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Category Archives: Mental Health

One of every Twelve Teens Suffer from Anxiety

The National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH) reports that in the U.S., about 8 percent of adolescents (13-18 years old) are experiencing a diagnosable anxiety disorder. They further report that while most of these teens have been experiencing symptoms since the age of 6, only 18 percent of them have received treatment for their symptoms. Some anxiety is quite normal, for example becoming anxious prior to an important exam. In contrast to this rather short lived experience of anxiety, the symptoms for teens who are experiencing anxiety disorders typically last at least six months, and may increase without proper treatment and support.

While there are a range of psychotropic medications used to help those with anxiety disorders: “The Child/Adolescent Anxiety Multimodal Study (CAMS), in addition to other studies on treating childhood anxiety disorders, found that high-quality cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), given with or without medication, can effectively treat anxiety disorders in children. One small study even found that a behavioral therapy designed to treat social phobia in children was more effective than an antidepressant medication.”

Parents need to know what to look for to identify that their child or teen may be struggling with anxiety.

What to look for:

  • Body Aches – Complaints of stomach aches, headaches, tooth aches or other body pains that do not have physical reasons. Always make sure you listen to your child and check out the possible physical reasons for the complaint.
  • Changes at school – When the “A” student starts to get in trouble, or refuses to go to school, it is time to look into the issues further
  • Attitude – Some moodiness is expected as children move into their teen years, but excessive mood swings or changes in attitude can signal a problem.
  • New Habits – Be aware if all of a sudden your child begins to bite their nails, or shake their legs, all of these nervous twitches and habits are their way of letting you know that something more is going on.
While teen anxiety can be confusing, parents can find resources who can help.  There are treatment options locally and nationally that work with teens struggling with anxiety disorders. Whether you’re looking for a therapist or a treatment program or would like more information about therapeutic and educational consulting, Prepare To Bloom, LLC can help. Please give us a call at 650-888-4575 or visit PrepareToBloom.com for more information.
 

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Transitions to Adulthood

I would like to remind parents about the risks of transition times. Increasingly, parents are seeing that the transition to young adulthood is not a smooth one. When I speak about transitions with parents I am often referring to transitions between activities such as going from English to Math class, from school to home, or from sports practice to homework times. But there are bigger transitions, life transitions, that demand special attention. I discuss with my clients that the struggle through high risk times such as the transition from middle to high school, having the parents go through a divorce, surviving a death in the family, or moving from the turbulent teen years to young adulthood need to be approached carefully.

The families I am working with are reporting that their children are not prepared to head into adulthood.  This is further supported by The Network on Transitions to Adulthood.  According to their reports, “Significant cultural, economic, and demographic changes have occurred in the span of a few generations, and these changes are challenging youths’ psychological and social development. Some are adapting well, but many others are floundering as they prepare to leave home, finish school, find jobs, and start families.”

As our society is becoming more technologically advanced, our daily living skills seem to be falling behind. There are real challenges that this generation of young adults must deal with. However, the skill set needed to successfully launch is severely lacking in many areas.

Many families struggle with what is the best route for their child. There are a wide range of programs all across the country that are designed just to support these needs.  These programs vary greatly in what they offer; from highly structured programs and curricula to support around building vital independent living skills. If you are looking for programs, therapists, and support for a young adult in your life who is struggling, Prepare To Bloom, LLC may be able to help.  You can learn more by calling us at (650)888-4575 or checking out our website at PrepareToBloom.com.

 

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What we do at Prepare To Bloom, LLC

Prepare To Bloom, LLC

Prepare to Bloom was formed in 2011 by Shayna Abraham, M.A., who has over a decade of experience in the therapeutic and educational consulting industry. She is well known for her work with another reputable consulting firm based in California. Shayna brings a unique set of skills, knowledge, experience, and expertise to her new company. Shayna has worked with hundreds of families and successfully assisted in the placement of clients in academic and therapeutic settings.

What is a Therapeutic and Educational Consultant?
A therapeutic consultant, sometimes called a therapeutic placement consultant, is someone who assesses a family’s needs and helps to create a plan for intervention. Adolescents and young adults who work with therapeutic consultants may be struggling with anxiety, depression, disrespect to authority, identity issues, academic failure, substance abuse, anger or aggression, poor choice of friends, oppositional defiance disorder, eating disorders, and/or learning disorders.

