Sports and Mental Health: What’s the Connection?

Sports and mental healthTeam sports have long been a popular activity for people of all ages. While some people play just for fun, there are many others who play at an extremely competitive level. No matter your reason, however, there are benefits and dangers of playing sports.

Benefits

  1. Mental. Any type of physical activity can be beneficial to a person’s mental health, from walking to aerobics to sports. For people at risk of mental illness, exercise can be preventative; in those who already suffer from mental illness, activity can be used as a form of treatment. Exercise has been proven to lessen depression and decrease the number of psychotic episodes in other illnesses – and this is true for males and females of all ages. The more physical activity, the greater the improvement in mental health will be, according to the American Psychological Association (APA) (1).
  2. Emotional. One of the biggest areas of emotional well-being is self-esteem. Belonging to a team, having people depend on you, and knowing that you are needed can all help a person have a positive view of themselves (2).
  3. Social. Someone who struggles socially can greatly benefit from team sports. A team usually consists of a people of a common age and interest, so you already have something in common with everyone. What a great start to form new friendships.
  4. Familial. So many mental health issues are worsened or even partly caused by a person’s home situation; this is especially true in children with mental disorders. Playing team sports can give a family a chance to spend time together and give a parent the chance to encourage the child.
  5. Physical. Playing sports has many physical benefits. Being in good shape does not just aid in sports performance but also in the performance of your body’s systems. Physical activity is good for the heart, the respiratory system, and the circulatory system among others. The healthier your body is, the healthier your mind will be.

Dangers

  1. Mental. If the athlete has obsessive tendencies or an addictive personality, sports and exercise can actually become detrimental to their mental health. Being so reliant upon physical activity for mental well-being, it could cause problems if you were to become injured or unable to continue for other reasons. Make sure that there are other treatment options in place.
  2. Emotional. There are times that a person playing sports can have a lowered self-esteem due to poor performance or inability to contribute to the team. Choose a sport in which you know you can be successful.
  3. Physical. Competitive teams really emphasize training, and with good reason. However, it is possible to injure yourself if the body is over-exerted. To avoid this, pay attention to your body’s signals of needing a break.

As long as you are aware of the dangers and do everything you can to avoid them, most psychologists will greatly encourage team sports to enhance your mental health.

Mark D. Parisi, Psy.D. & Associates, P.C. provides counseling, psychological testing, and psychotropic medication management in Mount Prospect and Chicago – serving surrounding Cook, Lake, DuPage, and Will Counties. They accept most insurance and offer extremely affordable sliding scale rates. Call (847) 909-9858 for a free, no-obligation telephone consultation.

 

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Sources:

  1. Exercise Helps Keep Your Psyche Fit, Exercise and mental health, 2004, http://www.apa.org/research/action/fit.aspx
  2. Benefits of Sports, Emotional benefits, 2015, http://www.muhealth.org/services/pediatrics/conditions/adolescent-medicine/benefits-of-sports/
  3. The Benefits of Playing Sports Aren’t Just Physical! Social benefits, 2012, http://www.health.gov/paguidelines/blog/post/the-benefits-of-playing-sports-arent-just-physical!.aspx
  4. Exercise and Mental Health, Dangers, 1990, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2192422

Coping with Obesity

coping with obesityObesity is defined as a condition marked by excess accumulation of body fat, according to the American Psychological Association (1) and it affects a great portion of our population. In fact, as stated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than one-third or 78.6 million U.S. adults are obese.

While you may not be at a healthy weight, there are steps you can take not just to lose weight but to better cope with obesity. If you’re overweight and tired of being down on yourself all the time, this article is for you. Here’s how to cope with obesity.

  1. Make better food choices. Though this may be an obvious tip, it’s an important one. Part of coping with obesity means taking the necessary steps to overcoming it. Learn about healthy foods vs non-healthy foods and make an effort to choose healthy and nutritious foods. Avoid foods which are high in saturated fats and cholesterol and opt for foods high in protein and low in sugars.
  2. Connect. According to a 2015 study on social relationships and obesity people who are socially-connected are at a decreased risk of becoming obese. (3) Connect with people in your community, especially with those who share the same goals as you. Together you can encourage, support, and connect with each other.
  3. Use positive criticism. Being obese does not give you free reign to come down hard on yourself about every little thing you need to change but like with any other condition, it does allow the opportunity for positive criticism. Positive criticism will act as a way to correct yourself in a positive way while building your self-confidence.
  4. Create small goals. Setting small goals for yourself is a great way to cope with obesity. As you work to achieve each little goal you not only get closer to a larger goal but you also make room for regular celebrations of your achievements. Set goals not only for weight loss but also emotions and physical activity.

