Monday, September 27, 2010

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: OCD - Just another label? 10 Common Myths about OCD

OCD, like ADD, ADHD, ODD, etc is another commonly used acronym that doctors use as diagnoses of teens and adults.  I am not making light of it, however I believe parents need a better understanding of it.  Today guest Blogger, Jenny Stowe from Masters In Healthcare, asked me to share this post.  I find it very interesting and I hope my readers do too.  The more we know, the better we can understand Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

Despite being one of the most commonly diagnosed mental disorders and present in as many as one in 50 U.S. adults, obsessive-compulsive disorder tends to occupy a gray area in the public consciousness that’s marked more by myth than truth. Chalk it up to stereotypes or characters like Jack Nicholson’s in As Good as It Gets, but many people hold to a system of misconceptions about OCD that simply aren’t true. Those with the disease or who have a loved one with it know the truth, but for everyone else, here are the myths people believe and the truth behind them.
  1. Any neat freak has OCD: OCD is a mental disorder. Period. It’s an anxiety disorder that leads those who have it to perform highly specific rituals as calming methods to fight they crushing anxiety. Being neat and orderly, even to the point of rigidity, doesn’t mean someone has OCD; it just means they like things clean. Someone with obsessive-compulsive disorder who keeps their house spotless isn’t doing it to look nice, but because they’re overwhelmed by anxiety when something is amiss. It’s a big difference, and one that’s often misunderstood.
  2. OCD is just about cleaning: This one comes on the heels of the previous one, as many people assume that those with OCD are devoted to cleaning house. Yet that’s just one symptom, and far from the only way the disease manifests itself. Per the DSM-IV, compulsions can be a variey of things that the person in question does to reduce stress or prevent “some dreaded situation or event,” and these can include everything from praying to counting silently to repeating words. Yes, cleaning things can be one of these compulsions, but it’s not the only one.
  3. People with OCD don’t have any willpower: This is a prevalent but insidious myth that paints people with obsessive-compulsive disorder as merely suffering from some kind of emotional weakness, as if their obsessions are something they could silence permanently if they’d only focus hard enough. As much as even people with OCD might wish this to be true, it isn’t. The disease is a mental one, and though many researchers are still targeting the specific cause, studies have shown that people with OCD have different patterns of brain activity than those without it.
  4. People with OCD focus on one person or idea: People with OCD aren’t limited to the thoughts that can consume them, and in many cases these aren’t about a specific person or place. Rather, these intrusive and unwanted thoughts are often about horrible, unreal situations defined by violence or irrationality, such as the thought of injuring their child. People with PCD recognize the irrationality of these thoughts, but that doesn’t make them less real, or painful, or hard to talk about even with professionals. Obsessions can be incredibly varied.
  5. OCD can be cured, and easily: There is no cure for obsessive-compulsive disorder. However, it is possible for many patients with OCD to gain control of the disease and enjoy a stellar prognosis. This requires, as you might expect, a ton of work. People with OCD typically need a combination of medicine and behavioral therapy in order to begin the process of modulating their thoughts to the point where they can successfully label and control them.
  6. OCD affects more women than men: Some have observed that more women than men tend to suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder, but those observations are anecdotal. In reality, the disease affects men and women in almost equal measure. Why the discrepancy between myth and truth? Because men typically have a harder time expressing deeper emotions than women do, and that reluctance is multiplied when some were asked to discuss the intrusive and often very dark thoughts that defined their obsessions.
  7. OCD comes from stress: Again, if only wishing made it so, then people struggling with OCD could just take a few days off work and get back to “normal.” But that just isn’t the case. If you take away nothing else, remember than obsessive-compulsive disorder is a mental one, not something brought on by a few hectic weeks at the office. It is true that major stressors can trigger symptoms, especially in traumatic situations like the death of a loved one. But the existence of stress can only ever exaggerate the OCD, not create it.
  8. People with OCD were raised poorly: Parenting has nothing to do with contracting obsessive-compulsive disorder. Raising a child to follow certain rules does not cause the disorder. However, as with the myth about stress, the truth is complex. Parenting styles don’t cause OCD, but they can exacerbate it when parents go too far in accomodating OCD behaviors in a well-meaning but fruitless attempt to manage the child’s stress level. This can lead to a strengthening of symptoms and behaviors and make the disease that much harder to treat. Yet criticism and hostility can also have negative consequences. The best result is to work with medical professionals to begin treating and structuring the child’s life.
  9. OCD is unchanging: This is an easy mistake to make: the public depictions of OCD are of people ritualistically cleaning dishes with no hope of an end in sight. Yet this is a total myth. As with many disorders, the earlier OCD is diagnosed, the better the person will be able to respond to treatment. Even if it’s not caught until late adolescence or adulthood, treatment and medication can do wonders to help people with OCD reduce the frequency and pwoer of the intrusive thoughts that are robbing them of mental freedom. With the right care, people with OCD can make speedy, giant strides toward a better life.
  10. Any desire to collect or organize can be linked to OCD: This myth gets spread by people who confuse the mental disorder of OCD with the far more common trait of orderliness or passion for collecting. For instance, a child might become heavily involved in collecting baseball cards or memorizing player statistics; this isn’t OCD, just the manifestation of a burgeoning interest. OCD doesn’t encompass behavior built around collecting or memorization, so don’t let these normal (if devoted) traits lead you to an inaccurate diagnosis. As with all else, proceed with an open mind.

