All posts by Dr. Jonathan B. Lauter

About Dr. Jonathan B. Lauter

Jonathan B. Lauter, M.D., is a psychiatrist and a fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, who had his fellowship and residency at the Langley Porter Institute at the University of California at San Francisco. With an accomplished career spanning several teaching and administrative positions in different institutions, he maintains a private practice in Manhattan and is a clinician at the Refuah Health Center in Spring Valley, New York.

The Different Therapies For People With ASD

Society is quite fortunate that in this day and age, psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists, and specialists have come up with many different ways to help children and teens with neurodevelopmental disorders. Since there are no known cures for these disorders, the best society can do is to make life better for patients.

Autism spectrum disorder, or ASD, is one such disorder. Here are some of the therapies specialists have developed to help children and teens with ASD to cope with the world around them.

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Applied Behavior Analysis: Otherwise known as behavioral therapy, applied behavior analysis (ABA) is of great help for children on the spectrum, especially given the fact that they get frustrated very easily. Through ABA, kids learn how to lengthen their attention span and overall capacity for patience. They also learn how to do things around the house necessary for their everyday routines.

Speech: Through speech therapy, kids with ASD learn how to communicate. Since a huge percentage of autistic children are nonverbal kids, they have problems conveying their thoughts. Speech therapists help them say simple words through drills. Also, through speech therapy, kids with ASD can identify sets of images, which they show to people to tell others what they need.

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Occupational therapy: OT is the basic therapy for children on the spectrum. Therapists help children develop their cognitive and physiological functions. The goal here is to help children move and think as normally as possible.

Jonathan Lauter, M.D., is certified in both general and child/adolescent psychiatry. He is an elected fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. For more insights on mental health, check out this link.


How To Care For a Child With Tourette’s

Tourette syndrome or TS is a neurological disease wherein a patient makes sudden and frequent tics. These tics can take the form of making sudden, fast movements or sounds that they cannot control. TS usually surfaces between the ages of 7 and 12. Taking care of a child with TS is a challenge, especially if you don’t know what you’re up against.

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Living with TS can be stressful for both parents and the child. Children with Tourette’s usually undergo treatments and therapy that helps them manage the symptoms. These include:

Biofeedback training, which helps a child react and control stress and pain. This therapy aims to reduce or manage tic inducing triggers.

Cognitive behavioral therapy, which helps a child manage and control their behavior, thoughts, and emotions. This helps the child deal with their disorder and cope with the symptoms.

Relaxation therapy, which reduces a child’s physical and emotional stress levels. The goal of this therapy is to help children learn how to control their tics. This is done by deep breathing, muscle relaxation, meditation, or focusing on music which helps them cope with stressful events that can trigger tics.

There will also be times when a parent needs to consult a specialist when caring for a child with TS. These events include brash changes in the child’s behavior, illnesses like high fever or muscle stiffness, or symptoms that hinder daily function like changes in their vision.

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Dr. Jonathan Lauter is a New York-based general and child and adolescent psychiatrist. He is a clinician at Refuah Health Center in Spring Valley, NY, while also maintaining a private practice in Manhattan. For more articles like this, visit this blog.


How To Make a Resistant Teen Say Yes To Therapy

Adolescents who struggle with anxiety, depression, or another mental health issue may not always readily agree to see a specialist. They may become hesitant, worried, or outright resistant to therapy or the professional intervention that their parents are seeking out for them. How should one deal with this challenge and make the teen see the beauty and potential of therapy?

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Have the child see therapy from a different perspective

Sometimes there’s an unfair bias against seeking help for mental health problems. The patient should be made to understand that people visit psychiatrists because they want to feel better – the same reason that people see other kinds of doctors. Promote the idea of therapy in another way if the child is reluctant, such as likening it to working closely with an athletic coach. The idea is to learn new skills and strategies, and practice until one makes perfect.

Ask why the child is hesitant

Ask questions about how they are feeling, about school and friends surrounding them, and the difficulties around going to therapy. Respect the fact that the child may not be ready to talk just yet; assure them that it can be done at a later time.

Emphasize the promise of healing

Part of de-stigmatizing therapy in the eyes of a teen is to explain that it’s a temporary process that can take only a few weeks or months until progress is made. Treat psychiatric medications like other medicines, too, and highlight their benefit of balancing one’s system.

Work with the right doctor

Find a healthcare provider who will match the teen’s personality. The patient should like the doctor, be comfortable around them, and be willing to work with the clinic to make treatment a success. In short, the teen should be willing to give things a try with the doctor.

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Jonathan Lauter, M.D., is a New York-based general and child and adolescent psychiatrist, and a fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. For similar updates, visit this blog.

Harnessing Ai To Address Mental Health Issues

The present form of artificial intelligence is seen as simply a support mechanism. Researchers are hopeful that in the near future, its impact can be remarkable, given that supplementary research is supported, and faults like unclear data usage, misdiagnosis, and concerns about privacy can be addressed.

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Artificial intelligence can be harnessed when addressing mental health issues. Early detection of mental health difficulties is of critical importance to administer immediate and effective treatment to a patient. For the past few years, AI has been able to detect markers indicating a high probability of cancer at very early stages. While traditional practice in mental health relies primarily on the individual to observe and self-report symptomatic changes, together with the observation of mental health professionals, AI could spot relevant symptoms and function as an early detection mechanism, as established by recent case studies.

