During Life's Journey

Children

About Mental Health

Answers to Questions About Your Child's Mental Health
Although some behavior problems can be attributed to normal child development, some require professional help.
Knowing When to Seek Treatment for Your Child
Common symptoms of a potential emotional, behavioral, or developmental problem include poor grades in school, withdrawal from friends and family, and insomnia.
Comprehensive Psychiatric Evaluation for Children
A psychiatric evaluation looks at the child's behaviors, when those behaviors occur, and what impact those behaviors have on school, family, and other relationships.
Psychiatric Treatment Team
Team members may include a child and adolescent psychiatrist, a psychologist, a social worker, and a psychiatric nurse.

Behavior Issues

Techniques for Taming Tantrums
Preventing a tantrum is much easier than stopping one. Here are ideas on how to do that.
Temper Tantrums
These fits of rage—the stomping, screaming, and falling on the floor—are a normal part of childhood development. Temper tantrums often occur only with a parent. They are a way for the child to communicate his or her feelings.
When Kids Want to Buy, Buy, Buy
Don't argue about cost. Do talk with your children about money management and media messages.
Lying and Stealing
Lying and stealing are common, but inappropriate, behaviors in school-aged children. Most of the time these behaviors will be outgrown.

ADHD and Autism

ADHD

Medications to Treat ADHD in Children
Children who have ADHD are often given medication as part of their treatment plan. The type of medication most often chosen is a psychostimulant.
Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in Children
ADHD is a behavior disorder marked by inattention, impulsivity, and, in some cases, hyperactivity.

Autism

Autism Spectrum Disorder
Children with PDD have difficulty with language, communication, socialization, and motor behaviors. Autism is an example of a PDD.
Understanding Autism Spectrum Disorders
Autism spectrum disorders, which include autistic disorder, affect children in different ways. Some children have mild symptoms, others have severe limitations.
Autism Spectrum Disorder
A child with autism appears to live in his or her own world, showing little interest in others and a lack of social awareness.
What Every Parent Should Know About Vaccinations
Where can you as a parent turn to for the facts about vaccine safety? The first place to go is your child's doctor.

Kids and Anxiety

Separation Anxiety
Separation anxiety usually begins around 6 months of age. Babies may suddenly be afraid of familiar people such as babysitters or grandparents.
Your Child’s Separation Anxiety
The prospect of new experiences away from parents or other loved ones can be quite frightening, especially for younger children. These worries are a normal part of development for all children.
Making the Grade on School Tests
Parents can do a lot to ease test anxiety, both in their children and themselves. Start by focusing on the learning and not the scoring.
Help Your Children Chill Out
Kids must cope with all the issues, such as violence or global warming, that stress out adults. But they must also handle stresses added by their parents and the media.
Helping Children Conquer Fear
Studies indicate that almost all children report having fears. Some of the most common fears are of bugs or ghosts, and studies have shown that kids are afraid of pretty much the same things no matter where they live in the world.

Kids and Tough Issues

Helping Your Children Cope With Death
Children deal with death in many different ways, and not necessarily in the same manner as adults.
When a Family Grieves
Learning about grief and how it affects your family can help you get through the difficult times together. It may even help your family grow stronger.
Helping Kids Cope with a Divorce
Anger, fear, separation anxiety, a sense of abandonment, self-blame, sadness and embarrassment are common reactions to divorce for most children.
The Trouble with Bullies
Bullying comes in different forms. It is commonly thought of as an actual or threatened act of physical violence. But name calling, spreading rumors, unrelenting teasing, and deliberately excluding a child from an activity can be other forms of bullying. Racial slurs, mocking cultural traditions, and unwanted physical contact are bullying.
Protect Your Kids From Internet Crime
Youngsters spend time online messaging, chatting, searching and surfing. Although most of these Internet experiences are likely positive, parents need to be aware of the dangers to better protect their children.
Talk With Your Kids About These Issues
Talking with your child about drugs, alcohol and tobacco is tough. But you can't afford to ignore these topics. Children learn about these substances and feel pressure to use them at a very young age.
How to Talk About Drugs With Your Kids
The key is communication. Talking to your children is only half the answer. Listening is the other half.

