Tag: mental health

close up of child holding piece of paper that has coloured letters 'ADHD'

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder – The Good, the Bad, the Misunderstood

You’ve probably heard someone joke about having Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) when they are having trouble focusing. Perhaps you’ve heard someone make a passing comment about ADHD when someone else just can’t sit still. Many people think that ADHD simply looks like a child or young person who can’t be quiet and get tasks done, someone who gets in trouble at school often, or who is talkative.

Many people know of or have heard of the term  ‘ADHD’,  yet it is often misunderstood and surrounded by myths. We’ll explore below what ADHD is, how is presents, how people can manage it, the positives of it, as well as resources for parents and families.

Did you know that an estimated 1.2 million Australians are affected by ADHD?

That means that 1 in 20 Australians have it. Around 298,00 Aussie kids and teens between 4 and 17 have been diagnosed. Despite this, research suggests 1 in 4 people with ADHD have not been diagnosed.

Just like any other disorder, is complex and multifaceted. It doesn’t always look like one particular set of symptoms, one personality type or the same specific ongoing behaviours for everyone. So, what DOES it look like?

ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder; a disorder that primarily affects the neurological system and brain.

Put simply, it causes someone to have a bit more trouble in certain areas of functioning that others without ADHD may not have. It shows patterns of inattentive, impulsive, and sometimes hyperactive behaviour.

Sometimes, it can be difficult to figure out if a child’s actions or the way they behave is related to ADHD or not. This of course is true for anyone of any age.  However, for a professional to diagnose someone with it, the symptoms they experience need to negatively affect them enough for it to impair function, cause distress (for them and/or others), there must be a certain number of symptoms, etc. You can leave the diagnosing part up to a professional! Just get your child through the door first, if you’re concerned about their behaviour.

Generally, symptoms may include:

  • Impulsivity, e.g saying things or making decisions without thinking them through first
  • Problems with organising, prioritising and multitasking
  • Trouble focusing on tasks, such as in class, reading and writing, and paying attention to details
  • Being easily distracted or daydreaming
  • Excessive activity or restlessness, e.g fidgeting, interrupting, impatience, needing to move a lot
  • Low frustration tolerance and difficulty coping with stress
  • Mood swings and emotional turmoil
  • Problems following through and completing tasks, and/or avoidance of tasks that take continuous efforts, e.g homework
  • Trouble following instructions and remembering things

Unfortunately, the emotional regulation difficulties that can sometimes come with ADHD can also result in higher levels of depression, anxiety, low self esteem and more in those who have it.

It’s important to note that diagnostic criteria only requires people to have a certain amount of symptoms to be diagnosed. As such, two people may have the same diagnosis of ADHD, however their symptoms may differ.

Okay…So What Causes it?

Currently, no one really knows for sure what causes ADHD. It is likely that a number of factors, environmental and genetic, contribute to it. It is also a highly heritable disorder, as shown by genetic studies.

There is zero evidence that ADHD is caused by poor parenting, traumatic experiences, or stress within the family. Children with ADHD are also not just “naughty” or “difficult”.

What Else Do Studies Tell Us?

The Positives of ADHD – Yes, They Exist!

ADHD may sound scary and negative, but it can be managed and does come with positives.

These may include:

Being highly imaginative and creative

Enthusiastic, fun and energetic

Curious and adventurous

The ability to hyper focus

Managing ADHD: Treatments and More

Early diagnosis and support will result in a better long-term outcome for those, particularly children, with ADHD.

It is really only when ADHD is unmanaged that the symptoms can have significantly negative impacts, both short term and in the long term. In general symptoms can range from mild to severe however, so not everyone will struggle severely with ADHD, but they may have slightly more difficulty in certain areas and with certain tasks. This itself isn’t necessarily a bad thing – humans everywhere are different and have different strengths and weaknesses.

There are several different treatment options for those with ADHD.

Therapy and medication are the most commonly used treatments for ADHD. Often different health professionals are involved, which includes doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, paediatricians, family therapists. Treatment depends on what route you decide to go down and who you go to first for help. Treatments include Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Social and communication skills, Psychiatry, psychoeducation, behaviour therapy.

Health professionals can provide positive parenting strategies, skills for parents and teachers. It focuses on helping parents interact with their child in a way that will elicit desired behaviours and discourage behaviours that cause the child trouble as well as the parents etc.

