Asperger Syndrome is an Autism Spectrum Disorder (or Pervasive Developmental Disorder) characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction along with restricted and repetitive patterns of behaviors and interests. Those with Asperger Syndrome, or AS, may exhibit a lack of empathy for their peers, clumsiness, and atypical use of language, though none of these symptoms are required for a diagnosis.1
The pain of coming to terms with having Asperger's is still very real for me right now. There is a tremendous sense of grief. Grief for all that I suffered through to try to be "normal" and grief for how short of "normal" I always have been. There is also great relief to know that I am not crazy and that not everything can be traced back to an abusive past in the sense that some of what I experience is not choice/emotional but neurons/physical. The greatest challenge I face right now is trying to figure out which is which. This is not easy.
One of the most common side effects of a number of antidepressant medications is loss of sex drive. I could forgive our friends at fine companies such as Eli Lilly, Bristol Meyers Squibb, and Pfizer if dry mouth, irritability, disrupted sleep patterns, loss of appetite, sloth, and social phobia were the sole issues related to the medications I take on a daily basis. However, it is the sex thing I find most challenging.
Anhedonia is the technical term for the inability to experience joy. When people are in the depths of depression, nothing touches them, not the most intensely pleasurable activities, not the most familiar comforts. They are emotionally frozen. In this state, people either have to get professional help or simply wait for weeks or months until the depression lifts by itself; nothing is going to make them feel better.
Schizophrenia is a mental illness which affects one person in every hundred.
Depression is perhaps the most common of all mental health problems, currently felt to affect one in every four adults to some degree. Depression is a problem with mood/feeling in which the mood is described as sad, feeling down in the dumps, being blue, or feeling low. While the depressed mood is present, evidence is also present which reflects the neurochemical or "brain chemistry" aspects of depression with the depressed individual experiencing poor concentration/attention, loss of energy, accelerated thought/worry, sleep/appetite disturbance, and other physical manifestations. When this diagnosis is present, the individual will exhibit at least five of the following symptoms during the depressive periods:
Parents of hyperactive children know the "Would you please just settle down?!" phrase well, and likely use it on a regular basis.
There are a number of tips to help parents settle their hyperactive child down. These quick tips and relaxation techniques take the same amount of time as yelling and scolding but produce incredibly different results in hyperactive children.
Quick Calming Tips:
Try quick tips to calm a hyperactive child down during temper outbursts or unusually rowdy days. These calming tips are not novel to adults by any stretch. How many times have you heard "Take a deep breath and count to 10" or "Calgon, take me away." What works for big people works for little people as well.
The quick-fix calming techniques work to sooth the hyperactive child after they already became too stressed or active. There are also techniques that parents can teach their hyperactive children to help them get the "stuff" out before it builds up and explodes.
Create a calming home environment:
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder children have difficulty remaining calm in a hectic environment. Clearing the clutter and taking a "less is more" approach to decorating can reduce the sensory overload on Attention Deficit and hyperactive children.
The Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder child's bedroom especially should be free of clutter. Use plastic bins to organize and store all those precious little plastic treasures (that we adults commonly refer to as "junk") and small toys. Open the curtains to provide natural lighting. Keep posters and wall hangings to a minimum. Paint the child's bedroom in calming muted colors instead of bright primary colors.
Follow a Routine:
All children thrive in homes that provide routines, consistency and structure. Attention Deficit and hyperactive children especially need structure and schedules to feel secure in their surroundings. For these children, a more "military" approach to routines works better. Waking up, eating meals, doing homework, and bed times should all occur at about the same time every day, with few surprises to upset the Attention Deficit or hyperactive child.
A Place to Relax:
If at all possible, find a space in the house to designate as a relaxation space. It does not have to be a large space but it does need to be away from high activity areas. This little corner (or even a portion of a walk-in closet) can have a beanbag chair and a few books, coloring books or other quiet time activities.
Encourage your child to go to this space when they become angry or out of control, but never make this a place of punishment. This special spot in the house is a positive place where they can go to settle down, sort things out or just hang out when they need to be alone.
For the child who is old enough to write, journaling is an excellent way to untangle frazzled minds and get things off their chest. This technique allows hyperactive children to spill their internal stresses outside themselves and onto paper.
Develop a daily habit of having your child write a page or two, depending on their age, about anything that comes to mind. They can write "I hate school, the dog just drooled, the baby's crying is driving me crazy..." - whatever comes to mind. Eventually, they will get to the guts of what is going on inside them. Then rumple or tear the paper up and throw it away.
These private internal thoughts are not for you or anyone else to read, ever. Please respect their privacy and let them know they can write anything down without fear of reprimand.
Taking a mini-vacation with Guided Imagery:
Guided imagery is a powerful relaxation tool for hyperactive children that pulls their focus to positive thoughts, all the while encouraging creativity in your child. You can check out books on this technique at your local library if you want further information on the subject.
Last, but certainly not least, diet:
Some parents find that reducing or eliminating sugar from the diet goes a long way in calming the hyperactive child. If your child is a finicky eater, you will need to supplement the diet to make sure your Attention Deficit or hyperactive child has the fuels needed for his body to function well.
Starting the day out with a healthy breakfast balanced with proteins, fats and carbs is important. An egg sandwich, peanut butter toast and fresh fruit, protein shakes and fresh fruit smoothies are great ways to start the day for Attention Deficit and hyperactive children.
Sugar cereals are quick and convenient but should not be used as a breakfast mainstay. Fruit juices are high in calories and sugar and not recommended for children, especially those with Attention Deficit or hyperactivity. Instead of juice or sodas, get in the habit of offering plain old H2O. With plenty of bottled waters that offer fruit flavors and vitamin enhancements, getting your children hydrated is easier now than ever before.
Bio: Jeannine Virtue is a freelance journalist and mother of an Attention Deficit Disorder son. Visit the Attention Deficit Disorder Help Center at http://www.add-adhd-help-center.com for effective drug-free alternatives to Ritalin, Concerta and other ADHD medications.
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