Provider Blog: I’m Not Anxious. Am I?

I’m Not Anxious.  Am I?

When it happened the first time, it may have been worrisome, but you got over it since it went away.  But now here it is again.  Your heart is racing, chest hurts, it’s hard to breathe, you’re sweating, and the thought enters your mind, ‘Am I dying?’  You went to the doctor and they gave you the works: physical exam, labs, EKG, echo, stress test, sleep study, things you cannot even pronounce.  And the result – NOTHING!

Then someone used the ‘A’ word – anxiety.  You find this ridiculous because you are NOT anxious; things are going well.  School, family, friends, work, the new Star Wars movies, everything is going great.  So why would anyone say you are anxious!

Anxiety is a broad term used interchangeably with other related terms, but that are not necessarily what one would identify as anxiety.  Picky eating, trouble knowing what is real and not real around you, losing large blocks of time, trouble sleeping – all of these can be associated with the word anxiety.  But in the story described above, the best term to describe this would be panic attacks. 

Panic attacks tend to arise from nowhere, or at least seem to.  You are out for a run – panic attack.  Taking a hot shower – panic attack.  Sitting at your desk – panic attack.  Taking your dog for a walk – panic attack.  Nothing seems to add up for many people who suffer from panic attacks, and for those that begin to fear the onset of these attacks, called panic disorder, the impairment is even worse.  They begin to modify every aspect of their lives in order to avoid being in a place that having an attack would be embarrassing, or they avoid circumstances that may have triggered the attack in the past.  Overall, this can lead to an out of shape, unhygienic, school- or work-avoidant individual whose dog doesn’t get out enough.

Overcoming these attacks is a two-fold process.  The first part is simply understanding that all the experiences of panic are nothing more than a series of physical responses that will, at worst, burn-out and make you exhausted.  Truly, the worst that will happen to you is you take a nap, which, to me, sounds pretty great on most days.  Bottom line, your body will not let itself die!  The second part is figuring out what triggers and physical experiences lead to the attacks, and then repeatedly exposing oneself to them as often as possible until you never want to experience them again, but this time out of boredom, not fear.  “Practice makes perfect” holds true for overcoming panic attacks; the more you have them, the better you become at controlling them.

Now if it was really this simple, like, just reading the last 300-words and saying “Cured!”, then good people like me would be out of a job.  So if you are someone that struggles with something vaguely similar to what I described above, then you may want to talk to a mental health professional.  We can help guide you through this process and get you back on the track to healthy living. 

Provider Blog: What is a (Neuro) Psychological Evaluation?

This page will feature blog posts from our MK Plus Providers! Please check back often to read up on important issues our providers are interested in.

 

What is a (Neuro) psychological evaluation?

Assessment is useful in understanding an individual’s cognitive, academic, and social/emotional profile. Comprehensive evaluation of an individual’s strengths and weaknesses can often yield important recommendations around clinical intervention and education planning.

What information will an evaluation provide?

An evaluation is completed by administering a variety of assessment measures designed to provide information about the following:

Cognitive/Intellectual Functioning
Academic Achievement
Learning & Memory
Attention/Executive Functioning
Social/Emotional Well-Being

 The individual’s performance across these measures of compared to age or grade-expectations. The pattern of findings is then used to inform diagnostic formulations and recommendations.

What are the next steps?

Depending on the presenting concerns, your clinician may recommend an evaluation that is either more limited or more comprehensive in scope. When participating in the assessment (or “testing”), children and adolescents work in a structured, highly supportive, one-on-one setting with the clinician. Testing sessions are typically completed in three-hour segments in order to reduce fatigue and emotional stress. We recommend that testing be completed early in the day to ensure that results are a valid snapshot of your child’s functioning.

 In addition to objective test measures, input from parents and teachers is gathered to obtain information about the child’s learning and behavior across various settings. This input is received either through interviews/consultations or more structured questionnaires and rating forms.

How is feedback presented?

After all information is compiled, your clinician will meet with you to discuss findings and provide recommendations. The evaluation will be summarized in a user-friendly report that is yours to share with other health providers and educators. This report is often essential in guiding the next steps (e.g., clinical intervention, special education services, accommodations).

It is our goal to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the individual’s profile and make appropriate recommendations that will foster confidence and success!

-Anne Marie Seidel, PsyD

Pediatric Neuropsychologist