Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Understanding Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

“Did I leave the stove on?” “Did I lock the door?” “Is the iron unplugged?”

These are some of the questions that people ask themselves during the day. Certain levels of anxiety regarding everyday problems are normal. Usually, checking once or twice can dispel these concerns, enabling people to go on with their day.

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However, if this becomes excessive and people cannot help but worry, it can interfere with their daily lives.

This is a sign of OCD, or obsessive compulsive disorder. It is an anxiety disorder that causes unwanted, intrusive thoughts (obsessions) or repetitive, ritualized behaviors (compulsions).

The obsessions are images or impulses that enter the head over and over again, and most of the time, the patient cannot block it out. These thoughts can go beyond just wondering if there are tasks that he forgot to accomplish or being anxious about misplaced or improper arrangement of objects. There are instances that these thoughts are frightening or upsetting images. Also these can be urges to do something that he does not want to do.

The compulsions are the recurring behaviors or rituals that are aimed toward making the obsessions go away or prevent it from happening. The patient will repeat these compulsions over and over until they believe that the threat has already been averted.

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OCD is a chronic issue and can be disruptive and perilous for those who are suffering from it, and, sometimes, even those around them. There are many treatment forms for it; with cognitive/behavioral therapy being one of the most effective.

Jonathan Lauter, M.D. is a psychiatrist and fellow of the American Psychiatric Association who specializes in the treatment of neurobehavioral disorders in children, teens, and adults. Visit this link to read more about mental health.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Touchscreen Childcare: Parenting Vs. Technology

Global culture on the use of tablets and smartphones around children and toddlers is conflicted at best. On the one hand, tech-embracing parents forward that these gadgets are sources of educational material for their children. On the other hand, resistant parents dread the addictive qualities of small screens, which have generally exhibited an instant ability to appease a child in tantrums.

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Above all these pros and cons, further research is revealing other hazards of allowing children and toddlers excessive small screen time. A new study set to appear in The Journal of Pediatrics raised concerns about smartphone and tablet exposure encouraging habits that lead to obesity. The idea is not new. Television used to be the bĂȘte noir among many known aggravating factors of obesity. Until the mentioned study, mobile devices have been exempt from the scrutiny of correlation.

Other issues and questions are currently being resolved by further research, and it is common wonder nowadays whether there is a middle ground in introducing small screens to children and toddlers. Parents can now look forward to questions such as whether or not certain apps hinder cognitive development, or if small screen time disturbs sleep patterns.

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The positives are also given attention. Current research is also open to exploring apps and small screen functions fostering skills development. For now, it is safe to say that these gadgets do not pose inherent harms unless parents use these as an ersatz for human connection.

Dr. Jonathan Lauter is an accomplished psychiatrist based in New York. A fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, he currently serves as a clinician at the Refuah Health Center in Spring Valley, New York, and also runs a private practice in Manhattan. For more insights on child and adolescent psychology, visit this blog.