Many people already know that ADHD often comes with anxiety as a companion, but did you know that depression likes to join along too? According to verywellmind.com, depression is 10 times more likely in teens with ADHD and three times more likely in adults with ADHD. Warm and sunny weather is arriving, but depression is still a daily struggle.
Assuming your depression is not triggered by this time of year (which can happen too), increased amounts of sunlight can help in your quest to feel better. What probably won’t help is more time watching TV or using the computer, which has shown links to depression. The symptoms can be hard to fight, but here are some steps that can get you started:
Make small goals and praise yourself for reaching them. You got out of bed? Cool. You got a shower? Even better. You got food? Look at you go!
Get some exercise- walking counts, even if it’s a loop around the house.
Spend some time in nature. Look at a flower or a tree, maybe listen to birds or crickets. Scientists aren’t sure why, but nature helps us think and feel better.
What Else Can You Do?
Therapy is an important tool for supporting health. At Sound Health Counseling Solutions, we’ll help you figure out which parts of you are really you, and which parts are who depression thinks you are. Reach out today so we can help you get on track to being your best You!
For many, screens were a new addition to life. For some, screens have been part of life. For the current school-age generation, screens were built into everyday life. Electronics may bring a sense of convenience that’s hard to beat. Remaining in communication with others can be easier. That electronic has a look and settings that the young person is used to, which brings familiarity. “But their face is glued to that screen!”
If summer camps, daycares, and sports teams are not in your budget, there are low cost and free options too:
Libraries have weekly programs
Local parks have activities
Malls and other facilities may have spaces where you can leave your kids to play while you get other things done (or have self-care time)
Schedule screen time. No differently than scheduling other activities, this reinforces routine and can help your loved one to focus on the activity at hand, rather than asking for screen time.
Allow an age-appropriate amount of screen time.
Create areas in which screens or times in which screens are not permitted.
Do you struggle to do any of those things as a parent due to your own work, energy, and stress? Try to not judge yourself, you have better things to do with your energy. Timers and alarms are your friends! Some internet providers offer apps that allow you to control internet access to devices in the house. There are apps that can control how long other apps are used. There are ways- you can do this.
How to Get Help
Is your loved one struggling to handle these transitions and limits? At Sound Health Counseling Solutions, we use talk therapy, play therapy, music therapy, behavior modification, and other tools to help you and your loved one follow limits and manage unpleasant behaviors. Contact us today to see if we’re the right fit for you!
Standardized testing is a stressful time for many students. Trying to recall a school year’s worth of information first thing in the morning can be difficult. Plus, students are in a different classroom than usual, surrounded by peers they may not know, with the test being given by a teacher they may not know.
Right there are triggers are ADHD, generalized anxiety, testing anxiety, social anxiety, OCD, self-esteem issues, and self-confidence issues. It sounds overwhelming, but there is hope! A few intentional steps can set your loved one on the path to some peace of mind and success.
What You Can Do
Taking a few deep breaths before starting the test can help. Healthline.com explains that deep breathing causes the body to relax and spread a sense of calm through the brain.
Counting breaths or counting how long you breathe in and out are two simple deep breathing strategies.
Getting enough sleep may sound cliché to your student, but the National Institute of Health says that lack of sleep causes issues with learning, making decisions, memory recall and problem solving, focusing, and coping with changes. Those things are all important for taking a test.
Struggling to manage anxiety is common, but you don’t have to do it alone. Contact Sound Health Counseling Solutions today to get started on your journey to tackle anxiety!
Routine routine routine. That’s been drilled into my head since I was a kid. If I follow the routine, things generally go well. Tasks are completed with less energy required or mistakes made.
But like most humans, we don’t live in a vacuum where things never change. And for persons with ADHD, this can be further challenged because something delays the start of a routine. Something delays or prevents a step in a routine. Something causes us not to want to follow the routine.
When Routine Fails
A routine is helpful for ADHD because it makes necessary tasks more automatic. The problem is needing a backup plan, or a backup plan for your backup plan. What can we do if the things we use to build a routine don’t work?
