Day 4: 31 days to Loving Sensory Parenting: The Best Support.

The best thing we have done as parents is sought out professional help. That has been our biggest source of support. Often, when we feel like we are isolated we have been so thankful to have a team of professionals around us who make sensory parenting feel normal and when we are struggling to see the sensory challenges because when we see behavior they help remind us. It’s part of the key to loving sensory parenting, because it’s so unlike typical parenting.

the best support: 31 days to loving sensory parenting
We didn’t seek out professional help for our daughter until she was 3 years old. We had been actively asking questions and talking to our medical doctor for about 2 years but constantly got brushed off that she would outgrow her challenging behaviors. As a family we ended up going to my private practice physician, her answers weren’t much better in regards to our daughter. I actually had printed off asensory checklist and brought it into this doctor and asked if this was what was going on. Miss Sensory had fit into several categories, in which, I could almost check everything off. The doctor said, I am not familiar with Sensory Processing Disorder and said she didn’t think so. Basically what happened was that she told us this was normal she thought we needed more discipline. I looked at her and said, if this is normal then we need help as parents.

She referred us to a child psychologist who actually specialized in adoption.   We were concerned about having attachment issues since we adopted (we later learned that we were not dealing with attachment issues. Having a child psychologist as part of our team was really significant for us getting direction. She was the one that after several sessions said, I am thinking that you are dealing with Sensory Challenges and that you need to see an Occupational Therapist.

Having a child psychologist along the way has helped us. I will never forget in one of the first sessions when she looked at me and said, “This has been really hard for you because you are raising a special needs child.” She gets this, she helps us see beyond the disorder and see the child. She has helped to build my confidence as a mom again. Because my biggest question has always been, “Is this just me, did I make Miss Sensory this way?” She has reminded me that this is not my fault.

One of the most significant things she ever said to me was, “This is really hard for you, but it is a million times harder for her.” That statement weighs heavily on my mind on days where Miss Sensory is practically gyrating around the room, touching everything, colliding with everything, chatting constantly and is a mini tornado mode.

31 days to loving sensory parenting.  "On the tough days for you as a sensory parent; it's a million times tougher for your child.

Since every child with Sensory Processing Disorder has a unique set of needs your child and family may have higher needs in other areas besides psychology. If you are looking for a psychologist to help your family please keep in mind that not all psychologists are familiar with Sensory Processing Disorder, make sure you find one that is.

If you are still looking for professional support here’s a few types of therapists to look for.

-Occupational Therapist (OT): There are different options when it comes to occupational therapists. Private Therapists, usually at a hospital or medical facility and there are School Occupational Therapists. The difference is that School OT’s are usually more focused on academic skills versus a private therapist has a much broader reach in their therapy. A pediatric occupational therapist with experience working with sensory processing disorder is what we sought out.

-Speech and Language Pathologist (SLP): We have had testing done and will be working a little bit with a Speech and Language Therapist in 2016 but haven’t had a high need in this area yet.

-Pediatric Development Optometrist: We will be going in for testing for Visual Processing in 2016 (I LOVE the wait time to get into places). The visual processing concerns where noticed in the speech and language testing. Once we have the results then we will know what our needs are as far as therapy.



How to get rid of eczema, beat the itch and scratch cycle and stop the causes

According to the NHS, the number of eczema cases being reported has risen 40 per cent
in the past four years.

Whether you are unfortunate enough to be born with the skin condition or you develop it in later life, eczema can be painful, embarrassing and debilitating.

There are more than six million sufferers in the UK and, according to a survey by Lloyds Pharmacy, it can cause people to avoid intimacy, take time off work and cancel social events.

What can be done to get your skin back on track? Here are our tips from the health experts

What is eczema?

GettyEczema close-up
Eczema can be a painful condition

Eczema is red, flaky and itchy skin, which will often crack and weep. The most common type of eczema is atopic (caused by allergies), but people may suffer from contact eczema (flare-ups after touching allergens such as nickel or rubber), discoid (which occurs in coin-shaped patches), or seborrheic (eczema of the scalp).

Atopic eczema is in your genes, and often goes hand-in-hand with hay fever and asthma.

“You can send eczema into remission, but you’ll always have it – it’s a case of whether you have symptoms or not,” says GP Dr Rob Hicks . “The aim of the treatment is to keep people free from flare-ups.”

