Category Archives: recovery

When Mental Illness is a Family Affair: Q&A with Victoria Costello | World of Psychology

Q: In your book you mention the early signs of mental illness that you missed in your son Alex. Even as a baby, you write that he seemed different. What signs can parents watch for?

A: Some of the early signs resemble those linked to autism, for which parents are already told to monitor their toddlers and preschool children. Newer research is now establishing the existence of signals that can indicate a higher risk for schizophrenia — particularly if the child also has a family history of a psychotic illness such as schizophrenia and some types of bipolar disorder or suicide.

Some developmental signs include sitting, walking and talking later. The child may also have a preference for solitary play at 4 — usually a very sociable age — something that was very true of Alex.

In an older child, social withdrawal, anxiety, antisocial behavior and acts of self-harm are also associated with a higher risk.

There are also risk factors for schizophrenia in genetically vulnerable children over which parents can have at least some control, such as maternal malnutrition and depression; bullying and child maltreatment; and cannabis smoking by adolescents. No one or two of these signs should be seen as red flags. Only in combination do they merit parental concern.

READ the full interview on Psych Central:

via When Mental Illness is a Family Affair: Q&A with Victoria Costello | World of Psychology.

Lloyd I. Sederer, MD: Trauma and Adversity in Childhood: History Need Not Be Destiny

Sometimes it’s important to connect the dots in a very public way between cause and effect, as with the “adverse events” in childhood that can cause lifelong trauma.  In an excellent essay on Huff Post, Lloyd Sederer, a prominent N.Y. psychiatrist whose articles I follow closely, honors the American Pediatric Association for its leadership on raising awareness around the lifelong damage caused by childhood trauma.

It seems that those who have experienced trauma as children also need to be reminded that these events can be devastating in order to allow themselves to seek help for the PTSD or whatever effects may be present in their adult lives. To help, Dr. Sederer also notes interventions and treatments for child and family trauma that have been shown to be effective. 

As noted by the APA and Dr. Sederer, here are the primary “Adverse Childhood Events”, or ACEs that do the most damage to children — and the adults they become:

1. Direct psychological abuse

2. Direct sexual abuse

3. Direct physical abuse

4. Substance abuse in household

5. Mental illness in household

6. Mother treated violently

7. Criminal behavior in household

The greater the number of ACEs, the greater the risk of developing a chronic disease,or multiple chronic diseases. From post traumatic disorder research we know the greater theseverity and frequency of the trauma the more like it will burn itself into the brains neural circuitry.

via Lloyd I. Sederer, MD: Trauma and Adversity in Childhood: History Need Not Be Destiny.

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Marin Voice: Parents should not be left out of mental health debate – Marin Independent Journal

My Pro-DSM 5 revisions, guest Op-Ed…read it here. Marin Voice: Parents should not be left out of mental health debate – Marin Independent Journal.

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Recovery To Practice E-News–Advocacy as a Path to Recovery

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Only in the last few years have I realized guilt had become my final and most tenacious addiction. The cure was letting go of the facade of “normalcy” and publicly telling my story. That led to a professional U-turn, where … Continue reading

Family History of Alcoholism May Affect Adolescents’ Brains | Psych Central News

A new study has found that the brains of adolescents with a family history of alcoholism respond differently while making risky decisions than the brains of other teens.

via Family History of Alcoholism May Affect Adolescents’ Brains | Psych Central News.

One more reason to know your family history of addictions and mental disorders and use it to guide your parenting. Not that it’s easy to convince teens they’re not invincible, but to use your personal family risk plus this type of scientific information to set your priorities and pick your fights.…Mental Health Mom Blog

Man Uses His Schizophrenia to Gather Clues for Daily Living – NYTimes.com

Man Uses His Schizophrenia to Gather Clues for Daily Living – NYTimes.com.

This is a beautifully written and insightful portrait of a man and a movement to go past narrow definitions of delusions and hallucinations to connect with deeper meanings. Led by people with lived experience and progressive clinicians. READ IT.