Therapy That Works...

What To Do About Post-Partum Depression - By Chris Gearing

Monday, November 01, 2010

The American Academy of Pediatrics is now recommending that pediatricians routinely screen all new mothers for depression. Every year more than 400,000 babies are born to depressed women and that's not just bad for moms, but can also harm their babies. Research shows babies with depressed mothers show developmental and social delays.

But how widespread is post partum depression in women?

Post-partum depression is much more common than psychologists once thought. Now we know that up to 80% of women are affected by post-partum. Around 30% of fathers also develop depression during the first year of the baby's birth. If left untreated, post partum can become worse over time and can eventually become life threatening. The results can be absolutely disastrous.

So, why is post-partum depression so often overlooked?

The baby blues, common tearfulness, and sadness are often overlooked because everyone is focusing on the baby. It is common to think that a joyous birth will bring only contentment and happiness. The biggest problem is that everyone usually underestimates what is happening. They may sense something is wrong but not guess what it is. Unfortunately, families, spouses and even doctors often mistake post-partum depression for normal baby blues that will pass.

The majority of women with post-partum suffer from this illness for more than 6 months and, if untreated, 25% of patients are still depressed a year later. This condition can get worse, and even lethal, over time if it is not treated with anti-depressants and therapy.

But how does a parent with post-partum affect the baby?

Unfortunately, the effects on the infant can be devastating. By age 9 months, the baby may either cry a lot or become listless and may perform below average on developmental tests--a pattern that can persist for years.

There are two broad patterns that we see in clinical practice:

Outright Neglect: The effects on the child are often much more lethal and traumatic. The child is virtually abandoned by the chronically depressed mother. Other people may not recognize the lonely toddler or elementary school child as being symptomatic or traumatized. But they cannot develop normally if their mother is incompetent and in the grip of depression.

Engulfed by Mom: The other pattern is the over involved mother who soothes her ongoing depression by fusing with the child. There are no appropriate boundaries and the child becomes a kind of “safety blanket” for a mother who is lost in depression. The child often begins to see the world as a fearful place and develops only a partial sense of self.

Now, why is post-partum so rampant?

Because no one is sleeping! The most important issue in clinical depression among new parents is the sleep problem, bar none. Fatigue breeds depression, and these young parents fail to realize that they can be so deeply affected by sleep loss. We know that discernable mood disturbances begin to emerge when someone has shortened their sleep by two hours over a five-day span. Sleepless people have 35 times the rates of depression!

Together, the couple spirals down into the downward depression cycle, and they fail to realize what is happening until the depression has severely compromised their relationship and their lives. Every one loses.

So first things first – get some sleep.

Here’s what I would recommend as a first step for coping with post-partum depression:

First, Having Direction: Getting the right diagnosis is the first step in overcoming this dreadful problem. Talk to your doctor about what you are feeling and ask for a referral to a psychologist for an evaluation.

Consider Medication: Anti-depressants are quite helpful in alleviating symptoms quickly. When combined with psychotherapy, the treatment outcomes are quite positive. But always talk to your doctor before starting any medication.

Get Dad Involved: We need the fathers to get involved. We need them to get involved in supporting both the baby AND mom. So often, they are the secret to alleviating the stress, helping mom sleep and taking turns with baby. Most importantly, fathers play a central role in helping the child unfold socially and cognitively—they are the preferred and best playmates to young, developing babies.

Post-partum depression is a very serious disorder. Please seek the help of a professional if you are concerned about yourself or someone you know.

The Advantages Of Having A Working Mom - By Chris Gearing

Friday, October 29, 2010

Are Working Mothers Bad For Their Children? - By Chris Gearing

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

What To Do About Your Self-Mutilating Teen - By Chris Gearing

Friday, October 22, 2010

How To Spot Teens Who Cut And Burn Video - By Chris Gearing

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Are The Kids All Right? - By Chris Gearing

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Are the Kids All Right?

Working Moms and Their Children’s Welfare

CBS 11 News

Dr. Sylvia Gearing

Women now comprise 51% of the workforce and the number of working moms who are the sole breadwinners has increased for the third year in a row. But does a working mom negatively impact her child’s development? New landmark research just released by the American Psychological Association says “no.”

Is the mother working outside the home bad for the child?

Absolutely not. In fact, most studies tell us that working women have higher self esteem, are stronger emotionally and financially, and are actually excellent mothers. The children benefit from having a mother who is confident, resourceful and in control of her life – traits they idolize and learn. This landmark study reviewed 69 studies over the last 50 years and found that children whose moms return to work before the child is three do just fine—they don’t show increased anxiety, behavioral problems, or low self esteem. In fact, they flourish emotionally and socially. A happy mother produces a happy child.