Kids and Confidence

For Kids, Games Can Build Strong Minds
Citing the latest research on the brain, experts say chess, Scrabble, Monopoly -- even jigsaw puzzles or tic-tac-toe -- help children build analytical, organizational and creative skills.
Why the Family Meal Is Important
When a family sits down together, it helps them handle the stresses of daily life and the hassles of day-to-day existence.

Teens

About Mental Health

Understanding the Teen Brain
Parents need to realize the rational part of a teen’s brain isn’t fully developed and won’t be until he or she is 25 years old or so.
Teens and the Self-Esteem Shield
Research shows that adolescents who grow up with high self-esteem are far less likely to abuse drugs or drink, compared with children who grow up without much sense of self-worth.
Answers to Questions About Your Child's Mental Health
Although some behavior problems can be attributed to normal child development, some require professional help.
Knowing When to Seek Treatment for Your Child
Common symptoms of a potential emotional, behavioral, or developmental problem include poor grades in school, withdrawal from friends and family, and insomnia.
Comprehensive Psychiatric Evaluation for Children
A psychiatric evaluation looks at the child's behaviors, when those behaviors occur, and what impact those behaviors have on school, family, and other relationships.
Psychiatric Treatment Team
Team members may include a child and adolescent psychiatrist, a psychologist, a social worker, and a psychiatric nurse.

Teens and Depression

Understanding Teenage Depression
The medical community once thought depression affected only adults. The risk for the condition begins in the early teens, however, and increases steadily through the mid-20s.
Depressed Kids Need Help
Teen depression is a serious illness. The benefits of getting help, including taking medications if needed, far outweigh the potential risks.
Overview of Mood Disorders in Children and Adolescents
Mood disorders in teens remain one of the most under-diagnosed mental health problems. These disorders also put teens at risk for other conditions that may persist long after the initial episodes of depression are resolved.
Major Depression in Adolescents
Depression is a mood disorder that involves a adolescent's body, mood, and thoughts. It can affect and disrupt eating, sleeping, or thinking patterns.

Teens and Anxiety

Performance Anxiety Can Choke Up Athletes
Anxiety can help focus and sharpen performance. For some athletes, however, the pressure of performing well takes its toll in the form of performance anxiety, which causes them to do less than their best.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder in Children
Rituals and obsessive thoughts are a normal part of a teen's development. An adolescent with OCD has obsessive thoughts that are unwanted and related to fears.
Phobias in Children and Adolescents
Common phobias include fear of animals, blood, heights, closed spaces, or flying. In teens, the fear must last at least six months to be considered a phobia.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Children
A serious accident such as a car wreck, or a natural disaster such as a flood can cause PTSD in a child. Physical or sexual abuse and neglect can be other causes.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder in Children and Adolescents
Children or teens with generalized anxiety disorder often worry a lot about future events, past behaviors, social acceptance, and school performance.

Teens and Eating Disorders

Beating an Eating Disorder
Eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia have risen steadily to affect nearly 10 million women (and 1 million men).
Bulimia Nervosa in Adolescents
Bulimia nervosa is defined as uncontrolled episodes of overeating (bingeing) usually followed by self-induced vomiting, misuse of laxatives, enemas, or medications in an attempt to control weight.
Anorexia Nervosa in Children
Anorexia nervosa (AN) is eating disorder that is a form of self-starvation. A child or teen with AN has abnormally low body weight, a distorted body image, and an intense fear of gaining weight.
Emotional Eating: How to Cope
Emotional eating affects most everyone from time to time, but regularly letting your feelings guide your food intake can affect your health.