Friday, September 24, 2010

STRUGGLING TEENS: Help me with my teen! They are driving me crazy! Parent's at their wit's end!

Let’s face it – parenting teens today can be challenging.  Whether it is the accessibility of drugs or the blatant disrespect many teens have for authority, parents are reaching their wit’s end when it comes to their teenagers.
An out-of-control teen can upset the entire family. Is that fair to the sibling?  Is it fair to the parents?  As many families are struggling with today’s economy, possible job loss and even losing their homes, the stress of parenting can be overwhelming.

Many teens believe it is normal to smoke pot on a daily basis.  Some parents even go as far as to say, well they did it in their teen and college years - but do you know what marijuana is laced with today?  Why are more kids becoming addicted to this?

In many situations seeking outside help is the only answer.  After you have exhausted all your local resources, even tried sending your teen to a relatives to live – and some may have even tried a scared straight program only to find it is very short term results – if any.

Now you are faced with the daunting experience of surfing the Internet to find help.  Doing your research is a priority.  Learn from my experiences – and visit for valuable information to help you sift through the many toll free numbers, marketing arms and in some cases, scams when it comes to this confusing – “teen help industry.”

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Magnolia Christian - Elaine Davis - Abused Animals - WARNING

It was reported back in early June 2010 that Magnolia Christian School or Academy (depending on what they call themselves that day formerly Carolina Springs Academy) was closed.  I received word from a parent that had a daughter there and was informed he had 24 hours to pick her up.  When he arrived, Elaine Davis (the same director that was there when my daughter was abused and neglected there) was on the porch with the kids waiting for the parents.
Animals Abandoned
According to this parent - all the other staff left.

Then I received emails about the abuse of the animals there recently.  The fact the animals were left to fend for themselves and the video was horrifying to watch.  Animal activists as far as from Alaska were writing me for help on the background of this so-called teen help program.  According to one source, more than 70 carcasses have been found on the property and the Humane Society of Greenwood has removed dozens and dozens more in various stages of starvation.  Read article.

Yesterday I was contacted by a local reporter in Anderson, SC (where Magnolia is located) as he is investigated this story.  He was under the assumption the program is closed, as I was until......

Today a parent calls and says she spoke with Elaine Davis yesterday (9/22/10) and she even was forwarded a contract to enroll her daughter there immediately?!  Excuse me - is Magnolia open again?
And who is Rex Vaughan?  Another sales rep like Lisa Irvin, Jane Hawley and Dina Dalton?

