Amy Exum

Social media is powerful because its everywhere. Nicole Rodríguez, Psychotherapist at Baptist Health Care & Counseling, says social media is something that is really prevalent out there for teenagers.

About this topic, parents should be on social media too and do their own research and know what their kids are posting. They have to check up on their children.

Amy Exum, also Psychotherapist at the same institution, highlights the possitive aspects of social media, like accesssing to a group of people that have the same interests but are so far away on the map. So, it allows you to know people for over the world. Amy Exum, Psychotherapist with Care & Counseling at Baptist Health South Florida, affirms family therapy is really important with adolescents. “With adults we may not necessarily include other family members. But, having parents involved is going to be extremely important,” she says.

Therapists find that teens have more anger and irritability than adults. That’s why they work with the family to help them understand about that anger and irritability and what depression is, explains Graciela Jiménez, a Psychotherapist with Care and Counseling. Martin G. Lopez, Psychotherapist with Care and Counseling at Baptist Health South Florida, says the symptoms of depression affect the daily life: “It’s not just hopelessness, irritability, more sadness, but these symptoms are affecting a person’s job, a person’s relationship significantly and they are manifesting themselves in biological aspects, such as loss of weight, not being able to sleep or sleeping too much.”

Amy Exum, Psychotherapist with Care and Counseling at Baptist Health South Florida, explains depression is not only because of a chemical imbalance, but for some people it can be because of external factors, like job changing, moving around, losing of somebody close to you, among others. Amy Exum, Psychotherapist with Care and Counseling at Baptist Health South Florida, says it is time to go to the therapist the moment you think, “I cannot do this alone” when you are depressed.

She points out it is important to educate parents, so rather than being in denial, they can see the signs of depression early. Pscychoterapists Amy Exum and Graciela Jimenez agree that when the child finishes school, it can be a time of stress and anxiety for them and their parents and it can cause depression. “Having an open conversation is so important, because a lot of times we can transfer or pass on our anxiety to other people,” says Exum.

Jimenez adds that child independence is a good thing, as if he’s accepted in a good college. “But there’s anxiety because you’re not going to be there and watch out for them and who’s going to help them,” she adds. Graciela Jimenez, Psychotherapist with Care & Counseling, and Amy Exum, Psychotherapist with Care & Counseling at Baptist Health South Florida, say it is necessary to try to put ourselves in the other person’s shoes to understand his depression.

They recommend not using phrases like “everything is going to be OK” or “It is not a big deal” because it increases the patient’s anger and sadness. There are four components of meditation, explains Amy Exum, Psychotherapist with Care & Counseling at Baptist Health South Florida: having a quiet place, having a comfortable posture, having an open mind and having attention to what’s going on around.

She also says prayer is one of the most common forms of meditation.

Other simple forms to start meditation is taking a deep breath five times per day for one minute, affirms Mike Roisman, Psychotherapist at the same place. Graciela Jimenez, Psychotherapist with Care & Counseling, and Amy Exum, Psychotherapist with Care & Counseling at Baptist Health South Florida explain about the meaning of cognitive behavioral therapy.

They say cognitive behavioral therapy brings different tools about the thought-stopping techniques and the way how to help the patient to change them. “How to intercede into that,” Jimenez says. According to the World Health Organization, one in five Americans will have an episode of major depression at some point in their life and more than 300 million people worldwide suffer from this illness.

Graciela Jimenez, Psychotherapist with Care & Counseling at Baptist Health South Florida, explains depression is not only sadness. “Not everybody has the same sadness,” she says.

Amy Exum, Psychotherapist with Care & Counseling at the same center, adds that change weight, sleep problems, decreased energy and concentration and self-destructive and suicidal behavior are other depression’s symptoms. Any change in child’s behaviors is the first step to know if he’s overmedicated, according to the specialists’ opinion.

Also, they agree that It’s important to see the right kind of physician or psychotherapist. “They may be not going to see a primary care physician or a psychiatrist, making sure that they are seeing somebody who is specialized or housing individuals with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. If the patient is having family issues, he should go to see counseling, who is able to treat anyone”, says Amy Exum.

