Spotlight Blog 3 Mental Health Treatment

Psychotherapy can assist in treating Major Depressive Disorder by easing stress and giving the patient the chance to talk with a professional about their problems with depression on a deeper level. WebMD gives a great perspective on how Psychotherapy can assist someone struggling with depression cope and get better over time; especially when the depression is not very severe, but severe enough that therapy is found necessary. It discusses the ways therapy can give support and advice a person needs to benefit someone struggling with this common mental illness. Psychotherapy helps patients find ways to deal with medication symptoms, making it arguable compared to taking medication due to the fact that their is no side effects; it in fact helps cope with symptoms and help pull apart the deeper meaning of why a person might be struggling with depression.

The Cleveland Clinic also breaks down how Psychotherapy can assist those with depression by becoming more educated about problems in their lives as well as regaining control in their lives. It is hard for people with depression to feel like their life is in their hands. Lots of patients feel like they do not have the correct authority over what happens in life and the choices they make. It is important to have these skills that some can only gain by going to therapy and talking about their problems with trained professionals. This is especially necessary when the patient is unsure on how to go about solving these problems; as Psychotherapy can lead them down the right path mentally without medication that can also affect a person physically. The Cleveland Clinic also states that Psychotherapy attacks depression at the root of the problem and is not just a quick fix like medication is. It is also the treatment that has little relapse compared to medications, this way patients are less likely to relapse and fall back into their depression.

PSYCOM writer, Katie Hurley, breaks down how medication is used to treat depression through antidepressants. It is also initially stated that medication works best when used hand in hand with Psychotherapy to treat depression and is in fact most commonly used this way. There are several types of antidepressants that all come with different possible side effects and symptoms. Most antidepressants, especially for teens simply raise the amount of serotonin in the body, allowing a patient to feel in control and happy with their life again. Medications also give instant results that include mood and focus improvement as well as take away “depressive symptoms that cause suicidal thoughts” (Hurley 1). Although this statement is a bit confusing due to the fact that most risks of antidepressants are commonly suicide. There is also risks of sexual side effects, dizziness, and insomnia. These symptoms can last throughout the period of time the patient is taking the medication or could even last a possible lifetime. Although some of these risks are extreme, it is worth the uncertainty to patients with depression who need a quick and effective fix to get back to a normal life.

PubMed Health talks about how antidepressants make chemicals in the brain such as serotonin, which is believed to control nerve connections in the brain; ultimately causing Major Depressive Disorder. I loved the way this source explains the way one goes about taking an antidepressant after accepting the possible symptoms. PubMed Health has a great outlook on how these medications work, and how once a patient is prescribed them, they should be gradually weened off over time since the symptoms can be so negative. It also goes into how medications can relieve symptoms, and how well medications work while fighting against severe depression, but is not as effective while treating moderate to mild depression. Another part of taking medications is their a stereotype that a patient is more likely to relapse, where in reality, these are the people that have chronic depression or have had several relapses in the past. This article made it very clear that anti depression medications have serious side effects, but also help people with severe depression get back in control of their lives.

 

 

 

https://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/treatment-resistant-depression-psychotherapy#1

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/psychotherapy-for-depression

https://www.psycom.net/depression.central.teens.medication.html

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0087089/

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Media Production Project

It is important to gain a solid understanding of what Autism is and how it effects someone later in life. It is a developmental disorder that alters mainly behaviors as a child grows older. For high risk infants, MRI’s are done in order to see how efficient the temporal, parietal, and occipital lobes are performing to give a proper diagnosis. But these tests are not always done in a timely fashion, so the diagnosis is prolonged and ultimately too late for some with severe symptoms at a young age.

But how early can Autism in children be detected? In a recent study at McGill University, 260 infants ranging in ages 6-12 months had MRI’s to test how efficient their brain regions were operating. This was tested in order to have an estimate of their overall network efficiency, or risk of Autism. The infants were a mix of high and low risk for developing Autism, even though it has not yet been proven that it is a completely inherited disorder. This supports the reasoning as to why studying the brain at a young age is necessary; to observe if Autism is inherited, or the environment plays into the development of Autism. In a previous study, children at two years old with Autism had a poor network efficiency, leading us to wonder how early these deficiencies can be detected.

