Millions of children and adults across the country suffer from Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The conditions are collectively known as AD/HD, and they cause patients to become easily distracted or unable to focus for long periods of time. Those with ADHD experience these symptoms and also suffer from chronic hyperactivity. Though some children with ADHD have symptoms that taper off with age, many adults continue to suffer from AD/HD long into adulthood.
Did you know…
that boys are more likely to be diagnosed with ADD or ADHD than girls? They are also 2.8 times more likely to be on medication for ADHD than girls are. According to the American Psychiatric Association, at least, 3 – 7 percent of school-aged kids suffer from ADHD. However, the Centers for Disease Control have placed estimations even higher at more than 9 percent.
You or your child may need to be treated for AD/HD if you exhibit certain symptoms of the condition. Among children, this includes being inattentive, hyperactive and impulsive, or only hyperactive and impulsive, but capable of focusing attention. For example, children with AD/HD may interrupt conversations, fidget, or overlook details. Adults with the disorder may exhibit similar symptoms, which may be evident by frequent job changes, inability to complete a task, disorganization, and low self-control.
Behavioral therapy and medication are the standards for treatment of ADD and ADHD. However, it is essential that you receive an accurate diagnosis before exploring these types of treatments and therapy. However, those who are diagnosed with AD/HD and also receiving treatment may experience a significant improvement in symptoms, resulting in better grades in school or greater productivity at work.
Your doctor will be able to tell you if making certain lifestyle changes could benefit you or your child. This may include adopting a healthier diet, getting plenty of exercise, and making changes to your home environment in an effort to reduce distractions. You’ll also need to continue working with you or your child’s doctor and therapist to ensure ongoing treatment remains effective.
Anxiety disorders are mental health diseases that are often brought on by stress. The term ‘anxiety disorder’ encompasses a number of psychiatric disorders – all of which can cause mental trepidation, dissociative anxiety, and physical symptoms. Many people suffer from anxiety that is unrelated to any specific circumstance or object, but rather produces ongoing symptoms seemingly at random. This is called generalized anxiety disorder and it is the most common type of anxiety disorder in the U.S.
Did you know…
that anxiety is the most common mental illness in America? According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety affects 18 percent of the adult population in the U.S. But of the 40 million adults over age 18 who are suffering from anxiety, only about 13 million are actively seeking treatment or being treated for the disorder. By failing to seek treatment, the other 27 million are gambling with their health and putting themselves at risk for developing depression.
You should see a doctor if you are experiencing symptoms of anxiety. These may include feelings of panic, trembling, heart palpitations, nausea, loss of appetite, feeling dizzy, or even a fear of dying. You may be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, such as generalized anxiety disorder or panic disorder if you experience symptoms for a period of six months or more. Anxiety disorder should always be treated in order to avoid worsening of symptoms or related disorders, such as depression.
You and your doctor will work together to identify any triggers that may be causing your anxiety. This may include severe stress, a previous trauma, lifestyle habits or even underlying neurological conditions. Based on the cause of your anxiety, you begin a treatment planned designed to help manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life. Your treatment may include a combination of psychotherapy and medications, as well as cognitive behavioral therapy or deep brain stimulation.
If your anxiety is caused by a lifestyle habit, such as excessive alcohol consumption, you may be advised to stop or minimize your drinking habits. Your doctor may also recommend getting more exercise, reducing your stress, and avoiding certain foods and drinks, such as caffeinated beverages.
Bipolar disorder is a mental illness characterized by severe mood swings and extreme emotions. Also known as manic depressive disorder, bipolar disorder can cause a patient to quickly oscillate between feelings of euphoria or excitement to states of depression or hopelessness. The disorder presents differently in every patient, with some people experiencing only occasionally mild mood swings and others subjected to frequent and severe mood variations.
Did you know…
that bipolar disorder can affect anyone at nearly any age? In most cases, the disorder onsets in the mid-20s, but there have been instances of bipolar disorder affecting people during childhood or even as late as age 50. The disorder does not discriminate between genders, ethnicities, or social classes, but a majority of people who are diagnosed as bipolar seem to have a genetic predisposition to the disease. Altogether, the National Institute of Mental Health estimates that approximately 5.7 million American adults have bipolar disorder.
If you think you could be suffering from the symptoms of bipolar disorder, it is essential that you seek psychiatric treatment as soon as possible. Left untreated, the symptoms of bipolar disorder can worsen, potentially leading to suicidal thoughts or behaviors.
