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Tag Archives: Health

Family Communication is the Key

I’d like to write today about my first meeting with families, and how communication plays a vital role. The process generally goes something like this: After discussing the reason they have sought out help, we discuss how the family currently functions. We talk about the parents’ relationship with their children and with one another. We talk about how the kids relate to their siblings and how they relate to their parents. I then ask the parents something along the lines of “Tell me a little bit about your relationship with *Johnny*.” Some parents are confused by this question.  Most parents answer with something like “Things go well when *Johnny* is in a good mood, but when he is in a bad mood, we all have to watch out.” There can be further details about the relationship and sometimes they will highlight all the fun activities that they enjoy doing with their child. All of this information is very helpful as I begin to understand the family’s struggles. What it does not always address is how communication is happening within the family.

I find that the families I work with frequently neither possess nor know how to acquire ways to communicate effectively with one another. Many of the families describe that they feel manipulated by the communication with their children. This pattern is one of the most difficult changes we ask families to make. We look to break the cycles of years of built-up patterns of communications.

There are lots of ways to work on changing these patterns. Finding the method that works for you and your family is key. Over the past weekend, I had the good fortune of attending the One Change Group’s Real Change workshop. This two day workshop focused on changing communication patterns as well as teaching additional communication and parenting skills. The two day workshop was filled with a mixture of moms, dads, children, single parents, families, and professionals. We shared our stories and asked lots of questions all in the hope of changing our patterns of communication.

In order to change the patterns, the pain of the way things are going has to be greater than the fear of changing. As with everything in life, changing communication patterns is difficult work and takes practice. We have to be forgiving of ourselves that we will get it right one hundred percent of the time. We also have to become aware of our patterns as a means to break them.

To change these patterns there are some simple changes that can make a huge impact on communication.

  1. Check yourself – During conversations that are highly emotional everyone involved needs to try and be aware of their emotional state.  When we get highly emotional our brain shuts down and we can not be rational.  So it is OK in those moments to take a timeout.  The key to effectively using a timeout is to schedule a time when everyone is going to come back together in the next twenty-four hours to finish discussing the topic.
  2. You have two ears and one mouth, so listen twice as much as you speak – What you and your child have to say is equally as important. Make sure that you listen and repeat back what you hear your child saying, and ask them to do the same before having them respond to the topic of the conversation.
  3. Share the love – we hear the negative far louder than the positive. In fact, for every negative comment we hear it takes forty positive ones to cancel it out. It is easy to point out all the things that others are not doing, but keep in mind that we all need positive reinforcement. This is true for ourselves and others.  We need to continually give ourselves positive reinforcement as well.

Start with changing these pieces of your communication at home and you will see the ripple effect. These skills can be used in every aspect of your life, work, home, school, friendships and beyond. My suggestion is to try one skill for thirty days and see how it goes. If you are looking for more information about parenting skills and increasing the communication in your home, Prepare To Bloom may be able to help. Check us out at PrepareToBloom.com or call us at (925) 526-5685.

 

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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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Second Annual National Take Back Day

Announcement from the DEA

News Release [print-friendly page]
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 19, 2011
Contact: Public Affairs
Number: (202) 307-7977


Over 5,300 Sites Join DEA Nationwide Effort
to Take-Back Prescription Drugs on April 30th

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – The Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA’s)
second National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is this Saturday, April 30th. More than 5,300 sites nationwide have joined the effort that seeks to prevent pill abuse and theft. This is hundreds more sites than were established for the event last fall. The free event will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. local time.

Government, community, public health and law enforcement partners at these sites will be working together to collect expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs that are potentially dangerous if left in the family’s medicine cabinet.

Last September, Americans turned in over 242,000 pounds—121 tons—of prescription drugs at nearly 4,100 sites operated by more than 3,000 of the DEA’s state and local law enforcement partners. Also last fall, Congress passed the Safe and Secure Drug Disposal Act of 2010, which amends the Controlled Substances Act to allow users of controlled substance medications to dispose of them by delivering them to entities authorized by the Attorney General to accept them. The Act also allows the Attorney General to authorize long term care facilities to dispose of their residents’ controlled substances in certain instances. DEA is presently drafting regulations to implement the Act.

