Health and Wellness

Did you know that...There are more children and adolescents using prescription medication than ever before

There are more children and adolescents using prescription medication than ever before

By DANIELA BAYER
In the last 20 years, the use of antidepressants in children increased 4 to 10 fold, depending on the child's age group, country of residence, and laws related to consumer-direct advertising of antidepressants. In the United States, one in five children on antidepressants are not meeting diagnostic criteria for depression. Most antidepressants are prescribed by general practitioners. Managed care promotes this behavior by rewarding time spent prescribing medication over time spent providing psychological assessment, observation, and therapy. Children who have dysfunctional relationships with parents are at the highest risk for overmedication with multiple prescriptions of stimulants, mood stabilizers and antipsychotics.
Medications are often used for purposes other than those for which they were designed and clinically tested. In the last 10 years, medications for ADHD, antipsychotics, antidepressants, and anti-epileptics registered the largest increase in prescriptions. In the United States, female students are more likely than male students to receive ADHD medications and antidepressants, and 90 percent of children with ADHD take medication. In half of cases, it is the school that recommends to the parents that their child be on medication for hyperactivity or lack of attention. The most frequently prescribed medications to children for mental and behavioral disorders are stimulants like Ritalin, antidepressants like Prozac, and antipsychotics like Abilify. Boys are 10 times more likely than girls to be diagnosed with ADHD and twice as likely to be diagnosed with learning disabilities. In the U.S., there are 1 million children on Ritalin, and 75 percent of them are boys.
The medications alter the child's behavior, learning and social interactions, and there is always the possibility of developing serious health problems in adulthood in response to taking age-inappropriate psychotropic drugs. Many new types of medications, like selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRI) have not been in use long enough to provide evidence and support for a safe long-term use in children. In 2004, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a Public Health Advisory about the use of antidepressants and heightened risk of inducing suicide. Doctors must use the lowest effective dose of medication and closely monitor safety and effectiveness. Psychotic drugs cause severe side effects in children, including metabolic complications and neurological problems. The primary safety issue for antidepressant medications in youth pertains to mood-related adverse effects. Valproate used for bipolar disorder in young children has been linked to polycystic ovary syndrome in adolescent girls. Antipsychotics prescribed to treat aggression, agitation, mood dysregulation, psychosis and self-injury in preschoolers carry the risk of inducing Tardive Dyskinesia, which is a difficult health condition.
Certainly, there are situations when the use of psychotropic drugs in children and young adults is warranted because the psychological disorder is severe and affects the individual's quality of life. However, in most cases, nonpharmacological options like therapy, counseling, nutrition and physical activity are safer and should be explored first. Children are vulnerable. They are not yet fully developed psychologically, neurologically and mentally, and depend on their parents and guardians for love and maturity. They need to be protected from abusive and harmful practice.
We adults are responsible for creating conditions for children in which they can succeed. This means also stopping overreliance on psychotropic medications and providing better alternatives with compassion and discipline. Children have a right to be nurtured and treated with respect.
Be well!

Navigating your health

 

Tackling the opioid epidemic


Last year, LRGHealthcare patients were surveyed on their top health care concerns in our community and one of those concerns was the narcotic/overdose problems sweeping the area. It's been all over the news that this is a statewide issue in New Hampshire, but has hit the Lakes and Three Rivers Regions especially hard.
In response, LRGHealthcare's Board of Trustees, Senior Team and the medical staff felt it important as the area's health care leader to do something to help. As a result, LRGHealthcare partnered with Horizon's Counseling Center and the LRGHealthcare Recovery Clinic, a best practice Suboxone recovery practice, was born; one of the first in the state.

While medication-assisted treatment is often a controversial topic and critics will argue it's fighting drugs with drugs, what's special about the LRGHealthcare Recovery Clinic is that it's not just about prescribing Suboxone. The collaboration between Horizons Counseling Center and LRGHealthcare aims to provide clients with medication assisted treatment combined with therapeutic measures that enhance long term recovery.

In order to be a patient at the LRGHealthcare Recovery Clinic, patients must agree to participate in counseling. Horizons Counseling Center will conduct initial evaluations to determine an appropriate level of treatment and whether or not they are a good candidate for Suboxone. People who are a good candidate will then be provided services at the Recovery Clinic, but will also be asked to engage in other recommended services throughout the time they are maintained on Suboxone.
Suboxone Film (what they prescribe to most patients) is a combination of Buprenorphine and Naloxone. Buprenorphine attaches to the same receptors as opioids and can help suppress withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings, while Naloxone is the ingredient that is included to help prevent misuse of opioids. The main reason films are used is because they have the lowest potential for abuse. Statistics indicate this treatment, combined with other therapies (group, individual, etc), provides more long term recovery for clients.
At its six-month mark, the Recovery Clinic has already proved to be beneficial. It has serviced approximately 50 patients. The six-month retention rate nationally for Suboxone clinics is 50 percent and the LRGHealthcare Recovery Clinic has retained 90 percent of its patients.
What's especially exciting about a recovery/Suboxone clinic such as this is the patient and community benefit.
The average narcotic patient in a community costs the health care and legal systems about $70,000 per year. The average Suboxone clinic cost per patient per year is less than $10,000 including medication, and 95 percent of these patients are off the medication at the one year mark. Statistically speaking, many patients (approximately 40-50 percent) are able to maintain sobriety long term without long-term Suboxone.