Consultants create individualized plans for adolescents and young adults. Sometimes the client needs an out-of-home placement in a program that is designed to meet their precise needs. In other situations, local treatment professionals may be recommended for the client and/or family. In all cases, however, the consultant coordinates with all of the appropriate professionals, schools, and/or programs.
How do you choose the right consultant?
Choosing a consultant is similar to choosing a therapist. It is a very personal process as you will be sharing some private information with the consultant.
Comfort – First and foremost, you need to feel comfortable speaking openly with your consultant. Don’t be afraid to ask your consultant pointed and straight forward questions during your interview process.
Background and Training – Consider the consultant’s background and training. It is important that the consultant participates in ongoing training. This training should include ongoing visits to the programs and professionals that s/he recommends.
Specialty – Consider the consultant’s specialty. Make sure that the consultant has experience working with your family’s set of concerns.
Customer Service – Consider the consultant’s customer service – Customer service is essential in a field that is built around individualized counseling and relationship building. Find a consultant who is readily available and is willing to meet on an unlimited basis.

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For additional information about Therapeutic and Educational Consulting and Prepare To Bloom, LLC please call us at (650)888-4575 or check us out online at PrepareToBloom.com.
 
 

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Tips for Parents about Drugs and Alcohol

Prepare To Bloom Therapeutic ConsultantsParents often ask about what they should look for to know if their teen, tween, or young adult is using drugs or alcohol. Sometimes a child may tell you, in their own way, they are using but more often than not they will try and hide it. There are many subtle clues that parents can watch out for including changes in behavior, who the child associates with, and changes in their performance and interests. I have heard many stories over the years and have compiled in this blog a short list of factors parents should look out for:

  • Unpredictable behaviors- Most teens have mood swings and unpredictable behaviors. Sometimes parents notice increased lying. Parents often minimize these changes, but they should trust their gut when it happens more frequently or more drastically than previously.
  • Change in peer group- Peer groups change for various reasons, but if you are noticing that your child’s peer group has changed drastically and quickly there may be reason for concern. There is reason to be concerned when your child becomes secretive about who their friends are, where they are going, and who they are hanging out with.  Also find out if their friends are using drugs.  More often than not, if they are hanging out with other kids who are using, they are as well.
  • Lacking interest in sports and other activities- While drugs and alcohol are not the only reason that teens and young adults lose interest in activities they previously enjoyed, it should not be ruled out.
  • Changes in academic performance- The first thing parents frequently notice is a slip in grades. This often happens as other pieces of their child’s life are slipping as well. Some of the time there are increased truancy, suspensions, or other disciplinary problems.
  • Being secretive- Parents report that their child becomes increasingly secretive about phone calls, texts and online communications.
  • Missing money – If your child does not have access to money they will not be able to fund their use of drugs or alcohol.  They will turn to finding other sources of money, this may mean stealing money and possibly other valuables.
  • Paraphernalia- Parents may find cigarettes, bongs, pipes, and empty bottles or cans.  Often kids will claim they are holding onto something for a friend.
If you are concerned about your child, young adult, or someone in your life, Prepare To Bloom, LLC  may be able to help.  If you are interested in information about therapeutic and educational consulting, therapists, or treatment programs, please give us a call at 650-888-4575 or visit PrepareToBloom.com for more information.
 
 

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Prescription Drug Abuse Facts

What is prescription drug abuse? Prescription drug abuse is when someone uses another person’s prescription, or uses their own prescription in a manner not as prescribed.

What are the most commonly abused prescriptions?  According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Opiods (such as the pain relievers OxyContin and Vicodin), central nervous system depressants, and stimulants are the most commonly abused prescription drugs.  Some drugs that are available without a prescription – also known as over-the-counter drugs can also be dangerous if they aren’t taken according to the directions on the packaging.  For example, DXM (dextromethorphan), the active cough suppressant found in many over-the-counter cough and cold medications, sometimes is abused, particularly by youth.”