Put something like daily medication on top of your cereal bowls, so that you have to deal with them in order to continue the routine
Put some in your glove box or stash spot at work.
But what if your routine breaks or changes because it’s a weekend? Or the people you live with don’t follow your system and put the medications elsewhere? Maybe you overlook them because it’s easy to move them to get what you’re looking for and you’re not used to making them part of your routine.
Beth also suggests keeping them in a medication organizer. The challenge? It’s time to refill the slots, but you don’t feel like doing it at that moment and then taking them from the bottle becomes the routine (and you might forget you took them).
Trauma and loss can be debilitating and cause us to become stuck. However, grief is action-oriented. It requires movement, to turn inward, and face our pain. Essentially one must “feel it” to “heal it.” Our journeys are individually unique, personal, similar to that of a fingerprint.
Music Helps to Cope During a Crisis
According to the American Music Therapy Association, music therapy provides “second wave” relief in helping to cope with events surrounding a crisis and its aftermath. The directed use of music and music therapy is highly effective in developing coping strategies, including understanding and expressing feelings of anxiety and helplessness, supporting feelings of self-confidence and security, and providing a safe or neutral environment for relaxation.
Research results and clinical experiences attest to the viability of music therapy even in situations outside of traditional therapeutic settings. Music is a form of sensory stimulation, which provokes responses due to the familiarity, predictability, and feelings of security associated with it.
Feedback from relief workers and caregivers indicates that music therapy sessions helped to develop a stronger sense of readiness to cope with day-to-day stressors and potential future crisis situations.
Music Reduces Stress
Music therapy has been shown to have a significant effect on an individual’s relaxation, respiration rate, self-reported pain reduction, and behaviorally observed and self-reported anxiety levels.
A coordinated program of music and music therapy interventions in response to crisis or trauma, designed and implemented by a qualified music therapist, provides opportunities for:
Non-verbal outlets for emotions associated with traumatic experiences
Anxiety and stress reduction
Positive changes in mood and emotional states
Active and positive participant involvement in treatment
Enhanced feelings of control, confidence, and empowerment
Positive physiological changes, such as lower blood pressure, reduced heart rate, and relaxed muscle tension
In addition, music therapy may improve
Emotional intimacy with peers, families, caregivers
Relaxation for family groups or other community and peer groups
Meaningful time spent together in a positive, creative way
Music gets us out of heads and provides an avenue for expressing what perhaps cannot be said, but felt. Consider connecting with a music therapist. Contact me at SHCS.
All of us have experienced a sense of loss during the COVID19 pandemic, some more than others. Grief is a normal response to loss after a disaster or other traumatic event. Grief can occur after the loss of life, as well as to sudden changes to daily routines and ways of life that usually bring us comfort and a feeling of stability.
Common grief reactions include:
Shock, disbelief, or denial
Periods of sadness
Loss of sleep and loss of appetite
Some people may experience multiple losses during a large-scale emergency event. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, you might be unable to be with a loved one when they die, or unable to mourn someone’s death in-person with friends and family.
According to the CDC, Other types of loss include unemployment, not making enough money, loss or reduction in support services, and other changes in your lifestyle. These losses can happen at the same time, which can complicate or prolong grief and delay a person’s ability to adapt, heal, and recover.
People cope with losses in different ways. Grieving the loss of a loved one while coping with the fear and anxiety related to the COVID-19 pandemic can be especially overwhelming. Social distancing, “stay-at home-orders,” and limits on the size of in-person gatherings have changed the way friends and family can gather and grieve, including holding traditional funeral services, regardless of whether or not the person’s death was due to COVID-19.
Actions you can take, include:
Connecting with other people
Creating memories or rituals
Asking for help from others
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the family and close friends of a person who died of COVID-19 may experience stigma such as social avoidance or rejection. Stigma hurts everyone by creating fear or anger towards other people. Some people may avoid contacting you, your family members, and friends when they would normally reach out to you. Stigma related to COVID-19 is less likely to occur when people know the facts and share them with extended family, friends, and others in your community.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, you may feel grief due to loss of a job; inability to connect in-person with friends, family or religious organizations; missing special events and milestones (such as graduations, weddings, vacations); and experiencing drastic changes to daily routines and ways of life that bring comfort. You may also feel a sense of guilt for grieving over losses that seem less important than loss of life. Grief is a universal emotion; there is no right or wrong way to experience it, and all losses are significant.
