New Study Urges Teen Checkups To Include Suicide Risk

Image source: philly.com
Image source: philly.com

Medical doctors are now urging teen checkups to include a suicide risk. A recent survey has found that more teenagers are suffering from mental conditions such as depression and anxiety. These medical illnesses have been distinctly linked to the potential for suicide. The World Health Organization has estimated that a life is lost to suicide every 60 seconds worldwide. Many of those people were diagnosed with or suspected of having either depression or anxiety.

What is challenging is that depression and suicide risk are different among adolescents. Typical signs of depression include the loss of pleasure at ordinary activities and dramatic changes in sleeping and eating habits. These characteristics manifest themselves in younger adults, but there is also an added variance of anger. This is what throws off most parents who attribute the aggressiveness to normal teenage rebellion. Teenagers – who are expressive in their own way – often do not understand themselves what is going on in their minds. Their cries for help may take the form of unnecessary shouting or temper tantrums. Parents are not able to fully recognize the symptoms and are at a loss as to what to do.

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Image source: linkedIn.com

This is why regular and annual check-ups are requested to include suicide risk programs. Mental health practitioners are increasingly worried about the growing rate of teenage suicides in the nation. These deaths are preventable with early detection and immediate intervention.

Jonathan B. Lauter, M.D., is a child and adolescent psychologist. His clients have benefitted from his knowledge about the behavior of children and teenagers. Learn more by liking this Facebook page.

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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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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.

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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.

What People don’t see: The Struggles of Depression

Most people equate sadness with depression, but the latter is far beyond the former. Sadness is a normal human emotion; depression is a legitimate mental illness. This is just one of the many long-held stereotypes about depression. Many people fail to see that depression is more than just sadness and individuals who suffer from this mental illness face struggles in their daily lives:

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Insomnia and hypersomnia: These two are hallmark symptoms of clinical depression. People who are depressed have racing thoughts that keep them awake until sunrise. On the contrary, there are times that they sleep too much to escape those thoughts.

Suffering in silence: They will most likely hide their illness for fear that people will fail to understand their condition. The truth is, most people would say, “You don’t look depressed” upon knowing that their friend was diagnosed with depression. Depression is clearly more than just a facial expression. Smiling and acting bubbly in front of people do not mean that they are not battling with anxiety and feeling of inadequacy.

Physical health problems: They might experience significant weight loss or weight gain and unexplained headaches, muscle pain, and back pain from time to time.

Overworking and being unproductive: To escape from the feeling of worthlessness and anxiety, they tend to overwork. There will also be times that they will criticize themselves too much which can result in loss of energy and unproductiveness.

Constant thoughts of suicide: The feeling of being trapped in hopelessness makes them feel that committing suicide is a lot easier than dealing with their life problems.

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Although it might be difficult to empathize with people who suffer from depression, loved ones should be vigilant of the signs and symptoms and consistently provide support.

Jonathan B. Lauter, M.D., is an accomplished child and adolescent psychiatrist. For more helpful articles regarding neurobehavioral disorders, visit this blog.

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.

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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.

Two Ways to Manage your Child’s Temper Tantrums

All children will have a temper tantrum episode several times in his or her life. The meltdown is very difficult on both the child and parents. It is essential that parents know how to respond to their child’s temper tantrum. Plus it serves two purposes. The first is that it diffuses the situation. Children should not be allowed to take control of the situation so parents must be very vigilant in their responses. Secondly, how the parents also react consciously and subconsciously affects the child. Children learn how to gauge their responses and use this development skill as adults. Child psychiatrists recommend two and simple ways to manage a child’s temper tantrum.

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                                     Image source: huffingtonpost.com

Keep calm but firm: Parents have to stress their position in the child’s life. They should not react to a child’s anger with similar outrage. This merely creates an endless cycle of frustration and resolves in both parties just being angry and confused. Parents should not lose their temper and keep calm. They should also remember that while they are not responsible for the choices their children make, they are responsible for how they handle these choices. Parents should be firm in their decisions and not give in to the child’s request. Doing so actually encourages further tantrums because the child believes that this is the only way to get what he or she wants.

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                                            Image source: popsugar.com

Maintain empathy: Being firm does not mean being cruel or negligent. Parents may try talking to their children and saying something along the lines of “I know it’s frustrating not to get (so and so), but (include reasons for saying no).” It forces the child also to learn empathy and try seeing things from another person’s point of view.

Parents should remember that emotional manipulation works both ways. While children should not be granted requests just for a temper tantrum, parents should not emotionally use tantrums as a means to hurt the child.

Maintain a happy and healthy relationship with your child with the assistance of Dr. Jonathan Lauter, a leading child and adolescent psychiatrist. Like this Facebook page for more information.

Striking The Balance: The Importance Of Praising Children

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Image Source: assets.babycenter.com

There are two schools of thought when it comes to praising children. The first is that too much praise can cause children to grow up undisciplined and proud, expecting recognition in everything they wish to pursue. The second is that constant praise develops the child’s self-esteem, making him or her grow confident and adapted to deal with the everyday challenges of life. For years, mental health experts have studied the correlation between praise received during childhood and personal success in adult years.

Several studies have been made on the subeject. Most of the research, however, conclude that temperance is the way to go. That is, parents need to strike a balance between what is too much and too little praise; either extremes could pose detriments to the child. Children who receive enough praise tend to be more socially aware and are often reported to have better interpersonal skills. On the other hand, too much praise can encourage the child to be an underachiever or lack motivation – since he or she will be praised regardless of what he or she does.

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Image Source: graphicalliance.co.uk

Psychologists have then given a few suggestions on how to properly praise a child. These include being sincere and specific with the praise and using descriptive language that defines realistic and attainable standards. To be clear, general praise (e.g. you are so smart, you are great, etc.) is also helpful, but children respond better when specifics are rewarded (e.g. I love it when you did this, you are really good in math, etc.) Children have a tendency to want to meet their parent’s expectations so they will develop behaviors and attitudes that earn rewards, either through language (i.e. praise) or gestures (i.e. gifts).

Dr. Jonathan Lauter specializes in general child and adolescent psychiatry. His practice focuses on helping a child develop into a happy and mentally healthy adult. Learn more about child and adolescent psychology by liking this Facebook page.

Early Diagnosis: Symptoms of OCD in Children

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) – what is considered as the “Bible” of all psychiatric disorders – has changed the umbrella in which obsessive-compulsive disorders (OCD) fall under. The DSM now recognizes OCD to be a unique condition, entirely different from its previous categorization as an anxiety disorder. This mental illness is a highly debilitating disease. Individuals get trapped in endless cycles of repetitive thoughts and behaviors. This can cause feelings of intense anxiety leading to an urgent desire to perform certain rituals or routines to make the obsessive thoughts go away.

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The symptoms for both children and adults are similar, although parents must pay close attention to their children for signs as young ones are not capable of expressing themselves fully. Children may have a difficult time explaining a reason for their rituals and justify them with the reason of “just because.” Kids with OCD may complain about things not being “in order” or not being “right.” Children may become easily irritable because he or she feels compelled to stay awake or miss an activity to complete a compulsive ritual. They have difficulties concentrating.

Parents should watch out for these common compulsions of OCD: repetitive rituals such as excessive hand washing, showering, going in and out of doorways, rereading, rewriting, counting, hoarding, and ordering or arranging objects. If these symptoms continue for more than two weeks, parents are urged to visit a child psychiatrist for a proper diagnosis and comprehensive treatment plan.

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Your child’s mental health is of the utmost importance to Jonathan B. Lauter, M.D., – a highly recognized child psychiatrist. Learn more about mental health by following this Twitter account.