They can also help children work on:

  • Skills for following instructions and completing tasks
  • Time management and priority skills 
  • Skills for managing emotions and stress

The aim of therapy is to provide children with the skills that will continue to benefit them even as they grow, both in understanding their own thoughts and actions as well as managing any negative aspects of their ADHD.  

Medications are often turned to when symptoms such as impulsivity, hyperactivity and lack of focus persist despite therapies. There are a range of medication options. You can also speak to your GP about any concerns you have and may refer you to health professionals and organisations that can provide the support and treatment you are seeking.

ADHD Resources:

Queensland Support Services

Queensland Mental Health Services

Support group contact information, Books, websites and factsheets, Gov’t initiatives, GP and Specialist directory.

Variety of resources for educators, parents and carers. 

Parenting course, ADHD directory of practitioners, services and more.

General ADHD information

A Doctor’s short answer 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Look After your Mental Health Australia

This October 10 is World Mental Health Day. An opportunity to remind us that our mind’s wellbeing is as important as our physical wellbeing. This year’s campaign encourages us to take a more positive view of mental illness and to challenge negative perceptions surrounding it.

Did you know?

Almost half the total Australian population will experience a mental disorder at some time in their lives (data from the 2007 National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing).

“It’s important to remember that mental illness ‘is NOT a character fault, weakness or something inherently ‘wrong’ with a person. It is an illness like any other”- Mental Health Australia.

“Remember to eat well, sleep well and exercise. And try creative ways to engage socially. Oh, and don’t forget to be kind to yourself, and to others” – www.lookafteryourmentalhealthaustralia.co.nz 

Need Help or Support?

If your life is in danger, always call 000.

If you or someone you know is in need of assistance you can contact the following Crisis Counselling Services:

Need More Information / Resources? Try these: 


Read more health blogs HERE. 

 

 

 

 

What to Look for When It Comes to Men’s Health

Pioneer Medical Centre

Dear Dr Qureshi, What are some common men’s health issues that I should look out for?

With Father’s Day here we should all take a moment for the men in our lives whether they are our fathers, brothers, sons or friends. Men’s health is a serious issue, yet many men don’t see their doctor regularly. So, here are some pointers on what to look out for.

Heart Disease

Coronary heart disease happens when your coronary arteries get narrower and reduce the blood flow to the heart. Usually, it’s the underlying cause of a heart attack. Coronary Heart Disease is actually the leading cause of death in Men in Australia, according to www.aihw.gov.au, making it worth getting checked. Warning signs to look out for are a feeling of squeezing, pressure, heaviness, tightness or pain in your chest. If you have experienced any of these symptoms then get checked by your doctor ASAP.

Prostate Cancer

Movember isn’t far away, so be aware and get checked. In fact, did you know that you can now have a blood test to check your prostate? You don’t have to grow a moustache to be involved in Movember. Instead, book in with your GP and check in with your friends and family to make sure they are up to date with prostate checks as well. Overall, one in six men will be diagnosed with Prostate Cancer by their 85th Birthday.

Remember, prevention is always better than a cure.

Mental Health

According to Beyond Blue, the suicide rate is three times higher in males than females. In addition, 1 in 8 males will experience depression in their lifetimes. Despite this, many men don’t seek help and the stigma of mental health is still a problem. Don’t be afraid to check in with those around you and if you’re having a tough time then reach out. Remember, ‘it ain’t weak to speak’.

Have a chat with your GP or call the Lifeline 24hour crisis line on 13 11 14.

A 19 Palmer St, North Mackay


 

Read more health blogs HERE. 

 

 

 

 

Men’s Health, Facts About Adolescence and More

Men’s Health

When it comes to prevention and early detection, men’s health often takes a back seat in comparison to women’s health. However, statistics show that men are more likely to drink alcohol, smoke, lead unhealthy lifestyles and have a shorter lifespan. So, this needs to change!

Men are more likely than women to put off routine medical check-ups and delay seeing a doctor for symptoms. Fortunately though, many health conditions are preventable or treatable if found early. The most common conditions that affect men include heart disease and testicular, prostate and colon cancer.

Mental health is another common issue that is often overlooked. Women are twice as likely as men to receive a diagnosis of a mental health problem. Yet, men make up an average of six out of every eight suicides every day in Australia. It’s just as important for men as it is for women to break down the stigma. In addition, talk to loved ones or medical professionals if you are not feeling like yourself.

It’s important to get any unusual symptoms checked out and seeing the doctor for regular check-ups. But, it’s also equally as important to eat a healthy diet, limit alcohol intake, quit smoking and exercise regularly.

