This week, learn the difference between severe depression vs feeling depressed, the consequences of unaddressed adult ADHD, eight ways to parent a highly sensitive child, how COVID-19 is affecting those with eating disorders, complex PTSD vs PTSD, and more.
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This Week’s Featured Video
What does life look like for someone suffering from severe, treatment-resistant depression? and how is it different from conventional major depressive disorder? As a psychiatrist in the psychiatric ER, Dr. Dom sees treatment-resistant depression extremely often. He understands it is much more than just “feeling depressed.” He explains the difference—and shares one very effective type of treatment—in this video.
The 3 Things You Need to Know This Week
#1: This study shows the striking impacts when ADHD goes undiagnosed until adulthood
A new study shows that ADHD comes with a strikingly high rate of co-occurring mental health conditions—especially in those whose ADHD was overlooked until adulthood. In a population-based study of 40,000 adults, ADHD patients had a 4–9 times higher prevalence of conditions like anxiety, depression, bipolar and personality disorders, and substance use disorder.
This study shows the importance of getting a thorough assessment when going to a provider, regardless of whether you are getting tested for ADHD or something else. It’s especially important to consider going to a mental health specialist vs. a primary care physician when getting diagnosis and medication. Education can empower you to get that correct diagnosis and to understand what to ask your doctor during the diagnostic process. Double board-certified child & adolescent psychiatrist Dr. Dom Sportelli breaks down the types of mental health providers to consider when seeking a diagnosis—and what questions to ask to ensure you’re getting the best care possible—in our full series on finding the right mental health provider.
His Expertise: Dr. Dom Sportelli is a double board-certified child & adolescent psychiatrist. He understands how to spot the signs of ADHD early, and knows when ADHD as gone undiagnosed or misdiagnosed because of his thorough nature. He also treats its co-occurring disorders like depression, anxiety, and substance use disorder in the psychiatric ER almost every day. Additionally, he trains other doctors on behavioral health best practices—so he knows better than anyone how to find the right provider, and whether that provider is providing good care.
Source: BMC Psychiatry
#2: Eight ways to parent a Highly Sensitive Child, according to a therapist:
When you have a highly sensitive child, it’s difficult to know how to properly discipline them—especially because they feel things more deeply than other kids. Psychotherapist and child behavior specialist Amy Morin understands this struggle and breaks down 8 ways to effectively parent a highly sensitive child.
- Accept their sensitivity. Don’t try to change their temperament, and instead focus on teaching them to deal with emotions in a socially appropriate matter
- Provide downtime. Highly sensitive children are easily overstimulated, so try to avoid overscheduling them.
- Set limits. Don’t bend the rules to avoid upsetting them; this will help them become responsible adults.
- Praise their efforts as long as it’s earned. The key here is to praise their efforts, not the results of those efforts. Sensitive children will lie to get out of trouble so it’s important to praise them when they tell the truth.
- Provide rewards. Rather than providing ultimatums based on negative behavior, spin it into a reward system to help your child celebrate behavioral milestones and change their behavior for the better.
- Teach “feeling words.” Enabling them to identify their feelings with words and replace acting out with verbalizing will improve their communication in the long-term.
- Teach problem-solving. Since highly sensitive children often feel overwhelmed, problem-solving can help them realize that they have the power to come up with tangible solutions to their anxiety—which makes a huge difference in their daily life
- Use logical consequences. If they cry or feel bad after breaking the rules, this doesn’t give them a “pass” or get them out of trouble. Discipline is still important. It can be gentle discipline, but this is still a big part of learning valuable life lessons.
With effective parenting, highly sensitive kids can overcome anxiety and become very compassionate adults. It starts with spotting the signs of anxiety and other mental health conditions in children. Dr. Judy shows you how to spot those signs in the video below.
Her Expertise: One of Dr. Judy’s 3 board certifications is through the American Academy of Pediatric Neuropsychology. This requires a thorough knowledge of mental health in children and adolescents, and shows Dr. Judy provides them with world-class care. As a neuropsychologist, Dr. Judy is also an expert in the diagnostic process—so truly knows when anxiety in children becomes a clinical diagnosis.
#3: New research shows how COVID-19 affects 9 out of 10 people with eating disorders:
While COVID-19 is having a psychological impact on the global population, it is having a unique effect on many people with eating disorders, according to new research. The study looked at those who are both diagnosed with—and in recovery from—an eating disorder. Nine out of 10 reported their symptoms were nearly 90 percent worse. They also reported “decreased feelings of control, increased feelings of social isolation, increased rumination about disordered eating, and low feelings of social support.” Additionally, the reduction in mental healthcare services has left many of these survivors “feeling like a burden and an inconvenience.”
No one should feel like a burden when it comes to a mental health condition. The first step in reducing this stigma is education. Check out the full MedCircle series on recovering from eating disorders with Kristina Saffran, former CEO of Project HEAL (which is a nonprofit that raises money for people with eating disorders who cannot afford treatment—and inspires people to believe that full recovery from an eating disorder is possible. She is the current CEO of Equip Health, a start-up that delivers gold-standard eating disorder treatment directly to families’ homes.
Her Background: Kristina Saffran suffered from anorexia nervosa and underwent treatment in her preteen years. This inspired her to launch Project HEAL, a nonprofit that raises money for people with eating disorders who cannot afford treatment. She is the current CEO of Equip Health, a start-up that delivers gold-standard eating disorder treatment directly to families’ homes.