Graciela Jimenez adds that if parents notice that their child is overmedicated they should go back to the physician that prescribed the medicine or find a different specialist. Meditation is often prescribed as an adjunct to traditional medicines, agree Amy Exum, Psychotherapist with Care & Counseling at Baptist Health South Florida and Mike Roisman, Psychotherapist at the same place.

Both recommend never changing any medication without first talking to the doctor who’s prescribing it. Besides, they say if a patient has some sort of illness or some diagnosis, first he should ask his physician before even trying mindfulness or meditation. Martin G. Lopez, Psychotherapist with Care and Counseling at Baptist Health South Florida, says when it comes to depression, doctors tend to think the entire family is the patient: “If an individual, especially a child in the family, is suffering from depression, it is a family issue and the entire family needs to get help for it, because it is about relationships and every individual in the family should be getting therapy for it.”

Amy Exum, Psychotherapist with Care and Counseling at Baptist Health South Florida, explains “you shouldn’t feel that way” and “this will pass” are things you shouldn’t say to a person with suicidal thoughts. There are many factors that contribute to depression and the brain could be one, says Amy Exum, Psychotherapist with Care & Counseling at Baptist Health South Florida.

One of these factors is a chemical imbalance, associated with neurotransmitters and receptors in the brain, but the specialist adds it is also necessary to observe the events in the patient’s life.

Graciela Jimenez, Psychotherapist with Care & Counseling at the same place, talks about the family factors that contribute to depression. Graciela Jimenez, Psychotherapist with Care & Counseling, and Amy Exum, Psychotherapist with Care & Counseling at Baptist Health South Florida, agree about how activity can help and improve the adolescent behavior.

Exercise is such a big component to helping with depression, because it improves the mood, helps release endorphins and the chemicals that the body needs, she says.

Also drawing, writing, making puzzles, dancing and singing are good activities to avoid depression, they explain. For teens maybe it is difficult to speak out about other teenagers with adults, but it they are worried about their friends and their behavior on social media, they should tell their parents.

“The biggest fear I always hear is ‘what if they get mad at me and they no longer talk to me’. I usually tell them it is better that they are mad at you for a time, but you saved their life”, says Nicole Rodriguez, Psychotherapist at Baptist Health Care & Counseling.

When parents have a funky feeling about what is going on with their kids, they should go with their gut. Amy Exum, also Psychotherapist, recommends to start a conversation to know the situation. Amy Exum, Psychotherapist with Care & Counseling at Baptist Health South Florida, says there are two different types of stress: Eustress and Distress.
Eustress is the positive one, because it is associated with excitement and motivation.
Distress is a negative stress, because it is related to things that start to feel out of control, like financial issues, major losses and legal issues.
The specialists also talks about signs and symptoms of stress that generate progress and the stress that impairs progress. Different studies have shown that meditation directly affects the parts of the brain that deal with fear, anxiety and stress.

Also it increases gray matter volume, helps with memory concentration, emotion regulation and deal with daily stress, affirms Amy Exum, Psychotherapist with Care & Counseling at Baptist Health South Florida.

Mindfulness is a very specific set of activities with the genre of meditation, awareness without judgment. Meditation is a broad term for inactivity, says Mike Roisman, Psychotherapist at the same place.

The experts agree mindfulness also has several benefits for mental health. Amy Exum, Psychotherapist with Care and Counseling at Baptist Health South Florida, says social media plays a huge role when it comes about suicide, because it makes people very relatable to us and when that happens it makes things seem accomplishable and that is a risk factor.

“Seeing the major attention that people are getting can attract some of us who were really interested in getting that attention. I know being a teenager today is so much more difficult, with social media it’s 24 hours a day that you’re being watched by other people, so there’s a lot of pressure that teens are under today,” she explains. Feeling hopeless, trapped, alone, anxious or agitated are warning signs of depression. Amy Exum, Psychotherapist with Care and Counseling at Baptist Health South Florida, says misusing alcohol or drugs can lead to higher risks, because when we are engaged in any kind of mood altering substances it makes much easier to do things that we wouldn’t normally do.

Feeling as if there is no reason to go on living, thinking of suicide as a way out and experiencing mood swings are other warning signs. Family support is very important when the first depression’s symptoms appear, says Amy Exum, Psychotherapist with Care & Counseling at Baptist Health South Florida.