The fact that the inefficiency in the brain gave us a better insight on the severity of the disorder makes it even more crucial to diagnose at an early age. Giving families a heads up on how the disorder may affect their future depending on the severity of it is positive information to have. It gives families more time to prepare and be proactive in raising a child with a disorder. The early diagnosis can further our knowledge into how infants are born with Autism, as well as what genetic and environmental factors play a role in this abnormality. The research that was done at McGill University holds up to the age at which Autism can be detected through how efficient the regions of the brain are connecting at six months.

Reflection:

I chose to leave out super scientific terms that were hard for me to understand while reading the article initially, this way my summary can be as concise as possible. It was also important that I left out information that was not relevant to the study, such as the lengths and strengths of the network connections in the brain and how these pathways work. This information was very anatomy based, and not necessary to know in order to grasp the goal of the study. My summary is different in the way I explain how the regions of the brain perform together as a unit in order to have levels of network efficiency. I break down how this network efficiency is a main deciding factor in how severe the Autism might be. It also clues scientists into how the disorder may progress over time, even from six months old. Overall, writing this summary held some challenges from the beginning, as I had to re-reads my sources in order to get a grip on the experiment again before writing. I also had a hard time making the summary condensed enough; I truly felt that every detail was important for the reader to know, even though this was not allowed in an abbreviated version of the article. It is hard to write about Psychology due to how one must use logical terms, but also scientific terms in order to successfully explain an experiment. This was another obstacle that I had to conquer while summarizing this article, but was something that the article critiques in the past have helped master. Writing about an experiment in Psychology is much harder than I originally thought, but has made me gain a greater appreciation for articles like this one.

 

Johari Window

The process of making the Johari Window was a little bit challenging for me to make. Choosing personality traits to describe myself was quite hard, especially when the options are limited. It was interesting to evaluate myself in the “outside looking in” perspective. I never had to look at myself in that way, so I tried to choose the most honest traits possible. Lots of people chose that I was independent and I did too because that is something I pride myself in being from the time I was little based on the way I was raised. I did send it to my parents for them to give their opinions, and it was nice to see all the positive things they chose to describe me as now that my morals and values are set in and I am an adult. My way of describing myself was more along the lines of how I personally act; whereas my peers and family described me as how I act around them. The way they see me is differently (and more positive) than I see myself most of the time, but sometimes self esteem gets in the way of this as well. I believe the Johari Window gave a very good, varied, response of all the different factors my personality entails. I liked the way it gave options to choose from and opened up my mind to what I could be, because not every personality trait is obvious and upfront. I definitely learned that others felt I was different than how I saw myself. Also, I discovered that lots of my personality traits that I thought I would have to some friends, I did not. Some saw unique traits in me where I thought they saw boring ones. It was really neat to see what my parents thought of the personality traits I’ve taken on as an adult in college now too; as it proves they are still proud of me and still think of me as a positive and helpful person just like they did when I lived at home.

http://kevan.org/johari?view=Maddie%20Chiaravolloti

 

 

Implicit Association Test

The first test I took was overall my preference of young people rather than old people. It was an awkward test because the pictures moved very fast and did not give my brain time to register whether or not the person was young or old. The pictures that associated themselves with good and bad words to see what I usually associate old and young people which made the test a bit confusing too. Going into the test, the two topics were already very controversial; setting someone up to be preconditioned as nervous for the test. My results were also controversial being that the test said I preferred to be around younger people rather than older people; whereas in reality I prefer to be around older people due to the level of maturity they bring to the table. The test was interesting in the way it could tell what someone preferred just based on what the unconscious mind chooses. The choice had to be quick though, so I do not believe it was very accurate in what I truly prefer. The next test I took compared if I preferred straight people over gay people. The results came back to say I preferred straight over gay; but I do not find this to be true either. I find that I look at both gay and straight people as equals, so again it was hard to tell my true opinions based on my quickest reaction through this test. I feel that not allowing people to put thoughts into their actions and opinions gives a biased look on how people really feel towards controversial topics. Overall, the tests were given very quickly and only based on a person’s first reaction, not giving people enough time to react accordingly with their true opinions that could only come out if time was given to react the way a person truly feels fits.

