Monday, 7 December 2015

Helping Adolescents With their First Love

Falling in love for the first time can be likened to going through an emotional rollercoaster ride. For the adolescent, the experience can be thrilling but confusing. Parents should prepare themselves for many questions along with highly dramatic behavior.
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Many mental health experts estimate that a majority of dating adolescents do not actually fall in love. Their relationships do not qualify under mature love which includes sexual attraction, emotional knowing, mutual enjoyment, friendship, romantic excitement, sensitive consideration, and social compatibility, among others. Usually only one or two of these are fulfilled – though feelings are amplified by the fact that adolescents have never experienced them before.

The experience of a first love can be consuming and almost addictive. The level of attachment most dating adolescents have is unlike any other. It must be emphasized that these relationships also are shaded by an incredible amount of fear of losing each other. This is why many first love experiences are often fraught with issues of freedom and possessiveness.

Parents should carefully counsel their children of these extremes, although with the knowledge that their advice might not be immediately absorbed. Teenagers could feel that their parents are impinging on their love and could be pushed to rebel.
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A balance must be reached; one where tension is alleviated and trust between parent and child is established. First love is a highly complex experience, so parents should exhibit patience while their child vacillates with emotion.

For better insight into your child’s mind, seek the advice of Dr. Jonathan Lauter, a certified child and adolescent psychiatrist. For more insights about child and adolescent psychiatry, follow this Twitter account.

Monday, 19 October 2015

Surviving the Hump of Puberty and the Risk of Anxiety Disorders

A study suggests that children who go through puberty at a faster rate have a higher risk of developing anxiety and depression. The authors of the study cautioned parents and caregivers that it is important to closely monitor a child’s behavior during this chaotic period to ensure that challenges or differences in behavior are not symptoms of a mental illness. It can be a difficult time for parents and guardians as many children going through puberty display erratic behavior. Nevertheless, there are a few important notes that each parent and caregiver should know.

Image Source: Thrive For Change

 The first and most relevant is the persistence of the behavior. To be clinically diagnosed as anxiety or depression, the mood has to remain constant and pervasive for at least two weeks. It is not just an on-and-off again mood which eases over time, and which many pre-pubescent teens manifest. Those with anxiety disorders can display a variety of symptoms, but the most common symptom is the feeling of constant agitation, tension, or restlessness. Children and adolescents, in particular, display their anxiety with psychosomatic symptoms, so parents should be on their toes if their child complains of constant tension or sore muscles, a racing heart or sweating, or persistent head or stomachaches. Children with depression will not only be constantly sad but could express feelings of worthlessness or sluggishness. Adolescents could also act out their depression through anger.

Image Source: the Bair Foundation

Parents and caregivers who suspect their child or ward of having a mental illness should immediately consult their nearest psychiatrist.

Dr. Jonathan Lauter, MD specializes in child and adolescent psychiatry. Learn more about child and adolescent mental health by following this Twitter account.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

The Lingering Effects of Bullying on Child Development

While bullying isn’t something new, it has certainly affected the lives of millions of people around the world. Especially with the increased use of the Internet and social media, bullying has evolved into different forms, affecting children not only in school but almost anywhere. 

The sad fact is, bullying can affect a child’s development, and it is linked to many long-lasting adverse effects.

A study by Warwick University revealed that bullying during childhood can have long-term consequences. Bullied children can still experience the physical and mental health effects of bullying 40 years later in their adulthood. Respondents were tested for psychological distress and general health problems at the ages 23 and 50, for psychiatric problems at 45, and for cognitive functioning, social relationships and well-being at 50.

The effects of bullying, however, does not only affect those who were bullied. According to, a federal government website managed by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, bullying is linked to many negative effects, including impacts on mental health, substance use, and suicide of kids who are bullying others and of bystanders who have witnessed bullying. 

Bullies, for example, have been identified to engage more in violent and other risky behaviors into adulthood, while children who witness bullying are more likely to have increased mental health problems, including depression and anxiety. 

For years, bullying has repeatedly been discussed in the media and communities, but, unfortunately, such attention on its effects often leads to more misconceptions. As a family, a friend, or a member of the society, there are many ways to act against bullying. If you know a child or are the parent of a child who is being bullied, the first thing they need is your support.

More news and updates on psychiatric health can be accessed though this Jonathan Lauter, M.D., blog.

Monday, 31 August 2015

Of achievement and excellence: What it means to be a fellow of the American Psychiatric Association

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) recognizes some of its most pre-eminent members through its fellowship program, which calls for a member's continuing dedication to the association's work toward the development of the science and practice of psychiatry.

When it comes to obligations, there are few differences between general members and fellows. They pay the same annual rates and have access to the APA's extensive library of tools and resources. To be eligible for the fellowship, however, a psychiatrist must not only meet the criteria to become an APA General Member and have board certification. They would then be subject to a 30-day review by the Membership Committee and voted upon by the Board of Trustees.

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Apart from additional opportunities and recognition from peers, fellows also receive an embossed fellow certificate and a lapel pin. Newly-appointed fellows are publicly recognized at the Convocation of Distinguished Fellows, which is held during the APA's annual meetings.

Going beyond this recognition is distinguished fellowship, awarded to particularly outstanding psychiatrists. As the highest membership honor the APA bestows on members, the distinguished fellowship is far more than mere competence.

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Candidates for distinguished fellows must have made significant contributions to the psychiatric profession in any five of the following areas: administration, teaching, scientific and scholarly publications, volunteering in mental health and medical activities of social significance, community involvement, and clinical excellence. They have a set of strict criteria for eligibility, including a minimum of eight years as an APA General Member or Fellow.  

Jonathan B. Lauter, M.D., has been a fellow of the American Psychiatric Association since 2012. Subscribe to this blog for more articles on the field of psychiatry.