acute stress disorder (ASD) or PTSD. Only a small percentage of people with a history of trauma show impairment and symptoms that meet criteria for trauma-related stress disorders, including mood and anxiety disorders.
Once people have moved past the initial shock of the event, individual responses may vary, but common general responses include:
* Irritability and anger.
* Sudden mood changes.
* Anxiety, nervousness, depression and denial.
* Flashbacks or repeated memories of the event.
* Difficulty concentrating.
* Altered sleeping or insomnia.
* Changes in appetite.
* Withdrawal and isolation from day-to-day activities.
* Physical symptoms of stress (headaches, nausea, etc.).
* Worsening of an existing medical condition.
Sociologist Brene Brown sums up the impact of trauma in her writings. “Of all the things trauma takes away from us, the worst is our willingness, or even our ability, to be vulnerable. There’s a reclaiming that has to happen.” Dr Brown states that vulnerability is “about having the courage to show up and be seen.”
For people who are concerned about the impact of trauma on themselves or loved ones, they should seek professional care. A skilled and experienced mental health professional will be able to properly diagnose and conditions and provide appropriate treatments.
For questions about the impact of traumatic events and PTSD, contact a staff member at Providers For Healthy Living. As a behavioral & mental health practice, one of their medical specialties is diagnosing and treating PTSD, stress and anxiety disorders. They have been providing experienced behavioral health services since 2011, with their practice established on the values of quality, hope and personal responsibility.
Reach out to them at 614-664-3595 or 419-605-9817.
By ABCS RCM
For parents of a child with autism, the situation can, at times, feel overwhelming. Some parents are not sure where to go for factual and current information. However, these parents must remember that they are not alone. In fact, there are many advocacy groups and resources that can help them on their journey.
In other cases, parents may feel like there is simply too much information on Autism. With numerous advocacy organizations and online resources, parents need to learn how to filter through the plethora of information. They need to find information that is correct as well as find solutions that fit the needs of their child.
One crucial step for parents is to learn the language and terms that are used in the autism community. This means always researching explanations for unfamiliar jargon and words. The more parents know about autism, the easier it is to ask the right questions and make appropriate decisions for their child.
Basic Facts on Autism:
Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that is characterized by repetitive behaviors, communication difficulties, social & cognitive impairments. Due to the fact that Autism is a spectrum disorder, the condition can vary from mild to more severe. The disorder has no boundaries and occurs in all demographic and socioeconomic populations.
However, the occurrence of autism is four times more likely in males than in females. Young children may even appear to display no signs of autism before the ages of 1 or 2 years old. Yet, they can suddenly “regress” and lose previously learned language or social skills. This kind of occurrence is known as regressive type autism.
Here are seven additional facts about the disorder from the National Autism Association:
 Autism is a bio-neurological developmental disability.
 It usually appears before the age of 3 in children.
 Roughly 40% of children with autism do not speak.
 Currently, 1 in 59 children are diagnosed with autism.
 Autism greatly varies from person to person.
 The rate of autism has steadily grown over the last 20 years.
 Autism is not curable, but it is treatable -- early intervention is key.
As a developmental disorder, autism impedes the development of the brain in the areas of social and communication skills as well as cognitive abilities. This means that children with autism have difficulties with social interactions and other similar activities.
More recent studies are finding that individuals with autism often have numerous other co-morbid healthcare conditions. Some of these conditions include allergies asthma, epilepsy, digestive disorders, feeding disorders, persistent viral infections and sleeping disorders.
Numerous studies have documented substantial impairments in the gastrointestinal (GI), immunological and metabolic systems of individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). These earlier studies only used small to moderate sample sizes when documenting immune, gastrointestinal and metabolic impairments.
More recently, a variety of large-scale studies have documented higher rates of medical problems in individuals with autism as compared to the general U.S. population. For example, children with autism are roughly eight times more likely to suffer from gastrointestinal (GI) disorders.
Although this is well-known fact among researchers in the autism field, many other professionals as aware of this higher rate of medical comorbidities. Beyond childhood, autism has a negative impact on life expectancy. research has shown that the mortality risk among individuals with autism is higher than that of the general population.
Yet, there is hope. Though there is no cure for autism, the range of symptoms related to autism are manageable and improvable. But, in order to improve the symptoms, parents need access to sound information on autism.