Although you may be genetically predisposed to eczema, it can only be set off by a trigger, which could be anything from nuts to dog hair, wool to cigarette smoke, and establishing what it is, is key to treatment.

1. Don’t scratch

GettyWoman with itchy arm
Resist the urge to scratch

Breaking the itch-scratch cycle is vital for recovery. “Scratching may bring temporary relief to the itch, but it actually triggers the release of a chemical called histamine which just causes more itching,” says Dr Rob.

Scratching damages the skin and may allow bacteria that normally lives on the surface to get in and cause infection. Keep nails short, and whenever you get the urge to have a scratch, massage the itchy area with moisturiser using the pads of your fingertips.

2. Slather on the cream

GettyWoman applying moisturiser to her legs
Take care of your skin even when you don’t have symptoms

Most people will need to try a few treatments before they find one that works for them. The best way to treat eczema is moisturising. “You need to grease yourself up like a cross-Channel swimmer!” says GP Dr Matt Piccaver . “Cover your body with moisturiser morning and night, and keep a pot in your bag to top up during the day.”

Your doctor can prescribe different emollients, but not all of them will work for everyone. Apply after a shower when the skin’s still damp to help trap in moisture. Do this rigorously, even when you don’t have symptoms.

Don’t panic if your favourite cream stops working – you may need to switch between a couple of brands.

3. Visit the Doctor

Eczema can be especially painful for young children

For cases of severe eczema, your doctor may refer you to a dermatologist who can prescribe steroid cream, special bandages and wet wraps, or even ultraviolet light therapy.

Although steroids may have nasty side-effects if used long term, a short course is perfectly safe. If left untreated, severe eczema can cause lichenification, which causes the skin to become thick and leathery.

Dr Rob’s best treatment for a child suffering from eczema? “I recommend the parent gives the child a big hug to show that contact won’t hurt them. All too often people are frightened to touch sufferers because they’re worried about causing them pain, or of catching it – but eczema is not contagious,” says Dr Rob.

4. Go natural

GettyBeautiful mid adult woman relaxing in bathtub
Stress can cause skin flare-ups

There are plenty of ways you can soothe your skin naturally. Make sure your sheets are cotton, which is kinder to the skin than synthetic materials – you could even try wearing cotton gloves at night to prevent scratching. Oatbran has been used for centuries to treat skin conditions.

“Take a couple of handfuls of oatbran and pop it in a muslin bag or old pair of tights. Add the bag to your bath, or hang it from your showerhead to soothe sore skin,” says Dr Matt.

If a bath full of porridge doesn’t appeal, try aloe vera gel – keep it in the fridge so it’s cool and refreshing, or drink aloe vera juice. Coconut oil is favoured by many sufferers – choose an organic, cold pressed variety and rub onto damp skin.

There is often a link with your state of mind and your skin, so set aside time to relax. It is common for eczema to flare up during stressful periods, such as a break-up or starting a new job. “Find ways to reduce stress, such as meditation, yoga or therapy,” says nutritionist to the stars Kim Pearson . “It’s also important to get enough sleep.”

5. Watch out for Food triggers

Fresh bread
getty Foods like bread and eggs can cause flare-ups

Food allergies or sensitivities can be a common trigger for many eczema sufferers. Cow’s milk is a well-known culprit, but other common problem foods include eggs, soya and wheat.

Kim Pearson suggests considering a food elimination diet, which involves cutting
out common trigger foods for a period of time and then gradually reintroducing them to see if they cause a flare-up.

“Certain foods can promote inflammation – it’s worth trying to reduce your intake of sugar, refined carbohydrates, and highly processed and deep-fried foods,” she says. Keep a symptom and food diary to see if you can establish any links between what you eat and the state of your eczema.

For happy skin, make sure you eat plenty of foods that are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, such as oily fish, flaxseeds and walnuts. “Opt for low glycemic, whole carbohydrate sources such as oats, quinoa and sweet potato, as well as low-sugar fruits such as berries, apples and pears,” says Kim. All types of eczema can potentially be improved by changes in diet.

For more information on eczema, visit the British Skin Foundation .

6. Stress

Stress is not always something we consider as a cause of eczema. More often than not we look for external sources like the clothes we wear. But stress can trigger a number of different issues in our body, eczema being just one of them.

