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Integrative Health, Psychology and Relationship Support

Guns and Deeper Issues

Posted by: Dr. Tina Morse PsyD, MFT

Topic: Emotions, Passion & Purpose, Mind

Mental Health

Sure, we in America have the right to bear arms, but with that come’s a lot of responsibility. The polls have reflected unprecedented support for broader background checks and a ban on assault weaponry. Weapons of war and 100 round magazines are above and beyond mere protection, and they’re a threat to society.

  • Nearly 500,000 signatures have been delivered to Senator Frank Lautenberg and others in Washington this week, where they will be entered into the Congressional Record.
  • President Obama has enlisted support from healthcare providers and proposed funding for state efforts to help young adults with mental health issues.  His new initiative, Typical or Troubled aims at providing school personnel with appropriate training that will:
  1. help identify warning signs
  2. teach educators how to respond to them
  3. help refer them to appropriate treatment

These headlines are becoming a daily occurence and the facts are clear: Impairments in brain function inhibit a person’s ability to think and behave in ways that best serve them. Troubled teens are often deeply wounded and the victims of violence rather than the perpetrators. They are easily triggered by their environment and need extra care and attention.

The American Psychiatric Association has actively opposed a Florida law that prohibits physicians from discussing gun ownership with their patients. As a licensed member, I agree that this is information that should be on an intake form for psycho-social-safety reasons and issues surrounding the mental health of an individual. There must be a requirement of a thorough background check and continuing education for the family. Annual training should include: proper storage and safety measures, warning signs of mental illness or a threat of violence in the home and (most importantly), …what to do about it. These are all dangers that are fluid and continue to change in nature. They are problems that have been around for years and interventions and ways to relate to problems once they’re evident.

The deeper and more imminent challenges remain at home.

Children need loving support and daily guidance to help them develop as healthy individuals; yet, parents today are over-stretched and over-stressed on every level. This is a problem that is culturally driven (as well as self-imposed) as more and more parents are working and far from home emotionally. While we are busy at work helping build corporations our children are not getting what they most need. There is a lack of appropriate behavior modeling and reflection of good communication skills, as we have moved away from a focus in our own backyard. We as parents need to do a better job to ensure that our children are adequately protected; and that we are all well nourished physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

Just as our cars won’t run on empty, we (as humans) don’t either.

We all need downtime to empty our minds (relax our brains), our bodies, and refuel. It takes time to practice strong self-care habits. Time, to be filled emotionally by things we are doing that we are passionate about. And time to be with people who challenge us in healthy and supportive ways. When we choose to become parents it becomes our duty to love, nurture and support the growing of a strong and healthy individual, yet, there are increasing:

  • Problems with parental attention and supportive guidance
  • Problems at school and among friends, and bullying
  • Depression
  • Suicidal ideation and death

We are breeding children who feel terribly lonely and unsupported in the world.

It’s difficult to learn to take care of ourselves and thrive as adults when we haven’t been adequately taken care of as children. Perpetrator mentality and underlying hostility can become deeply rooted; and it is moving from a micro-problem to a macro-problem and an issue in our society at large.

A child’s brain and nervous system develops (simultaneously) internally, as well as externally through engagement within their environment. Lack of attention and familial intervention impedes healthy brain development. While many children thrive under challenging circumstances, they are not able to process crippling fears at school, or exposure to traumatic events at home or in the news on their own. Physical and emotional pain that isn’t processed becomes energy that gets trapped within the body. It causes undue suffering and debilitating symptoms that can compromise immediate and long-term functioning. Children can outwardly appear to be fine, yet they are both sensitive and susceptible to recurring trauma and injury when they are left to fight-their-own-battles. Trauma overwhelms a child’s ability to cope and should be dealt with and responded to immediately in the best of circumstances. Cognitive decline and progression of brain deficits between ages 13 – 18 could indicate the development of schizophrenia, or other significant mental health and other physical issues as an adult. Well nourished children are fed emotionally and mentally stimulated. They are fed by what we do with them, as well as what’s on their plates. Inadequate nutrition and exercise is linked to inflammation and stagnation in the body. This may reduce normal and appropriate levels of serotonin, which is linked to causing depression.

Healthy, whole food (or a Mediterranean diet) has been shown to be just as important as our daily interactions. Real food lowers inflammation caused by activated stress hormones that are induced by: poor relationship interactions, environmental toxins, prescription drugs, alcohol and other chemically processed items – sold as food. The body doesn’t recognize these foreign substances and begins to attack them. When “dis-ease” in the body persists, the body gets confused and starts attacking itself as in an autoimmune disorder.

Childhood neglect and abuse is linked to problems with self-care and daily functioning, worthiness issues, relational problems, perpetrator mentality, serious health issues and suicide in adulthood.

Are you giving your children the time and attention that they need and deserve?

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