Patient Education Material

Patient Education Material

Mind Study Center offers multidisciplinary mental health services to children, adolescents, adults, couples, and families, with various presenting concerns including, but not limited to:

We all know kids (and maybe even adults!) who can’t sit still, seem to need multiple repetitions of requests, blurt out inappropriate comments or have trouble following instructions no matter how clearly you present them.
It’s normal for kids to sometimes forget their homework, daydream during class or act without thinking. However, frequent inattention, impulsivity and hyperactivity can also be signs of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Some children with ADHD may be constantly in-motion, “bouncing off the walls” and have trouble following rules or expectations for behavior. Other children with ADHD may sit quietly, with their thoughts miles away.

Children with ADHD may:

● Have trouble staying focused or get easily distracted
● Appear not to be listening when spoken to
● Constantly fidget and squirm
● Talk excessively
● Act without thinking
● Interrupt often, or blurt out the first thing that comes to mind
● Have a quick temper or “short fuse”
 
Often, children and young adults who have difficulty controlling impulses or get into trouble at school can find it hard to make friends. These frustrations can later lead to low self-esteem and even tension and conflict with other family members.

Depending on the child’s challenges and strengths, effective treatment for ADHD typically involves a combination of behavioral interventions and stimulant medication. Behavioral interventions include learning how to regulate emotions and impulses, developing and practicing routine and structure, and providing additional supports (like prompts and visual schedules) at school and home. For medication, the first line of evidence-based treatment is stimulants, followed by non-stimulants. Depending on a particular person’s needs, medications may need to be combined for optimal results.
Experiencing anxiety, worry, and fears are a natural and adaptive part of life and childhood development. However, people with clinical anxiety disorders frequently experience intense, excessive and persistent worry about day-to-day life situations causing notable distress or impairment. Often their worried thoughts feel out of control or unmanageable and are disproportionate to the situation or event.

These are often the symptoms of anxiety:

● Nervousness, restlessness or feeling tense
● Feelings of danger, panic or dread
● Rapid breathing or hyperventilation
● Increased or heavy sweating
● Trembling or muscle twitching
● Weakness or feeling “sluggish”
● Difficulty focusing or thinking clearly about anything except worried thoughts
● Insomnia
● Obsessions about certain ideas, a sign of obsessive-compulsive disorder
● Worry and fear surrounding a particular life event or past experience (a sign of post-traumatic stress disorder)
 

For most people with a diagnosis of anxiety disorder who require treatment, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), a serotonergic antidepressant, or both, have been most widely studied and shown to be efficacious treatments.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder encompassing a spectrum of symptoms and impairments that range in severity. ASD is characterized by two main challenges: difficulty in communicating and interacting with others, and restricted interests or repetitive behavior. Because autism spectrum disorder symptoms are social and behavioral in nature, the symptoms become more apparent in the early developmental period (around 2-3 years old). It's also not uncommon for adults to seek diagnosis if they notice symptoms in themselves or their children.

A licensed clinician can help with an evaluation and assist with providing your child with strategies to best manage the symptoms and embrace the strengths that ASD can provide.

Indicators someone may be exhibiting traits of ASD include:

● Inability to maintain eye contact, or failure to respond when spoken to or called by name
● Rigid rules or routines
● Isolation, discomfort, or avoidance of social interactions
● Difficulty understanding non-literal language (like sarcasm or idioms)
● Repetitive or obsessive behavior, such as lining up objects or only performing tasks in a particular order
● Limited (restricted) interests in a certain topic, type of toy, or idea
● Involuntary or excessive behaviors such as frequent blinking, body rocking, hand flapping or head banging
 

A diagnosis of ASD can help people find solutions to symptoms interfering with their daily life. ASD can make it difficult for them to interact socially, both with verbal and nonverbal communication (like body language and sarcasm). Trouble making eye contact or involuntary noises can also cause problems at home, at school or with peers. These problems can also lead to co-occurring emotional concerns, like anxiety and depression.

Research shows early intervention for these behaviors and concerns helps! Therapy and some medications are available to assist in management and control of these behaviors. A licensed therapist can help address compulsions and repetitive behaviors or a lack of social skills, as well as teach coping methods for anxiety.
We all experience fluctuations in our enjoyment of certain activities or with motivation to participate in social or educational events. However, if you have noticed your energy, enjoyment, and motivation to participate have been decreasing consistently or are absent, you may be experiencing a depressive episode. Depression is a common mental health concern that can influence the way you see and experience yourself and the world. People who are experiencing an episode of depression often note decreased enjoyment of activities, changes in sleep patterns, changes in appetite, and feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness

Common thoughts for people experiencing depression may be:

● I am worthless and can’t do anything about it.
● I feel guilty for just wanting to eat, sleep, and be alone.
● I hate who I am these days.
● I can’t stop crying, which makes me want to stay away from others.
● I feel gut-wrenching pain, but no one understands.
● My life and the world around me are dark.