Here are a few simple ways to lower your stress levels

  1. Walk more
  2. Have a bedtime bath
  3. Slow your life down
  4. Take a deep breath
  5. Escape life by reading a book, playing a computer game

Case study

Rebecca Marriage, 43, a freelance marketeer from East Sussex, has learnt how to handle her eczema…

Rebecca Marriage Eczema
Rebecca’s skin (left) at it’s worst and her skin now

“I’ve had eczema all my life and have come to terms with it in my 40s. At school, I was called “porridge face” and couldn’t cover it with make-up because it irritated my skin.

It used to be on my body with a few facial patches, but it has moved entirely to my face, which swells up so I get deep creases around my eyes. My skin dries out so much that it cracks – I’ve had to teach myself to smile even when it’s painful.

It’s easy to withdraw from the world when having a flare-up, but isolating yourself is likely to make your symptoms more severe. Hiding away will only make you feel depressed, and there’s a link between eczema and negative emotional states. It takes a massive effort to be confident, but the pay-off is huge.

My eczema used to be constant, but now I only flare up once a week. There are lots of treatments, and you have to experiment to find which one works for you, but the biggest battle is self-acceptance.

I found the prescription cream Protopic has made a huge difference, as it doesn’t seem to affect my collagen levels, and I like Purepotions Skin Salvation cream.

I recently found a foundation my skin could handle – it’s called Lycogel, and was originally developed for people recovering from plastic surgery.”



Autism and apraxia: the importance of screening for both

Researchers find otherwise rare speech disorder affects nearly 65 percent of children with autism; call for screening and treatment

A new study finds that the relatively rare speech disorder apraxia affects nearly 65 percent of children with autism. The finding is important because apraxia warrants a specific type of therapy not otherwise part of an autism intervention program.

“Children with apraxia have difficulty coordinating the use of their tongue, lips, mouth and jaw to accurately produce speech sounds, so that each time they say the same word, it comes out differently, and even their parents have difficulty understanding them,” explains developmental behavioral pediatrician Cheryl Tierney, of the Pennsylvania College of Medicine.

Dr. Tierney co-authored the new report, in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics In it, she and her colleagues emphasize the importance of keeping both conditions in mind when evaluating a child for either one.

The researchers assessed 30 children, ages 15 months to 5 years, seen at their developmental communication clinic. Their follow-up testing showed that 64 percent of the children initially diagnosed with autism also had apraxia, and 37 percent of the children initially diagnosed with apraxia also had autism. By contrast, apraxia occurs in just 1 or 2 out of 1,000 children in the general population. Autism affects 1 in 68.

Developmental experts have long noted autism and apraxia frequently coincide. The new study, though small, underscores just how commonly this overlap may occur.

Both conditions can be improved with early intervention, though each warrants a different intervention. In particular, the researchers emphasize that nonverbal children diagnosed with either autism or apraxia should continue to be screened for the other condition until they start talking.

“Children with autism frequently present with communication challenges including delayed speech and language development,” notes speech-language pathologist Donna Murray, senior director of the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network (ATN). “Speech-language pathologists are trained to identify the signs and symptoms of apraxia and will be able to assist families of children with autism in understanding the nature of their child’s communication delays and develop an intervention plan to treat apraxia if needed.”


ulcerative colitis

Turmeric Benefits for Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative colitis is one of the two major forms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) along with Crohn’s disease. It is a serious disease and if left untreated, an individual runs the risk of contracting colon cancer. Generally it happens in mature age but there are studies proving its incidence increasing among children too in the US.

Let me talk a bit about what exactly this disorder is. When the colon or large intestine gets chronically inflamed, we are said to suffer from ulcerative colitis. Ulcers are formed on the colon’s inner lining and this accompanied by inflammation causes symptoms like rectal bleeding, diarrhea and abdominal pain. The disease could also cause inflammation of the spine, joints, skin, liver, eyes and bile duct. Along with Crohn’s, both diseases are called inflammatory bowel disease. The actual cause of ulcerative colitis is unknown although it could be due to abnormal behavior of the immune system.

Depending on the part of the colon that is affected, there are different types of this disease like ulcerative proctitis, proctosigmoiditis, pancolitis, left-sided colitis, or fulminant colitis. A barium enema or colonoscopy may be used to detect ulcerative colitis. Medicines are usually given as treatment and surgery is reserved for severe cases.