The specialist also says the relatives have to get professional help with primary care physicians, psychiatrists and therapists in order to guide the patient.

Knowing the patient’s feelings is very important too, because everybody’s depression is different and it is imperative to know what’s going on with the patient, says Graciela Jimenez, Psychotherapist with Care & Counseling. There are some signs to make sure if teens are hurting themselves. Amy Exum, Psychotherapist at Baptist Health Care & Counseling, says running always and rapid change in moods may be engaging in some high-risk behaviors like substance use.

“They can also be talking about death or dying but not just in a joking way, or liking things on social media that are related to it”, she points out.

Nicole Rodriguez, also Psychotherapist, notes that cutting is another sign that they are planning to commit suicide. She recommends to be aware of what your kids are wearing because they will always find the way to hide when they are cutting themselves. Adolescence is a time of experimentation and tasting the boundaries, but sometimes teens can end up winding up with a substance abuse problem.

Amy Exum, Psychotherapist at Baptist Health Care & Counseling, says a lot of the warning signs of depression, anxiety and suicide are similar warning signs to substance use, such as change in behavior, change in appetite, change in friends.

If your child comes home looking disoriented it is time to have a conversation. Suicide is the third leading cause of death in young people ages 15 to 24 according to the CDC and now the specialists use some tools, like screenings to understand what’s going on with depression and how they can help patients.

Graciela Jiménez, Psychotherapist with Care and Counseling, and Amy Exum, Psychotherapist with Care and Counseling at Baptist Health South Florida explain the new tools can help parents speak the issue with their children and start talking about their problems. As a result, the family can help save the lives of their children. Is it better for the substance abuser to have a support group? Amy Exum, Psychotherapist with Care and Counseling at Baptist Health South Florida, talks about how helpful it is to have the family involved in the rehabilitation, and highlights the work of organizations like AA, and Narcotics Anonymous. How do addictions affect the body and mind? Amy Exum, Psychotherapist with Care and Counseling at Baptist Health South Florida, explains how dangerous it is that a lot of people do not have any idea of what they are consuming, and how this can lead to physical and mental effects. Family helps in the recovery process of the substance abuser. Amy Exum, Psychotherapist with Care and Counseling at Baptist Health South Florida, talks about how family support decreases isolation and self-blame, and increases self-care awareness. Amy Exum, Psychotherapist with Care and Counseling at Baptist Health South Florida, says you can access to telehealth services using your phone, tablet, or PC. They include primary care physicians and a psychiatrist for the department.

She says it is great for people that do not have time to go to the doctor to have an appointment set, get on a mobile device, speak to the physician they need and then go back to work. However, the specialist explains if all of this is starting to interfere with any aspects of life, It’s necessary to ask for an expert help.
Anxiety is a fear of things in the future and stress is a body response: anything that causes the body or mind works differently than it would normally, explains Mike Roisman, Psychotherapist at the same place.

Anxiety and stress go hand in hand and really feed off of each other, he says. Negative self-talk is one of the things that should change. Amy Exum, Psychotherapist with Care & Counseling at Baptist Health South Florida, explains building self-esteem is the first step for achieving realistic goals and she affirms family support is essential for success. Planning is important as well as living the moment, even if it’s 15 minutes per day. Amy Exum, Psychotherapist with Care & Counseling at Baptist Health South Florida, advises checking yourself and enjoying the present. Identifying what things are causing anxiety and depression is the first step for helping people. Amy Exum, Psychotherapist with Care & Counseling at Baptist Health South Florida, explains nowadays stress can be useful for doing a lot of positive things. Why is it important to humanize substance abusers? Amy Exum, Psychotherapist with Care and Counseling at Baptist Health South Florida, explains why putting a label on people with addiction makes harder to have compassion for them, and how humanizing the patients helps to address this disease. How can you tell if a relative is having an addiction problem? Amy Exum, Psychotherapist with Care and Counseling at Baptist Health South Florida, explains the warning signs you might notice, such as changes in sleeping or eating habits, aggressive behavior, and missing money. Is there anything determining if you have a predisposition to addiction? Amy Exum, Psychotherapist with Care and Counseling at Baptist Health South Florida, explains there are studies that show a genetic component predisposing people to addiction, and how they treat it as a medical condition, like cancer or diabetes. Communication is the key for having a better life at home. Nicole Rodriguez, Psychotherapist with Care & Counseling at Baptist Health South Florida, and Amy Exum, Psychotherapist with Care & Counseling at Baptist Health South Florida, say a couple’s success sometimes should start by talking about their needs. Time is so valuable and it’s important that people do something for themselves. Amy Exum, Psychotherapist with Care & Counseling at Baptist Health South Florida, recommends taking at least 10 or 15 minutes away to recharge. Nicole Rodriguez, Psychotherapist with Care & Counseling at Baptist Health South Florida, advises detoxing from cell phones. It is important to control in some way that teenagers do not overuse some of the applications and websites. Nicole Rodriguez, Psychotherapist at Baptist Health Care & Counseling, says cellphones are a privilege, and not a right.

