Raising Healthy Children

Raising Healthy Children

Raising healthy children is always challenging, a source of joy but also a source of anxiety. And having depression can add to the challenge. And yet many, many women that we have worked with have had successful pregnancies and raised wonderful, healthy, happy children. One key to success is paying attention to how mood can influence not only ourselves but …

Children of Bipolar Parents

A series of presentations at the 2015 meeting of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry point to the importance of helping the families of parents with bipolar disorder. Juan David Palacio reported that children of parents with bipolar I disorder are at high risk for a number of psychiatric disorders, including bipolar spectrum disorders and substance use disorders. They …

Children at Risk for Depression

James Hudziak, and other researchers, presented information suggesting a strategy for improving brain health, and reducing anxiety and depression in children at risk for these conditions at the 2015 meeting of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. We have previously mentioned in this blog another excellent resource for information on bipolar, Bipolar Network News, and this information is summarized …

Childhood Bipolar: Mother Knows Best

A recent blog post in Bipolar News (one of our favorite resources for up-to-date information on bipolar research) argues that mother’s evaluations of their children are more useful than teacher’s report of symptoms and than reports from the children themselves when diagnosing childhood bipolar. The article summarized research presented at the 2015 International Society for Bipolar Disorders by Eric Youngstrom. Eric Youngstrom, Ph.D., is …

Children at Risk for Bipolar

Greater Mental Health Risks For Children Of Bipolar Parents From the American Journal of Psychiatry: David Axelson and colleagues find that, within seven years, 74.2% of children of parents with bipolar disorder will receive a major (Axis 1) psychiatric diagnosis. And are themselves at risk for bipolar disorder, anxiety, depression, and other disorders. This same group of offspring carries a …

Treating Mother’s Depression Helps Kids

Sometimes the very best way that mothers can help their children is by helping themselves. Fascinating study just published in the American Journal of Psychiatry by renowned psychologist Myrna Weissman adds to an extensive literature showing that maternal depression affects children in negative ways and that treating maternal depression can have profound benefits for the kids. In this article a …

Suicide in Young Adults

Suicide in young adults and adolescents is one of the most troubling issues facing any of us dealing with depression. This post, provided by Yellowbrick, speaks specifically to parents; however, we find that it is a useful resource for all of us who have adolescents and young adults in our lives. Of particular importance is point number 8; it can be …

Children of Bipolar Parents – Risk of Having a Mood Disorder

One of the most common questions I am asked is, what are the odds, if I am bipolar, of my children having bipolar. Recently we ran across a research study that tries to answer this question. The Pittsburgh Bipolar Offspring study, directed by Boris Birmaher of the University of Pittsburgh, looked at the odds of developing psychiatric disorders in children of parents …

Family Therapy Effective for Bipolar Teenagers

Family Therapy– Family-focused treatments have been shown to be effective adjunctive therapy to mood stabilizing medicine in adults with bipolar disorder (especially young, female adults), but whether this approach holds true in adolescents, has been unclear. Researchers from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) assessed 145 adolescents with bipolar disorder to see if adding 9 months of family …

Maternal Warmth Protects Against the Negative Effects of Maternal Depression

I recently spent time with a friend who is a mother-to-be and struggles with depression. She was worried about how her depression might affect her relationship with her child as well as how it might affect the child’s own mental health. These are common concerns for many mothers and thankfully research is being done to address these concerns. A recent …

Do Maternal Antidepressants (SRI’s) Cause Autism in Their Children?

Maternal Antidepressants. Two studies have suggested a link between prenatal exposure to antidepressant medication and autism spectrum disorders.  We are pleased to learn: that does not appear to be the case! Not surprisingly, the studies mentioned above received a lot of attention and created a lot of concern for women taking antidepressant medications, and their partners, who planned to have …

Outcomes of Childhood Bipolar

What happens to children with bipolar disorder? Boris Birmaher, M.D., a professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh, and colleagues at UCLA and Brown University, followed 367 of children with the disorder for an average of eight years to find out. 45% of the subjects had had a stable mood for most of the follow-up period. Birmaher reported the findings at a …

Depression in Pregnancy Affects the Child

A new study reported in the latest issue of JAMA Psychiatry, suggests that a child “born to a woman who suffers depression during pregnancy stands a higher likelihood of becoming a depressed adolescent ….” The report used information from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, which has collected data from nearly 9,000 women and more than 4,500 adolescent children in …

Oxytocin and Maternal Depression

There is lots of interest these days in how maternal depression affects kids, and also in how to prevent those effects. Recent research has suggested that the hormone oxytocin may play an important role in what happens. A nice review of this literature appeared in the most recent issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry. The authors note that the …

Child Abuse Update

Twenty years ago the National Research Council (NRC) issued a comprehensive report on child abuse. That report noted that child abuse was much more common than previously thought and called for urgent action. This past week the NRC and the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released an update: New Directions in Child Abuse Research. The good news – physical and sexual …

Depressed Mothers and Oxytocin

Oxytocin is often brought up in conversations about childbirth. After childbirth, new mothers normally experience surges of oxytocin that increase feelings of maternal bonding, trust, and empathy. In addition to facilitating pair bonding, recent studies have shown oxytocin  plays a greater role in mental health than originally thought. Low levels of oxytocin may be a phenomenon linked to depression. Maternal …

10% of Americans Suffered Childhood Sexual Abuse

Approximately 10 percent of American adults were sexually abused as children, according to a study reported in Comprehensive Psychiatry. They are more at risk of psychopathology and suicide attempts than are adults who were not sexually abused as children. This study fits with other evidence. The global prevalence of child sexual abuse has been estimated at 19.7% for females and 7.9% for males, based …