YIKES! Did I Really Do That?

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Whether you’ve accidently tripped over a child underfoot or walked into a doorway with your infant’s head in the lead, you’ve caused a child an accidental injury.

When you accidentally hurt your child, you may feel intense shame, even panic and a sense of self-loathing or blame.  Even when your head clears, you may feel like you are a terrible parent.

These feelings are confusing.  You may ask yourself, “How could I have done that?”  The truth is, children and accidents are synonymous; even the preventable ones.

It is hard to see your child in pain and even harder to know that it is your fault. Your mind will replay the event in your head many times while you are slowly accepting what happened.

In most cases, the child is not badly hurt and you can find comfort in realizing that while accidents happen, most of them are not serious and your child is not quite as fragile as you think.

As you tell the story of what happened to your child, you will realize that most people understand and, in fact, it has happened to the best of parents.  At this point, you will find it easier to forgive yourself.  Still, you and your child suffered a trauma and it will take time for both of you to heal.

Some reactions to trauma are:

  • Feeling numb or disconnected
  • Insomnia
  • Nightmares
  • Flashbacks
  • Sadness or depression

During this time, you should be kind to yourself and keep in mind that you will not always feel this way. After the guilt lessens, you should experience acceptance.

If you are having difficulty coping and the reactions have become prolonged symptoms, you may be experiencing a response to trauma called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  If the negative feelings persist, you shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help from a physician, counselor, clergy member, friend and family member.

Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Mental Health Center is centrally located and has convenient hours.  To make an appointment with a physician or licensed professional, call 718-206-7001.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Teenage Depression and Anxiety

Teen angst -488360124The term “teen angst” is synonymous with the emotional changes that adolescents experience. It is commonly used to describe unpredictable mood swings and at times unexplained changes in behaviors displayed by adolescents.

Adolescent or teen angst is defined as an “acute feeling of anxiety or apprehension that is often accompanied by depression.”(www.Medscape.com). Occasional bad moods, irritability or periods of sadness are common and expected behaviors. However, if they persist for an extended period of time, it can be an indication that your child is experiencing more than the typical teen strife.  They may be exhibiting symptoms of a serious mental health issue such as depression or anxiety.

It is estimated that one in eight teenagers suffer from depression or anxiety and in some cases both disorders.  Many of these behaviors are dismissed or overlooked as moodiness.   This is concerning because if left untreated depression or anxiety can lead to highly destructive actions such as, drug abuse, self-mutilation, or in extreme situations- suicide.

There are several signs that may present themselves that can help parents recognize if their child is suffering from a depression or anxiety disorder. Some of which are:

  • Frequent sadness or crying
  • Persistent boredom or the inability to enjoy activities
  • Increased hostility, anger or irritability
  • Frequent absences from school or extracurricular activities they once enjoyed
  • Extreme fear of rejection or failure
  • Chronic fatigue or tiredness
  • Frequent complaints about headaches and stomach aches, without real cause for illness
  • Poor concentration
  • Constantly speaking about death or suicide
  • Persistent social isolation or difficulty with relationships
  • Major changes in eating or sleeping patterns

If your child is displaying any of these signs, it is recommended that you have a non-judgmental conversation with them.  Let them know that you have observed atypical behaviors and that you are concerned.  Encourage them to open up.  If they are uncomfortable speaking to you about what they are experiencing, offer support gand seek the help of a mental health professional.

For more information of adolescent depression or anxiety or to speak with a mental health professional at Jamaica Hospital, please call  718-206-7135.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Is Your Constant State of Nervousness and Worry a Sign of an Anxiety Disorder?

Anxiety-509985137Anxiety is an emotion we all experience. Feeling anxious is a normal reaction to stressful situations such as waiting for the results of a test, speaking in public or preparing for a job interview.  Anxiety is often synonymous with feelings of distress, nervousness, panic and fear.  These reactions are normally triggered when our bodies feel that there is danger or there is a threatening situation.

For most the feeling of anxiety is temporary and will subside once stressful or threatening circumstances are resolved.  However for an estimated 18.1 percent of adults living in the United States, anxiety does not go away and develops into a serious mental health disorder that affects their ability to lead a normal life.

There are six major types of anxiety disorders: panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive compulsive disorders, social anxiety disorders, phobias and post-traumatic stress disorders. Symptoms can be specific to a condition and can differ based on the individual.

The following symptoms of anxiety may be indicative of a developing problem, especially if they continue for an extended period of time:

  • Experiencing a constant state of worry or fear.
  • Having trouble concentrating.
  • Insomnia or other chronic sleep related problems.
  • Heart palpitations or chest pain during a state of panic.
  • A fear of being around people or being in public places.
  • Suffering from overwhelming compulsions, such as constantly washing hands.
  • Irrational fears of objects or activities that pose little to no danger.
  • Experiencing anxiety as a result of a traumatic event.

If the preceding symptoms occur on a regular basis and have become so great that they are interfering with your ability to function daily, it is recommended that you seek the help of a mental health professional.

The Department of Psychiatry at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center offers psychiatric consultation and treatment services.  Our team of mental health professionals consists of psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, nurses, creative arts therapists and support staff who are dedicated to positive outcomes and work closely with each patient to provide necessary clinical treatment and services. To learn more about the Psychiatry Department at Jamaica Hospital visit www.JamaicaHospital.org  or call 718 206 5575.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.