Both of the tests surprised be mainly based on the results since I feel that I interact with both young and old people very nicely, as well as accept both gay and straight people into my life without hesitation. I feel that learning about the way I interact with people is indeed important, but I do not feel the tests did a good job at determining whether or not I interacted well or not. Both results came out to be the opposite of how I am, and I blame that on the speed one must do the test at and how shallow of a level the test challenges you on. It is only pictures and words that must spark thoughts in order to be tested; and I feel as if they are not enough information to conclude how someone truly feels about these topics.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Intelligence Spotlight

Some may argue that year round education is a very positive thing for students to have due to various reasoning. Others express that children deserve a vacation, and summer break is a necessity for children to have throughout their educational years. Here, I’ve picked four different sources to lay out the argument. Matthew Lynch, a writer for the Edvocate, explains the top three reasons year round education would be beneficial to kids. The first point made is that students will remember what they learned since the breaks are shorter, but more frequent. The gap between lessons is littler, leading us into the second reason Lynch gives. It’s easy to bridge the achievement gap where children are likely to forget material that was taught due to the amount of time between big ideas in core classes such as division in math or writing in English class. The last point is that students will like school, due to the opportunity to have closer relationships with teachers and allowing students to become completely immersed in the educational environment. These two things put together gives an all around more positive outlook on school to children, as well as sparking excitement into school. Another source I explored is through Care.com with a discussion by Kimberly Demucha Kalil who made a good point of boredom during summer vacation. This was a unique point to make since it was something not found very easily in some of the other sources I’ve read, but it still very similar to the personal experiences I’ve had myself. Sure, vacation in the summer is fun, but my mom had to send me to soccer camp or my grand mom’s house in place of going to school every day; so I still had to find something else to keep me busy. Kalil states, “Year-round school eliminates the need to fill 12 weeks of vacation with activities to keep your child interested and engaged” (Kalil). This brings up a big issue for families that do not have other people to watch their children and are not financially stable enough to send their kids to camp. This affects families in the sense that their children are not mentally stimulated for months at home over summer vacation, and this only leads kids to boredom rather than a positive learning environment that school provides. On the flip side of things, so many researchers support summer vacation and the mental break it allows students to receive. Laurie Futterman from the miami herald talks about how kids need a break from the busy school year; as it is necessary for children to have an “unwind time” as well as simply a time to have fun. Futterman also brings up how summer time can bring unique forms of educational experiences. Futterman exclaims, “time off from school can offer different learning experiences, including the power of outdoor play” (Futterman). This was important to be expressed in addition to just fun because “just for fun” isn’t a great argument to make. Another supportive side of not having school year-round is that their is no research proving that it helps children first hand. Mary Brown offers up this simple statement exclaiming, “There is no conclusive data on whether a year-round system works as effectively as the traditional school year. The academic data is too scattered” (Brown). This shuts down most ideas that are for year-round school to begin with; but also expresses how new the idea is although it is a norm in other countries. This problem makes it seem like it would be especially bad in America due to how much research we put into our education system debating on whether or not the amount of time we go to school is beneficial or not; we attempt to make sure the benefits are there if we were to change the way school has been ran for years. It also adds the exploration of why we would change the way education is ran after years of it working just fine? Both sides of the arguments are fair and strong; although a lot more research has been done on allowing children to have their normal break rather than going to school year round.

Sources:

Lynch , Matthew. “Top 3 Reasons the US Should Switch to Year-Round Schooling.” The Edvocate, 13 Aug. 2016, http://www.theedadvocate.org/top-3-reasons-the-us-should-switch-to-year-round-schooling/.

Demucha Kalil, Kimberly. “The Pros and Cons of Year-Round School.” Care.com, Care.com, 18 July 2017, http://www.care.com/c/stories/3283/the-pros-and-cons-of-year-round-school/.

Futtermanlfutterman@dadeschools.net, Laurie. “Beyond the Classroom: Should Kids Get a Long Summer Vacation? Depends on Who You Ask.” Miamiherald, http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/community-voices/article25609060.html.
Brown, Mary, et al. “The Year-Round School Debate.” SchoolMoney.org, 5 Mar. 2016, http://www.schoolmoney.org/the-year-round-school-debate/.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Personality