Turmeric and Ulcerative Colitis

Turmeric is well known for its anti-inflammatory and healing properties. It is no wonder that results of studies conducted to see if turmeric can help in ulcerative colitis have mostly been positive. Here I present summaries of some of these studies:

A study was conducted on the active photochemical compound in turmeric – curcumin and its pharmacologic benefits for patients with ulcerative colitis. 89 patients were selected, all suffering from quiescent ulcerative colitis. This was a randomized, double-blind, multi-center trial. 45 patients were given 1g curcumin after breakfast and a similar dosage after the evening meal. They were also given mesalamine or sulfasalazine (SZ). 44 patients were given a placebo and mesalamine or SZ. The treatment was given for 6 months with endoscopic and clinical activity index (CAI) checked every 2 months for 6 months and after a 6-month follow-up period.

ulcerative colitis and turmeric

Eliminating protocol violators, it was determined of the remaining that 2 / 43 (5%) patients in the curcumin group had a relapse after therapy and 8 / 39 (20%) of the placebo group. Recurrence rates were lower in the curcumin group and they also had an improved CAI. It was also determined based on endoscopy findings and symptom rating scale that those treated with curcumin experienced less disease symptoms on an average compared to those given the placebo. The conclusion was that turmeric seemed to be a safe and promising medication that could be used in the treatment of quiescent ulcerative colitis.

Another study was conducted to determine the prophylactic effect of turmeric for ulcerative colitis. Male Swiss albino rats were given dextran sulfate sodium (DSS) for 5 days to induce colitis. One group was given 100mg/kg curcumin for 7 days before being given DSS. The rats being given curcumin suffered less weight loss than the control group. Typical symptoms of ulcerative colitis that were induced by DSS like infiltration of inflammatory cells, thickening of intestinal walls and mucosal ulceration were much reduced. Researchers believed that the reason could be the antioxidant properties of turmeric and inhibition of NF kappa-B a cellular inflammatory agent. Curcumin could play a protective role by regulating anti-oxidant balance and modulating release of certain inflammatory endocoids in cases of ulcerative colitis. It was also found that even small doses of < 0.25% turmeric was sufficient to provide protection and this could be got by including this spice in food.

As I have already mentioned, curcumin offers anti-inflammatory benefits and thus could improve ulcerative colitis symptoms. In a clinical trial, patients with ulcerative proctitis showed an improvement in symptoms after being given 550mg of curcumin twice daily for a month and then thrice daily for a month. In another study, patients given 1g curcumin twice daily for 6 months suffered from lesser remission rates of ulcerative colitis. In the placebo group there was 20.5% remission rate and 4.7% in the turmeric group. The patients also received conventional medications.

Curcumin combined with sulfasalazine or corticosteroids seemed to help patients with ulcerative colitis in some clinical trials. Since turmeric offered benefits, smaller doses of standard drugs needed to be used by the patients.

Few side effects and more benefits

Those who have inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis are usually treated with antibiotics, steroids, 5-aninosalicylates and immunomodulators. Long term usage of these can create many unwanted side effects. Preclinical trials have found that turmeric is effective in preventing inflammation caused by ulcerative colitis. Several IBD experimental models have found that turmeric could inhibit the damage caused by free radicals by increasing antioxidant levels and provide other clinical benefits. Since turmeric produces few if any side effects, it can be used for longer and help maintain remission.


There is no pediatric dose of turmeric supplements. For adults, the dosage depends on the medical condition. General dosage of standard curcumin powder used in tablets is 400-600mg thrice daily. Other types of turmeric supplements that can be used and their dosage are – cut root – 1.5 -3g daily, dried powdered root – 1-3g daily, tincture – 30 drops four times a day and liquid extract – 30-90 drops daily.

1-2g daily of turmeric had anti-inflammatory properties in test tube studies.


Turmeric is usually safe when included in food. When taken in excess, turmeric supplements can cause nausea, stomach upsets, diarrhea and dizziness. Pregnant and breastfeeding women must avoid turmeric supplements for they can stimulate the uterus and may cause menstrual bleeding that could risk a pregnancy. Gall bladder problems could worsen with turmeric. Turmeric could slow blood clotting, hence those requiring surgery must avoid it. Diabetic and anti-coagulant medications could interact with turmeric supplements.



Shakeology and Fibromyalgia


Fibromyalgia is a disease that is charactarized by fatigue, chronic pain, tenderness, and more. It is very hard to diagnose, and maybe people spend years without a diagnose, or even misdiagnosed (which means treatment likely isnt working either).

As someone who has struggled with symptoms of Fibromyalgia for close to two years, I spend a lot of time researching what I put into my body, and what I can START putting into my body to feel my best.