Here are some ways to cope with feelings of grief:
Acknowledge your losses and your feelings of grief. Find ways to express it.
Consider developing new rituals in your daily routine to stay connected with your loved ones to replace those that have been lost.
Try to stay in the present and focus on aspects of your life that you have control over right now.
What about kids? Children may show grief differently than adults. They may have a particularly hard time understanding and coping with the loss of a loved one. Sometimes children appear sad and talk about missing the person or act out. Other times, they play, interact with friends, and do their usual activities. As a result of COVID-19safety measure, they may also grieve over loss of routines such as going to school and playing with friends. Parents and other caregivers play an important role in helping children process their grief.
To support a child who may be experiencing grief:
Ask questions to determine the child’s emotional state and better understand their perceptions of the event.
Give children permission to grieve by allowing time for children to talk or to express thoughts or feelings in creative ways.
Provide age and developmentally appropriate answers.
Practice calming or coping strategies with your child.
Take care of yourself and model coping strategies for your child.
Maintain routines as much as possible.
Spend time with your child, reading, coloring, or doing other activities they enjoy.
Signs that children may need additional assistance include changes in their behavior (such as acting out, not interested in daily activities, changes in eating and sleeping habits, persistent anxiety, sadness, or depression).
Speak to your child’s healthcare provider if troubling reactions seem to go on too long, interfere with school or relationships with friends or family, or if you are unsure of or concerned about how your child is doing. Need a therapist? Contact me at SHCS.
Have a short fuse? Feel like you could explode within a few seconds? Anger and ADHD involve quick reactions to what appears to be insignificant things, and when it boils over, all perspective can be lost. Attempts to de-escalate or to reason can make the situation worse.
According to healthyplace.com, adults with ADHD and anger frequently report feeling as though they have no control, and feel powerless to do anything about their anger. Studies show that these adults have less emotional control, are quicker to anger, and become easily frustrated. They also report a less stable sense of wellbeing as compared to adults without ADHD.
The intensity of anger outbursts happen largely in part due to difficulties being still, paying attention, focusing, concentrating, organizing, planning, and following through. This creates frustration, misperceptions, and misunderstandings leading to explosions of anger. Further, people with ADHD tend to have lower self-esteem. They appear to be more sensitive to critical remarks or “personal attacks” that often result in anger.
Strategies proven to work include the following:
Separate yourself from your ADHD symptoms.
Look for constructive ways to channel the anger (less destructive).
Plan ahead for the next time…”break the show”- have someone do something to break you from the rage (i.e. blow a whistle).
Give yourself permission to walk away if you feel emotions rising (Take a time out and leave the situation).
During an interaction, focus on the facts and avoid judgmental thoughts.
Practice deep breathing.
Eat healthy, drink water, exercise regularly, and get plenty of sleep.
Create a visual cue to keep with you to remind you to be calm.
Pause before communicating. (Breathe before you speak, send a text, or email. Give yourself space to calm down first.)
Notice your triggers and consider new ways to respond to them.
Laugh often. Humor defuses anger, reduces stress, and is good for you.
Consider working with a therapist to build your self-regulating skills, or take an anger management class. Talk openly to people in your life and ask them for help in managing your anger. Learn more about how to set and keep healthy boundaries. Talk to your healthcare provider about what treatments might be right for you.
Last, remember you are not your ADHD. ADHD causes angry outbursts. You can have control over this by working on strategies to better manage it. Need more support? Contact me at SHCS.
Part of the mystery of meltdowns is figuring out the clues that lead to them in the first place. Was my child hungry? Did she get enough sleep? Was the school work too much? Did something happen earlier in the day? Learning to recognize the first signs can make adjusting the intervention all that easier and help to lengthen your child’s fuse.