You are so much more than a number on the scale, finding joy no matter where you are in life both emotionally and physically is key. Coping with obesity requires a balance of embracing who you are while working to better yourself. Remember to make better food choices, connect, use positive criticism, and create small goals for yourself. By doing so you can actively work toward a better, more-healthy you while learning to love the person you are today.

Mark D. Parisi, Psy.D. & Associates, P.C. provides counseling, psychological testing, and psychotropic medication management in Mount Prospect and Chicago – serving surrounding Cook, Lake, DuPage, and Will Counties. They accept most insurance and offer extremely affordable sliding scale rates. Call (847) 909-9858 for a free, no-obligation telephone consultation.

 

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Sources:

  1.  Obesity, Definition of obesity, 2015, http://www.apa.org/topics/obesity/index.aspx
  2. Adult Obesity Facts, Number of obese American adults, 2015, http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html
  3. Social Relationships and Obesity, Study findings ‘Connect’, 2015, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26213644

 

 

Helping Children Cope with Tragedy

Cope with TragedyIt’s unfortunate today, how tragedy has become such a routine part of our lives. Whether on a small scale, such as the death of a loved one or on a national scale with the influx of terrorism, tragedy is hitting home far more frequently than ever before in our history. We would be gullible to believe these tragedies aren’t affecting our children too.

Helping children understand, cope, and live through tragedy can be challenging but it’s important they know they are not alone. Teaching them how to move forward in a positive manner is key to them living a successful adult life as a member of society. To better equip you, here’s how to help children cope with tragedy.

  • Recognize. The first step in helping a child cope with tragedy is being able to recognize the signs of disaster-related stress. According to FEMA, these signs could include difficulty communicating thoughts, difficulty sleeping, limited attention span, headaches/stomach problems, colds or flu-like symptoms, depression, fear, or overwhelming guilt. (1)
  • Communicate. While it may be difficult at first, it’s important to keep communication open between you and your child. Encourage them to share their thoughts and feelings about the tragedy including how it made them feel. And answer any questions they may have honestly. Maintaining a calm persona will help them feel at ease.
  • Listen. As your child shares their feelings about the incident with you it’s important that you listen intently. “It’s also key to listen closely to your child for misinformation, misconceptions, and underlying fears,” according to the Mayo Clinic. (2) Turning an ear to these details can better help you correct any misinterpretations and reassure them of any concerns of new fears they may have.
  • Limit. For coping with large, media-based tragedies, it may be best to limit your child’s time spent listening or watching media. This allows you to control exactly what your child sees and hears about the event.
  • Seek help. Parents should never be afraid to seek help for their child. By finding a professional to speak to you can better help your child cope with the tragedies happening around them. A professional will also be able to direct you and provide additional tips for assisting your child.

Tragedies happen almost on a daily basis it seems. No matter how small or large a tragedy may be, it’s important to take the time to help your child cope. They are likely fearful, sad, and unsure. By recognizing these stress signs, opening up communication and listening, limiting their media exposure, and seeking help you can offer your child the loving support they need.

Mark D. Parisi, Psy.D. & Associates, P.C. provides counseling, psychological testing, and psychotropic medication management in Mount Prospect and Chicago – serving surrounding Cook, Lake, DuPage, and Will Counties. They accept most insurance and offer extremely affordable sliding scale rates. Call (847) 909-9858 for a free, no-obligation telephone consultation

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Sources:

  1. Coping With Disaster, Disaster-related stress signs, 2015, https://www.fema.gov/coping-disaster
  2. Helping Children Cope, Listen closely quote, 2012, http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/childrens-health/in-depth/helping-children-cope/art-20047029

 

 

 

 

Dr. Vanderbosch Pic

Jim Vanderbosch, Psy.D.

Dr. Vanderbosch PicDr. James (Jim) Vanderbosch is licensed as a Clinical Psychologist in the State of Illinois and has extensive experience working in hospital (inpatient and outpatient), schools, and clinics.  He works with children, adolescents and adults providing both psychotherapy and psychological testing services.  Dr. Vanderbosch has worked with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) conducting psychotherapy and psychological testing for child victims and adult perpetrators.

Dr. Vanderbosch completed his Bacheloreate training at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois and went on to earn his Doctor of Psychology Degree (Psy.D.) in Clinical Psychology from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology in 1990.

