My daughter suffers from ADHD. I don’t understand what it really means. Since the pandemic has begun and school is out, it has been difficult to hold her attention at home.
ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder which is usually categorized by certain behaviors found in children. The range of symptoms vary in individuals and is categorized in three categories.
- Predominantly Inattentive
- Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive, and
- Combined Inattentive/hyperactive-impulsive.
Your daughter’s diagnosis will fall in one of these categories based on her symptoms. While the summer usually has kids jumping for joy, parents are tasked with trying to find ways to occupy their child’s time during the time that school is not in session. However, now that we are undergoing a world-wide pandemic, parents have to be even more creative in finding summertime activities for their children. For a child with ADHD, this can be twice as difficult. It is important to develop structures similar to what they may be used to experiencing while in school. For example: incorporate time management strategies and stress management strategies into your activities. Because summer activities may be canceled, try creating an at-home-summer camp just for her complete with a schedule and breaks. Look for interactive zoom activities and games. Do not overwhelm her with too much at one time; that’s why planning is important.
Dr. Beal, I’m an African American female. I turned 47 a week ago. I know I need to have regular counseling sessions with a mental health professional. I have had four counselors in the past seven years. I really feel as if I need an African American female psychiatrist over the age of 40. Who/what type of counselor should I seek? How do you know if it’s a good fit?
Finding the right mental health professional is just as important as finding any other type of professional. You appear to be looking for someone who can identify with you as a person as you share your concerns. There were two terms used in your question. Let’s clarify them to help you find the right person: both are trained to address mental health illness but may function in different capacities. I will use the term psychologist versus psychiatrist to explain their training and functions. Both will hold doctorate degrees but a psychologist is trained to study the mind and human behavior. A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who can prescribe medication, whereas a psychologist is not, and instead offers assessments and psychotherapy. Psychologists focus on the treatment through psychotherapy and other techniques A third group of mental health professionals are counselors, therapists and social workers. They could be a masters level or doctorate level person. Their training is similar and their primary job also would be to provide counseling only. Most mental health professionals have identified a specialty area to help a person manage the issues in their everyday life. The ability to connect with your therapist will help with your healing process. Here are a few tips in finding the right person:
- Determine the type of person you think you need.
- Contact their office and ask about their specialty areas.
- Sometimes you may be able to speak to the person directly to share your concerns, and hear their responses.
- If you cannot find someone ask your insurance company for help finding a person.
- If you find a person that is not in your network, talk to the insurance company about a single case agreement with the provider.
I relocated to the Houston area a few months before the pandemic. With no family in the area it has been difficult to cope with the new normal on a daily basis. I consider myself an extrovert and love people. About two months ago I was feeling like I had made the wrong choice.
During this pandemic and suggested restrictions to combat COVID-19, there are changes in the way people are accustomed to interacting with each other and this can facilitate stress, especially if you are an extrovert. Moving to a new city by yourself can also be a major stressor. Collectively, the change can provide loneliness as you settle in and are trying to develop new relationships. Finding a new community to volunteer or connecting with a church is also difficult at this time. Reach out to your family and friends back home. Stay connected through calls, Facetime, or Zoom. Talk to your co-workers and ask for suggestions about places to eat or visit once this pandemic is over. Now that mostly all services are virtual, finding an online community through Facebook or other social platforms could also be beneficial. Developing and sticking to a schedule that includes daily exercise and outdoor time is another way to mitigate the negative thoughts that may creep up at times. Finally, if you feel you may need professional help, counseling services are also virtual and online. Lastly, use this time to take a class or a course you have wanted to take just for fun. Don’t isolate yourself !!!! “ Stay Connected.”
Houston Independent School District COVID-19 Mental Health Hotline “Let’s Stay Connected” (Open and available to parents, students, and staff) – (713) 556-1340
Finding a therapist:
- Houston Association of Black Psychologists
- African American Psychiatrists in the Houston Area
- Association of Black Social Workers: Houston Chapter