Treatments are available to make living with bipolar disorder much more manageable. Though they are not a cure for the condition, the FDA has approved medications to help stabilize mood and treat depression. You may also need to undergo therapy to help you learn how to cope with your disorder on a day-to-day basis.
Your doctor will advise you of any changes you may need to make to help manage your symptoms. This may include avoiding stimulants and ensuring that you get plenty of sleep. It is important that you speak with your doctor about your treatment and speak up if you are dissatisfied with your medications. You are more likely to have a positive outlook on your ability to manage your illness if you are highly satisfied with your treatment.
Most couples in committed relationships know that rough patches are inevitable. No relationship is free disagreement or conflict, but partners can often overcome these obstacles and move forward together. But from time to time, marital issues may arise that challenge the health of a relationship and create tension, frustration or even distrust. A psychiatrist can help analyze couple and marital issues that are responsible for relationship problems and shine a light not only on emotional problems and disagreements but also on underlying mental illness or physical imbalances that are helping fuel conflict.
Did you know…
that psychiatrists are not merely therapists, but also physicians? Whether you are feeling frustrated because your partner isn’t interested in sex or you are having relationship difficulties due to chronic depression, a psychiatrist is trained to identify underlying physical and mental health issues that could be contributing to marital problems. If you or your spouse is found to be suffering from chronic depression, anxiety, hormonal imbalances or some other issue that is contributing to marital conflict, your psychiatrist may prescribe a medication to help alleviate symptoms and restore balance to the body and help put your marriage on a ‘level playing field.
You and your partner may benefit from psychiatric couples and marital counseling if you are experiencing issues in your marriage that seem insolvable with traditional forms of mediation.
Psychiatric couples and marital therapy often begins with counseling to identify the source of conflict in a relationship. Ultimately, the goal of couples and marital therapy is helping couples determine whether they want to move forward in their relationships; and if so – teaching them how to do it.
As you move forward in your relationship, you’ll come to realize that each partner has his or her own set of ideals, beliefs, and opinions. When they do not match one another, you’ll learn to embrace your differences and find a solution that you can both agree upon.
Depression is a widespread mental illness that causes intense feelings of sadness, hopelessness and personal emptiness. It can be brought on by stress, regret, trauma, loss or even a genetic predisposition to developing the disease. People who are suffering from depression often present with chronic fatigue or appetite changes. They may also experience social disassociation in an attempt to isolate themselves from other people. Fortunately, psychiatric treatments are available to help people who suffer from depression. But despite the wide availability of treatments, less than half of depression sufferers seek help for their condition.
Did you know…
that depression is estimated to affect roughly 1 in 10 American adults? The Centers for Disease Control reports that this mental illness can be found in people of all ages and backgrounds, although it seems to be more prevalent within certain populations. Those at heightened risk of depression include:
- People between the ages of 45 – 64
- African Americans and Hispanics
- People without a high school diploma
- Divorced or widowed people
- Unemployed individuals
- Uninsured people without health coverage
If you suspect that you are suffering from depression, seek help immediately. Not only does the illness produce a host of negative symptoms that may worsen with time, but it can also lead to suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Furthermore, the Centers for Disease Control report that depression can have an adverse effect on the long-term outcomes of chronic health conditions like diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease.
If you seek psychiatric care for depression, you’ll avoid the need to get anti-depressants from a doctor and therapy from a psychologist or counselor. Instead, your psychiatrist will be able to talk with you and educate you about the disease you are suffering from. Whether you experience chronic and severe depression or periodic episodes, your psychiatrist will help you better understand that you are not being judged for your feelings and that no amount of right-thinking or willpower can heal depression.
In addition to taking any medications you are prescribed, you’ll need to continue visiting your psychiatrist for follow-up appointments. In between visits, your psychiatrist may recommend engaging in more exercise, getting more sunlight, or practicing meditation.
Children and adults with learning differences often struggle to keep up with their peers and co-workers. But they do not fall behind due to a lack of intelligence or an inability to ascertain knowledge, but rather due to a disability that complicates the ability to comprehend or communicate information. When parents and teachers are made aware of the learning differences their children and students face, they can begin taking steps to counterbalance them. Although there are many conditions that can affect normal learning processes, some of the most common ones include:
Did you know…
that more than 15 percent of children have a learning disability? That means that for a 20-person classroom, approximately 3 students will have a learning difference that may result in a poor academic performance. Unfortunately, these students are more likely to have negative feelings about school and learning, and may have low self-esteem.