Dr. Vanderbosch is fluent in American Sign Language (ASL) and well-connected within the Deaf and Deaf / Blind communities of Illinois.  He spent most of the last twenty-five years as the Clinical Director of two mental health programs for Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals.  He is intuitive, compassionate, and perceptive.

Dr. Vanderbosch joined Dr. Parisi & Associates, P.C. as an associate in 2016 and works in both outpatient and facilty-based settings within the practice.  Outside of work, he is father to four boys and is a weekend musician.

How to Recognize the Signs of Schizophrenia

treat schizophreniaAbout one in 100 Americans are diagnosed with schizophrenia, a treatable serious mental illness that affects a person’s thoughts, feelings, mood, and overall functioning according to the American Psychological Association (APA). (1) With statistics like that, it’s a wonder why the mass public isn’t more educated about schizophrenia.

Schizophrenia is often diagnosed through early adulthood in teens and early 20s and is rarely identified later in life. At first many of the symptoms of schizophrenia may go unnoticed but by knowing what to look for and recognizing signs you can receive early treatment. To help you learn more about this mental illness and how to detect it, here’s how to recognize the signs of schizophrenia.

  • Trouble thinking logically. People with the onset of schizophrenia sometimes have trouble thinking logically. This may include making informed decisions, as well.
  • Difficulty paying attention. A short attention span, or the struggle to stay focused on one event can be a potential sign of schizophrenia. Because difficulty paying attention is a symptom for a variety of illnesses and disorders it’s important that it is paired with other symptoms as well before concluding schizophrenia.
  • Working memory problems. Because schizophrenia is a mental illness it has the ability to impair ones’ working memory, or more commonly known as short term memory. Forgetting recent events like where you set your keys or what you ate for lunch earlier that day are both examples of short term memory.
  • Hallucinations. A more serious sign of schizophrenia is experiencing hallucinations. These hallucinations often include hearing voices or seeing things that others do not see.
  • Speaking little. If you are typically a chatter box but recently don’t have the desire to speak much, there may be an underlying problem. Speaking little is another sign of schizophrenia.
  • Repetitive body movements. Agitated or repetitive body movements are common in those who suffer with schizophrenia. These movements can be seen as repetitive movements being performed over and over again.
  • False beliefs. As part of the thought disorder, false beliefs that may seem odd or wrong are believable to you even after loved ones try to redirect your thinking. These thoughts often do not line up with the person’s typical thinking and may make little to no sense.
  • Difficult to understand. As a person with schizophrenia struggles to organize their thoughts their speech can become jumbled and difficult to understand. They may even make up meaningless words or stop talking midsentence.

Coping with any mental illness is a struggle, including schizophrenia. But with 1 in every 100 Americans diagnosed with schizophrenia it’s time to better educate the public about what to look for. It’s important to note that treatment helps relieve many symptoms of schizophrenia and many people with the illness continue to lead rewarding and meaningful lives in their communities, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. (2) Learning how to recognize signs of schizophrenia is the first step toward treatment and the start to living that rewarding and meaningful life.

Mark D. Parisi, Psy.D. & Associates, P.C. provides counseling, psychological testing, and psychotropic medication management in Mount Prospect and Chicago – serving surrounding Cook, Lake, DuPage, and Will Counties. They accept most insurance and offer extremely affordable sliding scale rates. Call (847) 909-9858 for a free, no-obligation telephone consultation

 

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Sources:

  1. Recognizing the Signs of Schizophrenia, Schizophrenia statistics and definition, 2015, http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/recognizing-schizophrenia.aspx
  2. What is Schizophrenia?, Schizophrenia treatment, 2015, http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/schizophrenia/index.shtml

 

5 Ways Sleep Deprivation is Affecting Your Teen

sleep deprivation“Sleep is essential for health and well-being,” according to the American Psychological Association (APA). (1)Especially in your teenage years, the amount of sleep you receive each night is affecting you either positively or negatively. If you are someone who either doesn’t get quite enough sleep or more seriously- struggles with sleep deprivation, odds are you are reaping more of the negative effects.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, 40 million Americans suffer from over 70 different sleep disorders and 60 percent of adults report having sleep problems a few nights a week or more. (2) It’s obvious sleep deprivation is a large problem nationwide but how is it affecting your teen?

