Clinical depression is one of the most common mental illnesses, affecting more than 19 million Americans each year.
Unfortunately, although treatment for depression is almost always successful, fewer than half of those suffering from this illness seek treatment because they believe depression isn’t serious, they can treat it themselves or that it is a personal weakness rather than a serious medical illness.
Symptoms of Clinical Depression:
Persistent sad, anxious or “empty” mood
Sleeping too much or too little, middle of the night or early morning waking
Reduced appetite and weight loss, or increased appetite and weight gain
Loss of pleasure and interest in activities once enjoyed, including sex
Persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment (such as chronic pain or digestive disorders)
Difficulty concentrating, remembering or making decisions
Fatigue or loss of energy
Feeling guilty, hopeless or worthless
Thoughts of suicide or death
If you have five or more of these symptoms for two weeks or more, you could have clinical depression and should contact our qualified mental health professionals for help.
Above statistics were taken from the National Mental Health Association research and were used by permission.
It is normal to experience feelings of anxiety or stress before an important event such as an exam, a wedding, an approaching project deadline or a big business meeting. Anxiety disorders, however, are illnesses that cause people to feel frightened, distressed and uneasy for no apparent reason. Left untreated, these disorders can dramatically reduce productivity and significantly diminish an individual’s quality of life.
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in America. They are also some of the most treatable, with a high rate of success.
The National Mental Health Association lists the following as common anxiety disorders:
Characterized by panic attacks, sudden feelings of terror that strike repeatedly and without warning. Physical symptoms include chest pain, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, dizziness, abdominal discomfort, feelings of unreality, and fear of dying.
Repeated, intrusive and unwanted thoughts or rituals that seem impossible to control.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Persistent symptoms that occur after experiencing a traumatic event such as war, rape, child abuse, natural disasters, or being taken hostage. Nightmares, flashbacks, numbing of emotions, depression, and feeling angry, irritable, distracted and being easily startled are common.
Extreme, disabling and irrational fear of something that really poses little or no actual danger; the fear leads to avoidance of objects or situations and can cause people to limit their lives.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Chronic, exaggerated worry about everyday routine life events and activities, lasting at least six months; almost always anticipating the worst even though there is little reason to expect it. Accompanied by physical symptoms, such as fatigue, trembling, muscle tension, headache, or nausea.
The above information was adapted from the National Mental Health Association website and has been used by permission.
Anger is one of the natural emotions that humans are born with. Babies experience a form of anger when they are uncomfortable and have a physical need. Toddlers get angry when they don’t get their way. As children grow into adults, anger can be caused when the individual feels an injustice occurs.
So what’s the big deal about anger?
Uncontrolled anger is like a “pot of boiling water with the lid left on. If the steam doesn’t escape, the water will finally boil over and blow its top!” (www.familydoctor.org)
When this pot explodes it is dangerous to all who are around!
Controlling the anger is the key.
For a list of “Anger Busters” follow this link and learn how to control your anger before it takes control of you! Anger Busters
Dealing with behavioral problems in children can be one of the most frustrating experiences for any parent. However, parents should first ask themselves, “Is my child acting appropriately for their age?”.
As a parent, you need to remember that each child develops differently, and certain behaviors are normal depending on the child’s emotional and physical development, their age, and what school/family situations that they may be dealing with in their life at any particular moment. For example, was the child picked on at school today or did they witness their parents arguing? If so, they may act out in an undesired way just to get attention or because of frustration.
The best way to deal with unacceptable behavior is to ignore it. Children tend to repeat behavior that gets them attention, whether or not the attention is good or bad. Ignoring unwanted behavior is not easy, and will take time. The behavior will not be discontinued after the first instance of ignoring it. Given time and patience , most children will respond to this technique if their behavior is normal for their age and level of development.
Another way to stop unwanted behavior is a punishment/reward system. Again, determining the child’s developmental stage is key in executing this type of behavioral management. “Time-out” for ten minutes is no more appropriate for a teenager than taking the car keys away is for a toddler. Likewise, buying a new video game for your child just for picking up their toys one time is an inappropriate reward.
Rewards and punishments must fit the circumstance. A checklist system (sample shown below) is a good example of an age-appropriate behavior modification technique. As a parent, you need to set limits that, if followed, will impact your child in a positive way. Successful punishment/reward systems will work if they are age-appropriate and executed with consistency.