The first personality test was the Jung Typpology Test that tested for feeling, emotion, and why I do the things I do based on the way I think. My results came back as “ENFJ” which stands for extrovert (6%) intuitive (9%) feeling (25%) and judging (6%). I agree with all of these, except intuitive. I do not see myself as an intuitive because I do use reasoning a lot, especially while working out problems in my life. I do base my decisions based on gut feeling and good judgment as well, so these personality traits seem to be true. The Jungian personality test scored me as a “conservator” as I focus mainly on service and work. These two things hold true as I am a “people pleaser” as well as very involved in whatever work I have at the time. These results also noted that I am very loyal, which is true as well. I tend to stick with close friends and family and are very faithful to select people in my life. The Psychometrics Project test gave me the results of extroversion, emotional stability, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and intellect/imagination. These results were very similar to the other tests, besides giving me percentiles that I fit into based on the trait. This test I felt judged me more on how I reacted in situations with other people as well as my personal values on attention and helping people. Lastly, there was the color test which was by far the most unique out of all the personality tests; but also gave me broader answers. This test gave me results pertaining to my own identity and how I have an eye for the beauty in things. It also goes into saying how I like to feel unique and important with still giving high standards to the people around me, especially the opposite sex. Somehow, this color test fit me very well; despite it’s broadness, it goes into how I am independent and very concerned about being a respected human being. I am unsure of how these results came about based on colors that I chose, but it is interesting to see how all of the personality tests give very similar answers, even when they ask very different questions, or even no questions at all. Some results were very spot on based on how I am as a person, but others I felt were very broad and covered a lot of ground so they could be applied to almost anyone if necessary.

Intelligence

I never thought of my intelligence to be something that has come from my parents; although my parents are very smart, my intelligence is expressed much different than theirs. I give all the credit to the phenomenal teachers I’ve had over the years that taught me almost everything I know. Besides common sense, that I have my dad to thank, educators in my life have always made a huge impact. Most of the time, I believe it is the way teachers interact with their students that makes learning new material and absorbing new information fun in a way. I’ve always loved learning, and school has always been a sort of “happy place” if you will, and teachers saw and always loved that about me. It was easy to communicate with with teachers and ask questions throughout my education thus far as well, so this made learning a very pleasant experience and something I wanted to do. I believe my intelligence is firmly rooted in the place I am most confident, school. I always loved excelling in certain classes and taking on the challenge of hard classes. Something about learning is always new and exciting, so blaming my intelligence on something so satisfying isn’t so bad. Overall, interactions I’ve had between teachers and myself have always been positive and encouraging. This assisted me in not only doing well in school, but giving my intelligence the chance to take off by giving me such a happy environment. If a negative environment was present, I do not believe I would have done so well since I could have been put down, or just not as encouraged as I have been over the years. There has always been a clear goal given to me as something to strive for; so without this, a child might struggle as well. I have always felt I was equipped with the correct tools and positive attitudes that every child needs in order for him or her to express their intelligence, but without them, I would not have had as great as an opportunity.

How I Manage Stress

I manage stress a little differently than most I believe, but I do believe my methods are successful for me in the long run. Some simple things I consciously choose to do every day are get a solid hour of exercise every day, eat healthy foods, and religiously clean my dorm to keep my mind and body healthy. I believe doing these simple things are the beginning to maintaining a stress free life. Health is number one, and without a good health, stress can take over your life. To distress after a hard exam or a day where things just didn’t go my way I typically drink tea and watch a movie to unwind. Unwinding helps me reflect on my day and improve my skills for facing a challenge the next time one comes around. These strategies work for me in particular, along with weekly yoga classes and talks with my dad. These things keep the stress at bay for me quite well; as long as I keep up with them. If I don’t keep up with them, things such as anxiety and depression can take over life very quickly due to the excess of stress that college brings. Some things I could incorporate into my distressing routine would be to get more sleep, write in a journal, or listen to music. These are common things that some of my friends do to cope with stress in their lives that could work for me as well.

Is Divorce Harmful or Helpful?