In order to facilitate access to current and relevant information on autism, here are three good sources to research:
The National Autism Association (NAA):
The NAA provides help to members of the autism community. Their mission is to advocate for federal policy and resources that can help people with autism as well as promote research on the topic. They provide tools, education and training to families, first responders and service professionals.
Autism Society of America (ASA):
The ASA is focused on increasing public awareness about the day-to-day issues faced by people on the autism spectrum. They advocate for appropriate services for individuals of all ages. They also provide the current updates on treatment, education, research and advocacy. The Autism Society also hosts one of the most comprehensive annual national conferences on autism each year.
This organization has grown into one of the world's leading autism science and advocacy organizations. They are dedicated to funding research for the prevention, treatment and cure of autism. They also strive to raise awareness about the autism spectrum disorders and the needs of individuals with autism. and their families.
For questions about the occurrence of autism in children and adults, contact Providers For Healthy Living. As a practice, one of their medical specialties is diagnosing and treating the symptoms of autism. They have been providing experienced behavioral health service since 2011, with their practice established on the values of quality, hope and personal responsibility. They can be reached by phone at 614-664-3595 or 419-605-9817.
By ABCS RCM
Stress is a common occurrence that all people experience at some point during their day. However, excessive stress can impact an individual’s health. People should have an understanding about why they even experience stress as well as can be done to limit and manage these potentially toxic emotions.
Stress is how the body responds to demands or stressors that are placed on it. Some of these demands include work, exercise, school work, traumatic events, etc. Stress affects people’s health and they should not be ashamed of admitting that they feel tense and anxious. This is sound advice for both adults and children.
It is important that they recognize major stressful events so that they will know when to seek help from a behavioral or mental health professional.
Rates of Stress – Nationally & Globally:
In 2018, about one-third of people around the world consider themselves to be overly stressed. In the United States alone, more than one-half of respondents felt overly stressed. For Americans, 45 percent felt worried, while 22 percent felt angry. This is a statistical increase from 2017.
The country’s general stress level also increased, with 55 percent of Americans stating that they experienced stress. This is much higher than the global average of 35 percent. Americans between the ages of 15 and 49 years old were the most stressed, worried and angry in the United States. Globally, the nation with the most stressed population was Greece at 59 percent.
What Actually is Stress?
According to the American Psychological Association, stress is the body and brain’s reaction to a short-lived situation. Situation can include anything from being late to work, missing an important deadline or trying to comfort a crying child. Stress can also last for a longer period of time, such as when people have relationship problems or are confronted with the death of a loved one.
People tend to experience stress in different ways. Which means that their thoughts and behaviors are different when they fell under pressure. These sources of stress may originate from feelings related to relationships, physical health, financial issues, work, etc. In all of these cases though, people experiencing intense stress may have a hard time concentrating, feel irritable, have headaches or have a lack of overall energy.
There are actually different types of stress that a people can experience. However, all types of stress can leave people feeling tired, out of focus and irritable. In fact, over time unmanaged stress can interfere with people’s everyday life and eventually damage their health. Because of these different stress types, and how they manifest themselves; it is sometimes challenging to successfully follow a stress management plan. The three general kinds of stress that people may suffer from are acute stress, episodic acute stress and chronic stress.
Acute stress is the most common form of stress that people experience. This type of stress arises from demands and pressures of the recent past as well as anticipated demands and pressures of the near future. A controlled amount of acute stress can generate excitement. Activities like riding a roller coaster or water skiing are fun for many people. But an excessive amount of these activities becomes exhausting. This form of stress is short in duration so it is the easiest to manage.
Episodic acute stress is more severe than regular acute stress. For people with this type of stress, their lives are chaotic and perpetually in crisis. Individuals with this type of stress are often considered short-tempered, irritable, anxious and tense. People with episodic acute stress may suffer from persistent tension headaches, migraines, hypertension, chest pain and even heart disease.
Treating episodic acute stress requires lifestyle changes and other interventions which generally require help from a skilled healthcare professional.
Chronic stress is the most severe type of stress. This inflection creates the most damage in individuals. Chronic stress occurs over a longer time and produces tremendous disruption in people’s lives. This stress grows out of the negative effects of poverty, dysfunctional homes, etc. Chronic stress can eventually kill people through heart attacks, suicide, violence or cancer. This is due to the fact that people’s physical resources are worn down overtime, which allows these harmful health conditions to occur in the body.
Chronic stress is difficult to treat and may require extended medical and behavioral treatment as well as stress management. Seeking help from a mental health professional is essential for this type of stress.
