A 21-year-old college student, Anna, was referred for “depression.” Anna was bright, she wanted to become a lawyer and her intellectual curiosity became evident as soon as she started meeting with her doctor. Her mother suffered from major depressive disorder, and as she related her story, her doctor understood there was something more than “depression.”
Jane, a 10-year-old girl, is unable to sleep at night. She was prescribed sleep medication, which then makes her sleep in class during the day. "Let's take the medication earlier,” says the doctor. "She has lot of homework to finish and she falls asleep almost immediately after taking the pill," says the mother. "Let's then decrease the strength," says the doctor. Mother tried, but a lower strength of the medication does not work.
Olivia is a 31-year-old woman expecting a child. At the end of her mental health wellness visit, she lowers her head and states: “I don't like to read and I have problem at work because of it.” Olivia brings this up to me because she is aware that reading is important for her child’s growth and she is already worried that her child will have the same struggles as she has had. How do we help parents who struggle with reading prevent this cycle and encourage reading with their own children?
Traumatic stress refers to the physical and emotional response to events that threaten the life or physical or psychological integrity of the child or someone critically important to the child. A traumatic experience is unexpected and unpredictable, and can be uncontrollable, and terrifying. Emotional responses to traumatic experience are often overwhelming and may include terror, helplessness, and extreme alertness that may lead to impulsive and ineffective reactions. Children can often feel overwhelmed and confused.
Some believe that we were born “good” and the environment made us “bad.” Others believe that we were born “bad” and the environment ought to make us “good.” One clear thing is that the environment pays a great role in shaping us all. Our experience makes us who we are, and we tend to view ourselves, others and the world, partly, as a result of our upbringing. With that in mind, how do we prepare the next generation? How do we capitalize upon our current knowledge and wisdom to pave a path for a better world for our children, grand children, for our next generation?