Access to mental health treatment can be labeled as a luxury, as approximately 45 percent of the world’s population as of 2014 lived in a country where less than one psychiatrist for every 100,000 people was available. Many people around the world still don’t have access to treatments as they simply cannot afford it. AI can play a prominent role within personalized treatments, with an online platform such as using AI and machine learning, working together with a staffed clinical network to tailor its suggestions to the needs of the user and providing them with access to an array of treatments.

The stigma that surrounds mental health sometimes acts as a hindrance for individuals to seek help and speak out about their issues. Some people struggling with their mental health can be affected by this stigma, causing them to refrain from discussing their situation with others, including trained professionals. AI is likely perceived as non-opinionated, non-judgmental, and overall neutral, which can be helpful for those who are affected by the stigma.

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Jonathan Lauter, M.D. is an accomplished psychiatrist, certified in both general and child and adolescent psychiatry, and an elected fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. For similar updates, click here.

The Importance Of Daily Rhythm For Mental Health

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It is already common knowledge that getting a good night’s sleep is vital to overall wellbeing, including mental health. A recent study, however, suggests that more significant to the improvement of mental health than the amount of sleep is a consistent daily sleep-wake cycle, also called the circadian rhythm.

Sticking to a daily rhythm, which means that tasks and activities are done during the day and the night is devoted to sleep, leads to better mood and cognitive functioning.

The study, which is the biggest of its kind, so far, was conducted in UK, had an unprecedented sample size of 91,000 participants, took place from 2013 to 2015, and was carried out by researchers from Scotland, Ireland, and Sweden.

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The research subjects were provided with an accelerometer device that they wore on their wrist and tracked their daily activity levels for a one-week period. Those who had their circadian rhythm disrupted, which was characterized by more nighttime activities and less during the day, showed signs of bipolar disorder or depression. They also showed diminished cognitive functioning, as exhibited by a computerized test.

While the study does not ascertain causality, it remains consistent with several studies conducted in the past that link sleep disruptions and mental health problems.

Jonathan Lauter, M.D. is an accomplished psychiatrist who has served in varying capacities in the field, including academic, clinical, and administrative positions. Visit this website for similar articles.

Recent Trends In Mental Health And Psychiatry

New studies continue to be conducted and published to better the practice of psychiatry and improve mental health. Here are some of the more important trends in the field that have come out in the past year.

First is an update in the guideline on dealing with mild cognitive impairment or MCI. This study was published by the American Academy of Neurology just last February. This new guideline stresses the importance of proper MCI diagnosis, to assess for reversible causes which in turn would help families and patients themselves better understand the condition and deal with it. Included in this guideline is the discussion of prognostic implications on the risk of dementia, as well as recommending neuropsychological testing as soon as a patient is tested positive for MCI.

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A study done in November 2018 looked at primary care records in England, matching young people between the ages of 10 and 19 who had episodes of self-harm with a group that doesn’t have any. Those who had instances of self-harm (which refers to non-suicidal self-injury or attempt) were proven to be three times more likely to pass away from unnatural causes. This study emphasizes the importance of seeking professional help and treatment for children and adolescents who have had an episode of self-harm.

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Last is the use of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) for treating ADHD among adults. MBCT combines mindfulness meditation in a clinical setting with aspects of cognitive therapy. The trial done in the Netherlands showed that, compared with the control group, patients were given MBCT had their core ADHD reduced and the effects maintained for six months. This study is showing that, while still requiring further testing, MBCT is proving to be an effective treatment for ADHD.

Jonathan Lauter, M.D., is certified in both general and child/adolescent psychiatry. He is an elected fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. For more insights on mental health, check out this link.

Tender Loving Care: Helping People With Bipolar Disorder

Mental illnesses, including bipolar disorder, are typically considered “no-casserole” diseases. It means that unlike other health conditions, such as cancer or physical injuries, people are hesitant to provide support by bringing casseroles or other forms of help and comfort. Sometimes, it is not that people do not want to help, rather, they are not sure how to do so.

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Here are a few tips in providing support for loved ones suffering from bipolar disorder are the following:

Learn about the illness

As they say, “knowing is half the battle.” By learning about bipolar disorder, one can be better equipped to handle the symptoms, especially since these occur unpredictably. Most of the time, those who suffer from it cannot see clearly or deny that they are experiencing symptoms, so discerning warning signs would be helpful.

Be patient and understanding

Sometimes, what bipolar disorder patients need, in addition to treatments, are sympathetic ears and encouraging words. But dealing with them can be difficult, especially when they want to be alone. It is important to know when to give them space or when to talk or spend time with them. Remember also that managing the illness is a lifelong process.

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Know when to seek help

Some people with bipolar disorder can be destructive, violent, or suicidal. When these behaviors flare up, ask for professional assistance to make sure that everyone is safe.

Jonathan B. Lauter, M.D. is an accomplished psychiatrist who maintains a private practice in Manhattan and serves as a clinician at Refuah Health Center in Spring Valley, NY. For more information about mental illnesses, click here.