Shakeology is something that has greatly improved my Fibro symptoms. Many treatments for fibromyalgia include various vitamins and supplements, so it got me thinking. How many of these supplements am I already getting in my daily glass of Shakeology.

*Vitamin D: Vitamin D is proven to help with pain and fatigue. Shakeology has over 500IU of Vitamin D in each serving.

*Camu Camu Berry: Full in Vitamin C and has tons of anti-inflammitory ingredients to reduce joint pain that Fibromyalgia often brings.

*Sacha Inchi: This ingredient has high levels of tryptophan, which many scientists believe can help alleviate fibromyalgia symptoms. Tryptophan helps your body produce serotonin, so low levels will result in increased fibromyalgia symptoms, including increased insominia and tummy troubles.

*Goji Berry: If you struggle with fibromyalgia, you are likely aware of the term “Fibro Fog”. It can get really bad, and alleviating it has always been at the top of my priorities. Goji Berry has 18 amino acids, it is a top anti inflammitory, and it can help improve memory and the fibro fog.

*Reishi Powder: Another anti inflammitory that will help rid your body of the pains you feel daily.

*Schisandra Berry: Helps improve your central nervous system so your body handles and recieves pain signals more efficiently.

*Maca Root: A Superfood from the Andes mountains, this supplement is proven to improve fatigue and keep you feeling your best.

I am especially grateful I do not need to hunt down all of these superfoods from all over the world, and I can get them all in ONE glass for under $4 a day. When I am having a flare I have an extra glass and take comfort in knowing the superfoods I am putting in my body are helping me heal.



What I Lost — and Gained — Thanks to Transverse Myelitis

My symptoms kicked off strangely, but fittingly around April Fool’s Day 2014 after a shower. I’d dried off, but my legs still felt wet in patches. Scrubbing at them with a towel didn’t help. When sensations waxed and waned over the next several weeks, I presumed a cervical injury had blown another disc.

Minor inexplicable bodily issues usually dissipate, I told myself. Until my fingers and toes started tingling. Vertigo hit, lasting seven months. My right leg spasmed, gripping me from the hip down merely from stirring in bed. It didn’t hurt so much as it was a rigor to withstand.

I lost my balance, my gait reduced to stumbling atop the planks of a listing ship. Co-workers supported me as I reeled along. A fitting analogy describing optical issues became eyeball murder party, reservations for one. Indescribable fatigue descended. I wished I could lie down — when I was lying down! I shook, and forgot information. My mouth burned, my throat iced and stole my breath.

I endured ride after ride in the MRI machine, countless blood tests, medication side effects, a terrifying lumbar puncture, bizarre-seeming procedures and physical therapy. Four months later, upon hearing the name of the culprit, I was foolish enough to feel lucky.

As of this writing, I have reinvented myself and my career. My relationship has proven to be unbelievably resilient. I am beyond proud of my superhero kids.

Hilary in her transverse myelitis t-shirt.

Hilary in her transverse myelitis t-shirt.

Before I could get to this state, I had to lose almost everything.

Categorized by the National Organization for Rare Disorders, transverse myelitis (TM) affects all ages, races and both sexes, and is defined as “… a rare inflammatory disease causing injury to the spinal cord with varying degrees of weakness, sensory alterations, and autonomic dysfunction…” Approximately 75 percent of cases areidiopathic. Symptoms mirror multiple sclerosis (MS).

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke reports “…about one-third of people affected with transverse myelitis experience good or full recovery from their symptoms; they regain the ability to walk normally and experience minimal urinary or bowel effects and paresthesias. Another one-third experience only fair recovery and are left with significant deficits such as spastic gait, sensory dysfunction, and prominent urinary urgency or incontinence. The remaining one-third experience no recovery at all…”

There is no cure.

My body attacked the myelin sheathing on my spine. Electrical signals traveling through that area are interrupted, eliciting symptoms striking at the height of the lesion and below. Once, my foot deadened withinseconds, as if it had been asleep for 20 minutes! Three neurologists can’t tell me why my tongue burns as if zapped on a 9-volt battery, and I spark like a blown fuse. So every six months I hop in the scanning tube for funsies.

I have become uncomfortably numb.

I consider myself fortunate, having contracted subacute transverse myelitis. Acute TM can cause paralysis and even death.

An attempt to dig up research dollars yielded zero results because only about 1,400 Americans are diagnosed each year.

