Mental Disorders

Mental Disorders

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    A , Internal Medicine, answered

    We all know people we classify as hypochondriacs: They spend all their time focusing on what's wrong with them, even though nothing ever is (and even though there's no potential benefit, like, say, when you check your blood pressure every day). To help, we need to teach people that their obsessions are ruining their lives, but not reducing their risks - so they need to get used to some uncertainty in their lives.

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    A , Pediatrics, answered

    Beginning virtually during infancy and the toddler years, parents need to treat weather and weather-related events very matter of factly.  Sitting in the garage or under the overhang at the front or the back door when it’s raining, or doing any normal activity like breast feeding or reading the baby/toddler a book without talking about the weather, gives a young child the impression that raining is a non-event.  If you live in an area that has bad weather, don’t wait for a hurricane or a tornado to practice seeking shelter.  Rather, try going to your shelter area routinely and doing quiet, restful activities while there, such as homework, board or card games, singing songs, rhymes, etc.  Try to avoid providing your child with verbal reassurance that the weather is not going to hurt them – doing so may only serve to put the idea in their heads that weather will hurt them.  Also, avoid the bad weather alerts on television – watching most of these would make anyone nervous.

    For toddlers and preschoolers, during rain and snow, try to conduct yourself like you would during any other day.  No need to take special precautions or to provide verbal reassurances.  The more natural you appear, the less anxious your children will get about the weather.

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    Children whose parents have an anxiety disorder are more likely to have the disorder themselves. Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is more common in adolescents than in children. In addition, children and adolescents with GAD are likely to have other mental health disorders, including depression. Parents who see symptoms of severe anxiety in their child or adolescent should contact a mental health professional immediately; early evaluation and treatment can help to prevent future problems.
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    A , Pediatrics, answered
    If your child has a regular physician or nurse practitioner, then that would be the best place to start.  Chances are, if your child does have selective mutism (SM), his regular health care provider has never heard him speak.  When you do take your child for an initial evaluation, make sure to take a video sample of him speaking normally, such as a video on your or someone else’s phone.  Usually, time is of the essence. Don’t wait for your child to “outgrow” selective mutism, because typically the older they are at the time of diagnosis, the more difficult SM is to treat.
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    When parents are watching for anxiety in small kids, they should look for physical symptoms. If kids are always complaining about a stomach ache, they've been to the doctor, they don't have stomach symptoms like diarrhea, constipation, other problems but it's a never ending stomach ache, that is likely due to anxiety. Same thing with headaches or when they're always trying to avoid the same situation. They always have a pain at the same time of the week. It's not like having a period once a month, it's every time church starts, every time they're supposed to go to basketball, every time a certain friend calls. Parents should watch for these things in little kids.

    Older kids will actively avoid the stressful situations. Parents may notice that the child used to always be into drama or basketball and suddenly they're not auditioning or they're not trying out. Also, their sleep patterns get off. Teenagers are naturally going to want to stay up late and wake up late but suddenly they can't even wake up on time for things they enjoy. They can't wake up when their friends are going boating or they're going snowboarding. They're missing things they used to care about. Those are signs that parents should be talking to their child's healthcare provider.
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    All children and adolescents have fears. They may worry about schoolwork, relationships with family or friends, and their talents and abilities. As they grow and mature, these worries change, and they learn how to handle their fears. But for some children and adolescents, anxiety is constant and overwhelming, and interferes with their lives at home, at school, and with friends. They may be anxious about their personal safety or safety of their family members, natural disasters, and world events. Their worries are often not age-appropriate, and unlike adults, they do not recognize -- nor can they control -- this excessive worry. For these children and adolescents, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), one of the most prevalent of the childhood anxiety disorders, is often diagnosed.
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    Sigmund Freud was first to theorize that trauma at birth was the foundation for anxiety disorders such as claustrophobia. Freud discarded that theory, however, Otto Rank, one of Freud's adherents took up the mantle.

    Birth trauma is still considered by some as a potential explanation for claustrophobia, and also, what appears to be antithesis, agoraphobia - which is the fear of open places. Some think birth may be the source of agoraphobia because birth involves a sudden exposure into the wide, wide world.

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    Claustrophobia is the fear of being in a small or enclosed place. People who have claustrophobia may have difficulty being in elevators, small rooms, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines or other compact spaces.
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    Some people believe claustrophobia is a genetic condition, but others believe it is transferred through conditioning.

    If a child of a claustrophobe parent witnesses an anxious reaction to a particular place, that child may learn that behavior, some experts say. Another theory is that claustrophobia is caused by a childhood trauma, such as being trapped in a closet.

    Some psychologists think claustrophobia is rooted in our birthing process, which requires us to pass through the cramped, confined space of the uterus.

    After going through the uterus, the newborn is forced out of the women by muscular contractions, an event referred to as birth trauma.

    Birth trauma theorists suggest all of us have some degree of claustrophobia, since we were all born, but under this theory, children born in more difficult births would have pronounced cases of claustrophobia later on in life.

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    A , Internal Medicine, answered
    The two ways to best manage claustrophobia are appropriate use of anxiety medications and cognitive behavioral therapy. I like to call the latter "talk therapy with a homework plan." (You can do it one-on-one or in a group.) This form of therapy helps you learn how to reduce your fear by changing thinking patterns and helps you handle anxiety-provoking situations by encouraging you to adopt new ways of reacting to them.