• 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.
    Traumatic experiences are those which overwhelm the central nervous system and activate the body's fight-or-flight response. This occurs when a person encounters real or perceived danger, either physical or emotional, and feels helpless to protect themself. Living through one or more traumatic experiences can significantly impact your mental health.

    Posttraumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is a condition in which the mind and body are "stuck," so to speak, in a state of re-experiencing. The danger, which has now passed, is still perceived as active and current. This can make it extremely difficult for a person to move forward in their life in a way that feels safe.

    Symptoms of PTSD fall into four categories:
    • Intrusion symptoms such as flashbacks, nightmares, and dissociative reactions
    • Avoidance symptoms, where a person is actively avoiding memories, thoughts, or external reminders of the event
    • Changes in mood and cognition, such as negative emotional state, memory problems, and feelings of detachment/isolation
    • Hyperarousal symptoms, such as hypervigilance, exaggerated startle response, and irritability

    Not everyone who has experienced a trauma will develop PTSD. Protective factors, such as adequate social support and high adaptive capacity, can help prevent it. But even in the absence of full-blown PTSD, it can be helpful to process a traumatic experience with a clinician. This can help with closure, meaning-making, and the development of posttraumatic growth.

    Treatment options for PTSD include: Cognitive therapies, such as prolonged exposure and cognitive processing, which help individuals develop a greater understanding of their experience and control of their thoughts and behaviors Narrative Exposure Therapy, which helps trauma survivors contextualize and make meaning of their experiences Somatic therapies, such as EMDR and somatic experiencing, which assist in healing the central nervous system's response to the trauma
    Exploration of gender identity, sexual orientation, and romantic orientation can be central to improving a person's mental health. MSC is affirming of all identities and orientations, providing a safe and supportive environment for clients to discover, embrace, and accept themselves in their truest form.

    Below is a list of terms that are relevant to gender and sexuality as presenting topics in therapy:
    Gender identity: A person's internal sense and experience of themself in relation to gender. People may identify as male, female, nonbinary, gender queer, transgender, and others.
    Sexual Orientation: A descriptor of who, if anybody, a person experiences sexual attraction toward. Examples may include heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, pansexual, asexual, and others.
    Romantic Orientation: A descriptor of who, if anybody, a person experiences romantic attraction toward. Examples may include heteroromantic, homoromantic, biromantic, panromantic, a romantic, and others.

    A LGBTQ+ affirming therapist such as the practitioners at MSC can assist clients on their journey toward understanding and living in a way that feels true to all aspects of their identities, providing unprejudiced support and moving with the client at their own individual pace.
    In the aftermath of significant loss, the support of a mental health professional can be beneficial as the nature of grief takes its course. A clinician can assist clients with navigating the four tasks of mourning, as defined by bereavement expert J. William Worden: accepting the reality of the loss, processing the pain, adjusting to a new reality, and embarking forward while maintaining an enduring connection with the deceased.

    In instances of complicated grief, a therapist can also assist with processing any trauma related to the loss, as well as working through any difficult or conflicting emotions related to the person or event. Clients will be given the time and space that they need to allow their grief to breathe in a supportive and non-judgmental environment.
    People of all genders, ages, body shapes, weights, races, and ethnicities can be affected by eating disorders. Eating Disorders are a mental and physical illness that can be treated by an interdisciplinary team including, but not limited to, a Psychiatrist, Therapist, Registered Dietitian and Primary Care Physician. Some symptoms of Eating Disorders include:
    • Social withdrawal
    • Frequent dieting, body checking
    • Extreme fluctuation in mood
    • Food rituals
    • Fluctuation in weight
    • Gastrointestinal issues
    • Noticeable issues with dental, skin, hair, and nail health
    • Sleep disturbances
    • Low self-esteem
    • Worries related to body image, relationship with food, and changing body shape or weight.
    Recovery from an eating disorder is possible. Treatment options include cognitive behavioral therapy to assist in modifying disruptive thoughts. Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, to assist in the changing of maladaptive behaviors and increase use of effective skills to improve emotion regulation, interpersonal relationships, and distress tolerance. Psychodynamic therapy, to address and begin to understand the root cause of the Eating disorder and exploring the underlying motives that continue to fuel eating disorder behaviors.
    This is a term that can be used to describe folks whose brain works in ways that stray from ways in which a “typical” brain functions. Neurodivergent is an umbrella term that encompasses various atypical brain functions that can be produced by brain-altering experiences, can be entirely innate or a combination of the two. There are many ways to be neurodivergent, so this doesn’t just mean that one is on the autism spectrum or has ADHD. Below are some examples of neurodivergence:
    • Dyslexia
    • Personality Disorders/Conditions
    • Development Language Disorder/Condition
    • ADHD
    • Autism
    • Tourette's Syndrome and Tics
    • Panic Disorders
    • OCD
    • Down Syndrome
    • PTSD
    • Epilepsy
    • Bipolar
    Neurodivergent folks are experiencing brain functioning that diverges from the dominant societal standards of what dictates a “normal” brain (Neurotypical).  Neurodivergence isn’t in and of itself a positive or negative, desirable or undesirable trait. It depends on the individual and the context of the neurodivergence.