1. Learning. Roughly one fourth of all teenagers go to bed between the hours of eleven and midnight. With such late bedtimes and early morning wakeups for school, these teens are simply not getting the adequate sleep they require to learn. Absorbing information and applying it takes work, without sleep you can expect your teen’s educational performance and ability to learn will worsen.
2. Behavior. Studies have shown that teens who suffer sleep deprivation are more likely to experience emotional distress and act on impulse. Your teen may experience an inability to focus and the need to be hyperactive.
3. Mental health. When your teen lacks adequate sleep they are at a higher risk of feeling sad, hopeless, and depressed. Because of these emotions they are also more likely to have suicidal thoughts. According to one psychologist, “Sleep deprivation and depression go hand in hand.” (3)
4. Obesity. Because lack of sleep has been linked to serious health issues such as obesity and diabetes, it goes without saying that your sleep-deprived teen is at a higher risk for developing both.
5. Substance use. With sleep deprivation comes an increased risk for both substance use and abuse with teens. Over-tired teenagers are more likely to turn to alcohol and drugs and because of this, they are also at an increased risk to drink and drive, binge drink, and even participate in sexual behavior.

With 40 Million Americans suffering from sleep disorders, taking into account the teenage population- it begs the question, how is sleep deprivation affecting your teen. If your teen isn’t getting the appropriate amount of sleep you can expect them to experience negative effects such as worsened educational performance, hyperactive behavior, depression, obesity, and also an increased risk for substance use and abuse.

Mark D. Parisi, Psy.D. & Associates, P.C. provides counseling, psychological testing, and psychotropic medication management in Mount Prospect and Chicago – serving surrounding Cook, Lake, DuPage, and Will Counties. They accept most insurance and offer extremely affordable sliding scale rates. Call (847) 909-9858 for a free, no-obligation telephone consultation.

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Sources:

  1. Sleep, Sleep is essential quote, 2015, http://www.apa.org/topics/sleep/index.aspx
  2. Getting a Good Night’s Sleep With the Help of Psychology, Number of Americans with sleep disorder stats, 2004, http://www.apa.org/research/action/sleep.aspx
  3. Sleep Deprivation Linked to Depression in Teens, Psychologist quote, 2010, http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/06/09/sleep.deprivation.depression/

 

Allison Barton, M.A., LCPC

Ms. Allison Barton, Counseling ExternMs. Allison Barton completed her undergraduate studies at Azusa Pacific University in Azusa, California in 2009 where she earned her Bachelors of Arts Degree (B.A.) with a Studio Art emphasis. She went on to earn her Masters of Art Therapy Degree (M.A.) from the Adler School of Professional Psychology in Chicago in 2012.  Ms. Barton completed her Art Therapy Internship at The Gunnison Health Care Center in Gunnison, Colorado where she provided art therapy with a varied client population dealing with bereavement and end of life issues. More recently, Ms. Barton has served as a Screening, Assessment, and Supportive Services (SASS) Therapist with Rainbow Hospice and Palliative Care in Mount Prospect, Illinois.  She presently serves as a Community Liaison for Garfield Park Hospital where she assists in marketing.

Ms. Barton’s professional interests include working with children and the elderly, working with terminally ill populations, and using art therapy in cross-cultural settings.

Ms. Barton joined the staff of Mark D. Parisi, Psy.D. & Associates, P.C. as a Counseling Extern in 2014.  She recently obtained her Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) certification in 2016 and works in private practice at Dr. Parisi’s Mount Prospect office where she maintains a diverse practice.  She is a member of the Illinois Art Therapy Association and is active in her church.

Tom Naratadam

Tom Naratadam, Psy.D., LCPC

Dr. Tom Naratadam chicago illinoisDr. Tom Naratadam earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign and both his Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) and Masters Degree in School Psychology (Ed.S.) from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology.  He completed his Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) certification in Illinois in 2015.  His professional work experience is diverse and includes work in multiple settings including residential, inpatient, outpatient, community mental health, group private practice, and school-settings throughout the Metro Chicagoland area.

Dr. Naratadam has worked as an outpatient provider with Mark D. Parisi, Psy.D. & Associates, P.C. since 2010. In addition to his work with Mark D. Parisi, Psy.D. & Associates, P.C., Dr. Naratadam works as a bilingual school psychologist at the Chicago Public Schools – performing extensive diagnostic testing and spearheading group therapy with children and adolescents.

Dr. Naratadam has expertise working in multicultural populations and has conducted numerous workshops on cross-cultural issues related to the Latino and Asian-Indian cultures. His experience also includes several years of assessing and working with children and adolescents who have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Autistic Spectrum Disorders, Conduct and Mood Disorders, and issues related to adolescent sexuality and identity.

Dr. Naratadam is proud of his Asian-Indian heritage. He enjoys traveling, enjoying Chicago’s wide array of restaurants, and spending time with his family and friends. Dr. Naratadam is fluent in Spanish.