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It's Not Mental: Finding Innovative Support and Medical Treatment for a Child Diagnosed with a Severe Mental Illness

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Can a child diagnosed with a mental illness, i.e., a brain disorder, in reality have a physical illness--a disorder affecting the brain?" It's Not Mental" is the compelling yet educational story of Keri, a highly intelligent, learning-disabled child diagnosed with mental illness. It is also the story of her parents' persistence in finding help for their daughter, help that Can a child diagnosed with a mental illness, i.e., a brain disorder, in reality have a physical illness--a disorder affecting the brain?" It's Not Mental" is the compelling yet educational story of Keri, a highly intelligent, learning-disabled child diagnosed with mental illness. It is also the story of her parents' persistence in finding help for their daughter, help that ultimately led to a future filled with promise. Beginning in infancy, Keri began to experience a range of increasingly debilitating symptoms. Sleep dysfunction, body pains, attentional difficulties, tics, obsessions, mood swings, and hallucinations, gradually diminished her quality of life. Before reaching her teens, she'd been diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder and several co-occurring conditions, while underlying issues were ignored. At their wits' end, Keri's parents struggled to find comprehensive medical care for their daughter's widening range of symptoms. What they found instead were doctors too busy to listen or too rigid to look beyond a "mental" diagnosis. Without an integrated approach to her care, Keri, like many children in similar circumstances, became subject to a merry-go-round of psychiatric medications. But the author would not give up. She continued to investigate brain malfunctions, psychiatric diagnoses, hormones, diet, sleep, and immune function, all the while navigating the torturous paths of our health care system. Much of what she learned is outlined here in gripping narrative based on real-life experience. In easy-to-understand prose and with clear explanations of medical jargon, she covers topics such as: * Helping a child deal with hallucinations while they're happening * Using a psychiatric service dog to give a child greater independence * Obtaining special accommodations at school * Communicating effectively with doctors * Identifying and obtaining necessary medical tests * Dealing with medication side effects. Otherwise mentally healthy children can experience sleep problems and/or symptoms of depression, bipolar mood swings, and/or psychosis. "It's Not Mental" encourages anyone caring for a child with these or other signs of a psychiatric illness or a full-blown psychotic disorder to think outside the box. It is only by tearing down the barriers of stigma and abandoning our traditional band-aid approach to psychiatric treatment that we can embrace more effective emotional, educational, and medical support for these children and their underlying condition(s).


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Can a child diagnosed with a mental illness, i.e., a brain disorder, in reality have a physical illness--a disorder affecting the brain?" It's Not Mental" is the compelling yet educational story of Keri, a highly intelligent, learning-disabled child diagnosed with mental illness. It is also the story of her parents' persistence in finding help for their daughter, help that Can a child diagnosed with a mental illness, i.e., a brain disorder, in reality have a physical illness--a disorder affecting the brain?" It's Not Mental" is the compelling yet educational story of Keri, a highly intelligent, learning-disabled child diagnosed with mental illness. It is also the story of her parents' persistence in finding help for their daughter, help that ultimately led to a future filled with promise. Beginning in infancy, Keri began to experience a range of increasingly debilitating symptoms. Sleep dysfunction, body pains, attentional difficulties, tics, obsessions, mood swings, and hallucinations, gradually diminished her quality of life. Before reaching her teens, she'd been diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder and several co-occurring conditions, while underlying issues were ignored. At their wits' end, Keri's parents struggled to find comprehensive medical care for their daughter's widening range of symptoms. What they found instead were doctors too busy to listen or too rigid to look beyond a "mental" diagnosis. Without an integrated approach to her care, Keri, like many children in similar circumstances, became subject to a merry-go-round of psychiatric medications. But the author would not give up. She continued to investigate brain malfunctions, psychiatric diagnoses, hormones, diet, sleep, and immune function, all the while navigating the torturous paths of our health care system. Much of what she learned is outlined here in gripping narrative based on real-life experience. In easy-to-understand prose and with clear explanations of medical jargon, she covers topics such as: * Helping a child deal with hallucinations while they're happening * Using a psychiatric service dog to give a child greater independence * Obtaining special accommodations at school * Communicating effectively with doctors * Identifying and obtaining necessary medical tests * Dealing with medication side effects. Otherwise mentally healthy children can experience sleep problems and/or symptoms of depression, bipolar mood swings, and/or psychosis. "It's Not Mental" encourages anyone caring for a child with these or other signs of a psychiatric illness or a full-blown psychotic disorder to think outside the box. It is only by tearing down the barriers of stigma and abandoning our traditional band-aid approach to psychiatric treatment that we can embrace more effective emotional, educational, and medical support for these children and their underlying condition(s).

