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:
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.
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
● 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.
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.
Common thoughts for people experiencing depression may be:
● I am worthless and can’t do anything about it.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.
● 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.
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 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.
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
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.
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 SymptomsTrauma responses and symptoms include:
● Avoiding specific locations, sights, situations, and sounds that serve as reminders of the event
● Anxiety, depression, numbness, or guilt
● Intrusive thoughts, nightmares or flashbacks re-experiencing the events
● 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 enjoyableResearch 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.
● 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)