So how can individuals develop techniques to manage the harmful and negative long-term effects of the various types of stress?
Stress Management Tips:
People should measure their level stress and look for signals. In this way, individuals can recognize the dangerous effects of stress and change their behavior. An initial step for individuals is to monitor the behavior that they are engaging in during their day-to-day activities. Are they engaging in unhealthy behaviors in order to cope with stressful situations?
Individuals need to examine whether they are engaging in routine behavior, or is the stress triggered by a specific event or situation? Do individuals engage in these unhealthy choices as a result of feeling rushed and overwhelmed? Instead, people need to find healthy ways to manage their stress.
Briefly, here are eight ways for people to reduce or manage stress:
1. Exercise and eat well.
2. Mediation and deep breathing.
3. Eliminate stress triggers.
4. Slow down and take a break.
5. Take a break.
6. Make time for hobbies.
7. Talk about your problems.
8. Take a vacation.
The above list is only a starting point. No universally effective stress reduction techniques exist. People are unique and have different needs and reactions. A trained and experienced mental health professional can create a successful stress management program.
Who We Are:
For questions about the stigma that can sometimes accompany mental health treatments, contact the staff at Providers For Healthy Living. They have been delivering mental health services since 2011. Their mental health services provide a full range of treatment options for both children and adults. As an experienced mental health provider, they strive to have every patient feel more hopeful after interacting with a member of their staff. Their practice was built on the values of quality, hope and personal responsibility. Visit any of their four convenient office locations in the Columbus metro area.
By ABCS RCM
Childhood and young adulthood is sometimes a difficult time for individuals. This is a period in a person’s life when substantial physical and neurological change occurs due to puberty as well as other social changes. Additional challenges appear due to the fact that many of these changes are beyond the person’s control. Naturally, these quick and seemingly unpredictable changes create a level of mental stress in children and teenagers.
Puberty or a Mental Health Condition:
Children can experience a variety of mental health conditions including: anxiety disorders, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Autism spectrum disorder (ASD), eating disorders and mood disorders such as depression and bipolar disorder. When children develop mental health conditions, the illnesses are sometimes expressed differently. For example, depressed children will often show more irritability than depressed adults, who more typically show sadness. Only a trained healthcare professional can properly diagnose and treat these conditions.
As a general trend, researchers are seeing higher rates of anxiety, depression and other mental health condition in children and teenagers. Among the ages of 6 to 17 years, who have been diagnosed with anxiety or depression, the rates increased from 5.4 percent in 2003 to 8.4 percent in 2012. However, in children and teenagers, the normal transition to adulthood sometimes generates behavior that resembles a mental illness. It is normal for teenagers to express some irritability, annoyance and anger.
Due to this fact, parents find that it is not always easy to distinguish between the moodiness created by puberty and mental health conditions that may require the attention of a mental health professional. So parents sometimes are not sure if their child’s behavior is the result of issues related to puberty or a more serious mental health condition.
Questions to Ask:
If parents have questions about their child’s behavior, here are some questions to consider. These questions provide a good starting point for differentiating adolescent growing pains from a more serious problem that requires professional help.
 Does the child have at least one good friend? If a child has no friends, this is often a sign of isolation?
 Do they have at least one adult they can talk to such as a parent, another relative, a teacher or someone?
 Does the child have at least one activity that engages them?
 Is the child never happy or content?
 Are they engaging in self-harming activities.
 Are they engaging in dangerous activities such as using alcohol, drugs and other toxic substances.
Signs and Symptoms:
Beyond asking the previous questions, there are some behavioral signs that parents should be aware of for children and teenagers. If these behavioral signs and symptoms last for weeks or months, and if these issues interfere with the child’s daily life at home and at school or with friends; parents should contact a mental health professional.
Younger children may benefit from a mental health evaluation and treatment if they:
* Frequent tantrums or are intensely irritable much of the time.
* Are in constant motion and cannot sit quietly (except when they are watching videos or playing video games).
* Sleep too much or too little, have frequent nightmares or seem sleepy during the day.
* Frequent stomachaches or headaches with no known medical cause.
* Are not interested in playing with other children or have difficulty making friends.
* Struggle academically or have experienced a recent decline in grades.
* Often check things many times out of fear that something bad may happen.
For older children and teenagers, the symptoms are little different. They may benefit from a mental health evaluation if they:
* Have lost interest in things that they used to enjoy.
* Sleep too much or too little, or seem sleepy throughout the day.
* Are spending more and more time alone, and avoid social activities with friends or family.