According to experts, reward systems work best in children over 2 years of age, and can take up to 2 months to work. “Remaining patient and keeping a diary of behavior can be helpful to parents.” (http://search.familydoctor.org) You can find out more about encouraging positive behavior by clicking the above link.
Remember that in either “ignoring” or “punishment / reward”, CONSISTENCY IS THE KEY!
This chart is an example of what might be appropriate for an elementary age child
|EXPECTED / UNEXPECTED BEHAVIORS||REWARD||PUNISHMENT|
|Talk kindly to family members||Play a game before bed time||10 minutes time out chair|
|Pick up clothes and toys||√ towards new toy, treat or book||no √|
|Brush teeth morning and night||√ towards new toy, treat or book||no √|
|Clean & sweep room||Get to have friend over||No friend over|
|Do homework as soon as you get home from school||Get to play game or watch TV for 1/2 hour||No TV time|
|Fighting / arguing with parents or siblings||None||No/reduced TV time|
|Kicking or hitting||None||No electronics (TV, video games, etc.) and go to bed 1/2 hour early|
|Getting in trouble at school||None||No/reduced amount of electronics & write a note of apology to teacher|
|Swearing / Undesirable Language||None||10 minutes time out chair (each instance)|
√’s can accumulate to a desired amount for a reward (i.e. 10 √’s for desired treat, 30 √’s for a new book or small toy, etc.)
But what if my child’s behavior is not normal for their age and physical / emotional development or they are harming themselves or others? Or, what if I feel myself losing control when disciplining my child?
This is the time to seek help! Call our Family and Children experts to schedule an appointment at 330-424-9573.
Difficulty coping with life can occur because of a major tragedy (such as a fire or tornado) or because of any variety of life circumstances that have got you weighted down. The loss of job, behavioral issues with your children, separation/divorce, or financial difficulties can be just as overpowering as living through war or a hurricane.
But how can you tell if your stress is normal or if you are on overload? Here’s a checklist to help:
Do minor problems and disappointments upset you excessively?
Do the small pleasures of life fail to satisfy you?
Are you unable to stop worrying?
Do you feel inadequate or suffer from self-doubt?
Are you constantly tired?
Do you experience flashes of anger over minor problems?
Have you noticed a change in sleeping or eating patterns?
Do you suffer from chronic pain, headaches, or backaches?
If you answered “yes” to most of these questions, consider the following: If you don’t deal with the stress, it can be harmful to your mental and physical health. Here are some tips for coping in these difficult times:
Talk about it. By talking with others about the event, you can relieve stress and realize that others share your feelings.
Be realistic. If you feel overwhelmed by some activities, learn to say NO!
Shed the “superman/woman” urge. No one is perfect, so don’t expect perfection from yourself or others.
Spend time with friends and family. They can help you through this tough time. If your family lives outside the area, stay in touch by phone. If you have any children, encourage them to share their concerns and feelings with you.
Take care of yourself. Get plenty of rest and exercise, and eat properly. If you smoke or drink coffee, try to limit your intake, since nicotine and caffeine can also add to your stress.
Find time for activities you enjoy. Read a book, go for a walk, catch a movie or do something else you find enjoyable. These healthy activities can help you get your mind off the disaster and keep the stress in check.
Take one thing at a time. For people under stress, an ordinary workload can sometimes seem unbearable. Pick one urgent task and work on it. Once you accomplish that task, choose the next one. “Checking off” tasks will give you a sense of accomplishment and make things feel less overwhelming.
Find a hobby. A hobby will give you a break from your worries.
Do something positive. Give blood, call a friend who is ill, send a card to a neighbor. Helping other people can give you a sense of purpose.
Give in occasionally. Be flexible.
Go easy with criticism. You may be expecting too much.
Avoid drugs and excessive drinking. Drugs and alcohol may temporarily seem to remove stress, but in the long run they generally create additional problems that compound the stress you were already feeling.
Ask for help when you need it. If your feelings do not go away or are so intense that they interfere with your ability to function in daily life, talk with a trusted relative, friend, doctor or make an appointment with one of our trained mental health professionals to discuss how well you are coping with the recent events. You could also join a support group. Don’t try to cope alone. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness.
The above list of strategies was adapted from the National Mental Health Association website and used by permission.
Domestic violence is abuse by a caregiver, a parent, a spouse or an intimate partner.
Domestic violence isn’t just physical abuse, it can also be forced sexual activity; emotional abuse including threats, constant criticism, put-downs and even controlling money and activities are abusive behaviors.
What Can I Do?