Teens and Substance Abuse

Alcohol Abuse

Is Your Teen Abusing Drugs or Alcohol?
Besides having trouble with school and relationships, teenagers taking drugs may display emotional extremes with irritability, anger and changes in sleep patterns.
Binge Drinking Dangers for Young People
Binge drinkers are most likely found on college campuses, where many students consider a big game or fraternity party an excuse to drink all weekend.
The Dangers of Binge Drinking
Too many young people are participating in a dangerous practice called binge drinking, or drinking to intoxication. It's defined as having five or more drinks in a row for men; for women, it’s four-plus drinks in a row.
Alcohol Use Among Teens Is Epidemic
The leading substance-abuse threat to children may be as close as your refrigerator. About 10 million adolescents drink alcohol. In fact, minors drink 19 percent of the alcohol consumed in the United States.

Drug Abuse

Substance Abuse/Chemical Dependence in Adolescents
Substances frequently abused by adolescents include alcohol, marijuana, and amphetamines. Some teens are at higher risk of developing substance-related disorders.
How to Spot Drug Use in Kids
Although most adolescents who use drugs don't become drug abusers or drug addicts in adulthood, drug use in adolescence can put their mental, emotional and physical health at risk.
How to Talk About Drugs With Your Kids
The key is communication. Talking to your children is only half the answer. Listening is the other half.
Could Your Child Have a Drug Problem?
Before assuming your child is taking drugs, find out if something else may be causing him or her to behave unusually.
Cough Medicine Abuse by Teens
A common ingredient in many cough and cold remedies has become a popular substance to abuse by teenagers searching for a cheap, easy high.
Teens and Prescription Drugs
Many young people take prescription drugs because they believe they are safer than street drugs, but they can be just as dangerous if taken improperly.

Teens and Tough Issues

Put Peer Pressure in Its Place
Peer pressure can get the best of children and push them to do things that they don't really want to do. Parents can counter it, if they're ready to help.
The Trouble with Bullies
Bullying comes in different forms. It is commonly thought of as an actual or threatened act of physical violence. But name calling, spreading rumors, unrelenting teasing, and deliberately excluding a child from an activity can be other forms of bullying. Racial slurs, mocking cultural traditions, and unwanted physical contact are bullying.
Bullies Go High-Tech
You can now add bullying to the list of things made easier by technology. Bullies use e-mail, instant messaging, and text messaging on cell phones to reach victims.
Protect Your Kids From Internet Crime
Youngsters spend time online messaging, chatting, searching and surfing. Although most of these Internet experiences are likely positive, parents need to be aware of the dangers to better protect their children.
Teen Suicide: Learning to Recognize the Warning Signs
More than 70 percent of teens who attempt or commit suicide do so in a state of crisis, responding to some acute conflict with peers, parents, or other authorities.
What You Must Know About Suicide
In many cases of suicide or attempted suicide, undiagnosed and untreated mental illness—especially depression—is to blame.
We Can Head Off Teen Tragedies
Preventing teen turmoil starts at birth. Parents set examples in the way they interact, express anger, and treat substance abuse.
Helping Kids Cope with a Divorce
Anger, fear, separation anxiety, a sense of abandonment, self-blame, sadness and embarrassment are common reactions to divorce for most children.
Helping Your Children Cope With Death
Children deal with death in many different ways, and not necessarily in the same manner as adults.
Talking Sex with Your Teen
With studies showing that more than half of America's teenagers have experienced sexual intercourse by the age of 18, educating kids about sex is something all parents need to do.
How to Help Teenagers With Addicted Parents
Growing up is a tough challenge for most adolescents, but when their parents are abusing alcohol or drugs, the obstacles can seem overwhelming.
Teen Suicide
Suicide is the third leading cause of death in 15- to 24-year-olds. The strongest risk factors for attempted suicide in youth are depression, substance abuse, and aggressive or disruptive behaviors.

