Psychosocial factors associated with psychological problems in Irish children and mothers

 

Psychosocial Factors Irish Children and Mothers

The results of this study show that for Irish primary school children, the probability of psychiatric illness is positively associated with low IQ and reading difficulties, large family size, being a boy rather than a girl, and having a mother who is dissatisfied with her marriage or her role as mother.

For the mothers of these children, depression is positively associated with having an unemployed husband, and with being dissatisfied with the level of family income, with their relations with their relatives and their neighbours, with the opportunity foe leisure, and with their performance in their role as a parent.
The stress of unemployment, financial difficulties, lack of social support, and inadequate leisure opportunities appears to leave mothers prone to depression, which has the effects of undermining their parenting ability and makes it more likely that their children develop child psychiatric difficulties.
Family unemployment and economic disadvantage significantly effects mothers health.

Blaming the Mother

The importance of listening to the mother – Tips on accessing children with behavioural difficulties.

For some time, the understanding of child behaviour problems tended to blame mothers. This was a catastrophic error, writes Professor Michael Fitzgerald

PUBLISHED IN OPINION GP IRELAND

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Blaming the Mother Article by Prof. Michael Fitzgerald – Opinion GP Ireland

Blaming the Mother Article by Prof. Michael Fitzgerald - Opinion GP Ireland

Psychiatric Problems in Irish Children and Adults – From Childhood to Adulthood

A longitudinal follow up study

From Child to Adult 
A Longitudinal Study of Irish Children and their Families
Co-Author: Cleary A., Fitzgerald M., & Nixon E.
Publisher:  University College Dublin
Criterion Press Ltd.
ISBN: 1 9022 7785 6
Child to Adult Michael Fitzgerald
Free book to download on psychological problems in Irish Children and Adults. 
A follow up study of children, studied in childhood to adulthood, 21 years, showed symptom levels were high and approximately one fifth of the respondents had probable psychiatric conditions and 55% had used non prescription drugs. Behavioural deviance at age 11 was highly predictive of poor educational outcome at age 21.
A majority of mothers previously diagnosed as suffering from psychological problems when their child was 10 had now recovered. Economic disadvantage exasperated the negative outcomes.
40% of children followed up, regarded religion as important in their lives.
This book is free to download from my website.

 

Autism – Serious Diagnostic Problems – Irish Medical Times Article – 4th Nov 2016

autism-article-in-irish-medical-times-nov-2016There has been a massive broadening and evolution of the concept of autism over the past three-quarters of a century. Hans Asperger (1938, 1944) and Leo Kanner (1943) initially described autism. The prevalence of autism depends on whether you use old, narrow, out-of-date concepts of autism or new concepts of the condition. The original prevalence studies of autism in Ireland conducted by McCarthy, Fitzgerald and Smith showed a prevalence of four per 10,000 in the Eastern Health Board. Current rates as shown by the Centres for Disease Control in 2016 put the prevalence of autism at one in 68. Autism is characterised by problems in social relationships and communication, repetitive activities, narrow interests, sensory issues with an onset early in childhood but can be diagnosed at any point on the life cycle. Autism is under-diagnosed in Ireland and often comorbidities (which often co-occur), like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), oppositional defiant disorder, sensory issues, dyspraxia, or emotional behaviour problems are focused on and the autism spectrum disorder is missed, with serious and detrimental consequences for the child. Early diagnosis is critical for a good outcome, and there is universal agreement on the critical importance of this early diagnosis and interventions.
Guidelines
One of the problems is that the UK’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines on the diagnosis of autism, which are accepted throughout the world, are not followed. These state that there is no specific instrument recommended for a diagnosis of autism and that it is a clinical diagnosis by an experienced clinician in the diagnosis of autism. Unfortunately, in Ireland, instruments like the Autism Diagnostic Interview-R (ADI-R) are often misused as specific clinical diagnosis for autism and parents will state, “often with tears in their eyes”, that the child is, “ADI-R negative”, or does not have autism on this instrument, when it is crystal clear to the parents, teachers etc that the child has autism. This means that the child is deprived of services for children with autism, the school is deprived of extra resources, and the child becomes extremely anxious, depressed and behaviourally disordered. Prof Dorothy Bishop, Professor of Developmental Neuropsychology at the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom, told Adam Feinstein, which is reported in his book, Autism in History, that: “The main problem with the ADI-R is not just the financial cost (though that is certainly prohibitive), but also the cost in time; time for training, time for administration, and time for scoring and consensus coding,” and Bishop told Adam Feinstein that: “If it could be shown that there were real benefits in accuracy of diagnosis from adopting this lengthy procedure, then I’d be happy to say: ‘Okay.’ “But the originators of the instrument have never demonstrated that you actually need such a long process – it is really more an article of faith with them.” Faith has no place in clinical diagnosis and seems to be more a religious concept to my point of view. Bishop also told Feinstein that: “Part of the problem is that criteria for autism keep changing.”
Phenotype 
This is true, and the concept has broadened throughout the years. Today the broader autism phenotype is accepted by most professionals throughout the world, with the exception of those who use an old-fashioned, narrow-based concept of autism, or instruments focusing on narrowbased ideas of autism. I’d like to mention The International Meeting for Autism Research (IMFAR), in London in May 2008, where many of the most experienced researchers and clinicians on autism in the world attended. As reported by Feinstein in Autism in History, many of these critics “lambasted the tool (ADI-R), for missing many cases of autism”, and that this instrument was an expensive and “ineffective instrument”.
Expert clinical opinion 
Prof Bishop concluded after the use of these expensive instruments that there was often no choice but, “to seek expert clinical opinion”, which of course very often happens in Ireland but takes years to achieve, and then over all that period, the children are deprived of diagnosis and services for autism. Of course, the NICE guidelines primarily recommend expert clinical opinion anyhow. This is now a public health problem. In addition, a speech and language therapy assessment and occupational therapy assessment and possibly a cognitive psychological assessment are also necessary.
Prof Michael Fitzgerald, Department of Psychiatry, Trinity College Dublin.