Interesting Facts about Adolescence

Puberty occurs at a different time for everyone, but usually between the ages of 8 and 13 for girls, and between 9 and 14 for boys.

Most teens don’t get enough sleep. That one might be obvious, but teens need more sleep than you probably think. In fact, they need about eight to 10 hours per night to function best.

Social media and mobile phone usage has increased drastically over the last few years. In 2012, only 41 per cent of teenagers had a smartphone, compared to 89 per cent of teens in 2018.

Migraine Stick from Mario’s Range

Mario’s Migraine Stick blends a beautiful combination of three 100% essential oils which include Bergamot, Peppermint and Vetiver. These three oils are traditionally used in aromatherapy to relieve stress, tension and pain. Jojoba oil is present in this blend, meaning its light texture is perfect for you to use on facial skin along with other benefits. The Migraine Stick has been packaged so you can carry it on you at all times, for use whenever you feel a pesky headache coming on. To use, simply rub a small amount of the combination into the temples. Available at Calanna Wholehealth Pharmacies.

Always read the label. Use only as directed. If symptoms persist consult your healthcare professional.

 

 

 

 

Body Image and Eating Disorders – All Things Tweens & Teens

Encouraging Positive Body Image

Having a positive body image is defined as being confident and happy in your own skin. A negative body image, however, is feeling unhappy with the way you look, whether it is your size, shape, height or general appearance. Having a positive image of your body is important as it will raise overall self-esteem and mental health.

It can be influenced by a number of factors, including family environment, bullying, disability, social media and more. During puberty, teens will go through a lot of changes as well that can change their body image. As the parent, you have an influence. Because of this, you can help by talking and listening to your teen, and being a positive body image role model.

Eating Disorders and Your Teen

Eating Disorders is an umbrella term for a group of mental health disorders. They are related to persistent negative eating behaviours, such as restricting food intake, forcibly throwing up or binge eating. Eating Disorders can affect anyone, including boys. They are not a cry for attention; they have the highest mortality rate, and the symptoms should be taken very seriously.

Some signs and symptoms of eating disorders include skipping meals, an excessive focus on food, complaining about being fat, dieting, binge eating, excessive exercising and going to the bathroom right after or during meals. The exact cause of eating disorders is unknown. But, they may be due to societal pressure or genetic factors.

Things that may help include encouraging healthy eating habits from a young age, discussing media messaging, fostering self-esteem and if needed, teaming up with your teen’s doctor to seek help. While these conversations can be difficult, remind your teen that they are not alone. Always keep communication lines open.

 

Read more PakMag Tweens and Teens blogs here. 

 

 

 

Parent Guides Helping to Start Important Family Conversations

Parents are facing a variety of new challenges when it comes to supporting their teens with certain issues. Social media, new drugs and more are just some of the risks that come with being a teenager these days. Parents have the somewhat tricky task of talking to them about it. The Parent Guides, run by Eileen Berry,  are helping to solve this problem by informing parents about drugs, sex, social media, mental health and more. 

The Parent Guides

The guides present up-to-date research and expert advice that tackles difficult issues. They can help you with the conversations that need to be had. David Corduff, grandfather of seven, volunteer, Beyond Blue Speaker and an ambassador for Parent Guides, recognises the need for parents to have help. They need this for not only understanding this fast-changing world but how to approach their own teenagers about the topics. “Parents need as much support and information as possible to be there for their children when life challenges occur,” David says.

“Life is always full of challenges,” David says. “It is our response to these challenges that determines whether the outcomes are good or not so good. In the critical parent/child relationship, it is very important to have resources such as the Parent Guides available, to underpin a supportive and potentially positive outcome.” 

The guides focus on providing the straightforward information that parents need without dancing around the topics or using out-dated language. “They are not ‘preachy’ and do not seek to offer solutions as such. They lead the way as a tool to initiate conversations between parents and children.”

Communication is the biggest part of equipping our children with the knowledge they need, knowledge on topics that can be tricky to understand. Honest and open conversations with your teenagers help them thrive when it comes to young adulthood. They’re at a time in their life where they can’t regulate their emotions as well as an adult. Teenagers are also more prone to risk taking. Yet, they are making decisions that will have real consequences. Keeping them informed on the facts while still being there for support is important. You can’t make their decisions for their whole life, but you can give them the information that they need to make the right decisions on their own.

Click here to find the Parent Guides.