Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Children and War

The Children and War Foundation was established in 2000 to “improve children’s lives after wars and disasters”.
The home page reflects current efforts, from the effect of trauma and stress on Palestinian children to a Disaster Bereavement Manual to rescue and acute efforts in Japan.
The toolbar Projects option leads to summaries of  current efforts in Africa, America, Asia, the Middle East, and Europe.
The foundation has developed a number of Measures to screen and quantify the effects of war, disaster and trauma on children.
For example, the Children’s Revised Impact of Event Scale is “a widely used screening tool measuring children at risk for post traumatic stress symptoms, and is designed to be used in children aged 8 and above. It has been applied in a variety of cultures as post traumatic stress symptoms in children are more similar than they are different from one culture to the other.”
On a more human level, the Stories link on the home page’s left column provides narratives of children caught up in wars and disasters, and given assistance by the foundation.
Elizabeth of Uganda was kidnapped and used as a slave by Ugandan government soldiers. Luay of Iraq was traumatized by carrying the dead out of bombed ruins.

May 1, 2011 Posted by | Professional Health Care Resources | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kids of Deployed Soldiers May Face More Mental Health Woes

HealthDay news image

Study found they needed more doctor visits to handle issues from parent‘s absence

 

From a November 8, 2010 Health Day news item

MONDAY, Nov. 8 (HealthDay News) — Mental and behavioral problems cause children of U.S. soldiers deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan and other war zones to need considerably more outpatient medical visits than those with non-deployed parents, a new study suggests.

Researchers examined the medical records of more than 640,000 military children between the ages of 3 and 8, and found that those separated from deployed parents sought treatment 11 percent more often for cases of mood, anxiety and adjustment disorders. Visits for conditions such as autism and attention-deficit disorder, whose causes are not linked to deployment, also increased.

The study, reported online Nov. 8 and in the December issue of the journal Pediatrics [article is free through this link], also revealed larger increases in mental and behavioral visits among older children, children with military fathers and children of married military parents.

“It’s statistically significant, but I also think it’s clinically significant,” said lead researcher Dr. Gregory Gorman, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md. “These are also probably the worst cases.”

Gorman said he was surprised to find that while these types of medical visits went up, the rates of visits for all other medical conditions dropped.

“I have no direct evidence, but we hypothesize that when a parent is deployed . . . and the other parent has to do all of the duties, they may want to handle other problems at home,” Gorman said. “These parents who remain at home need to multi-task even more.”…

…In Gorman’s study, the most frequent primary diagnosis during mental and behavioral health visits was attention-deficit disorder (ADD). Adjustment and autistic disorders came next, while farther down the list were mood and anxiety disorders, oppositional defiant disorder, developmental delays, post-traumatic stress disorder, bedwetting and separation anxiety.

SOURCES: Gregory Gorman, M.D., assistant professor, pediatrics, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Md.; Rick Olson, retired Army general, director, strategic communications, Child, Adolescent and Family Behavioral Health Proponency, Fort Lewis, Wash.; December 2010 Pediatrics

 

November 12, 2010 Posted by | Consumer Health, Health News Items | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Treating Anxiety Disorders

From the Fall 2010 issue of the NIH magazine NIH MedlinePlus, Treating Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders are generally treated with medication, specific types of psychotherapy such as “talk therapy,” or both. Treatment depends on the problem and the person’s preference. Before any treatment, a doctor must do a careful evaluation to see whether a person’s symptoms are from an anxiety disorder or a physical problem. The doctor must also check for coexisting conditions, such as depression or substance abuse. Sometimes, treatment for the anxiety disorder must wait until after treatment for the other conditions.

How Medications Can Help

Doctors may prescribe medication, along with talk therapy, to help relieve anxiety disorders. Some medicines may take a few weeks to work. Your family doctor or psychiatrist may prescribe:

  • Antidepressants. These medications take up to four to six weeks to begin relieving anxiety. The most widely prescribed antidepressants for anxiety are the SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors). Commonly prescribed: Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Lexapro, and Celexa.
  • Anti-anxiety medicines (or “tranquilizers”). These medications produce feelings of calm and relaxation. Side effects may include feeling sleepy, foggy, and uncoordinated. The higher the dose, the greater the chance of side effects. Benzodiazepines are the most common class of anti-anxiety drugs.Commonly prescribed: Xanax, Klonopin, Valium, and Ativan.
  • Beta blockers. These drugs block norepinephrine, the body’s “fight-or-flight” stress hormone. This helps control the physical symptoms of anxiety, such as rapid heart rate, a trembling voice, sweating, dizziness, and shaky hands. Because beta blockers don’t affect the emotional symptoms of anxiety, such as worry, they’re most helpful for phobias, particularly social phobia and performance anxiety. Commonly prescribed: Tenormin and Inderal.

Click here for a list of related questions to ask your health care provider

Some related Web sites

November 9, 2010 Posted by | Consumer Health, Educational Resources (High School/Early College( | , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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