We lean heavily on support group members.

The Transverse Myelitis Folks (Blue Crew), a Facebook group (and extension of my family) run by Kevin Weilacher, provides encouragement, credible resources and life-changing positivity. Weilacher advises, “never take life for granted, because your life can ­change in an instant.”

Member Justin Hephner’s ability to walk again is attributed to his 40 years of martial arts study, arguing that the healthier a person is prior to onset, the greater their potential for complete recovery.

Liz Gardner, who has since has lost the use of her hands, had never heard of transverse myelitis, even though she’d worked in health care.

Neither had my mom, who has been in the field for nearly 40 years.

We love our community’s TM children fiercely, those whose mobility has been affected. Infants who can’t walk, toddlers breathing through a vent. When our kids make strides, tears wet our cheeks.

People call me courageous. I’m just refusing to be defined.

All I can do is meet each day head on, no matter what it brings — a relapse, a fresh lesion stealing another function.

Or my life.

Because of my new situation, I alternately run on 100-proof anger and determination, grasping hope so I don’t drown in sadness. I hate the new physical me, while also recognizing what I’ve learned from the experience. I am kinder, less-panicky and more accepting. TM made me vulnerable. I had no choice but to reach out. It wasaccept me or don’t.

My children were furious and scared, and we all yearned for a diagnosis while dreading to know the truth. Out of frustration, everyone cried and screamed obscenities during family meetings.  But we have surpassed those times. Now as my fiancé and I prepare to marry, our little clan knits closer together using the miles of road we have traversed.

I am at last good enough. Exactly as I am. Oddly thanks to transverse myelitis.




Hydrocephalus is a condition caused by too much cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) inside the ventricles of your brain. Ventricles are spaces inside the brain where cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is produced. CSF surrounds your brain and spinal cord. CSF is constantly being made and absorbed by your body. It moves through ventricles before it drains out and gets absorbed into your bloodstream. When CSF cannot drain properly, the fluid pressure may cause the ventricles to swell.


What are the most common types of hydrocephalus in adults?

  • Communicating hydrocephalus: This occurs when CSF leaves the ventricles but cannot drain and be absorbed by the bloodstream.
  • Noncommunicating hydrocephalus: This is also called obstructive hydrocephalus. It occurs when the flow of CSF between the ventricles is blocked.
  • Idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus: This occurs when the ventricles swell for no known reason. It is more common in people aged 60 or older.
  • Ex-vacuo hydrocephalus: This can occur after an injury to the brain, such as a stroke or trauma. The injury may cause the brain tissue to shrink.

What increases my risk of hydrocephalus?

You may have been born with hydrocephalus. The following can also increase your risk:

  • A brain injury or bleeding inside your skull
  • Infections, such as meningitis (infected covering of the brain or spinal cord) or ventriculitis (infected ventricles)
  • Tumors or cysts that block the flow of CSF
  • Aqueductal stenosis (narrowed passage between 2 ventricles), a condition you are born with that increases your risk as an adult

What are the signs and symptoms of hydrocephalus?

Signs and symptoms may be mild at first and get worse over time:

  • Headache or dizziness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Double vision
  • Urinary problems, such as needing to urinate often or urgently, or leaking urine
  • Sleepiness or fatigue
  • Seizures or loss of consciousness
  • Problems walking
  • Thinking or memory problems

How is hydrocephalus diagnosed?

Hydrocephalus can look like many other medical problems, so tests are needed to confirm a diagnosis:

  • Blood tests: You may need blood taken to check for infections. You may need to have blood drawn more than once.
  • MRI: This scan uses powerful magnets and a computer to take pictures of your brain. An MRI may show aqueductal stenosis, tumors, or cysts. You may be given dye to help the pictures show up better. Tell the caregiver if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast dye. Do not enter the MRI room with anything metal. Metal can cause serious injury. Tell the caregiver if you have any metal in or on your body.
  • CT scan: This test is also called a CAT scan. An x-ray machine uses a computer to take pictures of your brain ventricles and to check for bleeding or excess fluid. You may be given a dye before the pictures are taken to help caregivers see the pictures better. Tell the caregiver if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast dye.
  • Lumbar puncture: This may also be called a spinal tap. Caregivers put a needle into your back to collect CSF from around your spine. The CSF may be tested for infection. Caregivers also may check the CSF pressure.
  • Lumbar drainage: Caregivers use a needle to insert a catheter (tube) to drain CSF from around your spine for up to 5 days. This test is done to see if surgery to drain CSF fluid would relieve your signs and symptoms. You must stay in the hospital during this test.
  • Intracranial pressure monitoring: This is also called ICP monitoring. A small tube is put through your skull. The other end is connected to a monitor. Caregivers use ICP monitoring to keep an ongoing measurement of the pressure inside your skull.
  • Cisternography: Caregivers inject a tracer (radioactive substance) around your spine to watch how CSF moves through your brain and spinal canal for 1 to 3 days.