In addition, narcotic overdose deaths go down by 50 percent when a recovery/Suboxone clinic enters a community and that appears to be holding true in our community as well. The extensive mental health counseling and treatment program gives these patients tools for life to battle their addiction.

This is a difficult area of medicine but has some unexpected rewards. One of the clinic's first patients was welcomed back recently with her newborn baby. She had been on Suboxone throughout her pregnancy and the baby was born without addiction, without a need for medication, and went home on time with mom.

The LRGHealthcare Recovery Clinic is currently located at Occupational Health at Franklin Regional Hospital. If you or someone you know needs help with addiction, contact Horizons Counseling Center at 603-524-8005.

Wellness Center to host open house

 

MOULTONBOROUGH — The Winnipesaukee Wellness Center will hold an open house on Friday, June 10, from 12:30 to 3 p.m.

During that time the public will have the opportunity to meet current members, learn about the equipment, and have some refreshments with new friends. In addition, a Rite Aid Wellness Ambassador will be on-hand to answer questions and provide information.

The center, located at 78 Whittier Highway (Route 25), just beyond the Center Harbor town docks, offers people in the Northern Lakes Region a medically-supervised exercise program in a very supportive, no-intimidation gym environment.

A regular exercise program provides the positive benefits of burning calories to decrease body fat, improving strength and increasing energy levels, keeping bones strong and minds alert, and improving cholesterol and blood pressure numbers.

More information about the Winnipesaukee Wellness Center or the June 10 Open House can be obtained by calling 253-1839.

LRGHealthcare nurse practitioner earns Lifetime Achievement Award

 

Mary Bidgood-Wilson

Mary Bidgood-Wilson (Courtesy photo)

 

MOULTONBOROUGH — LRGHealthcare has announced that long time provider, Mary Bidgood-Wilson, FNP, CNM is the recipient of the New Hampshire Nurse Practitioner Association's 2016 NH Nurse Practitioner Lifetime of Service Award. The announcement was made during the annual Northeast Regional Nurse Practitioner Conference. The NHNPA represents the Advanced Practice Nurses of New Hampshire.

Bidgood-Wilson has been serving the New Hampshire population as an Advanced Practice Nurse for over 35 years. During this time, she has cared for patients locally at Moultonboro Family Health Care and more broadly at the statewide level through her extensive legislative involvement. Her selection to the US Department of Health and Human Services Primary Care Fellowship and appointment to the NH Medical Malpractice Joint Underwriting Association expanded her opportunities to facilitate legislative change in NH and federally.

She is a fellow of the American College of Nurse Midwives and the American Association of Nurse Practitioners and currently serves as the Executive Director of the NHNPA.

Daniela Bayer: Did you know...that money is tops in creating stress?

By DANIELA BAYER, Contributing Writer
For the past decade, the American Psychological Association has commissioned an annual nationwide survey on stress. The survey identifies leading sources of stress in the United States and measures attitudes and perceptions of stress among the general public. The study brings to light some difficult realities. There is no judgment in reporting these statistics, perhaps a bit of sadness and a pause to reflect. Here are a few highlights from the most recent study:
Money tops charts of significant sources of stress
The most commonly reported sources of stress include money, work, the economy, family responsibilities, and personal health concerns. More than half of adults say they have "just enough" or not enough money to make ends meet at the end of the month. Significant sources of money-related stress reported by Americans include paying for unexpected expenses, paying for essentials, and saving for retirement. Those who have particularly high stress about money are more likely to say they engage in unhealthy behaviors to manage their stress. In some cases, people are putting their health care needs on hold because of financial concerns.
Stress level depends on age
Millennials and Gen Xers report a higher level of stress than any other generation and appear to have difficulty coping, while older people report lower stress. More than 50 percent of Millennials say they have lain awake at night in the past month due to stress. Many Millennials say they feel isolated/lonely due to stress, despite having a number of close, personal relationships.
Americans struggle to achieve their goals for healthy living
Important health behaviors like eating and sleeping are affected by stress. Forty-two percent of adults say they are not doing enough or are not sure whether they are doing enough to manage their stress. The most commonly reported stress management techniques include listening to music, exercising/walking, watching television for more than two hours per day, and surfing the Internet/going online. One in five Americans say they never engage in an activity to help relieve or manage their stress.
Symptoms of stress can be physical, emotional, spiritual and behavioral
The most commonly reported symptoms of stress include feeling irritable/angry, being nervous/anxious, having a lack of interest/motivation, feeling fatigued, feeling overwhelmed, and being depressed/sad. More than 40 percent of Americans engage in unhealthy behaviors because of stress, such as lying awake at night or eating too much/eating unhealthy foods. Of those who have tried to make a lifestyle change in the past 5 years, one in two Americans are still trying to lose weight, reduce stress, eat a healthier diet, get more sleep, and exercise more. Stress affects relationships — 41 percent of adults who are married or living with a partner say that they lost patience or yelled at their spouse or partner due to stress in the past month and 18 percent of those who are employed say they snapped at or were short with a coworker. Stress also has gotten in the way of people taking care of their responsibilities at home.
Willpower is the most commonly cited barrier to making lifestyle changes
One in three Americans say that a lack of willpower prevented them from making a change, and one in ten say that they are too stressed to make a desired change. One in three say that in the last month, stress has gotten in the way of exercising.
Where do we go from here? Health requires a conscious effort that over time becomes a way of life.
Be well!