This is a parent alert - do your due diligence before placing your at-risk teens.  There are excellent programs in this country - don't get sucked in by a slick sales pitch!

At your wit's ends?  Read about it!

Bullying Prevention and Awareness: Choose Peace-Stop Violence

Broward County Public Schools is taking back control in our communities.  After last year's horrific incidents with our local students, Michael Brewer and Josie Ratley (both 15 year-olds at the time), the time is now to be a force and take action.

Choose Peace-Stop Violence Week will be held September 20-24 across Broward County.
Schools and the community facilities across Broward will be simultaneously speaking with one voice and one goal in mind – to eliminate youth violence in Broward County.

According to CBS News students at Manatee Bay Elementary decorated the campus with homeade pinwheels for peace. Masses of students from both Deerfield Beach Middle School and Cypress Bay High School joined together to create giant human peace signs.

For more information on the Federal Safe Schools/Healthy Students Initiative, visit ( For more information on Project Bridge’s Safe Schools/Healthy Students grant, programs and services, contact Shari Bush, Project Bridge, 954-817-7447.

As a reminder, October 4th is NATIONAL BLUE SHIRT DAY!To signify the importance of National Bullying Prevention Awareness Week from October 3rd – 9th, Love Our Children USA created NATIONAL BLUE SHIRT DAY. Specifically the first Monday of every October -- this year on Monday, October 4th, they are asking kids, teens and adults to participate in NATIONAL BLUE SHIRT DAY by wearing a blue shirt to STOMP Out Bullying.

Be an educated parent, you will have safer teens!  Get involved in your community today!

Read more.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Milk Party: Making children a priority

The Children's Movement of Florida was formed to take action and improve Florida's need for caring for our youth.

Their mission statement:

The Children’s Movement of Florida believes that the well-being and education of our children in Florida must be the highest priority of government, business, non-profit institutions and families. The economic future of our state and the stability of the communities we live in depend on achieving this goal. The major objective of the citizen-led, non-partisan Children’s Movement of Florida is to inform the political, business and civic leaders, and the parents and people of this state, about this issue – and encourage them to make the well-being and education of our children our highest priority, including in the way we invest our public resources.
Why now or should we say, what took so long?

Scott Maxwell of the Orlando Sentinel recently wrote:

The statistics about how we treat our children in this state should make you sick.
We have one of the highest child-abuse rates in the country. We have more uninsured children than 48 other states. Our graduation rates lag.

Yes, he is right and it is time to get involved, and get our politicians to "be" involved.  More needs to be done, we don't need a repeat of last year with the near death of two of our Florida students, Michael Brewer and Josie Ratley.

The Children’s Movement of Florida is spearheading the newest political movement making waves in the United States, calling themselves, endearingly “The Milk Party.” With events across the state of Florida, this movement comes at a time that hopefully people and politicians are listening. Currently, the group is in the middle of a 17 stop tour across the state of Florida during the month of September, called “The Children’s Express.” Click here to see if they will be in a city near you.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Perils of Parenting: A Strong Message to Parents

Dateline featured one of the most compelling wake-up segments for parents this week.  Perils of Parenting has been the coffee table and water cooler topic since it aired this week.  Even Twitter has been Tweeting all week about it!

What if you could spy on your kids as they go through a typical day, dealing with some typical problems — like bullying, and drinking & driving? A group of parents did just that — with the help of Dateline's hidden cameras. What they learned about their children could teach us all a little something about our own. Kate Snow reports. - Watch full episode here.

Look who's talking is a perfect example of parents being a poor example to their kids.  Are you a BBM parent?  What is one?  Black-Berry-Messenger Parent.  Watch the video below as the little boy, probably no older than 7, talks about BBM people.