13 review for It's Not Mental: Finding Innovative Support and Medical Treatment for a Child Diagnosed with a Severe Mental Illness

  1. 5 out of 5

    Rossa Forbes

    I was puzzled at first by the title of this book and wondered if it was a denial of the family-based origins of so-called serious mental illness in favour of a purely biochemical view of mental illness. It is, but that is not what the book is about. "It's Not Mental" is a rebuttal to all the doctors who treated her daughter's mental health problems from a brain only perspective and did not take a holistic approach. I would like to say from a "psychological" perspective, but it appears that the p I was puzzled at first by the title of this book and wondered if it was a denial of the family-based origins of so-called serious mental illness in favour of a purely biochemical view of mental illness. It is, but that is not what the book is about. "It's Not Mental" is a rebuttal to all the doctors who treated her daughter's mental health problems from a brain only perspective and did not take a holistic approach. I would like to say from a "psychological" perspective, but it appears that the psychiatrists didn't even get as far as treating the psychological/environmental underpinnings of her daughter's psychosis. Most, but not all, are true to their profession and they push medications. No need to look any further. Frankly, I am amazed that anyone would deliver (or accept) a mental health label for a child who is so obviously physically unwell almost from day one. I am amazed that any one person can have so many physical problems. If someone says to me that their child is e.g. schizophrenia/bipolar and severely allergic and has a degenerative nerve condition, or some other combination of diagnoses, I figure it's not schizophrenia/bipolar. It is amazing that the author's daughter got a mental health diagnosis given all her physical problems. The psychiatrists should have stopped right there and refused to treat it as a labelled mental health conditiion. I am biased because I read Dr. Abram Hoffer's views of schizophrenia which coincide with my observations concerning my son. Dr. Hoffer states very clearly that his clients were abnormally healthy, e.g. they were never physically sick. We have become so deluded by the medical model of mental illness that we forget that a bipolar or "schizophrenic" child does not fit the traditional medical view that schizophrenia/bipolar is a "disease" of young adults. I can speak from experience with schizophrenia, which appears in young adult men and slightly later in young adult women. If it doesn't, there's one clue that it's not the traditional, and in my opinion, correct view of these conditions. Drugs compound the problem through a myriad of horrible side-effects. Given to young children, it becomes very hard to figure out what is really going on. Schizophrenia emerging in young adulthood in an otherwise healthy individual strikes me as a psychospiritual issue, a rebellion. I have pursued the psycho/spiritual side of the origins of psychosis. From my experiences with my son, I know that you have to work from a variety of approaches. It is interesting to me that towards the end of the book the specialist says to the author that her daughter's problems were mysteriously cellular in origin. That fits my view of mental illness and many other "mysteries" that are passed down through a family. Cellular problems can be corrected, but few people are aware of this powerful idea. Yoga, meditation, certain non-traditional therapies can correct your biochemistry. Changing your thought patterns can make a profound difference on underlying biochemistry. This book is a good read, and painstakingly documented. There are all kinds of take-aways from this book. One is to realize that, like it or not, we are on our own when it comes to our health and that of our family members. Doctors make their diagnoses based on their speciality. They don't have the big picture. They don't often have the small picture. A lot of money is wasted pursuing the wrong treatments. When it comes to mental health, the author correctly points out that once someone receives a mental health label, every medical problem that arises thereafter is tied to that mental health label.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jeanie

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lizbeth Martinez

  4. 5 out of 5

    Tabita Green

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly Monfort

  6. 5 out of 5

    Marie

  7. 4 out of 5

    Carla Swanson

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sally Boots

  9. 4 out of 5

    Cheryllhart

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kate

  11. 4 out of 5

    Brenda Marie Jaeke

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sam Savage

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kerri

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