Autism Treatments, Part 1: Using Anti-Psychotics for Autism

Photo by Baston ( / CC BY 2.0

This week on Family Anatomy, we’ll be focusing on treatments for autism.  Using anti-psychotic medications when there is no psychosis is considered “off-label” use. That is, physicians can prescribe it even though it has not been specifically studied and proved to be effective with a particular group of people. As a psychologist working with school-aged children, I have noticed the increasing use of off-label anti-psychotic medications for kids with severe aggressive behaviour. A small percentage of these kids are autistic.

Anatomy of A Secret Sadness, Pt. 1 (Ep. 107)

A Secret Sadness, by Dr. Valerie Whiffen
A Secret Sadness, by Dr. Valerie Whiffen

A Secret Sadness,by Dr. Valerie Whiffen

Doctors Brian and Giuseppe speak to Dr. Valerie Whiffen, the author of A Secret Sadness: The Hidden Relationship Patterns That Make Women Depressed.

What are the patterns in the parent-child relationship that can contribute to later depression?

How can parents protect their children from becoming depressed as adults?

Find out what we think this week!

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More information about Dr. Whiffen:

Dr. Valerie Whiffen is a psychologist in private practice in Vancouver, and an adjunct professor of psychology at the University of Ottawa.  Her primary research and clinical interests are gender and depression.  In her 25-year career as a researcher, university professor, and therapist, she has authored more than 50 professional and research papers, and two books.  Her latest book, A Secret Sadness: The Hidden Relationship Patterns That Make Women Depressed, explores the reasons that girls and women are at greater risk for depression than boys and men.

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Note: Posts on Family Anatomy are for education only, and are not intended to replace professional or medical advice. If you need to talk to someone about family or mental health issues, you can get a referral from your family doctor.


Response to alcohol odours and mother's emotions

The June 2008 issue of Alcohol includes a study indicating that children react differently to the smell of alcohol depending on the emotional context of their mother’s drinking. When asked to choose between the odour of beer and an unpleasant odour, kids whose mothers were classified as “escape drinkers” were more likely to choose the unpleasant smell.

You can read more here.

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The Problem(s) with Punishment


Child in Barred Window - Meknes, Morocco by Adam Jones, PhD (via Flickr)

I came across an article today about how to “fix” the behaviour of tweens. It seems like disrespectful behaviour is a part of the rite of passage into adolescence, and the article had a lot of good suggestions to help parents address problems that arise as children individuate and question their parents’ authority. Although it wasn’t particularly surprising, I was a little disappointed by one of their suggestions: punishment for back-talk.

Most parents agree that there are 4 rules when it comes to punishment: it should be reasonable, consistent, immediate, and meaningful. This is where the problems come in.