In this short clip below, it is shocking how aware these young kids are to realize how much virtual time their parents are spending in comparison to their parenting time.

Perils of Parenting featured Parenting Expert and Author, Dr. Michele Borba who concludes that parents need to unplug!  We hear about our kids and their Internet and social networking addictions or even obsessions, but have parents looked at who they are mimicking?

Take the time to watch this segment and more important, take the time to be with your kids 100%!
Would your teen get in the car with a drunk driver?  The answers will shock you.

Be an educated parent, you will have safer teens and kids.

Watch video and read more.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month - Is your child a member of COAK?

September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month and kids all over the country, including right here in Florida, are sending a very strong message to their parents.

Coalition of Angry Kids (COAK) are fighting right back at their parents.  Monkey see, monkey do - and that is exactly what is happening.  Parents do not realize that what they do, including what they eat has an affect on their child.  Are you going outside and walking or even jogging?  Maybe bikingWhat are you doing for exercise?  Are you unplugged?

What's for dinner? Are you health conscience?  Everyone knows that we can't eat healthy all the time, but when eating unhealthy is the norm in your household, you are setting a negative example and message to your children.

Do you know what your kids are eating at school?  Do you know the facts about school cafeterias?

Open letter from COAK to parents: 

Who are you calling obese?

We heard that September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month.

And people are saying that 1 in 3 of us are overweight or obese. They even use that weird word—EPIDEMIC—when they’re talking about us kids.

“Eat healthy.” “Go run around outside.” “Turn off the screens.” We hear those things a lot, too. Well, Mom and Dad, can you help us out here? We need more than reminders and threats. We need good examples.
We’re in this together, so let’s fix it together.

If you want us to eat less junk food, then let’s eat better together. If you want us to play an hour a day, then come out and play with us.

That sounds like a healthy solution to us. How about you?

Do you think your child's name is here?

Visit COAK for more information.

Be an educated parent, you will have healthier teens.
Watch video and learn more. Read more.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Self-Harm, Self-Injury: Now Teens Self-Embedding - PARENT ALERT

Self-injury with teenagers has been a constant and growing concern for parents and professionals.  Objects such as metal (paper clips), crayons, and plastics are some of the examples of what teens are inserting into their skin after cutting themselves.

According to CNN Health, self-embedding is a less common form of self-injury than cutting, said Joseph Garbely, chief medical officer at Friends Hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Teens who engage in self-mutilating behaviors tend to have low self esteem and problems dealing with their feelings, he said. Some come from abusive households. Others are doing it to rebel, or to imitate peers, or to regulate difficult emotions.

Generally, the purpose of self-embedding and other forms of self injury is to take away unpleasant feelings, he said. When engaging in this behavior, the body releases chemicals called endorphins that, at least temporarily, regulate painful emotions.

According to experts, one of the most common reasons teens self injure is because the injury is in some way a “release” from emotional anxiety. The pain of the injury provides a distraction from the emotional pain the teen is feeling, and acts almost as a drug to them. It can also help the injured feel ‘human’ again, by putting them in touch with a common human experience: pain. 

Self-embedding is generally not a suicidal act, but a person can develop skin infections or worse: Bone infections or deep muscle infections.

Dr. William Shiels, who conducted a study about this this subject, said objects may also travel inside the body and get near vital organs. Getting these objects removed early is important. The study revealed that 11 patients aged 14 to 18 engaged in this behavior out of 600 patients who had received treatment for removing foreign objects embedded in soft tissue.

If you discover that your teen is cutting, there are several important keys to remember. First and foremost, approach your teen with a level head. Address your teen calmly and supportively. Do not react angrily or upset your teen in any way. Experts warn that overreacting or reacting loudly or angrily can often push your teen further away and increase the cutting or self injuring behaviors. Your teen needs to know you are open to hearing what she has to say and getting her the help she needs. You should also tell your teen that you are not upset with her, love her, and know she is in a lot of pain.