Throughout several studies, the children going through the divorce is always the common factor in what effects it can have in dividing a family. Some studies may show that it can damage children and their morals, effecting them all the way up until they are at the point where marriage and children may be questionable due to their family’s past experience with separation. Other studies have found that divorce is better for children in the long run rather than living in a hostile environment with parents who no longer love each other. These children may end up perfectly fine, or may have some challenges to face when they mature. Dr. Jann Gumbiner talks about how many children that grow up in a divorced home struggle when they are older making their own decisions. She states, “Children, even intelligent ones or older ones, often think it is their fault. There is a lot of self blame (Gumbiner 1). This is her main argument to why no divorce could ever end up positively, due to it’s effect on children. She also adds in some well respected emotion because she comes from a divorced family and she has personal struggles of her own. Gumbiner is certain these struggles can be applied to so many children since their parents’ marriages ended. Similarly, Robert Emery talks about how divorce can be stressful on children and cause necessary problems in the future. He states, “Troubled children are particularly likely to develop problems with anger, disobedience, and rule violations” (Emery 1). This leads us to believe that divorce will cause major issues in the personality of the child and their development process, which is a much bigger issue than just the stress it could cause them. On the other hand, some professionals believe that divorce is the better option for some families and their children involved. Brette Sember, a divorce attorney and mediator, explores the idea of how divorce could be beneficial to a child’s life instead of living with dysfunctional parents. She makes a good point saying, “While there is no question that divorce is hard for kids, it is a far cry better than raising your children in a violent, abusive, angry, or deeply resentful marriage” (Sember 1). This takes you down the opposite road, seeing what it would be like if a couple did keep their kids in a family where every day they are exposed to the exact opposite of love. This can surround the child with non-stop hatred while living in a hostile environment, leaving them with a negative childhood experience all around. Supporting this, Novack Law offices has an article published stating, “It can be very upsetting for children to feel that they need to choose between the two feuding parents they love” (Novack 1). It is interesting to see how the lawyers and medical professionals differ in how they word why it can be a positive thing for children to go through divorce. It seems like a common thing to consider the negative emotions during this time, but the positives could very well out weigh the negatives while a divorce is proceeding. Both sides have a great point in whether or not divorce could be positive or negative for children; I believe I agree with the side supporting that divorce is negative only due to personal experience. My parents divorced when I was six, so I didn’t have to go through any major fights growing up, and it was never really a hostile environment; it was just a tough atmosphere growing up in separate households and juggling activities and academics while dealing with split parents. Based on research, I believe there is more negative outcomes rather than positive, especially when it comes to how a child will grow up with split parents. Keeping grades up and maintaining well mental health as a child is stressful enough, and I agree that it would only put more pressure on children attempting to do this with divorced parents.

“3 Reasons a Thoughtful Divorce Can Be Better for Kids Than an Unhappy Marriage.” 3 Reasons Why Divorce Can Be Good for Kids | Novack Law Offices, http://www.novacklawoffices.com/blog/3-reasons-why-divorce-can-be-good-for-kids.

Sember, Brette. “Why a Good Divorce Is Better Than a Bad Marriage for Kids.” The Huffington Post, TheHuffingtonPost.com, 24 Mar. 2015, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brette-sember/why-a-good-divorce-is-better-than-a-bad-marriage-for-kids_b_6925236.html.

Emery, Robert E. “How Divorce Affects Children.” Emery about Children and Divorce, emeryondivorce.com/how_divorce_affects_children.php.

Gumbiner, Jann. “Divorce Hurts Children, Even Grown Ones.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 31 Oct. 2011, http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-teenage-mind/201110/divorce-hurts-children-even-grown-ones.

Harm Reduction Model For Drug Use

Seeing how others attempt to take back their lives after years of drug use is a torturous experience. Most users go back to their drug of choice within a couple months of “quitting.” We see this most when it comes to the common smoker, here, a person can see with ease the challenges one faces when it’s time to remove a substance from their lives. Some, like my dad, state that it is the hardest thing he’s ever tried to do. With constant stress in someone’s life, it is an undeniable struggle to take their stress relief away. I do not want to sound like I’m overlooking drug use, but for some it would be a whole lot simpler to have a healthier option than to struggle with quitting. I think for people who are too busy or do not have the mental control to quit their drug of choice altogether, it is nice to provide a healthier alternative. Control is something that millions of Americans struggle with, whether it’s an eating or heroin addiction. It would be such a positive change to reduce the harm in their drug use rather than expect them to just stop using altogether. It should be about the health of the person and less about expectations. Everyone makes all types of mistakes in their lives, and some are easier to fix than others. Assisting those who have a tough time quitting and making it an easier process, or giving them a chance to at least reduce the consequences the drug has on their health could mean all the difference to a person who physically and mentally can not quit.