You or your child may need to be evaluated for a learning disability if he or she seems to be unmotivated to succeed or unable to carry out assignments on a regular basis. Learning disabilities may also be evident in a number of other traits, such as the inability to follow instructions or the inability to discern between certain letters, directions or periods of time.
In an attempt to identify an accurate diagnosis, you or your child’s psychiatrist will conduct a series of tests under the observation of a specialist. A review of academic and medical records may also reveal clues – especially if a family member has been diagnosed with a learning disorder.
It is important to recognize that learning differences are not the fault of you or your child. There is nothing you or your child can do to overcome a learning disability alone. However, with time and therapy, a moderate or complete recovery may be possible.
Obsessive Compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder characterized by a need to perform certain compulsions or rituals for no apparent reason. Although some of these behaviors are seemingly harmless, the compelling desire to perform some behaviors can endanger employment, family relationships and quality of life. Often, the stress of needing to perform OCD-related rituals supersedes personal responsibilities. Although Obsessive Compulsive disorder presents very differently in every patient, examples of some of the types of problems an OCD sufferer could experience include:
Did you know…
that obsessive compulsive disorder affects 1 in 100 U.S. adults each year? Of those, the National Institute of Mental Health reports that approximately 50 percent suffer from a severe form of the mental illness. Although OCD can affect anyone at nearly any age, it is most prevalent among adults between the ages of 18 and 44. The average age for the onset of OCD is 19.
If you notice that you have an overwhelming but unexplained need to complete certain tasks or experience life in a certain way, you may be suffering from OCD. Some types of OCD are so minor; they cause little interference – if any – in day to day life. But if your OCD symptoms are causing you severe anxiety, disrupting your quality of life, or interfering with your work and personal relationships, you should seek psychiatric evaluation immediately.
Your psychiatrist will speak with you and possibly conduct a series of tests to rule out the possibility of another mental illness. If you are diagnosed with OCD, you may find that cognitive behavioral therapy is helpful in learning how to resist the urge to complete obsessive compulsions. Your psychiatrist may also prescribe medications to help make your OCD symptoms more manageable.
There is little you can do to prevent or change an OCD diagnosis. Many people who suffer with Obsessive Compulsive disorder have a genetic predisposition to the disease. However, it is possible that certain stimuli in your environment could be triggering your condition. Your psychiatrist may recommend making changes to your habits or environment in an effort to pinpoint potentially problematic factors.
A Neuroeducational Evaluation is frequently requested to help parents and educators better understand a child’s functioning in school – not only in terms of academic achievement, but also in terms of their behavior, emotional functioning, and social ability.
A good Neuropsychological Evaluation should not only answer the questions posed by the parents, educators, and doctors, but also identify and address relevant but unasked questions.
In addition to assessing a child’s cognitive abilities (attention, learning and memory, verbal, visuospatial, motor), academic achievement and foundational skills (such as phonemic awareness and word decoding), the evaluation should assess the child’s mood, interpersonal functioning, effort and other behaviors/factors and their potential impact on current test performance.
Typically, an evaluation is requested to:
Neuropsychological Evaluation is frequently requested in legal proceedings to objectively assess an individual’s current neurocognitive, psychological, emotional, and behavioral functioning for a number of purposes.
I have been recognized as and served in the capacity of an expert witness in neuropsychology in several states and federal cases, as well as in military court. Those interested are encouraged to call the business office to set up an initial, free phone consultation to discuss the particulars of the case.
The complexity of the above cannot be emphasized enough, which is why it is important to work with a well-trained and seasoned expert psychologist.
Each person’s brain is as unique as their fingerprint.
Accurate assessment of a child or adult’s functioning should be comprehensive. A neuropsychological evaluation needs to be both Broad Scope and Appropriate in Depth and ideally should cover the following areas:
Neuropsychoeducational Evaluations would also include tests of Academic Achievement, such as:
I have taught neuropsychological assessment for nearly two decades. Over that time, I have seen a concerning trend of evaluations being lacking both in their breadth and depth – a practice guided more by insurance pressure than by clinical factors. This increases the chances for underdiagnosis or misdiagnosis. This can result in the lack of proper clinical treatment, or vocational/rehabilitation services, or educational supports and interventions.
Assessing children and adults is quite different.
When you assess a child or adolescent, the assessment is a snapshot of a child at a point along their developmental course. Identified problems will not only change as the child matures but will also impact how the child develops, affecting the development of other abilities – such as social and executive functioning.
It is important to keep in mind that, given the complexity of the situation, a comprehensive evaluation will increase the likelihood of accurately identifying the core problems to be addressed.