Anger management can be a challenge for all teenagers, but teens with anxiety disorders often have greater difficulty with anger. ATC clinicians Dr. Alison Alden and Dr. Julieanne Pojas recently recorded a webinar for the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) that describes strategies for managing tantrums, what to do when a child refuses to participate in treatment or school, and managing verbal and physical aggression toward others. Intended for other mental health professionals, this webinar can also be valuable for parents in dealing with their own children. To access the link, go to the ADAA on-line Store.
Eating disorders can be very complex to treat. Dr. Cassiday shares insights for clinicians on the importance of considering all aspects of mental health for clients with eating disorders: National Eating Disorders Association Blog
Mental health is an integral part of children’s overall health. However, strong mental health starts prior to stepping into a therapist’s office. Children who practice mental health skills regularly could reduce their risk for mental illness and relapse.
General guidelines for youth mental health:
Teach them compassion and gratitude
Teaching children how to be compassionate towards others inspires this behavior towards themselves. Encourage your child to be kind and caring to others by modeling unconditional acceptance. Acknowledge and admit your own mistakes in front of your kid. When they go through rough times, teach them to take the time to take care of themselves to re-energize.
Teaching your child how to express gratitude helps them to reframe their experiences in a positive way. Express things you are grateful for in front of your child. Ask children to list three things they are grateful for daily or develop a gratitude journal.
Encourage them to find purpose and meaning
Help your child find intrinsic value in what they do and live a life that is meaningful and productive. Encourage them to think about ways they can use their personal strengths and skills to create positive change in the world and society, which can be done through early involvement in volunteering. You can. Although your child’s purpose may change as they get older, it is most important that they continue to have a focus or ‘mission statement’ for their life.
Help your child develop good humor by modeling laughter and spontaneity. This will help your child challenge negative thoughts and tolerate emotional pain. Through acknowledging a smile and returning this emotion, brain chemistry is altered and one achieves a natural high more pleasurable than eating chocolate, receiving money, drinking coffee, or shopping. Teaching them how to have a good sense of humor helps them to be less stressed, more confident, and more resilient.
Establish a sense of community
Having mutually beneficial relationships is crucial to your child’s well being. We achieve a sense of belonging by offering support and seeking support from others. Children with a strong sense of community have an easier time seeking our help for themselves. They can build this relationship by connecting with a religious community or cultural group, or joining a special interest club. Children benefit from being reminded that they are beloved for who they are not just admired for what they do.
Encourage optimal physical health
Good diet and exercise is necessary for overall health. Encourage your children to eat fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, unprocessed foods, and to eliminate refined carbohydrates. As exercise enhances action of endorphins and improves mood and increases self esteem, model appropriate levels of physical activity. Children require 60 minutes of daily aerobic activity, which can be achieved through regular family walks.
Dr. Pojas and Dr. Alden will be teaching a webinar through the Anxiety and Depression Association of America website for clinicians to learn how to manage anger in children and teens with anxiety disorders. To access the webinar, go to: ADAA – Webinar for Professionals: Clinical Kung Fu.
Dr. Alden recently published an article on anxiety.org, with practical suggestions for parents in how best to respond to their child’s tantrums. Rule #1: Ignore! It’s important not to reinforce this type of behavior. Read more valuable suggestions here: What To Do When Your Anxious Child Throws A Tantrum.
The Anxiety Treatment Center of Greater Chicago clinicians attended the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) conference in San Francisco in early April. Staff attended sessions which offered the latest research-based findings on treatment for anxiety and depression, and learned strategies to improve treatments in our clinical practice. In addition, our own Dr. Karen Cassiday, as President of the ADAA, led this highly regarded international conference which brings together over 1,300 clinicians and researchers from around the world. Dr. Pojas and Dr. Alden conducted an educational session titled: Clinical Kung Fu: Managing Anger and Oppositional Behaviors in Kids with Anxiety Disorders, and Dr. Siegel and Dr. Schmaus led a session titled: Treating Anxious Patients on the Autism Spectrum: Helpful Tips and Techniques. We also had some fun, finding time to try delicious Vietnamese food at the Slanted Door, where Stephanie Kuhn, MS, attempted her own version of exposure by trying raw oysters for the first time! The annual ADAA conference is an opportunity to learn and connect with leaders in the field of anxiety disorders, and we look forward to this experience each year.
We are pleased to offer a FREE Stress Management Workshop this coming Tuesday, April 18th, at 3pm in the WeWork – Fulton Market building located at 220 N. Green Street in the West Loop of Chicago. Two of our Chicago-based clinicians, Dr. Dustin Siegel and Stephanie Kuhn, M.A. will teach attendees about factors that influence stress, and lead participants through activities that can be implemented into your daily life to reduce anxiety. You will leave with concrete suggestions for coping with stress and strategies to increase mindfulness and general well being. All are welcome to join, but an RSVP is required to enter the building.
If you’ve been immobilized by panic attacks or excessive anxiety, you do not need to suffer endlessly. Dr. Karen Cassiday describes effective treatment techniques in this US News and World Report article that can help you to successfully overcome your fears. At the Anxiety Treatment Center, our therapists can accompany you in situations where you feel the most anxiety, and train you to handle difficult situations with a new sense of hope.
Dr. Cassiday shares her expertise on OCD in Chicago Health, explaining the successful treatment options available to minimize the debilitating effects of this very treatable condition.
Struggling with obsessive thoughts that just won’t quit? Our own Dr. Julieanne Pojas was invited to share her strategies for dealing with intrusive thoughts and OCD on IntrusiveThoughts.org.
This guidance is valuable for those struggling with OCD as well as anyone who suffers from intrusive thoughts that just won’t stop. Read her article to learn suggestions for behavioral changes you can make to improve your daily life.
Dr. Cassiday shared her expertise on anxiety in an episode of Steph it up with Steph, a TV show on WTTW, Channel 11 in Chicago targeting women with a weekly dose of health, fitness, and lifestyle entertainment. The show aired on 2/18/17, and shows Dr. Cassiday providing insight and guidance on how to manage anxiety.