Understanding Diagnoses

Understanding Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

ADHD is one of the most common neurobehavioral disorders of childhood. It is most often diagnosed in childhood and may last into adulthood. In general, children with ADHD may have difficulty paying attention and/or controlling their impulses. They may also have a high activity level. While it is normal for children to have trouble focusing and behaving at some times in their lives, with ADHD children it is not just “a phase.” The symptoms may cause problems at home, at school, and with playmates.  


Understanding Anger

Anger has enormous costs. It can impact all of our relationships—personal, social, work. Some people get angry at strangers—in the car, at the supermarket. Some people get mad at “things” like the computer. Or angry with themselves. Where does anger come from? How does it try to help?  


Understanding Anxiety

There are various types of anxiety disorders ranging from the very specific (such as phobias) to generalized anxiety disorder (a general sense of dread or apprehension).
Some anxiety is good—it can help us to move forward and do our best.Unlike a mild, brief anxiety caused by a stressful event (like a first date, or public speaking), anxiety disorders will last for at least six months and may get worse if they are not treated. This excessive anxiety can cause much distress, and move us into the “fight or flight” reaction.

 


Understanding Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder (also known as Manic-Depression) causes extremes in a person’s mood and behavior. This disorder is marked by alternating episodes of depression and mania (extreme elation). These mood changes are not the normal emotional shifts connected to life events. You may feel like you are on an emotional roller coaster—one moment you’re feeling great, and then later you feel really low. You may go from high energy to low energy. You may think you are losing your mind. 


Understanding Conduct Disorder

The term “Conduct Disorder” refers to a group of behavioral and emotional problems in children. Conduct Disorder is known as a “disruptive behavior disorder,” because of its impact on children and their families, neighbors, and schools. Children and adolescents with this disorder have great difficulty following the rules of society. They are often viewed as “bad” or delinquent, while in fact they have a diagnosable mental illness. 


Understanding Depression

Everyone feels sad or “down” occasionally, and these feelings usually go away after a few days. If you are feeling sad for reasons that you can pinpoint—disappointment, grief, and so on—this is a normal reaction. This is what is called “situational depression,” meaning that the feelings are in response to a definable situation. 


Teens and Sex

“I’m sure my son isn’t interested in sex, yet. He’s really very immature in that way.” “My daughter is wearing a purity ring—that’s how I know that she is not doing anything wrong.” I hope that you are right. My work with adolescents tells me that you may be very wrong. Teenagers are often very good at fooling the adults in their lives into thinking they are doing what the adults want, while living a double life when they are out in the world.


Understanding Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are defined by extreme behaviors. Those behaviors could include extreme reduction of food intake, or extreme overeating. There may be extreme distress or concern about body weight or shape.


Understanding Oppositional Defiant Disorder

Most children can be difficult and challenging at times. Especially teens. But if your child or teen is consistently angry, argumentative, and disruptive to authority figures (including parents), your child may have Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD). As many as 1 in 10 children may have this disorder in a lifetime. In younger children, ODD is more common in boys. In older children, it occurs about equally in both boys and girls. Symptoms usually begin by the time the child is eight years old.