Category: Blog

Children and Depression

Children and Depression

Helping Children with Mental Illness

As many parents know, behavioral issues are significant problem and many children have a difficult time with concentration and maintaining a focus on schoolwork. As a naturopath, I look for safe and beneficial solutions for the behavioral issues that manifest in children of all ages.

 

Antidepressants and Children

Well-meaning physicians utilize tools at their disposal, and in some cases, prescribe adult antidepressant medications for pediatric patients. Children routinely take psychiatric medications to address anxiety and depression symptoms. Unfortunately, antidepressant use with children and young adults can result in drastic and unexplained change in demeanor. Moreover, use of these drugs doubles the risk of suicide within this age group.

Many patients with depression take selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI medications) to address depression symptoms. SSRIs are thought to alleviate a patient’s depression by increasing serotonin, the mood regulating hormone, in the brain. Relying solely on SSRI medication, however,  to promote serotonin production can be problematic because SSRI drugs increase serotonin via a synthetic chemical reaction, while simultaneously ignoring underlying dietary insufficiencies. A deficiency in key B vitamins such as B-6 (found in fish, seeds, bananas and nuts) can decrease the brain’s natural ability to produce serotonin. Correcting these dietary imbalances can naturally and dramatically improve one’s mood and reduce depression.

 

Be Aware of What Your Child is Taking

In 2007, the FDA released a black box warning for antidepressant use in children and young adults under the age of 25, during the first two months treatment. This is the strongest type of warning from the FDA and same was issued due to the extreme suicide risk for children on antidepressants. The medications with a black box warning include:

 Anafranil (clomipramine)

Asendin (amoxapine) Aventyl (nortriptyline)

Celexa (citalopram hydrobromide)

Cymbalta (duloxetine)

Desyrel (trazodone HCl)

Elavil (amitriptyline)

Effexor (venlafaxine HCl)

Emsam (selegiline)

Etrafon (perphenazine/amitriptyline)

fluvoxamine maleate

Lexapro (escitalopram oxalate)

Limbitrol (chlordiazepoxide/amitriptyline)

Ludiomil (maprotiline)

Marplan (isocarboxazid)

Nardil (phenelzine sulfate)

nefazodone HCl

Norpramin (desipramine HCl)

 Pamelor (nortriptyline)

Parnate (tranylcypromine sulfate)

Paxil (paroxetine HCl)

Pexeva (paroxetine mesylate)

Prozac (fluoxetine HCl)

Remeron (mirtazapine)

Sarafem (fluoxetine HCl)

Seroquel (quetiapine)

Sinequan (doxepin)

Surmontil (trimipramine)

Symbyax (olanzapine/fluoxetine)

Tofranil (imipramine)

Tofranil-PM (imipramine pamoate)

Triavil (perphenazine/amitriptyline)

Vivactil (protriptyline)

Wellbutrin (bupropion HCl)

Zoloft (sertraline HCl)

Zyban (bupropion HCl)

If your child is currently taking an antidepressant, please be aware of any drastic change in behavior as it may be a sign of drug toxicity. Some behaviors to look out for include:

  • Discussions of suicide or dying
  • Attempts to commit suicide
  • Self-injury
  • Agitation or restlessness
  • Panic attacks
  • Increased sadness
  • Extreme increase in speech or activity
  • Aggression, violence or hostility
  • New or worsening anxiety
  • Social or academic problems
  • Isolating

 

What Can You Do?

Seek out safe and affordable homeopathic remedies that balance a child’s nervous system naturally. I prescribe plans based upon your child’s unique presentation, addressing the underlying causes of the issue be it a physical brain chemistry imbalance or a mental-emotional stressor. My treatments gently stimulate your child’s ability to naturally raise serotonin production without the harmful side effects of antidepressant medications.

Every parent wants a happy and healthy child, and my methods can improve behavior without the use of potentially life-threatening drugs, granting a child self-healing abilities.

Beverage Basics

Beverage Basics and Health

Beverage Basics

I want to talk about substituting our standard drinks for healthier beverages, like tea. Tea contains ⅓ of the caffeine that coffee does and is great for a pick-me-up. However, it also contains compounds that regulate the caffeine which prevents the crash following coffee’s caffeine high. Teas also contain antioxidants, green tea, for example, was is known to reduce the risk of breast cancer and improve liver health. A healthy liver translates into more balanced hormones.

Maintaining Weight and Drinking

Unfortunately, most commercial teas are filled with refined sweeteners, including the organic teas containing agave syrup. The problem is that sweet drinks raise blood sugar and ultimately cause weight gain. Many people drink organically sweetened teas in between meals when there is no fat or protein to attenuate the sugar rush. Once the sugar rush ends, these drinks leave you hungry. My suggestion is for people to ditch the sweetened teas and stick with the unsweetened variety, which gives you the coveted caffeine stimulation and an antioxidant boost without the crash.

If you have trouble beating your sweet tea craving, I recommend using either stevia and xylitol. Stevia is the Latin name of a small leafy plant with naturally sweet leaves and you need only a small amount for a batch of tea. Stevia will not increase blood sugar, which means it doesn’t cause weight gain. Xylitol is a naturally-occurring sugar alcohol with ⅓ of the calories of sugar, which means less weight gain than regular sugar. Xylitol also does not result in tooth decay and is used in nasal sprays to prevent sinus infections.

While drinking unsweetened tea is not harmful, it cannot be stressed enough that drinking an adequate amount of water is the key to a healthy body. Many doctors tout the importance of consuming half of your body weight in ounces of water each day. (The only exception is that those with kidney disease should consult a doctor before altering water ingestion) Drinking an inadequate amount of water can lead to dehydration. Additionally, since so many consume multiple caffeinated beverages daily, which increases the likelihood of dehydration, I recommend you drink at least one cup of water for every cup of coffee or tea.

Regular hydration is key our overall health, helping us have better skin, more energy, and a stronger immune system. It also promotes the maintenance of a healthy weight and lifestyle. While water is best, enjoying a cup of unsweetened tea for a caffeine kick is also good for you, especially with the extra benefits of antioxidants.

Asthma

Did you know that asthma can improve?

Most people with asthma receive their diagnosis, and inhaler(s). They know that they developed their disease, but they can also ‘un-develop’ their disease.

Something happened to make them less healthy, and then they developed asthma. That is, unless they have had it since births, which is usually not the case.

So what can we do to help the lungs and respiratory tract actually improve and be healthier?

There is so much we can do! Ask your Naturopath today!

Dry Eyes 2

In my experience, by supporting the thyroid, we can support the moisture of the hair, skin, and also eyes. I have not found that any of my clients feel good when the thyroid level (TSH) is above 2. You will see that the reference range goes from 0-4.5, although it may very slightly between labs. Once the level is brought below 2, naturally, the person will feel a lot better, including the eyes.

Dry Eyes 1

In my experience, dry eyes in my clients do not resolve with eye drops. Eye drops are palliative, meaning they help temporarily but do not address the underlying cause.

Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid is not functioning at its optimal level. The thyroid controls aspects of health including digestive function, overall metabolism, and hair, skin and nails. Someone with hypothyroidism may have difficulty losing weight, feel fatigued, have constipation, and dry hair, skin, and also eyes. In