Mental Health Treatment Considerations

Despite the burdens of heart disease and its associated treatments, children and adolescents have the capacity for healthy functioning and resiliency. Nevertheless, many youngsters with these illnesses may present with developmental, social, and/or emotional vulnerabilities. Due to a lack of literature on psychotherapy and psychopharmacological interventions related to heart disease, child mental health clinicians responding to these vulnerabilities must rely on the general mental health treatment considerations for youngsters with physical illness. Comprehensive reviews of individual psychotherapy, family therapy, and psychopharmacological treatments for youngsters who are physically ill can be found in Chapters 28, 29, and 30, respectively.

The course of medical treatment for heart disease can be difficult, because many youngsters require continued invasive procedures, such as catheteriza-tions or surgical repairs. Preparatory interventions prior to these invasive procedures include cognitive strategies providing families with educational information and strategies for responding to their child's illness. Through these interventions, children are allowed to experience the adverse feelings associated with their illnesses and/or their treatment, such as fear and anger, and clinicians can model appropriate ways for handling these emotions. In general, these preventive interventions are viewed as helpful for families (Campbell et al. 1995; Kain et al. 1996; Ra-snake and Linscheid 1989; Schmidt 1990; Van Horn et al. 2001; Vernon and Thompson 1993). A comprehensive review of procedural preparation can be found in Chapter 31.

Your Heart and Nutrition

Your Heart and Nutrition

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