 

The Mind of the Mathematician ( Female) – Ada Byron, Countess of Lovelace ( Daughter of Lord Byron)

Ada Byron
Daughter of Lord Byron
Countess of Lovelace 
           

Great female mathematicians are less common than males and are described in this book, the Mind of the Mathematician written by internationally famous mathematician Prof. Ioan James and accomplished psychiatrist Prof. Michael Fitzgerald look at the complex world of mathematics and the mind. This book discussed the brilliant female mathematician Ada Byron and her major work with Charles Babbage and his calculating machines and associated disorder that she may have suffered from. What makes mathematicians tick? How do their minds process formulas and concepts that, for most of the rest of the world’s population, remain mysterious and beyond comprehension? Is there a connection between mathematical creativity and mental illness? In The Mind of the Mathematician, together they explore the behavior and personality traits that tend to fit the profile of a mathematician. They discuss mathematics and the arts, savants, gender and mathematical ability, and the impact of autism, personality disorders, and mood disorders. These topics, together with a succinct analysis of some of the great mathematical personalities of the past three centuries, combine to form an eclectic and fascinating blend of story and scientific inquiry. What makes the mathematician tick?  How do their minds process formulas and concepts that, for most of the rest of the world’s population, remain mysteriously beyond comprehension?  Is there a connection between mathematical creativity and madness?
In the Mind of the Mathematician, internationally famous mathematician Ioan James and accomplished psychiatrist Michael Fitzgerald look at the complex world of mathematics and the mind.  Together they explore the behaviour and personality traits that tend to fit the profile of a mathematician.  They discuss mathematics and the arts, savants, gender and mathematical ability, autism and mathematicians, and the impact of personality disorders and mood disorders.  Mathematicians discussed include Gödel, Dirac, Hardy, Hadamard, Kovalevskaya, Poincare, and Gauss.
These topics, together with a succinct analysis of the great mathematical personalities of the past three centuries, combine to form an eclectic blend of story and scientific inquiry that will fascinate all those curious about how a mathematician’s mind really works.
The Mind of the Mathematician
Prof. Michael Fitzgerald
& Prof. Ioan James
Co-Author: Fitzgerald M., James I.  (2007)
Publisher:  Johns Hopkins
University Press:  Baltimore
ISBN: 978-0801885877
 
For more information about this book, click here.

Is psychotherapy more than friendship?

Is Psychotherapy more than friendship?
   Is Psychotherapy more than friendship?
   We have all become familiar with psychotherapists being dubbed ‘expensive friends’ and friends ‘inexpensive therapists’ in recent years. The suggestion that psychotherapy is nothing more than high- quality friendships often provokes heated debate. Does the debate contain a ring of truth or is it far more deep-seated? What exactly do high-quality friendship and therapy have in common? Quite simply,      good communication.