How is hydrocephalus treated?

You may need long-term treatment to keep your symptoms from coming back.

  • Surgery:
    • Shunt placement: A catheter (shunt) is placed inside a brain ventricle or around your spine to drain CSF. A plastic tube is attached to the catheter. The tube drains into your chest or abdomen, where your body absorbs the excess CSF. A valve on the tube helps slow down or speed up the CSF drainage. The shunt valve may need to be adjusted to maintain the proper amount of CSF drainage.
    • Ventriculostomy: This is also called endoscopic third ventriculostomy, or ETV. Your caregiver uses a tool called an endoscope to look into the brain and ventricles. An endoscope is a thin, flexible tube with a camera at the end. Caregivers make a small hole in a ventricle to allow the CSF to drain and be absorbed by the body.
    • Tumor or cyst removal: Your caregiver may remove a cyst or tumor from your brain to relieve a blockage.
  • Medicines: You may need antibiotics to treat an infection. Steroids or other medicines can help lower the amount of CSF your body makes.

What are the risks of hydrocephalus?

  • After a shunt placement, the shunt valve may need adjustments if there are any problems. Headaches and other hydrocephalus symptoms may return. You may feel sleepy or confused. You may not be able to move one side of your body. Tell your caregivers about any of these symptoms right away so they can adjust your shunt valve and check for other problems. Your shunt can also become blocked or stop working. You will need another surgery to fix a blocked shunt. You may also be at risk for an infection after surgery, which can be life-threatening.
  • Without treatment, symptoms such as headaches, vision problems, or seizures may become worse. You may develop incontinence (leaking urine). Your ability to think clearly may get worse. Over time, the pressure on your brain caused by hydrocephalus may be life-threatening.

How do I manage hydrocephalus?

  • Keep your follow-up visits: Ask your caregiver when to return for follow-up visits. You may need CT scans before shunt adjustments every 2 to 3 weeks at first. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
  • Keep a headache diary: If your headaches get worse during treatment, your caregivers may suggest you keep a headache diary. Rate your headache, such as from mild to severe. Write down what you were doing when the headache started. Also note when you have been sitting or standing for a long time. Caregivers may use the headache diary to change your treatment if needed.




Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Agoraphobia in Roseville

AgoraphobiaAt the Cognitive Behavior Therapy Center of Sacramento Valley in Roseville, we provide compassionate, personalized and scientifically-based therapy for Agoraphobia. From our office in Roseville just minutes from I-80, we are conveniently located to serve Roseville, Sacramento, Rocklin, Granite Bay, Lincoln, Folsom, Citrus Heights, El Dorado Hills, Loomis, Auburn, Penryn, Grass Valley, Colfax and surrounding areas.

What is Agoraphobia?

Agoraphobia is an anxiety disorder characterized by excessive fear about having a panic attack in a public place or anyplace where you might fear you might not get help if you need it or where you might be embarrassed if other people saw your symptoms. As agoraphobia develops, you start to avoid situations that you’re afraid might cause you to panic. You might avoid being alone, leaving your home or any situation where you could feel trapped, embarrassed or helpless if you do panic. People with agoraphobia often have a hard time feeling safe in any public place, especially where crowds gather. The fears can be so overwhelming that you may feel your world closing in. At its most severe, you may become so anxious when you leave home that you eventually become homebound.

Symptoms of Agoraphobia

Typical agoraphobia symptoms include fear of being alone in a public place or any situation where you might have a panic or anxiety attack, fear of being in crowded places, fear of losing control in a public place, and/or a fear of being in places where it may be hard to leave. Places and situations you may avoid are airplanes, elevators, driving or car rides with or without other people, sporting events, concerts, bridges, public transportation, shopping malls, movie theaters, restaurants, grocery stores, crowds and/or lines of people.