Counseling for a teen that cuts is crucial. It can often take many years of therapy before your teen is willing or able to uncover the reasons she cuts herself. Schools, pediatricians and emergency rooms can be extremely helpful at providing resources for teens that cut. Often there are local support groups for parents who feel guilty or unsure of how to deal with a teen that cuts.

A great resource in Broward County is OPP (Office of Prevention Programs for Self-Injury) specifically for self injurers and their families, an organization dedicated treating victims of self abuse.

Sources: CNN Health, Teen Self Injury, S.A.F.E.

Be an educated parent, you have safer and healthier teens!

Watch video and read more.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Teen Self-Esteem: Building Your Teen UP! They will make better choices

As the Dove Movement for Self-Esteem unfolds, there is a powerful question that is being passed around and one that most people have a variety of answers for.  Whether you are 18 or 58 or even 78, the answers contain lessons from experience.

What do you wish you had known at 13 years old?

Here are some of the responses from the Dove Movement website as well as from Twitter:
  • Play more, worry less!
  • My father really was smart but at 13 I knew it all.
  • Enjoy being young/don't wish to be older yet.
  • That the abuse I was suffering had nothing to do with how bad I was but how bad the perpetrator was.
  • That being myself was the best way to be 'cool!'
These are only a few of the fantastic responses the Dove Movement has received.  For those in South Florida, one of the issues that is often heard, is about using sun-screen more generously.  In your teen years many are more concerned about their tan (self-image) than the damage the sun is doing to your skin.  In later years, as the skin starts to wrinkle, it can be a lesson we wish we had known (or listened to our parents).

The Dove Movement for Self-Esteem is being sponsored by the Boys and Girls Club, Girls Inc. and Girls Scouts, Dove is marching out a campaign to help teen girls have a brighter future and step into their own skin by believing in themselves.

Must watch video!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Prevent High School Drop-Outs: 10 Reasons Your Teen May Need a Tutor

As a new school year has arrived in Florida some parents are faced with the fact that their child needs extra help academically.  The sooner this is recognized and addressed, the less likely you will have a failing student.

There are many free and low-cost opportunities to find tutors for your child.  Ask a Librarian has become a major benefit to teens in helping them with reference materials.

Does your child need a tutor?  Here are ten reasons that may answer that question.

1. They work hard, but results are minimal - If your child puts forth the effort each night but isn’t seeing results, a well-trained tutor would be a good investment. A tutor will teach them how to study independently, which is a basic skill they’ll need to have mastered by the time they enter college. They also offer tutelage pertaining to note-taking, organizational and time management skills that will improve your child’s chances of success in every subject.
2. They’re easily discouraged -Does your child’s motivation wane as the subject becomes more difficult? A couple of bad grades can lead to several more, and before you know it, they’ve fallen into an academic hole of which they’re unable to find their way out. The personal attention provided by a tutor can steer them around it, giving them the confidence needed to conquer a challenge.
3. Lessons don’t match their learning style -Not every student learns in the same manner. Perhaps your child is a social learner who needs consistent interaction in order to fully grasp a subject. If their teacher is more of a lecturer, a tutor can provide the social learning experience your child desires. Additionally, lesson plans tend to be rigid and teachers generally prefer not to stray away from them. The use of alternative methods can provide your child with easier and more efficient ways to solve a math problem, balance an equation or write an essay.
4. Their teacher is subpar -Like any other profession, the teaching profession has its good and bad apples. During secondary school, students typically lack the study skills to learn a subject on their own, so they’re unable to compensate for wasted class time. A qualified tutor can teach your child everything they need to know and more, breaking their dependence on their subpar teacher.
5. They consistently struggle in one subject -Perhaps a subject like math just isn’t your child’s strong-suit and they’ve never performed well in those classes. By hiring tutor who specializes in that particular area, you can turn your child’s weakness into a strength. A good tutor should be able to tap into your child’s potential, or at the very least, ensure the subject is no longer a drag on their transcript.
6. Curves only cover the problem -Your child may have a decent grade, but it doesn’t mean they fully understand the subject matter. What they miss now could affect them in the future, causing them to fall behind their peers. For example, if they struggle with polynomials in Algebra, they’re destined to struggle in chemistry and physics.
7. They’re nervous about college -The ultra-competitive nature of high schools these days has caused many kids to fold under the pressure. Teenagers who can barely manage their current lives are expected to know exactly what they want to accomplish in the future. A tutor encourages them to focus on the task at hand, teaching the study skills, time management skills and mindset they need for success -now.
8. They experience test anxiety -There’s no denying the SAT and ACT are key components of the college application process. A good or bad score can affect your child’s ability to gain admission into the school of their dreams. Luckily, there is an abundance of experienced SAT and ACT tutors who can teach your child essential test-taking strategies that will enable them to maximize their score. These tutors possess the resources – like practice exams – that can be used to quell big test anxiety.
9. School isn’t challenging enough -Perhaps your child isn’t being sufficiently challenged by their studies and you don’t want their potential to go to waste. Or maybe they’ve taken an interest in a particular subject – like a foreign language – and you want to cultivate a passion. Either way, a tutor will utilize your child’s free time in a stimulating manner.
10. No other help is available -As previously mentioned, you may not be able to offer the help your child needs in order to realize their potential in a subject. After all, it has been years since you were in their shoes, and more likely than not, teaching isn’t your strength. A good tutor will be able to explain the tedious details of a subject in way that your child can understand.