Where do teens get prescription drugs? Teens, tweens, and young adults frequently obtain prescriptions from friends and family members. Often the individual does not know that their prescription is being abused by someone else.

Why do teens abuse prescription drugs? As with all other drugs, teens use them for a variety of reasons including getting high, avoiding feelings, avoiding physical pain, and assisting with concentration.

Are prescription drugs safer than illegal drugs? No. While doctors prescribe medications to help their patients, when they are misused the prescriptions become unsafe. Prescription drugs can be lethal if used in a manner that is not in accordance with doctors’ orders.

Is there help for prescription drug abuse? Yes.  There are both out-patient and residential programs that work with teens who are abusing prescription drugs. Whether you’re looking for a therapist or a treatment program or would like more information about therapeutic and educational consulting, Prepare To Bloom, LLC can help. Please give us a call at 650-888-4575 or visit PrepareToBloom.com for more information.

 

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The Facts about ADHD

What is ADHD? The National Institute of Mental Health defines Attention Hyperactivity Disorder(ADHD) as ” a term used to describe a group of behaviors that most often appear in young, school-aged children.”

How is ADHD diagnosed? There is no one test that can diagnose ADHD.  A trained mental health professional, or physician can assist in ruling out the symptoms and diagnosing your child with ADHD.  This is typically done in the early years between ages 3 and 6, but can happen much later even into adulthood.

What are the symptoms of ADHD? Impulsive behaviors,day dreaming, difficulty staying focused on tasks in comparison to peers, and frequently struggling to stay organized with school work and at home.  While everyone has moments of being distracted, it is when this becomes a pattern that is interfering with the child’s day-to-day functioning that these symptoms should be looked at more closely.

How do you treat ADHD? There are several medications that can assist in reducing the symptoms of ADHD.  When using medications patients should be closely monitored by treatment professionals.  There is not one treatment that works for everyone.  There are also non medication related changes that can be made to help alleviate symptoms.  It takes time and energy on the part of the entire family to determine what works best for the patient.

Additional resources: Additional information about ADHD can be found on the National Institute for Mental Health website http://www.nimh.nih.gov/topics/topic-page-adhd.shtml.  Whether you’re looking for a therapist or a treatment program or would like more information about therapeutic and educational consulting, Prepare To Bloom, LLC can help. Please give us a call at 650-888-4575 or visit PrepareToBloom.com for more information.

 

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A Parent’s Guide to Understanding Cutting

Cutting is a form of self injury where small cuts are made typically on the body arms and/or legs.  Cutting is a way for teens to release emotional pain.  The practice of cutting has been happening in secret for ages, but more recently has come to light as it has been shown in movies, TV shows and online.  Teens and tweens, who are often unaware of other ways to release intense emotions, turn to the internet for answers and come across information on cutting.  They are also learning from peers.  The majority of my clients report knowing someone who cuts.

The topic of cutting was recently discussed on the Today Show and it was highlighted that teens who are feeling immense “pressure to be perfect” are turning to cutting as an answer.  The segment reported that “a Seventeen magazine poll shows that 15% of teens physically hurt themselves on purpose.”  They are highlighting that this is a common problem and parents need to understand the signs and symptoms of these self destructive behaviors.

What to look for:

  • Changes in attitude, friends, interest in activities and day to day behaviors.  Teens who are not handling the day to day stress of their lives are vulnerable to releasing their emotions through cutting.
  • Need to always be covered up.  If you see that your child is wearing long sleeves, long pants and this does not match with the season, this may be reason to be concerned.
  • Unexplainable cuts or scratches.  Often teens will use whatever they can get their hands on to cut so cuts may be superficial.  Question your child on how they got the scratches or cuts and trust your intuition.
  • Negative self talk.  If your teen is constantly talking about themselves in a negative way with you or others.
There are treatment options for self harming ,and parents need to address self injury head on in a compassionate manner.  Parents need to try and calm their fears, and listen to what your teen is telling you.  Remember that teens can’t always express their feelings and their actions often need to be looked at as communication that things are not going well.  Whether you’re looking for a therapist or a treatment program or would like more information about therapeutic and educational consulting, Prepare To Bloom, LLC can help. Please give us a call at 650-888-4575 or visit PrepareToBloom.com for more information.
 

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