When you are in a situation that triggers your agroaphobia, you may experience a sense of helplessness and a sense that your body is unreal. You may have signs and symptoms of an anxiety or panic attack, including lightheadedness, trouble breathing, dizziness, excessive sweating, rapid heart rate, flushing, nausea, upset stomach or diarrhea, chest pain, feeling a loss of control and/or trouble swallowing. If your agoraphobia is severe, you may be unable to leave your house for long periods or become overdependent on others for assistance.

Cognitive Behavioral Model of Agoraphobia

Agoraphobia is usually a result of panic disorder or another anxiety disorder and not a stand-alone condition. Panic disorder is a fear of having a panic attack. With panic disorder, you may experience attacks of intense fear (panic attacks) that for no obvious reason trigger intense physical symptoms. Panic attacks can be very frightening. When panic attacks occur, you might think you’re losing control, having a heart attack or even dying.

If you believe you’re going to have a panic attack when you go out in public, you may indeed have one — causing a vicious cycle. The number of places you’re able to go may become fewer and fewer. You begin to develop agoraphobia when you make a connection (consciously or unconsciously) between your panic attacks and one or more situations in which the panic attacks have occurred. You may avoid similar places or situations to try to prevent future panic attacks. In some cases, fear of having a panic attack may be so great that you may not be able to leave the safety of your home.

Agoraphobia can severely limit your ability to socialize, work, attend important events and manage the details of daily life, such as going grocery shopping and running errands. With agoraphobia, you may have some “safe places,” or places you can go without severe anxiety, especially if accompanied by a “safe person” who is a trusted friend or family member. Sometimes they may muster up the courage to go somewhere, but they still feel extremely uncomfortable. In these cases, you may develop a variety of “safety behaviors” to get you through the experience. Safety behaviors are some of the ways that you may try to protect yourself from feeling anxiety symptoms or a panic attack. Some examples include avoiding situations, and leaving them when you feel anxious, relying on support people and support objects (cell phones, water bottles, etc.), and the use of distraction. Safety behaviors trick you into believing you are safe, but they actually keep your fear alive over time.

Cognitive Behavior Treatment of Agoraphobia in Roseville

Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) for agoraphobia typically includes some or all of the following therapy components:

  • Education: Learn about the typical elements of agoraphobia, including how it develops, the role of anxiety and panic symptoms, how avoidance and safety behaviors maintain agoraphobia and the elements of treatment.
  • Self-Monitoring: Track the details of your agoraphobia episodes (triggers, thoughts/beliefs, behavioral responses, and frequency, intensity, duration of anxiety, worry, panic) to identify your patterns and guide the treatment plan.
  • Cognitive Strategies: The cognitive part of CBT involves learning how to respond to your agoraphobia symptoms more effectively. You will learn what factors may trigger a panic attack or panic-like symptoms and what makes them worse. You will identify your safety behaviors and learn how to respond to panic attacks, and the anticipatory fear of a panic attack, in ways that will reduce the severity of the problem over time. Instead of fighting against a panic attack, you will learn ways to accept the symptoms without making them worse. Ironically, the less you fear your symptoms, the less likely they are to show up.
  • Behavioral Strategies: The behavioral part of CBT involves exposure therapy. In this phase, you will learn how to safely face the places and situations that cause fear and anxiety. You will begin entering those situations you have been avoiding so you can get some practice using your newly learned responses in actual situations that you fear. In the early stages of exposure therapy, your therapist may join you on outings to help you stay safe and comfortable, such as trips to the mall or driving your car. The more you go to feared places and realize you’re okay, the more your anxiety will lessen.
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1. Pick up a pen
 1. Pick up a pen

2. Skip through commercials
 2. Skip through commercials
3. Limit high-fat foods
 3. Limit high-fat foods
4. Sign up for e-newsletters
 5. Walk 5 minutes more
5. Walk 5 minutes more
 6. Add mini strength-training
6. Add mini strength training
 7. Climb 3 extra flights
7. Climb 3 extra flights
 8. Take a pedometer with you
8. Take a pedometer with you
 9. Brown-bag it more
9. Brown-bag it more
 10. Obey the 1-mile rule
10. Obey the 1-mile rule
 11. Take 10 to eat a treat
11. Take 10 to eat a treat
 12. Eat fruit—don&#039;t drink &#039;em
12. Eat fruits; don’t drink ’em
 13. Get technical support
13. Get technical support
 14. Go old school with coffee
14. Go old school with coffee
 15. Sleep away weight gain
15. Sleep away weight gain