Collection sites in every local community can be found by going to www.dea.gov and clicking on the “Got Drugs?” banner at the top of the home page, which connects to a database that citizens can search by zip code, city or county. This site is continuously updated with new take-back locations. In addition, interested media can now go to: www.nationaltakebackday.com to download a public service announcement about the initiative.

This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high—more Americans currently abuse prescription drugs than the number of those using cocaine, hallucinogens, and heroin combined, according to the 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Studies show that individuals that abuse prescription drugs often obtained them from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, many Americans do not know how to properly dispose of their unused medicine, often flushing them down the toilet or throwing them away – both potential safety and health hazards.

“The overwhelming public response to DEA’s first nationwide Take-Back event last fall not only rid homes of potentially harmful prescription drugs, but was an unprecedented opportunity to educate everyone about the growing prescription drug abuse problem,” said DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart. “Studies have shown that, for many, prescription drugs are the very first drugs they abuse—and all too often they aren’t the last. That is why we are committed to helping Americans keep their homes safe by ridding their medicine cabinets of expired, unused, and unwanted drugs.”

“I encourage every American to take advantage of this valuable opportunity to safely dispose of unused, un-needed, or expired prescription drugs,” said Gil Kerlikowkse, Director of National Drug Control Policy.  “Preventing these readily available and potentially deadly drugs from being diverted and misused is something each and every one of us can do to help reduce the epidemic of prescription drug abuse that is harming so many Americans.”    

Other participants in this initiative include the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy; the American Association of Poison Control Centers; the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America; D.A.R.E. America; the Federation of State Medical Boards; the U. S. Health Resources and Services Administration; the International Association of Chiefs of Police; the National Association of Attorneys General; the National Family Partnership; the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives; the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy; the National District Attorneys Association; the National Sheriffs Association; and The Partnership at Drugfree.org.


 
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Posted by on April 30, 2011 in Addiction, News

 

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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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Happier Teens are Healthier Teens

According to a study at the University of South Florida completed by Emily Shaffer-Hudkins and her team, happier teens are healthier teens.  Her findings were reported in Springer’s Journal Applied Research in Quality of Life.  Shaffer-Hudkins’ used a sample of 401 students in grades 6-8 from a suburban southeastern middle school in the United States.  She had the teens rate their overall satisfaction with life.  They were asked to rate their feelings both positive and negative about their lives.  After going through these criteria, the teens discussed their physical health.

The study concludes: “Findings from the current study underscore the importance of attending to positive wellness-focused indicators of mental health among youth. Subjective well-being is a significant, unique, and primary predictor of important physical health outcomes in youth and is more strongly associated with physical functioning than is psychopathology. Examining only psychopathology may lead to an underestimation of the relationship between mental health and physical health in young people.”

If your family needs help returning to the balance of physical and emotional health, Prepare To Bloom, LLC may be able to help you create a plan.  You can learn more about how on the web at PrepareToBloom.com or call (650)888-4575.

 

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Blood Tests to Diagnose Schizophrenia

The diagnosis of schizophrenia and other mental health disorders is increasingly becoming a more scientific process.  A new blood test from veripsych looks at biomarkers found in the patients blood that are associated with schizophrenia.  The company partnered with Cambridge University in creating the new blood test.  While the blood test alone is not intended to diagnose schizophrenia, it can assist a psychiatrist in making the determination.  The plans are to continue research and develop blood tests to help identify markers for depression and bipolar disorder as well.  It is clear that the way we think about mental illness will continue to evolve as a result of these new tools.

 
 

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Major Depression and the Premature Aging of Immune Cells

A new UCSF led study, published in PLoS ONE, found that people who suffer from certain cases of major depression may have an elevated risk of suffering from serious illness. Important to note is that it’s the length of time the individual goes untreated that seems to be the critical factor. People with long-term depression who go untreated for a long period of time have a higher risk of getting sick from other physical diseases because their immune cells age faster. More specifically, individuals who were tested whom had been untreated for their chronic depression for 9 years had a corresponding 7 years of “accelerated cell aging”.

As a next step, UCSF researchers plan to replicate these preliminary findings in a larger sample of depressed individuals in order to explain why certain people develop shortened telomeres and physical disease, and how that process can be combated. Depressed individuals not taking antidepressants are currently being enrolled for this ongoing study, and interested participants may inquire at (415) 476-7254 or mood@ucsf.edu.

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Posted by on April 7, 2011 in Articles, News, Research

 

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