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Our Mental Health Blogs

Ask Your Adult Child to Waive Privacy Rights Under HIPAA

Ask Your Adult Child to Waive Privacy Rights Under HIPAA

Adult children with mental illness can waive privacy rights to allow parents to stay on the treatment team. How can a parent make that happen? Read this.

At 18, when our mentally ill children are no longer minors, it is important to encourage them to waive their privacy rights through the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and allow parents to participate on their mental health team. To assure that adult children waive their privacy rights, parents need to develop a relationship of trust.

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A Year of Shock Therapy for Major Depressive Disorder

A Year of Shock Therapy for Major Depressive Disorder

Shock therapy for major depressive disorder, also called electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), sounds scary. But it gave my daughter her life back. Here's our story.My daughter just graduated from a year of shock therapy for major depressive disorder (electroconvulsive therapy [ECT]). It gave her life back. Her severe major depressive disorder had stopped her from functioning in life and kept the threat of suicide lingering over her like a vulture waiting to pounce. Yet, today, a year after beginning shock therapy, she has finished her college program, gotten a job and is socializing and taking care of herself with a kind of sparkle that had once seemed impossible. Shock therapy for my daughter’s major depressive disorder created a miracle for her.

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The Miracle of Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)

The Miracle of Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)

I refused electroconvulsive therapy for my daughter for two years. Now I wonder why I waited so long. Electroconvulsive therapy isn't scary as it once was.

For two years I refused to even consider electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) for my severely depressed daughter. After all, I saw those 1950s movies—I saw those patients emerge zombie-like with no memory. But then my daughter’s life became so bleak we had no choice but to try electroconvulsive therapy, and I’ve kicked myself for letting her suffer so long.

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Create Mental Health Safety Contracts for Teens with Bipolar

Create Mental Health Safety Contracts for Teens with Bipolar

A mental health safety contract can save your child from herself. Mental health safety contracts can prevent suicide and other dangerous behaviors. Here's how.

My daughter and I have a mental health safety contract. She violated the conditions of the contract, and I had to call the police. Since my daughter and I have used mental health safety contracts since she was a teenager, we both understood the rules. By having a mental health safety contract, I took what could have been a volatile, extended fight with my adult child with bipolar disorder and turned it into a straightforward contractual arrangement. It made a difficult situation easier.

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Emergency Plans for Mental Health Crises Will Help Your Child

Emergency Plans for Mental Health Crises Will Help Your Child

Emergency plans for mental health crises help you help your child. Find out how to prepare and emergency plan for psychiatric crises here.

According to our emergency plan for mental health crises, I had to call the police. After melting down for an hour, my daughter with bipolar disorder had locked herself in the bathroom threatening to kill herself. Knowing the signs of suicide, my daughter and I (with the help of her therapist) had created a safety contract—she violated it by locking herself away from me—I had to call according to the emergency plan for mental health crises.

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Reasons I Give Psychiatric Medication to My Child with DMDD

Reasons I Give Psychiatric Medication to My Child with DMDD

Deciding to give psychiatric medication to my child wasn't easy. It was a guilt-laden and stigma-heavy journey, but my son is alive, and happier, than before.Controversy surrounds a parent’s decision to give psychiatric medication to their child with disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD)–or any other mental illness. Few question parents who medicate children with diabetes or other potentially life-threatening conditions. Yet they will absolutely question those of us whose children have potentially life-threatening mental illnesses. Parents don’t take this decision lightly, though, and we know psychiatric medication for a child is not an easy fix.

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Life with Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder (DMDD)

Life with Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder (DMDD)

Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder (DMDD), relatively new to childhood diagnoses, may explain your child's terrifying outbursts. Could it be DMDD?Most people don’t know what life with disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD) is like. But if your child is perpetually angry and irritable or you walk on eggshells for fear of triggering terrifying outbursts, these behaviors may point to disruptive mood dysregulation disorder, a childhood mood disorder that can lead a child and his or her parents on a scary and frustrating journey.

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Therapy for My Child with Mental Illness

Therapy for My Child with Mental Illness

My son Bob began talk therapy at age eight after he knocked over a heavy wrought-iron barstool that ripped the back of my upholstered couch as it fell. Next he went upstairs and slammed the door to his room, putting a hole in the wall. Bob’s behavior got worse despite my best parenting efforts. He was a sweet kid, but his moods changed rapidly, resulting in damage and destruction. I didn’t know what to do, so I asked one of my mom friends for a referral.

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Diagnosing a Child with Mental Illness

Diagnosing a Child with Mental Illness

The moment my 12-year-old son ran out the front door, I locked it. The temperature that evening was 17 degrees. Bob was wearing basketball shorts, a tank top and no shoes. Earlier he was playing with knives and making threats. My mind struggled as he banged on the door begging me to let him in. Finally, I unlocked the back door to the basement and told him to go around the house. He slept downstairs (behind a locked door) while my family slept safely upstairs. The next day Bob was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

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Psychotherapy and Your Special Needs Child

Psychotherapy and Your Special Needs Child

Yesterday was National Psychotherapy Day according to Twitter.com. After doing some research, I discovered that it was the 2nd annual celebration and was founded by a group of clinicians, graduate students and supporters of psychotherapy in California (NationalPsychotherapyDay.com). The designation was designed to spread awareness about psychotherapy and reduce the stigma of seeking mental health treatment.

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