“Parents have the control over their teens’ cellphone, and it is okay to invade their privacy. They need that and if they grow up with that, they will be okay with that”, she points out.

Because of the dangers of social media and what they can get into, parents have to be aware of what is going on and they should be checking on their kids. Martin G. Lopez, Psychotherapist with Care and Counseling at Baptist Health South Florida, points out a lot of people have a hard time figuring out where they need to go to find more health information. Now, there are government and other websites that can help you find the best site to search what you need.

Amy Exum, Psychotherapist with Care and Counseling at Baptist Health South Florida, recommends professional organizations, like the National Institute of Health and the American Psychological Association to find accurate information. Social Media is the new way of advertising and it can have an influence on teenagers. Nicole Rodriguez, Psychotherapist at Baptist Health Care & Counseling, says social media not always has a positive influence; teenagers feel pressured because of how many like they have or how many people are following them.

Another thing that has an impact on teenagers’ self-esteem is what to post and wondering if people are going to like it. There are some situations where social media become dangerous, too.

“I think there is a lot of exposure and one of the issues of social media is that children and teens have access to a lot of things that they wouldn’t normally access to immediately. So I think some of the dangers are associated with seeing other people engaging in high-risk behavior,” says the psychotherapist. Socialization and communication, enhanced learning opportunities, useful health and sexuality information, self-expression and creativity, cross-cultural communication, and involvement in civic issues and causes are some potential benefits of social media.

Amy Exum, Psychotherapist with Care and Counseling at Baptist Health South Florida, says social media allow people to have constant contact or immediate contact if they need it. The news shown by social media can cause anxiety and mental health disorders. For example, shootings at schools have become one of the main fears which both people and specialists must deal with. Psychotherapists agree that people just want to talk about how shootings have impacted them.

“The fear that now arises inside of them, the things that they are worried about, sending their own children to school or just going to the mall. People’s brains don’t turn off because they are worried about what may happen to them,” says Graciela Jimenez.

Amy Exum recommends connecting with ourselves and disconnecting from everything else. Martin G. Lopez, Psychotherapist with Care and Counseling at Baptist Health South Florida, says people can text 911 during an emergency and he recommends patients to make sure they provide their address, in case they need to be reached.

Amy Exum, Psychotherapist with Care and Counseling at Baptist Health South Florida, explains it is up to the physicians to create a welcoming environment in telehealth services and really pay attention to the body language and tone of voice, including work on communication skills with the patients. Diagnosing a mental illness is not easy, because blood test or other tests are not used, but the symptoms and signs that the medical literature has considered.

In that sense, Graciela Jimenez agrees with the fact that specialists (psychologists, psychiatrists, mental health counselors and others) look at previous experiences, how changes begin, “We talk about mental health because we’ve moved away so much from the word illness, from mental illness to mental health because mental illness has a stigma attached to it. A stigma that you’re ill”, she said.

Nowadays, specialists are looking at behaviors. “Behaviors are symptoms of the mental health issue,” Amy Exum adds.
Sometimes, parents don’t understand why teenagers just stay in the room. That can be a sign of a mental health issue”, she said. Martin G. Lopez, Psychotherapist with Care and Counseling at Baptist Health South Florida, says suicide is still a taboo subject for many individuals.

“Both the individuals and their family members do not want to talk about suicide. For a long time, historically, we had applied a moral component to it, so removing the moral component from it and understanding it as a medical issue and a psychological issue is a big part of being able to start the conversation,” he explains.

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