Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Teenage Drinking

I attended an information evening run by the Lucena Foundation in UCD on 9th September 2009 given by Dr Bobby Smyth, a consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist, who specialises in addiction. The title of the evening was:

Preventing Drug & Alcohol Problems In Teenagers - What Parents Can do

Monday, October 19, 2009

His Low Libido

In this weeks edition of the problem page of the Sunday Times Style magazine, Aunt Sally is away and Ulrika Jonsson has taken over. She is answering a problem about a mismatch of libido or sexual desire. The problem goes a little like this – he wants less sex and she she wants more. She is aware of his “dysfunctional relationship with sex following an abusive childhood”. He has avoided intimate relationships and had “an addiction to pornography and short-term casual affairs”. He has managed to give these up through therapy. He is now trying to”relate at an emotional level”, however he is low on “libido and desire”. They have been  together for three years.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Deliberate Self Harm in Adolescents

I attended an information evening presented by Professor Carol Fitzpatrick, Consultant Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist on behalf of the Lucena Foundation in the O Reilly Hall in UCD on 10th September. The title of the information session was “Coping With Depression & Self- Harm - A Guide For Parents”

The main output from this evening was the following:

They covered a number of symptoms of depressive disorders in young people. Indicators such as low mood, loss of appetite, loss of sleep, low concentration, loss of interest or enjoyment in life and thoughts of suicide, over a period of time indicate that the teenager is depressed. Fleeting thoughts of suicide are common in teenagers, however, preoccupation with death and suicide is not. About 4-5% of adolescents are affected by depression and it is slightly more common in girls than in boys.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Aunt Sally (of the Sunday Times) and Attachment Theory

Sally Brampton is the resident advice columnist in the Sunday Times. Every week she presents a thoughtful analysis of a reader’s problem in the Style magazine – just inside the back cover. Her column is always the first thing I read in the Sunday Times on a Sunday Morning.
Sally is one of the few people writing in the mainstream media who seems to be aware of Attachment Theory. In previous columns, she has recommended that people read Bowlby and often writes well about the concepts underpinning attachment theory.
In last Sunday’s piece, she is responding to a man who keeps having affairs. The man in question’s own father left him when he was an adolescent and Sally advises him that:
“Crying over movies where the Hollywood dad comes good for his kids may mean you’re stuck in the adolescent phase we inhabit before we separate emotionally from our parents. Sadly, you never had the chance to go through the process of separation, so you’re still emotionally attached.”
She states that he is still attached to his mother and has not had the chance to separate. Separation from the mother is a concept that is not discussed much in mainstream discourse. Sigmund Freud initially put forward this concept of separation and emphasised the father’s role in this process. There is a good discussion of this here. However, it was Lacan, who developed it further and wrote extensively about the role the father plays. See this article.
Interestingly, Sally refers to how patterns of behaviour repeat themselves from generation to generation which was one of Bowlby’s central themes. She refers to how he is repeating the same pattern of behaviour as his father, by having an affair and avoiding emotional connection.
It is nice to see academic research transfer into mainstream media.