 

Good communication makes for good relationships and is synonymous with high-quality friendship. The features of genuine friendship and therapy almost completely overlap. They include listening, empathising, sincere interest, respect, understanding, acceptance and a non-judgmental and non-critical attitude. In some respects, they sound like old-fashioned values and manners of a bygone age, which certainly can feel in short supply in the modern world.
Images of friends offloading over hedges or half-doors in some rural idyll spring to mind. Old sayings abound with the benefits of friendship: ‘A shared joy is a double joy; a shared sorrow is half a sorrow.’ The rarity of genuine friendship was summed up by 18th-century English physician Thomas Fuller, ‘If you have one true friend you have more than your share’, and equally so by American writer Sarah Orne Jewett in the character of Mrs Todd from The Country of the Pointed Firs: ‘Yes’m old friends is always best, ‘less you can catch a new one that’s fit to make an old one out of.’ Click here to read the full article

Genesis of Artistic Creativity at the National Gallery, Dublin

          Genesis of Artistic Creativity & the Yeats Family at the National Gallery, February, 2016
Friends of the National Gallery
  Prof Michael Fitzgerald presented this slide show to the friends of the National Gallery.
The main focus of this presentation is the Yeats family, Jack B Yeats and William Butler Yeats.

 

The Genesis of Artistic Creativity
The Genesis of Artistic Creativity
The information for the above presentation comes from this book about the nature of artistic creativity and its relationship with ‘difference’ has intrigued people for centuries. The Genesis of Artistic Creativity is a revealing exploration of the lives of 21 famous writers, philosophers, musicians and painters including William Butler Yeats and Jack B Yeats and many others, in light of the recognized criteria for diagnosis of high-functioning autism and Asperger’s Syndrome (AS).
Author: Fitzgerald M. (2005)
Publisher:Jessica Kingsley Publications: London
ISBN:  978-1843103349
The Genesis of Artistic CreativityJapanese Edition
This book was also translated and published in Japanese.

Co-Author: Fitzgerald M. (2009)

Publisher: Seiwa Shoten Pub: Tokyo
ISBN: 978-4790714392

Autism and Comedy Symposium – Comedy on the Spectrum

Comedy on the Spectrum
 A presentation by Prof Michael Fitzgerald at the “Autism and Comedy Symposium” at the University of Kent, Canterbury, UK, Jamuary 2016
Comedians with Autism
This is a provocative and novel investigation of the psyches of sixty artists, predominantly from the world of film, theatre and television/radio – writers, actors, producers and directors ranging from Shakespeare and Voltaire to major late-twentieth-century figures such as Spike Milligan, Sam Peckinpah and Frank Sinatra, by way of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Orson Welles and Judy Garland. Irish artists featured include Oliver St. John Gogarty, Jimmy O’Dea and Richard Harris.
Author: Fitzgerald M. (2015)
Publisher: Nova Science Publishers Inc.New York
ISBN: 978-1-63463-573-8
The Mind of the Artist and other books and free resources
Information for this presentation has come from Prof. Fitzgerald’s recent book “The Mind of the Artist”.
Information about that book along with 31 other books published, co- published and edited by Prof Fitzgerald are on his website.

Overlap: Autism and Schizophrenia – Considerable confusion surrounds the overlapping of autism and schizophrenia

Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities

Author:   Michael Fitzgerald (Professor of Child Psychiatry, based at Department of Psychiatry, Trinity College, Dublin, UK)
Citation:  Michael Fitzgerald , (2014) “Overlap between autism and schizophrenia: history and current status”,Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities, Vol. 8 Iss: 1, pp.15 – 23
ABSTRACT
Purpose

- Considerable confusion surrounds the overlapping of autism and schizophrenia. This has significant implications for clinicians given that correct diagnosis is critical for treatment.

Design/methodology/approach

-This paper sets out to clarify the position by reviewing the history and current status of the relationship between autism and schizophrenia. A general review was conducted using a chronological approach that focused on phenomenology, aetiology, genetic mechanisms and treatment.

Findings

- Persons with autism are far more rigid, have difficulties set shifting and get far more upset and aggressive when their routines have changed. They have far more severe theory of mind and empathy deficits than those with schizophrenia.

Research limitations/implications

- Future diagnostic refinement by means of molecular genetic studies will alter the diagnostic categories. Further studies of the conditions of autism and schizophrenia are therefore necessary.

Practical implications

- Both conditions need treatment both clinically and practically.

Originality/value

- This paper elucidates the relationship between autism and schizophrenia from a historical and current perspective. It emerges that this confusion is likely to be resolved by molecular genetic studies that will alter the diagnostic categories.