Source: Christian Colleges Online

Read more.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Troubled Teens - Teen Help Programs

Let's face it - parenting teens today can be challenging.  Whether it is the accessibility of drugs or the blatant disrespect many teens have for authority, parents are reaching their wit's end when it comes to their teenagers.

An out-of-control teen can upset the entire family.  Is that fair to the sibling?  Is it fair to the parents?  As many families are struggling with today's economy, possible job loss and even losing their homes, the stress of parenting can be overwhelming.

In many situations seeking outside help is the only answer.  After you have exhausted all your local resources, even tried sending your teen to a relatives to live - and some may have even tried a scared straight program only to find it is very short term results - if any.

Now you are faced with the daunting experience of surfing the Internet to find help.  Doing your research is a priority.  Learn from my experiences - and visit for valuable information to help you sift through the many toll free numbers, marketing arms and in some cases, scams when it comes to this confusing - "teen help industry."

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Ego Nation - Entitlement Issue - Narcissism - Facebook and Teens

Me, me, me! It's all about me!  Yes, Facebook college students and many others love promoting themselves virtually, however when does it cross the line into being narcissistic?

A revealing new study out by the researcher, Mehdizadeh, showed a statistically significant correlation between narcissistic students, and the number of times Facebook was checked per day as well as the time spent on Facebook per session.

Psych Central , Dr. John Grohol just published an article on the details of this research,  Narcissistic College Students Spend More Time on Facebook.

Facebook is currently the world’s largest social network, with over 500 million users. More than 50% of Facebook’s active users log on to Facebook in any given day, while the average user has 130 social connections (what Facebook calls “friends”).  Since Facebook has expanded into Fan Groups, Charities and much more, there are more users and more reasons to sign up for Facebook.

Having self-esteem is a positive attribute for teens, it helps them to make better choices in life as well as gives them a better mental attitude.  However when does self-esteem cross over to narcissism? 
As Facebook and other social networking sites continue to grow, parents need to continue monitor their teens and how they are using these sites.  Like talking to your kids about drugs, parents need to consistently remind their teens over and over again about cyber safety and the dangers that lurk in cyberspace and especially chatrooms.

Broward County's Sheriff's Department offers tips and resources for both parents and kids on social networking and Internet Safety.  Click here.

Be an educated parent, you will have safer and healthier teens!

Read more.