A Healthy Outlook

Sunny Self-Talk: Seeing Through the Storm
How you view any situation has a lot to do with how you feel.
How to Develop a 'Can-do' Personality
What's the difference between a can-do and a won't-try person? It's usually a matter of bravery.
Helping Teens Embrace Self-Care
By involving teens as full participants in their self-care, they're more likely to choose healthy behaviors throughout their lives.

Adults

About Mental Health

What You Need to Know About Mental Illness
Every year, one in four Americans suffers from a diagnosable mental disorder that interferes with their ability to function at work or school or in their daily lives.
Where to Turn for Mental Health
It's normal to feel stressed or anxious now and then. But it's time to call for help if emotional issues interfere with your life, your job or your personal relationships.
Mental Health: Finding the Help You Need
When your life seems to be spinning out of control, it's OK to seek professional mental health help.
When to Seek Help for Your Mental Health
What distinguishes mental illness from problems of daily living is its severity or persistence over time. Mental illness includes mental disorders of thought, mood or behavior. People with a mental illness may have great difficulty with daily routines and tasks, responsibilities of family, work or school, or personal relationships.
Comprehensive Psychiatric Evaluation
A psychiatric evaluation will look at symptoms and when they occur, as well as what impact they have on family and work relationships.
Mental Health Disorder Statistics
Many people suffer from more than one mental disorder at a given time. In particular, depressive illnesses tend to occur along with substance abuse and anxiety disorders.
Mental Health Glossary
Knowing the definitions of terms relating to mental health can help you recognize a disorder and seek help for yourself or someone you love.
Knowing When to Seek Treatment
Families, spouses, or friends are often the first to suspect that their loved one is challenged by feelings, behaviors, and/or environmental conditions that cause them to act disruptive, rebellious, or sad.
Psychiatric Treatment Team
Team members may include a child and adolescent psychiatrist, a psychologist, a social worker, and a psychiatric nurse.
Men and Mental Illness
Mental illness can cause different symptoms in men than in women, so some disorders in men may be harder to recognize. Men who are depressed, for example, may appear angry and irritable rather than sad and withdrawn.

Adults and Depression

For Adults: Take Care with Antidepressants
These drugs take time to be effective. It may take weeks to know if one is helping you.
Major Depression
You may have depression if you have a persistent sad or "empty" mood, or if you find it difficult to concentrate or make decisions.
When It’s More Than the Blues
Up to 20 percent of people with heart disease have serious depression—and unfortunately, many of them don’t know it.
Women and Depression: Understanding the Gender Gap
A woman’s unique biological, social, and cultural factors may increase her risk for depression.
Men and Depression
Instead of asking for help, men who are depressed are likely to drink alcohol to excess, take drugs, or become frustrated, discouraged, and irritable.

Adults and Stress

Managing Stress

Using Yoga to Relieve Stress
Yoga is one of the few stress-relief tools that has a positive effect on all the body systems involved.

Stress and the Workplace

Managing Work-Related Stress
It’s not the job that creates stress, it’s the way a person responds to the urgencies and demands of each workplace environment that makes them stressed or energized.

Stress and Homelife

How to Juggle Home Life and Work Life
No matter how energetic you may be, stretching yourself to the limit every day puts your health and happiness at risk.
How to Lower Your Financial Stress
Whether your credit card balances are soaring, or you and your partner are arguing constantly over nickels and dimes, there are things you can do to relieve financial stress.
Working Mom? Aim for Less Stress
In the United States, 78 percent of all mothers with kids ages 6 to 17 work in paid jobs. Most—including married working moms—also are responsible for child care and housework.
Ways for Working Parents to Tame Stress
As a working parent, do you need some relief from the stress of managing a career and a family?

