A paradigm is a way of thinking about things. For the past 60 or so years, our thinking about mental health and illness has been dominated by what can be referred to as the "DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) paradigm." What this looks like in everyday practice is that when a child is referred to my behavioral pediatrics practice for say, anxiety, the questions that parents, referring ...

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We do not have medical records or diagnoses. The news is filled with speculation. What we do know is that Miriam Carey’s one-year-old daughter lost her mother, and that because the incident occurred in Washington, DC in front of the White House, it is shining a spotlight on the subject of mental health and motherhood. And the message should be simple. Diagnoses don't matter. As part of our nation's health ...

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Recently, I "launched" my oldest off to college. As anticipated, it was an intense emotional experience full of joy, sadness, and many things in between. (I have to tip my hat to Beverly Beckham for her piece I was the sun, the kids were my planets that was very helpful. However, I might have written that my child was the sun, a burst of light in our household, and the experience ...

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study published in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics showing a connection between hours of sleep and childhood behavior problems has received a lot of media attention. Children who slept less than 9.4 hours of sleep had more impulsivity, anger, tantrums and annoying behavior. The obvious conclusion-more sleep, better behavior. If only it were that simple. If one takes the time to look closely, one will discover that what ...

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Patricia Wen's front page story, "Children's Access to Mental Health Care is Growing," in which she describes the "co-location" of mental health care services in pediatric practices, brought me back to the summer of 2011 when I attended a meeting of a working group of the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Academy of 
Pediatrics (MCAAP.) The task of this working group, a subgroup of the MCAAP task force on mental ...

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Sam burst into the office, a two-year-old wild bundle of energy. Squealing with delight -- or was it distress; it was hard to tell -- he ran from toy to toy not looking at me or his mother, Jane. He was unable to engage with anything. Jane had brought him to see me in my pediatric practice because, “he hits me, has explosive tantrums, and I can’t take him anywhere.” ...

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For the families who lost children, their world as they knew it has effectively ended. Yet somehow the sun rises again and the next day is here. For the rest of us grieving along with these families, the only way to move forward is to take what President Obama called "meaningful action." I interpret this to be action that is radical and significant enough that it will somehow give meaning ...

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When I write from my clinical experience as a behavioral pediatrician, I am careful to change identifying information to protect the privacy of my patients. It is rather freeing, therefore, to write  about characters in a novel. Left Neglected by Lisa Genova, who is also a neuroscientist (perhaps she took the story from some real cases) offers some important insights into this complex subject. The story revolves around Sarah, a 37-year-old mother of three ...

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I've been thinking about the phrase, "the fallacy of simple answers," in preparation for writing about a new book I was asked to review, Pills are Not For Preschoolers.  Author Marilyn Wedge gives a clear and compelling argument for the use of family therapy in treatment of behaviorally symptomatic children. Unlike the title suggests, the book is not primarily about preschoolers, but offers multiple examples of her successful work ...

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I am a devoted fan of Zumba, specifically as it is taught by my wonderful teacher, who has a dedicated following. She has been out for the past month, home with a newborn and two year old. Last week, she came with her baby to try to take the class, now being taught by a substitute, also a regular member of her class. "I need this for my mental heath, " ...

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