NAVIGATION- Dr. Charles R. Davenport; Licensed Psychologist

Tag : child-development

Childhood Stress May = Impaired Reward System as Adults

Recent findings published in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience by Duke University researchers suggest a potential pathway where childhood stress may increase risk for depression or other mental health problems in adulthood.

This data is not shocking news nor is it as daunting a finding as it may seem. Our mind bases a lot of what we expect in the future on what we have lived through or expect to experince. When, as children, we have been in stressful situations that we cannot control our minds have a choice of either overcoming (fighting), protecting (flight), or freezing. these reactions can be extremely adaptive when we are young however as adults they can exacerbate a sense of being out of control of our own destiny. This tends to be a recipe for both anxiety and depression. The good news is that many of these are misguided protection attempts by our mind and with some redirection frequently we are able to find change. some of the challenge can be, that as children, change was not an option so imagining this third choice does not always come easily. This can sometimes present a certainty that there is no other way to find change. Sometimes beginning counseling can be a powerful part of this process of change and hope.

If you were a caregiver as a child you may have a hard time attending idealy to your kids.

Emerging research by Michigan State University’s Amy K. Nuttall, Ph.D. suggests that mothers who took on burdensome care giving roles as children (parentified children caregivers) and were not allowed to “be kids” tend to be less sensitive to their own children’s needs.

“If your childhood was defined by parents expecting you to perform too much care giving without giving you the chance to develop your own self-identity, that might lead to confusion about appropriate expectations for children and less accurate knowledge of their developmental limitations and needs as infants,” said Amy K. Nuttall.

As we do in many situations, in parenting, we tend to revert to templates of what we know to. Many times these templates come from our experiences interacting with our caregivers and / or parents. As adults, without our awareness, we can wind up recreating situations for our children where there needs are missed much as are our own. If our parents had difficulty empathizing with or attending to our needs and we became parent-like, it can be difficult for us to do for our children what was never done for us… Identifying their needs and attend to them.

A similar process can occur when we feel anger toward people who have an easier life or are coddled when we did not have an opportunity for this in our own life. These feelings of longing can reflexively come out as hostility toward the other. This kind of process is something we can become aware of and impact how it influences our lives through counseling. This is one area where Dr. Davenport has been able to work with many patients to help find change.

More details on this research is due to be published in the Journal of Family Psychology.

 

Confirmed link between violent video games and aggression.

The American Psychological Association (APA), in a press release August 13, 2015 discusses recent research which finds a link between violent video games and aggression. “The research demonstrates a consistent relation between violent video game use and increases in aggressive behavior, aggressive cognitions and aggressive affect, and decreases in prosocial behavior, empathy and sensitivity to aggression,” says the report of the APA Task Force on Violent Media.

There has been much research on video games; however, there is a lacking of research driven information addressing whether violent video games cause people to commit acts of criminal violence.

It seems as though the arousal that comes from violent video games does carry over however the extent to which this occurs is still in question.

The report says that “no single risk factor consistently leads a person to act aggressively or violently however the link between violence in video games and increased aggression in players is one of the most studied and best established in the field.”

In August 7, in Toronto, APA’s Council of Representatives adopted a resolution which replaces the 2005 resolution on the same topic of video game rating.  Mark Appelbaum, PhD, task force chair stated “What researchers need to do now is conduct studies that look at the effects of video game play in people at risk for aggression or violence due to a combination of risk factors. For example, how do depression or delinquency interact with violent video game use?”  it can be very powerful to take into account depression and anxiety on each person’s functioning. Taking this a step further, making global generalizations and adapting them to the uniqueness of each individual may give us the best opportunity to see a clear picture of the whole person.

Oxytocin: How “love hormone” helps moms care

New research by Indiana University, recently published in the Journal for Hormones and Behavior, suggests that the love hormone, oxytocin, eases mother’s ability to care for an upset newborn. Researchers in the study were trying to see how oxytocin may direct new mothers toward caregiving of infants and away from other concerns  such as physical intimacy. In particular, this research focuses on the impact on mothers in the six months following childbirth.

This study looked at mothers who had given birth in the past six months and women without children. Oxytocin as well as placebo was administered and participants were asked to look at pictures including sexual activity, smiling infant, and crying babies. Neutral images were also used. As the women viewed the images their brain activity was monitored. The findings suggest that all participants who were administered oxytocin experienced a significant increase in brain activity frequently associated with reward systems as they viewed the images of a crying infant.

interestingly, this research suggests that crying which is generally and emotion we find to not be favorable had a greater impact on women then cute or sweet things that we frequently identify as favorable. The importance of maternal orientation to a child who is in distress, early in their development, was suggested as an explanation for the connection between oxytocin, which is strongly connected with reproductive events for women, and the women’s motivation when seeing a crying baby.

Our early connections with caretakers many times can serve as the foundation for our sense of comfort and safety both in who we are and in relation to others. These are also areas which are frequently associated with oxytocin. and understanding our lives today can be helpful to be curious and aware of how our early interactions may shape us today. This is something that interests you are you would like to explore further please contact Dr. Charles R. Davenport Psy.D. who is a licensed psychologist in Venice Florida and Sarasota Florida

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