According to Healthline, here are some common tips for catching those warning signs:
Notice which events and times of day are hardest for your child
Act with empathy when your child is angry
Provide opportunities to talk about frustrations
Teach your child how to self-monitor feelings and walk away when necessary
Allow your child to have appropriate boundaries
Help your child plan and organize to avoid frustration
Talk with healthcare providers about treatment options
Work to regulate your own emotions when your child is angry
Use a calm voice and try to name for your child what he might be feeling
Managing meltdowns can be frustrating but it can get better. Need some guidance? Contact me at SHCS.
According to ADDitudemag.com, Nothing can make a parent feel more powerless than a child with ADHD in meltdown mode. But meltdowns say nothing of your parenting ability. They reflect the nature of ADHD.
Here are 7 tips to manage an ADHD meltdown:
Agree on a plan. Ask your child with ADHD what would calm him down if he gets upset. Practice this ahead of time before heading out the door.
Acknowledge her feelings. Let her know you understand what she is going through using a calm voice. Then ask your child to rate her disappointment or anger on a scale of 1-5. This gives you an idea of the severity of the problem.
Set the expectation. Explain to him that the clock is running. Say, “Let’s see how fast you can calm yourself down, so we can get on with the rest of our day”
Model deep breathing. Practice the “hot chocolate” breath. Bring the palms face up as if holding a mug or bowl. Blow softly on the out-breath across the palms of the hands.
Release muscle tension safely. Squeeze and release the muscles, use a squeeze ball, kinetic sand, rip up cardboard, or exercise.
Remote Control Imagery: Pretend that she is holding a remote control in her hand. Ask her to press the button that turns down her emotions. Or use it to “change the channel” in her mind.
Ask for help. If your child meltdowns aren’t responsive to interventions, work with a professional to improve the chances of avoiding them.
Though ADHD presents extra challenges, treatments and strategies are available that may make it easier to deal with meltdowns. Need ideas? Contact me at SHCS.
Having difficulty regulating emotions? Do you or your child have anger outbursts over little things?
Anger outbursts are a common occurrence in children and adults with ADHD, depression, anxiety, and oppositional defiant disorder. Being easily annoyed, sad, or stressed can cause a short, explosive temper. Having a short fuse isn’t just due to irritability or genetics. There are structural reasons in the brain why managing emotions is so hard.
However, anyone can learn to manage anger in a healthy way. According to Healthline, there are a number of treatments and strategies to reduce anger:
Self-Regulation Training– concrete strategies to manage anger constructively
Avoid or remove yourself from situations that cause anger
Set clear boundaries so you prevent conflict
Think about how you can change a frustrating situation in advance
Change the way you look at upsetting situations
Plan and organize yourself to prevent frustration
Develop new responses to anger
2. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy– a psychotherapy approach based on identifying and changing unproductive thinking patterns.
Monitor your level of anger
Employ relaxation techniques
Reframe thoughts that lead to emotional excess
Use social skills to solve problems in ways that are appropriate to the situation
3. Child-Centered Play Therapy– Use of play as a way to connect with the child and help them to process feelings and inner experiences
4. Parenting Training– Use of supportive methods that are positive and effective in reducing tantrums, regulating ups and downs, improving compliance, and lowering parent stress
5. Mindfulness Meditation– helps improve the ability to regulate emotion; often combined with medication and therapy
6. Exercise– helps to release anger safely, improves attention, reduces impulsivity, improves mood and thinking abilities, and social behavior
7. Medication (lowers irritability)
The bottom line is that getting angry is part of the human experience. ADHD can make anger more intense, and it can impair your ability to respond to angry feelings in healthy ways.
Medication and psychotherapy can help you or your child manage anger more effectively. Self-regulation and parenting training can help you build a healthy toolkit for responding to anger constructively. Meditation and exercise can reduce symptoms, too.
If anger is interfering in your or your child’s relationships with others, ability to function, or is affecting self-esteem, contact me at SHCS.