But how do mothers feel about these findings?

Ambivalent About Working: No, most working moms are very ambivalent about leaving their kids especially when they’re young. Women are experts at beating themselves up and being the perfect mother is something we expect of ourselves, no excuses. Although most working mothers are pleased to have a job in this economy, they wonder if they are doing the right thing when it comes to their kids. This attitude was confirmed by the Pew Research Center which reported that working women remain conflicted about the competing roles they play at home and at work. We still do twice as much housework and childcare as our husbands despite his increasing contributions around the house.

Lack of Community Support: But what is most interesting is the lack of support many young mothers feel from their communities and families. Young working moms often feel judged by others. Despite the fact that society overwhelming believes that both men and women should contribute financially, working mothers of young children suffer a special penalty. Only 12% of the public says that it’s best for a young child if his mother works full time. This new study now totally shatters this outdated sentiment which has defined generations of mothers.

Are children reaping the rewards of having a working mom throughout their development?

There are several advantages for children with working moms:

More Resources: Working moms provide more financial resources to their children. When you have to cut the pie into fewer pieces, there’s more for each child. These concentrated resources allow children to develop a wide array of skills and interests. Nothing is more important to the mother than the advantages she can provide her children.

More Education, Fewer Kids: As women become better educated, they have fewer kids. So not only do these kids reap the benefits of having more resources, but they have incredible mothers who manage offices, stock portfolios, and surgery rooms. These mothers can pass along their wealth of knowledge, self discipline and resilience to prepare their kids for life!

Confidence and Independence: Research shows that working mothers are generally more confident than moms who stay at home, and children benefit enormously from having an engaged, empowered mother. Children tend to adopt the attitudes and habits of their mothers and the child of a working mom has a decided advantage.

But of course, there are several lifelong benefits to having the mother at home

Without a doubt, remaining home with baby is a wonderful experience and is what most of us long to do if we can afford it. The child luxuriates in having a dedicated caretaker who patiently mentors him on a daily basis. Stay at home moms are talented at providing that stable, predictable and enriched environment that only a mother can really give. It is a wonderful gift to give your child if you can do it, but if there are financial realities that prevail, it is okay to work. There are many strategies in rearing outstanding children. The real secret is being an emotionally intelligent parent who is willing to help the child gather strength and confidence in himself.

Adult Child Anxiety! Video - By Chris Gearing

Monday, October 18, 2010

What To Do About Parental Alienation Video - By Chris Gearing

Friday, October 15, 2010

Is Parental Alienation A Real Problem? Video - By Chris Gearing

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Stopping Self-Mutilation - By Chris Gearing

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Stopping Self-Mutilation:

What To Do About Teens Who Cut And Burn

Cutting, burning, and pinching are all ways that teenagers try to hurt themselves. A recent study found that 20% of teens have engaged in self-injury at some point in their adolescence.

But what’s the big deal?

Underlying Diagnosis: Beyond the obvious risks of serious physical injury or infection, this behavior can have devastating consequences psychologically. Self-injury is usually caused by some kind of deeper issue such as undiagnosed depression, anxiety, and extreme social isolation. In addition, teens who self-mutilate are at a much higher risk to commit suicide.

Lack of Coping: Most self-injurers report that they use it as a means to cope with negative emotions and to calm themselves down. In effect, their self-mutilation tricks the brain into releasing endorphins which numb pain and cause a sense of euphoria.

Teens hurt themselves for reasons that fit into four distinct categories:

1.) Release of tension and to stop negative feelings about themselves or others

2.) To feel, experience, and maybe even enjoy pain

3.) The classic “cry for help”

4.) To become an outsider

Here’s are some specifics ways that teens hurt themselves:

  • Cutting
  • Burning
  • Carving into their skin
  • Intentional breaking of bones
  • Sticking with pins and needles

Parents, your daughters are more likely to cut, carve, and insert pins and needles while your sons are more likely to burn and intentionally break bones.

Now, is this a passing fad or something that parents should really be worried about?

Cyclical Nature: After committing harms to themselves, self-injurers often feel shame about what they have done and fear social rejection for their scars and behavior. This in turn only reinforces whatever anxiety or depression they were feeling beforehand and can start the cycle all over again.

Consequences For Life: Around eighty percent of self-mutilators report stopping the behavior within a few years of starting it due to "growing out of it" or they sought help. However, those who report self-injury tend to report higher levels of sadness and difficulty for the rest of their lives.

If you or someone you know is engaging in self-injury, please seek professional help immediately. This is an extremely difficult thing to deal with without the help of a professional therapist.

Sources:

"The Kids Aren't All Right" by Rachael Rettner on MSNBC.com, http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/39100605/ns/health-kids_and_parenting/


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