Remove yourself from the situation – make sure you and your family are safe. Many times this is the necessary step needed for the abuser to see that they need to seek help. Enlist the help of The Counseling Center or the police (if necessary) to assure your safety.
For more information contact The Counseling Center at 330-424-9573 or follow the link below for further information on this topic. www.familydoctor.org
According to the National Mental Health Association, alcohol, nicotine additions and drug abuse disorders are one of our society’s greatest health concerns.
The causes of alcohol or other drug abuse and addiction are complex, with heredity, environment, and social factors all playing a part.
While a professional assessment is necessary to accurately diagnose a substance abuse or addiction problem, the following four “CAGE” instrument questions can help you determine a possible addiction problem.
C – Have you ever felt the need to Cut down on your drinking/drug use?
A – Do you get Annoyed at criticism by others about your drinking/drug use?
G – Have you ever felt Guilty about your drinking/drug use or something you have done while drinking or using other drugs?
E – Eye-opener: Have you ever felt the need for a drink early in the morning?
If you answered yes to one or more of the above questions, you could be at risk for developing a problem with alcohol or other drugs. Speaking with one of our trained professionals can help you on the road to a substance dependent-free life.
The ‘CAGE’ instrument was adapted from the National Mental Health Association website and has been used by permission. Click the link below to find out more about substance abuse.
Substance Abuse Facts
Loss or Grief
LOSS & GRIEF
Dealing with the death of a loved one is always a painful experience. Although you know that everyone around you has gone through this kind of grief at one time or another, it doesn’t make the experience any easier for you.
Children’s Response to Loss
In general, the loss of a parent, sibling, relative or friend will mean a loss of sense of security for a child. Also, while pre-schoolers have difficulty understanding that death is not temporary, older children, between the ages of five and nine, begin to experience grief more like adults.
Children express grief in a variety of ways, including appearing to be unaffected. But, no matter how a child appears on the outside, there may be grief beneath the surface. Here are some common ways children respond to a death:
anxiety or panic
crying often and easily
loss of appetite or other eating disruption
increased physical complaints or illnesses
acting younger, possibly reverting to bed wetting, thumb sucking or baby talk
fear of being alone
sharp drop in school performance or refusal to attend school
Helping Children Cope with a Loss
Respond patiently to children’s concerns. It can take them a long time to recover from a loss. Expect their grief to revisit in cycles as strong reminders, such as the anniversary of a death, reawaken grief.
Keep children’s routines as regular as possible. Children grieve not only for the person but also for changes in the household and environment of family and friends.
Whenever possible, offer children choices in what they do or don’t do to memorialize the deceased and ways to express their feelings about the death. Help the child plant a tree or dedicate a place in memory of the person who died.
Give children a chance to talk about their feelings. But don’t push them to talk. Children, like adults, need time to grieve and be upset. Let them know you are ready to listen and provide reassurance when they express their feelings. To lessen confusion, avoid expressions such as “passed on” or “went to sleep.” Answer their questions about death simply and honestly. But, only offer details they can absorb. Don’t overload them with information.
Adults’ Response to Loss
Some common ways that adults respond to a death include:
Feeling numb, emotionless or lost
Guilt over failure to protect their loved one
Frustration, anger, fear or uncertainty
Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
Difficulty with changes in routine
Calling in sick frequently
Helping Yourself and Others with Loss
The more sudden and unexpected the death, the harder it is for people to express support. Often, the fear of saying or doing something “wrong” keeps people from offering support.
Here are some ways to help yourself:
Do your mourning now. Being brave is important but don’t miss an opportunity to cry. It’s not self indulgent, but a sensible and honest way to deal with your emotions.
Repressed feelings don’t go away. Express your feelings.
Remember that people do recover from sudden loss and that you too can move through this terrible pain and begin to heal.
Bear in mind that emotional pain isn’t constant. We will love forever but we don’t need to grieve forever to honor that love.
Get support from others – counselors, support groups, bereavement groups, compassionate friends, or other loss survivors.
Here are ways to help others:
Acknowledge the loss in some way. Send a card. Help to plan a memorial service. Observe a moment of silence at a community event.
Offer help to the family by making a meal, providing transportation or babysitting a child.
Offer words of sympathy. Speak from the heart, but be mindful of the different ways in which people mourn.
If your stress doesn’t begin to subside or is so strong it interferes with your ability to function in daily life, don’t try to go it alone. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness.
The above list is adapted from the National Mental Health Association website and has been used by permission. The links provided below can give you more information on dealing with loss.