Category Archives: Health

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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Image source: childrensmercy.org

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.

 

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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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Image source: thejc.com

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 Ginger.io 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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Image source: healthtechcenter.org

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.

Image source: chronobiology.com

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.

                               Image source: thestar.com

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.

Beyond Imaginary Friends: Signs And Treatment Of Schizophrenia In Childhood

Schizophrenia is a rare but severe medical illness that usually manifests in adulthood. But the onset and its early warning signs may appear during childhood and adolescence.

Diagnosing schizophrenia is very difficult because of its rare manifestation in children under age 13, and because the symptoms are similar to autism and conduct disorder. Ruling out the latter disorders, which are more common among children, is the first step to a prognosis for schizophrenia. Some early indications of the disease are language delays, unusual motor behaviors, and hearing voices that are not real.

Image source: nhs.uk
Image source: nhs.uk

The disease progresses in puberty, at which point an adolescent may recognize that their experiences are a cause for concern. Signs of a developing psychosis are hallucinations, disorganized thinking or bizarre thoughts, paranoia, severe anxiety, confusing movies or dreams from reality, increased isolation, and difficulty in focusing.

Image source: everylivingthing.ca
Image source: everylivingthing.ca

Children and adolescents showing these symptoms must be evaluated by a specialist immediately for early diagnosis. The disease can be managed with medication, individual and family therapy, specialized programs, and life skills training.

Dr. Jonathan Lauter is a certified psychiatrist and a fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. He runs a private practice in Manhattan and holds a clinic at the Refuah Health Center in Spring Valley, New York. For more articles on child and adolescent mental health, subscribe here.

Responding To The Needs Of a Hyperactive Child

Parenting a child with special needs is not an easy task. Taking care of a child diagnosed with ADHD requires utmost patience and understanding. For parents, this can be physically and mentally taxing, but the key is to learn about your child’s condition to better understand and respond to his needs.

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Image source: rutgers.edu

The Children and Adults with ADHD defines ADHD as a neurobiological disorder characterized by chronic and developmentally inappropriate degrees of inattention, impulsivity, and in some cases, hyperactivity. Characteristics and symptoms of hyperactivity include difficulty engaging in activities quietly, squirming, fidgeting, and excessive energy. Early diagnosis is crucial for successful intervention. Talk to a qualified child psychologist or development pediatrician if you suspect symptoms of ADHD in your child.

There are several treatment options and educational strategies that can help your child manage ADHD. Seek support from therapists, doctors, and teachers to create a multidisciplinary intervention plan for your child. At home, you can also employ different strategies to effectively teach the child important skills and behaviors. Children with ADHD greatly benefit from consistency and predictability. Establish a routine and set clear rules so that your child knows what to expect and what to do. Don’t forget praise and positive reinforcement as well. Celebrate your child’s strengths through simple rewards to reinforce good behavior.

 Image source: linkedin.com
Image source: linkedin.com

Many challenges come with raising a child with ADHD but with support and understanding, your child can successfully manage his or her condition.

Jonathan B. Lauter, M.D. is certified general and child and adolescent psychiatrist and an expert in neurobehavioral disorders such as ADHD. Subscribe to this blog to read more about mental health.

Puppy Love: A Psychological Perspective On First Love

Adolescence brings about many changes. One of the most important growth milestones is the occurrence of new feelings such as first love. Mental health practitioners have tried to study the many effects of love and have still not yet fully understood both the lasting physiological and emotional effects of the feeling. However, these experts all agree that the purest – and perhaps the rawest – manifestation of first love is the one exhibited by teenagers. This is because this form of love is deemed to be the first in terms of discovering romantic love mixed with a healthy dose of physical desire.

Image source: joansdigest.com
Image source: joansdigest.com

“Puppy love” as the phase is called is a fascinating stage, and thus, has become a popular subject in studies in various fields. From a psychological perspective, though, this form of love has many intriguing concepts. It is not random that Romeo and Juliet were teenagers. Even without the death and gore, teenagers often report feeling a sense of overwhelming desire toward their partner. The feeling of love is intensified by the inevitable personal growth one experiences in adolescence. This is, perhaps, one of the main reasons first love seems so powerful. The significant other suddenly becomes integral to the personal development of an individual. Adolescents cannot distinguish the happiness and self-fulfillment they with the other person. From a survivalist point of view, the love becomes necessary instead of wanted. This may be why other emotions, such jealousy and insecurity, also manifest in first love.

Image source: thecollegecrush.com
Image source: thecollegecrush.com

Psychologists understand that as children age, their maturity does as well. This helps teach individuals the difference in infatuation from actual mature love; the latter being essential in any successful adult relationship.

Dr. Jonathan Lauter is a certified child and adolescent psychiatrist. His practice deals with the myriad of experiences children and teenagers experience. Through his work, children can deal with the many challenges in life with confidence and strength. Learn more by liking this Facebook page.