 
I hate it, but I can’t change it. According to data from the National Institute of Mental Health, nearly 17.3 million adults in the United States experience a depressive episode in their life. This means you are not alone, and there are people who can help. The primary aim of interventions for depression is to help clients sort out environmental, biological and circumstantial factors that may be affecting their depression symptoms. Mild depression can often be treated with either medication alone, or talk therapy interventions alone, including Interpersonal Therapy (IPT) and cognitive- and behaviorally-based therapies (like CBT). However, more complex, severe, or chronic cases of depression have been shown to benefit more from the combination of medication and therapy together.
Children of all ages have trouble getting along with others or acting out against rules set by adults sometimes. These behaviors may warrant a behavioral disorder diagnosis if they are atypical for someone the child’s age, don’t get better with time, or are particularly severe.

Disruptive, impulse-control and conduct disorders involve demonstrating unwanted behavior towards others and “acting out” in multiple contexts (e.g., like home and school). Some diagnoses in this category include Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Intermittent Explosive Disorder, and Conduct Disorder.

When behavioral concerns become apparent for a child, it is important for the child to be evaluated by a health professional as soon as possible to determine appropriate interventions. A mental health professional can help to determine whether behaviors like acting out in school are part of a disruptive, impulse-control, or conduct disorder as opposed to ADHD or learning difficulties.

Treatment for young children with behavioral challenges often involves parent training to learn how to strengthen the parent-child relationship and to set and enforce limits for wanted vs. unwanted behaviors. Treatment for older, school-age children typically involves a combination of parent, individual, and school-based interventions.
Non-suicidal self injury, or self harm, occurs when someone intentionally causes hurt or injury to their body. These behaviors may include cutting, burning, choking, pinching, punching, or head banging, but self-harm can take many different forms.

Non-suicidal self injury is not always a sign of someone wanting to end their life, but instead is often a signal of emotional distress. These behaviors may be one of the few ways the person knows to handle strong or overwhelming feelings. In fact, some people report a sense of relief or release after harming themselves.

Treatment for self-harm behavior focuses on first identifying emotions and responses, and then building a repertoire of strategies and tools for managing these experiences in healthy ways. Mental health professionals will also help to identify whether other mental health concerns, such as anxiety, depression, or trauma, may be affecting or contributing to these behaviors.
Somatic (meaning “of the body”) symptoms are those that exclusively involve the body and related sensations, such as headaches, stomach pain, tingling, tension, etc. These experiences cause significant and extreme distress for some people, resulting in a great deal of time, energy, and resources being devoted to the symptoms and health concerns. Somatic symptom disorders do not mean that the person is “making it up,” or that the symptoms are “all in your head.”

Everyone experiences physical sensations differently, and people with somatic symptom disorders feel persistently high or intolerable levels of worry about their physical sensations. These symptoms may predominantly involve pain, but can also include any somatic symptom worries. Treatment for these concerns often involves learning new ways of relating to the thoughts and physical sensations (such as through CBT or Acceptance and Commitment Therapy), medication, or a combination
Virtually all students have difficulty understanding or implementing lessons and material during the course of their education. However, some children experience significant and persistent patterns of difficulty with particular subjects or tasks, despite trying their best.

Specific learning disorders encompass three different areas: reading, written expression, and mathematics. Difficulties in these areas can range from fluency (how quickly and fluidly they understand material), to accuracy, to comprehension and calculation.

Some additional indications of a specific learning disorder include:

● Difficulty correctly identifying right vs. left
● Reversing numbers, letters, or words after age 6 or 7 (first or second grade)
● Challenges recognizing patterns or organizing objects by size or shape
● Difficulty remembering what was just read or said


Individuals experiencing challenges with learning despite giving their best efforts may begin to feel frustrated, act out, or withdraw from learning activities over time. Identification of specific learning disorders can help adults at school and at home intervene to provide educational support and bolster self-confidence. Additionally, children with specific learning disorders qualify for special educational services under the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act to help provide the tools they need to succeed in the classroom.
Posttraumatic stress disorder - also known as PTSD - is a mental health challenge that may occur in individuals who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event such as a natural disaster, a terrorist act, an act of war, a serious accident, rape, or any other personal assault.

While many people recover from trauma over time with the support of family, friends, and other resiliency factors (known as post-traumatic growth), others may experience more lasting impacts. PTSD can cause a person to live with deep emotional pain, fear, confusion, or posttraumatic stress long after the event has passed. In these circumstances, the support, guidance, and assistance of a therapist is fundamental to healing from trauma.

Trauma Symptoms

Trauma responses and symptoms include:

Avoidance
● Avoiding specific locations, sights, situations, and sounds that serve as reminders of the event
● Anxiety, depression, numbness, or guilt

Intrusion
● Intrusive thoughts, nightmares or flashbacks re-experiencing the events

Physiological Arousal
● Anger, irritability, and hypervigilance
● Aggressive, reckless behavior, including self-harm
● Sleep disturbances


Negative Mood and Dissociation
● Loss of interest in activities that were once considered enjoyable
● Difficulty remembering details of the distressing event
● Change in habits or behavior since the trauma
● Altered sense of reality about self or surroundings (e.g., time slowing, being in a daze)

 
Research has proven psychotherapy to be the most effective form of treatment for trauma. Most commonly, cognitive- and behaviorally-focused therapies, such as CBT and cognitive processing therapy (CPT), are used to help those who have experienced trauma learn about their experiences and return to a place of hope with a greater sense of understanding and control of their thoughts and behaviors.