* Fear gaining weight, or diet or exercise excessively.
* Engage in self-harm behaviors including smoking, drinking alcohol or using drugs.
* Engage in risky or destructive behavior alone or with friends.
* Have experienced thoughts of suicide.
* Have periods of highly elevated energy and activity, and require much less sleep than usual.
Research shows that parents can have a positive influence on how their children process and handle stress. In this way, parents can help to minimizing the likelihood of mental health difficulties ever occurring. Parents should strive to create a household that develops resilience, self-control, love and warmth in children.
For additional questions about mental health conditions in children and teenagers please contact the staff at Providers For Healthy Living. They have four convenient office locations in the Columbus Metro area. Their mental health programs provide a full range of treatment options for both children and adults.
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By ABCS RCM
When individuals decide to seek treatment for a behavioral or mental health concern, they are sometimes surprised by the variety of mental health providers. There are actually a variety of mental health professionals. But, the goal for all of these professionals is for patients to achieve their recovery goals.
One key difference between these professionals is their medical specialization or focus, as well as their educational background. All behavioral and mental health providers must be licensed by the state in which they are located in order to legally provide treatments and therapy. Yet, healthcare professional job titles and specialties sometimes varying from state to state.
For example, in the state of Ohio, the Ohio Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services (OhioMHAS) has statutory and regulatory authority over providers of mental health services. However, separate standards can apply depending on the type and level of service(s) provided.
Other differences are whether they are able to prescribe medications and do they treat patients in private practice, group practice or hospital setting. More specifically, some professionals may work in an inpatient facility, such as a general hospital and psychiatric facility. Other providers may work in an outpatient facility, like a community mental health clinic, school and private practice.
With this in mind, the descriptions below are intended to only provide a general overview of mental health providers.
Clinicians, Counselors & Therapists:
These healthcare providers possess a master’s degree in mental health specialty. The degree is either an M.S. or M.A. in a mental health-related field such as psychology, counseling psychology, marriage or family therapy. As a mental health professional, they are trained to evaluate a patient’s mental health. They also use various therapeutic techniques and strategies based on their specific training programs.
As mental health providers, they provide treatments under a variety of titles ranging from counselor, clinician or therapist. Their titles may vary depending on the treatment setting. The licensure & Certification varies by specialty and state. A few examples of the licensure include: LPC (Licensed Professional Counselor), LPCC (Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor) or LICDC (Licensed Independent Chemical Dependency Counselor).
Social workers have obtained a bachelors or master’s degree in social work. The degree is either a B.S.W or a M.S.W. Similar to counselors and therapists, these healthcare providers are trained to evaluate an individual’s mental health. They will administer therapeutic techniques based on specific training programs. However, they are also trained in case management and advocacy services.
For social workers, licensure and credentials vary state by state. A few examples of licensure include: LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker) and LISW (Licensed Independent Social Worker).
A psychologist has earned a doctoral degree in clinical psychology, counseling or education. This is beyond the level of schooling that a counselor, therapist or social worker typically receives. The degree is a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in a field of psychology or Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.). As a healthcare provider, they are trained to evaluate a person’s mental health by using clinical interviews, psychological evaluations and testing. They can make diagnoses as well as provide individual and group therapy sessions. Psychologists are licensed and credentialed by licensure boards in each state.
Psychiatrists are licensed medical doctors who have also completed psychiatric training. This means that they are able to prescribe (and monitor) medication to their patients. For degree requirements, psychiatrists must have earned a Doctor of Medicine (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO). They also need to have successfully completed residency training in psychiatry. Psychiatrists must be a licensed physician in the state that they are practicing. In addition, some providers have earned certification as Board Certified Psychiatrist.
Beyond prescribing medication, Psychiatrists are trained to offer assessments, provide diagnoses and administer therapies. Many of these healthcare professionals have completed additional training in specialties such as substance use disorders or adolescent mental health.
These are only a few of the main mental health providers that patients may encounter. There are other healthcare provider types who can deliver mental health services. However, the previous descriptions provide prospective patients with a good frame of reference.
Who We Are:
For more information about the types of mental health providers and the treatments they can administer, please contact Providers For Healthy Living. Since 2011, they have provided experienced mental health services in Central Ohio. They strive to have every patient feel more hopeful after interacting with a member of their staff. Their practice was built on the values of quality, hope and personal responsibility. To speak with a staff member, please call 614-664-3595 or 419-605-9817.
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