Adults and Anxiety

Adults and Abuse

Domestic Violence
Abuse often begins with verbal behaviors such as name-calling, threats, and hitting or throwing objects. It can become worse, including pushing, slapping, and holding against the victim's will.
Understanding Domestic Abuse
Although the most common form of abuse is males abusing female partners, females can abuse male partners, and abuse also takes place in same-sex relationships.
Recognizing Domestic Violence
Domestic violence is behavior someone uses to control a spouse, partner, date or elderly relative through fear and intimidation.
Close the Door on Intimate Partner Violence
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines intimate partner violence as actual or threatened physical or sexual violence, or psychological and emotional abuse, directed at a spouse, former spouse, current or former boyfriend or girlfriend, or dating partner.
Protect Yourself from Sexual Assault
Rape can happen to anyone—children, grandmothers, students, working women, wives, mothers, and even males.
Recognizing a Partner's Emotional Abuse
Physical violence is just one form of domestic abuse. If you have a partner who verbally humiliates you, demands all your attention, blames you for everything that goes wrong or threatens to harm you or your children, you’re also being abused.
Sexual Harassment's Emotional Toll
According to researchers at the American Psychological Association, nearly 50 percent of American working women will experience on-the-job sexual harassment at some point in their careers.
What You Can Do to Prevent Child Abuse
Child abuse can happen in any family and in any neighborhood. Studies have shown that child abuse crosses all boundaries of income, race, ethnic heritage and religious faith.
Women and Substance Abuse
When a woman has a substance-abuse problem, her whole family is affected because she’s often the key to family stability.

Adults and Alcohol

Some New Information on Alcoholism (Alcohol Dependence)
Like cancer or heart disease, alcoholism is a primary chronic disease with its own symptoms and causes. The disease is progressive and often fatal if not treated.
Break Through the Alcoholic's Psychological Defenses
The most important thing that friends and family can do for an alcoholic is to stop enabling the addictive behavior.
Alternatives to Alcoholics Anonymous
Some treatment programs teach problem drinkers to reduce their drinking, an approach that appeals to people who otherwise might not seek treatment.
When a Family Member Is in Recovery
The person in recovery may seem to have a different personality—more serious, more careful, more private—and the family may feel uncertain about how to relate.
Helping an Unwilling Alcoholic
You don't have to wait for someone to hit rock bottom to act. Here are steps to help an alcoholic get treatment.
Helping a Friend With an Addiction
When a friend shows signs of abusing alcohol or other drugs, it's hard to know what to do or say.
How to Cut Down on Drinking
It helps to understand why and when you drink if you are going to successfully reduce the amount of alcohol you consume.
Social Drinking vs. Problem Drinking
Alcohol is considered a drug because it depresses the central nervous system and can disrupt mental and motor skills, as well as damage internal organs when used excessively.

For Your Well Being

Focus on Keeping Your Spirits Up
Good mental health is just as important as good physical health. But we all face changes in life that can challenge our emotional well being.
10 Good Reasons to Try Yoga
Regardless of which type you choose, yoga is an excellent way to stretch and strengthen your body, focus your mind and relax your spirit.
Breaking Yourself Out of a Rut
A routine isn't necessarily bad; it can be comforting because it adds structure to your life and it isn't stressful. But dissatisfaction may start to gnaw at you and erode your self-esteem if you believe you want something more in your life.
Sunny Self-Talk: Seeing Through the Storm
How you view any situation has a lot to do with how you feel.
Goal Setting for Everyday Success
Setting goals gives direction to your life. Without goals, you can drift and go nowhere.

Seniors

About Mental Health

What You Need to Know About Mental Illness
Every year, one in four Americans suffers from a diagnosable mental disorder that interferes with their ability to function at work or school or in their daily lives.
When to Seek Help for Your Mental Health
What distinguishes mental illness from problems of daily living is its severity or persistence over time. Mental illness includes mental disorders of thought, mood or behavior. People with a mental illness may have great difficulty with daily routines and tasks, responsibilities of family, work or school, or personal relationships.
Where to Turn for Mental Health
It's normal to feel stressed or anxious now and then. But it's time to call for help if emotional issues interfere with your life, your job or your personal relationships.
Comprehensive Psychiatric Evaluation
A psychiatric evaluation will look at symptoms and when they occur, as well as what impact they have on family and work relationships.
Mental Health Disorder Statistics
Many people suffer from more than one mental disorder at a given time. In particular, depressive illnesses tend to occur along with substance abuse and anxiety disorders.
Psychiatric Treatment Team
Team members may include a child and adolescent psychiatrist, a psychologist, a social worker, and a psychiatric nurse.

Seniors and Memory

Remember This: Many Have Memory Lapses
Unpredictable, frustrating and, at times, embarrassing memory lapses can be common. So if frequent bouts of forgetfulness are causing you stress and worry, take note: there is most likely a simple explanation.
Five Steps to Better Memory
Aging can make it harder to remember some things. But by focusing on your potential and continuing to exercise your mind, you may be able to boost your memory power. Here are some strategies.
Memory Boosters
Most experts agree that there is no solid proof that memory-enhancing supplements work. These products may not even contain much of their "active herbal ingredients."
Helping Someone with Memory Loss
In older people, it's easy to mistake memory problems for the everyday forgetfulness that some people experience as they grow older.
Don't Forget to Remember
Your memory is built in three basic steps. Before you can remember something, you have to learn it.

Seniors and Depression

Depression Not a Normal Part of Aging
In general, only about three percent of the elderly living independently in the community will experience depression. That figure increases to around 20 to 30 percent of persons in nursing homes or with chronic illnesses like emphysema, heart disease or diabetes.
Major Depression
You may have depression if you have a persistent sad or "empty" mood, or if you find it difficult to concentrate or make decisions.
For Seniors: Is It More Than the Blues?
Although anyone can suffer from depression, it is particularly common among older adults. Depression affects 15 out of every 100 adults older than 65.
When It’s More Than the Blues
Up to 20 percent of people with heart disease have serious depression—and unfortunately, many of them don’t know it.
Help for the Holiday Blues
The unrealistic expectations of the season, time and financial pressures, missing loved ones and reflecting on past events as the year comes to an end all contribute to the blues.
What You Must Know About Suicide
In many cases of suicide or attempted suicide, undiagnosed and untreated mental illness—especially depression—is to blame.
Depression and Suicide
More than 90 percent of people who commit suicide have a diagnosable mental disorder—most commonly a depressive disorder or a substance abuse disorder.
Life After Loss: Walking the Path to Wholeness
Whatever the nature of your loss, active grieving can help you get through the following months and years.
Grief and Loss
Grief moves in and out of stages from disbelief and denial, to anger and guilt, to finding a source of comfort, to eventually adjusting to the loss.

Staying Mentally Fit

Focus on Keeping Your Spirits Up
Good mental health is just as important as good physical health. But we all face changes in life that can challenge our emotional well being.
An Rx for RV Living
More than a million people have pulled up roots and hit the road full time in recreational vehicles (RVs). If you're thinking of joining them, be sure to consider your health.
Five Ways to Age Gracefully
In recent years, an increasing amount of scientific evidence has supported the idea that people can do quite a lot on their own to lengthen their life span and to enhance the quality of life as they age. Here are five steps to take every day that can promote healthy aging and boost longevity.
Many Seniors Go Back to the Books
No matter what you like to do, now is a great time to sign up for a class so that you can explore your interests. Many colleges and other educational organizations offer special discounts to older adults. Here are some ideas about how to get started.
Keep Your Noggin Fit with Brain Exercise
Active thinking pumps extra blood into your brain. Getting more blood to the brain is an important way to counteract the effects of aging.
Age Doesn't Matter for Yoga
More than ever before, Americans older than 65 are turning to yoga for exercise. What is yoga, and why is it so popular? Yoga is a series of stretches and poses done with breathing techniques. It offers the powerful benefits of exercise. And since yoga is gentle, almost anyone can do it, regardless of age or fitness level.
Finding a Yoga Class That's Right for You
Yoga improves flexibility, increases strength, reduces stress and develops a mind/body connection.